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5th February, 2013

Roseau, Dominica

View from the Sapphire of Roseau

From St Kitts we sailed to Dominica, an island that has areas of its interior unspoiled and covered in rain forest. Bananas account for the largest part of the local economy and in fact it is highly likely that you would have eaten a banana grown in Dominica if you live in the UK.

Historically, nature has been Dominica’s greatest enemy. It had too many mountains to make the cultivation of sugar profitable. It had too many rivers to make an effective road network viable. It rained too much for traditional tourism. It has been sorely tried by hurricanes: by David in 1979, by Hugo in 1989, and by Marilyn in 1995. But today nature is also Dominica’s greatest asset.

The berth we utilised was vacated by a cargo vessel just before our arrival as the sun rose above the horizon. As we manoeuvred into position an encroaching rain cloud covered the sky above the port with intermittent rain persisting for just over an hour before the sun reclaimed the upper hand again, to beat down upon the Sapphire’s decks and render them dry once more as the temperature crept up to well over 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Houses in Roseau

Dominica, which derives its name from the Latin for Sunday as that was the day Columbus discovered the island in November of 1493, has a rich history. In 1838 it became the first British Caribbean colony to be controlled by a black majority following the liberation of African slaves throughout the British Empire four years earlier.

Before this the island changed hands between the French and British several times during the 18th century despite having agreed in 1660 by both parties that the islands, along with St Vincent, should be left to the native Carib people and serve as neutral territory between the two European superpower’s other Caribbean colonies.

With the sun just above the horizon and about to set the Sapphire manoeuvred off of the berth bathed in orange light as we set for sea. Another vessel, of the cargo variety was already lining up to approach the recently vacated quay before we’d left the bay. Obviously bananas must still be in
high demand!

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.