Sunday, December 27, 2015

Indian River

A popular tourist attraction in Dominica is to take a cruise up the Indian River from its mouth at Portsmouth. Part of its popularity is that it was used in one (or more?) of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies (several important scenes from two Pirates of the Caribbean movies—Dead Man's Chest and At World's End—were filmed in Dominica). [In fact, the famous fight scene on the huge water wheel was filmed just a few miles from my village.]
[Picture “borrowed” from]
The only way to tour this beautiful river is by guided boats, without engines. The guides generally row with two oars set in the gunwales, but a few guides (including ours) prefer to stand and maneuver one long oar off the stern. I was able to take a picture of one of the other boats that we passed.
This allows for a leisurely cruise up this small river, with plenty of opportunities to observe the natural flora (such as mangrove and bwa mang trees) and fauna (fish, crabs, greenback herons, yellow crowned night herons, etc.). It can be eerily quiet at times, but that makes it easier to see the wildlife.
This river's first tributary that we encountered (but did not go up) actually originates at a hot spring in the Glanvillia suburb of Portsmouth (there are many volcanic hot springs on this island). A second tributary which we did travel up is where the shack that was built for the movie is located. It was left intact after the filming.
Another fascinating aspect was the concrete abutments and other twisted steel remnants of a railroad bridge that had been destroyed by Hurricane David in 1979 (see my previous story about my namesake storm).
At the farthest point possible upstream, there is a small “bush bar” where the boats dock. You can then hang out at the bar or hike the nearby trails. We saw huge termite nests, a black and green hummingbird, beautiful flowers, and other interesting sights. Then it was back into the boat to head downstream.
I enjoyed this little adventure and would recommend it to anyone visiting the area (especially since Dominica has no alligators, piranha, venomous snakes, etc.). I'll leave you with one last view of the swamp shack from the movie.

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