Mar 17 - North island tour

This morning, Lawrence, one of the PAYS boat boys, came zooming up to us at 0800 and asked if we were ready. "Ready for what?" we asked. "For your tour of the island," says he. Hmmm. Alexis said he'd contact us; we hadn't heard anything, and apparently he and Lawrence had added us to a van full of people going on a tour of the northern part of the island. OK...We quickly gathered our stuff and were ready in 5 minutes for the short ride to the Sandy beach dock, where Anselm, our driver, gathered us up and we all ran to the waiting van. Inside, 6 people waited, all French, but they were kind enough to speak English, for the most part. Although some yachties rent cars, we, again, felt better about things letting a local navigate his way around narrow, twisting roads, dodging a bit of traffic, a lot of pot holes, and turning onto roads we, no doubt, would have missed. The countryside is so lush, a beautiful view awaiting around each curve. The mountains afford amazing vistas, the highest one was about 4700' elevation in the distance. We stopped at various viewing points, eventually winding our way around to the Kalinago Territory to be where the Carib Indian ancestors of today's inhabitants were first discovered by Columbus. Modern Kalinagos are known for their handicrafts, basket weaving and dugout canoe building. We didn't buy any canoes, but did purchase a beautiful, small multi-colored, double-layered woven purse-basket, made waterproof by the integration of banana leaves between the inner and outer layers. We also bought a small series of carved gourds which hang vertically in a row of three. The last gourds we bought similar were from Panama! Following, we made our way to the Pointe Baptiste Chocolate Estate where Alan Napier, of Scottish descent, has a small factory outside the town of Calibishe. His grandparents bought the property in 1930, and he now makes delicious chocolate in a variety of flavors in a lush, tropical setting. We ate lunch at the Islet View Restaurant, a very nice stop with, you guessed right, beautiful views. In fact, with the distant colored waters and reefs, it reminded us a bit of those waters in some parts of French Polynesia. Our last stop was the Emerald Pool in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park. A short, easy walk brought us to the pool, but only one of our group went into the water; tres froid. The ride back to Portsmouth was on the main road from Roseau northwards, and we had to divert around a few washed-out, damaged segments of the road; Hurricane Erika of Aug 2015 destroyed many houses and roads here. By 1630 hours, we arrived back to our starting point; a full day, well worth the effort and price (150EC/pp).

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