Dominica, walking around Portsmouth
11 November 2017
Day two we were on our own. We wanted to explore the places we had enjoyed before. It was not to be. There are some beautiful spots within an easy hike from Portsmouth. None were accessible. Trees had fallen over the paths. We started toward the Indian River, where scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean had been filmed. A local guy walked with us but said the bar on the river, owned by his cousin was smashed. “No way can you make it there.” We said we would walk as far as we could. A local farmer also told us “the path is blocked, too many down trees.” He was right, we made it to Leslie's Bar, which was just a shell, not much further. Looking down the river from its mouth, we could see the striking beauty was gone. Everything stripped to the bare trunks.
As we walked around town, we met people we had known from past visits. They were keen to tell us of their stories during Maria. We patiently listened. It is something they needed to share. Still, they all were proud they survived. The attitude was of hope and strength. How can people who didn't have much to begin with be so positive when so much was taken from them. They are Dominica strong and proud.
Smitties Restaurant in town was turned into a small grocery store. We met Smitty and he remembered us with big hugs. We announced his menu on the cruiser's net to help him sell the amazing Trinidad doubles and roti he and his wife cooked. He bought his own VHF radio and we set it up for him. We explained just how he could advertise among the cruisers to get business.
Again, we were the only boat in the anchorage. Last time we were in Portsmouth, there were 200 yachts present. Our hope is that they will return to support these struggling people.
The streets of Portsmouth were still littered with storm damage. Power lines were down and we stepped over them everywhere. The main lines were restored. Some thought they would have power within the week. Crews were working on it. Piles of debris and trash were everywhere. One pile was strictly of damaged fans. There must have been a hundred of them. Why a pile of fans?
We felt like voyeurs, looking at the train wreck. But we weren't treated that way. People were most welcoming. And some we talked with knew we had brought aid. No one else comes to Dominica at this time. Lisa and I had a big bag of children's books and toys we donated to several schools.
Tired and frustrated, we returned to Uproar in the late afternoon. What else could we possibly do to help. Lisa wanted to just dig in and clean up Portsmouth. If only it was that simple.
This is a hard blog for me to write. Ti punch with 55% rum agricole helps. We know we helped with our shipment of aid. Dominicans are proud, they didn't ask for help, they were gracious to us as they have always been. They wanted to talk with us. They wanted to share. We listened.