Star Clippers Caribbean Cruise - Part 4 - Dominica
7th January 2016
Sailing into Dominica was particularly special today, under full sail, we met one of the other Star Clippers ships, the Star Clipper herself! Her four masts became slowly more and more visible as we sped towards the next island, which was also to be Star Clipper’s destination for the day. The Star Clipper is smaller than the Royal, holding a maximum of 170 passengers and only bearing 4 masts instead of the Royal’s five. She is a stunning ship, a barquentine yacht, exuding elegance and style in every swift movement with the waves. She is actually taller than the Royal Clipper and usually faster – as the two race side by side towards Dominica, stood barefoot on the teak deck, the magic of Star Clippers really comes alive!
Today, as a group, we signed up to the ‘Indian River’ shore excursion. Just a short taxi ride from the ship we were met by friendly locals and divided into smaller groups to board the handmade wooden boats. I thought they seemed similar to the punting boats you would find in Cambridge, but on an even smaller scale. Our guide rowed us with wooden oars down the Indian River, which made for some spectacular scenery along the way. The calm and serene surroundings continued with us on our journey where we saw wildlife in its natural habitats; birds, spiders and crabs were introduced to us by our knowledgeable guide (from a distance of course).
After an hour, we stopped at an old bar, set in the middle of the rainforest, and serving a fantastic glass of Rum Punch, the perfect refreshment. It was nice to get off and stretch our legs and indulge in the local life. Dominica is a plush island, incredibly green with beautiful landscapes and quite untouched by the tourist market, I felt that this excursion was a great snapshot into Dominica and an excellent way to spend the few hours we had in this place. Back on the boats, we meandered back down the river, this time taking a different route so we were able to see the hut which featured in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and was purpose built for the film. It still stands there and was quite eerie to see it in real life – we all expected Johnny Depp to pop out at any moment!
We set sail at 4pm today, but only for a short while so we could re-anchor at another part of Dominica, to pick up other passengers that had done a different excursion. We decided to take full advantage of this daytime sailing and headed straight to the front of the ship…
Lying in the nets of the bow-spirit is an incredible experience. Although daunting at first, as you clamber over the front of the ship and unsteadily find your feet in the netting, once you have found your spot, it is so worthwhile. Royal Clipper sailed towards Roseau, as we sat in the nets looking back up at the masts, with the Caribbean breeze all around us and the beaming sun hitting our faces, what could make this moment more perfect? All of a sudden, one of our group spotted a small pod of dolphins directly beneath us, following the ship and jumping in the waves, only feet away from where we sat up in the netting. Excitement doesn’t quite cut it, we were all almost hysterical with happiness at being part of this very special journey.
Another fun filled evening awaited us, a lot of the menu was inspired by the Caribbean, and the fish was particularly good. Wine in the evening is from an extensive list, with house wine priced at just 15 euros per bottle, very reasonable indeed. Following dinner every night we would make our way up to the buzzy bar area for a few more cocktails and to enjoy the entertainment. A few of our group were great sports and got involved with the fashion show, sporting items from the sloop shop along with the crew.