365 Rivers

Green Paradise

Dominica has 365 rivers, one for each day of the year. It is a paradise, due in part to the inpropicious geography: the Island's tourism development is one that has been kept at bay by the fact that the coastline is not ideal for resorts and the airport is not set up for large passenger planes. In 2019 the economy was hurt by the relocation of a US school of medicine (Ross) to Barbados. The American Canadian School of medicine opened this year 2023 to welcome new students. The agriculture was strong with banana production but this has phased out, leaving growers to reinvent their farms for new crops. Banking is becoming increasingly important as well and Dominica has agreed to comply with transparent practices.

Loves Yachties and Eco Tourists

This economic landscape has allowed two things to florish: High end, luxury ecotourism, and the friendly welcomes to visiting yachts, enabled by strong security measures from local associations of yacht service people whose livelihood depends on protecting the yachties from less scrupulous elements of society. And while there is a small problem in the streets of portsmouth with some street urchins, overall Dominica was safe and reflected an innocence lost in places like Martinique or Antigua. Without reservation, we can say one should definitely stop there and enjoy all that the island offers. THe pride in the nation is evident, as an example the government hires people to clean up the streets, something that you won't find in US metropolis areas. You can also be assured of great food, and being exposed to a lovely community, great tours and hikes.

Portsmouth PAYS

Portsmouth offers easy anchoring, plenty of protection and lots of moorings for rent. PAYS maintains their moorings, and they also help provide security at night. We enjoyed their hospitality and food, music, and just a great vibe offered. THere is a small bar on the beach which still has the authenticity of what the USVI might have offered 40 years ago, a gathering of sailors having their daily worship for the sunset. We came to portsmouth twice in 2023. Once after Guadeloupe, and once more on the way south to Martinique with crew, on the way to Martinique. The anchorage is well protected on south and north and the holding ground was good.

There are two reasons for using the PAYS moorings in Portsmouth: One is our peace of mind, the other is to fuel the local economy. Some cruisers might indulge in frequent drinks and dinners but balk at the idea of an equivalent fee for local services. I find that odd. We as cruisers have a duty to return to the islands hosting us, at the very least as polite guests. And while you want to pay for services, you should not give money to beggars. Many are on crack or coke or something. But if someone asks for a meal, I generally indulge because this returns money directly to the street food vendors, and none to the drug dealer. The Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services are organized as a competing, but cross supporting group of people with skiffs who will help you with your mooring, rent it to you, and hold the monopolistic waterfront mooring service that is also modestly priced. I would be weary of the claims made by people who say they can fix things for you, but in a bind, there are marine captains, engineers, and other skilled labor on the island, and I would rely on this network and the PAYS people if stuck. More certain of a positive outcome, is the Taxi tour service, the food, and some groceries.

Indian River

Clearly set up for tourists, yet a quiet row in dense nature, the Indian River tour is offered by PAYS people. Our guide was Elison's brother Elvis, who was once a first mate on a Gloucester fishing boat. It is not uncommon for islanders to go to the US to work and ship out. Ellison was really cool, knew the island, and answered questions with patience. One pop culture, disney like part of the tour is the visit to the hut built there for the Pirates of the Caribbean movie witch scene, if you are into that.

At this site, a nice man will climb a coconut tree to make a few bucks after you visit the hut. After that you can go back to a more meaningful trek up the river, more of a Henry David Thoreau experience - with other yachties, so choose your tour mates according to your needs.As we passed trees whose convoluted roots resembled a complex network, crabs peering out their holes as would people sitting on their porches watching passers by, and birds looking to have a meal on the same crabs or some unlucky fish, we kept in wonder at the scenery around us. Once at the end of the row, we disembarked and Elvis took us past a bar, into a hike, where a farm was. Lemongrass, Bay leaves, star fruit, pineapple, mango, and other trees were there, and past the farm was a bar with a rhum punch that knocked us off our feet but brough a lot of cheer. We have no idea what was in it, as each recipe is a closely guarded secret in these parts, and the alcohol is not likely a government controlled, certified one.


The Kalinago were the native first nation on the island prior to European and slave arrivals.They are given a territory by the Dominica government and in order to maintain the culture, no one can reside in this area unless born within the tribe. This also applies to marriages, where aKalinago must leave the territory if they marry outside the tribe.

They are numerous, we saw no evidence of cross breeding owing to the number of people there. The civic structure is different than for native americans in the USA: They are full dominicans and they go to high school, vote in Dominica. They elect a chief and they have parliamentary representation in the government. They aer proud of their land, their heritage, and are trying to keep elements of the language alive. Most of all, the folks welcome tourists and are very keen on educating us on their culture and the nature on their land.


There is a man who runs a chocolate operation. Visiting it seems to be part of the standard tour. His grandparents had bought 30 or more acres of land, which most is kept wild. He has a small chocolate processing operation, and it is defnitely worth stopping to see how chocolate paste is generated from the beans.

Red Lands

The best way to describe the red lands is to compare them to Utah on the waterfront. A relatively small coastline section of Ocre colored clay juts out in cliffs to the north side of Dominica. There is nothing much there, just nice picture opportunities which we were happy to partake in.

Taxi Tours

We joined a Taxi Tour with several other friends. Amy David the single hander on Wahina, Andrew and Hillary Armstrong on Billy Ruff'in. Be ready for a 10 hours of riding in the car, but it is worth the effort to get an overview of this island and the sites that we talk about above. The tour covered all the aforementioned and more, for example lunch in a local place which was extra.

PAYS parties

It was not quite out thing, but we bought tickets to the party organized by PAYS. These folks have their thumb on the pulse of the cruiser market, offering free alcohol at the parties, DJ and food. Rinse and repeat, it seems, there were 3 parties in a 4 day interval on land. We only went to one since we don't really drink.


There was not a single negative experience in Dominica. We would go back without any reservations as to the destination and the want of things to see and do.


there are three hikes of high interest. Mount Catherine is the longest and best started early in the morning. We will attempt it during the winter 2023/2024. Mount QuaQua is a few hours and takes you to the top of the presenve area. We accessed it with the number 6 but which passes right by the entrance. We had to register at the front desk as the park wants to keep track of the people on the mountain. There is a pond near the same building which is the dormat caldera of the volcano. If you bring fruit, we were told, some monkeys may come and eat the fruits that you offer them, as they are curious.