The Boiling Lake Hike in Dominica
20 March 2009 | Prince Rupert Bay Dominica, Leeward Islands
Capt Chris, 80's, winds ENE 10 to 19 knots
The hike is not for the unfit. Sources say the hike is from 9 to 12 miles total which is not out of hand. What is difficult is the terrain. It would be considered the black diamond of hiking. Up one side of a muddy mountain and down the other, slinging mud, roots and hazards abound. Team Prudence described the hike as "the death march."
But here is the thing and this is a truism not just exclusive to the boiling lake hike. Most places that shock the soul with beauty are not easy to get to and pretty much is unreachable to most of the worlds population. The summit of Everest is just out of reach for me but I have experienced the ocean alone, not an easy thing to accomplish but that is what makes the experience and the memory so juicy. Dominica has been like that, very juicy.
Anyway, I left with Colin and Lindsey from SV Buxom and was picked up by "Dr. Love" who is the "Rasta Mon" coach driver and we raced at a significant clip, reggae blasting (a little early in opinion) toward the southern end of the island. We picked up two more folks, Laurel from the UK, but is Dominican and then a Dominican girl named Aunucia. The thing about cruising throughtout the islands is that things are really never clear. So for Americans used to itineraries and clarity, these types of days can be rattling. I am one that likes a plan, but am getting better with the ambiguity that ensues. It tooks us about two hours to arrive at the trail head. The ride in and of itself is full of adventure as you travel through the rural sections of the island and the Capital of Roseau. Dominica is a very poor country and the housing is shocking. I will pretty much let the pictures tell the story. You can click here to go directly to My Google Album and the Dominican photo folder. The hike was really intense. In the Desolation Valley, which is the inside of an ancient volcano, the earth has opened up with bubbling and boiling water. The smell of sulfer permeates everything. As the Rain falls in the mountains the water flows downward and becomes superheated and flows to the boiling lake which is fresh water being heated by fissures in the earths crust. Multiple streams flow and because of the sulpher the water turns an aqua blue. It almost looks fake. We bathed in hotsprings with water around 90 degrees. It was awesome and really awesome day.
Two of the girls really struggled to make it back from the boiling lake. Shaky legs and aching legs. I finally made it back to Christa well after dark and slepted like a rock.
I'm still on for a move south to St Lucia. I'll leave early tomorrow and should have a wonderful broad reach. Rodney Bay sits on the NW tip of the island and is about 90 miles from my current location. I may do it in one shot or I may anchor for a night in Martinique. So that wraps things up here in Dominica.