Monday, September 26, 2016

My Free Saturday

I've written before about how I do my laundry in buckets on my front porch most Saturday mornings. However, I have an arrangement with my host family (who own a machine washer—no one has dryers down here, because of the heat) where I pay them once a month to wash my clothes for me. It gives me a monthly Saturday free from my regular bucket laundry chore.

On these free Saturday mornings, I generally go down to the main road and wait for a bus (a 45 minute wait this past Saturday) to take me to the Portsmouth, the second largest city on the island. It is located in the north and thus much easier to reach than going all the way to the capital of Roseau in the southern part of the island.

Saturday morning is market day, as farmers, fisherman, and other vendors set up on a couple of streets that are closed to traffic until noon (as shown above). There is a festive atmosphere, and often there is a singer or musical group performing. Here are a few pictures of the colorful fruits and vegetables for sale in the marketplace.
The market is set up near the Portsmouth pier, and where there is a fish market. Below is a yellow-fin tuna getting chopped into tuna steaks, followed by one of the many big coolers of assorted fish on ice available for sale.
After making my market purchases, I generally go and visit the Peace Corps Volunteer who lives in Portsmouth. This time, we decided to hop on a bus and travel north of Portsmouth to the little coastal village of Toucarie. We had passed through it on our recent trip to Capuchin, and I wanted to explore it further, especially since it appeared to have a place that rented kayaks. Here is the welcome sign.
There is an interesting Catholic church overlooking Toucarie Bay, pictured above. Unlike the church in Soufriere which I recently wrote about, this church was not open. [Note: My story about the Soufriere Church has become my most widely read blog story—eclipsing my coverage of Tropical Storm Erika—after Dominica's tourism board (Discover Dominica) shared my story on their social media platforms.] However, I put my camera up against the window to the right of the main door and snapped the picture below. The stained glass was limited to the semicircles at the top of the windows, but they were interesting and added some color to the interior. There is also an interesting graveyard across the road from the church.
Indeed, there was a place along the beautiful bay that rented kayaks, and I was able to get a paddle in my hand for the first time since joining the Peace Corps. Some of you know how much I enjoyed kayaking in West Virginia (here is a story from my old blog describing one of my kayaking trips), so it was good to get that feeling of gliding across the water again. This time, it was gliding over crystal clear, aquamarine tinted water. At times, I could see fish and sponges on the bottom. The different visual perspective of gently bobbing on the calm Caribbean water while looking towards the shoreline and the rising mountains just behind was breathtaking. Too bad I left my camera on shore! Below is a shot I took near the church graveyard of a fishing boat arriving in the bay. In the distance, you can see one of the hills in Cabrits National Park closer to Portsmouth.
I look forward to returning to Toucarie Bay in the future, and not just for kayaking (although I need to be careful about getting hooked on these “touristy” activities, given our meager Peace Corps budget). Supposedly, the snorkeling here is phenomenal as well, so I need to bring my mask and snorkle here next time. There are vents on the sea floor producing streams of bubbles like I saw at Champagne Reef. Plus, I've been told there are the coral encrusted ribs of a wooden sailing ship that sunk many years ago.

Finally, the vendor with the kayaks ( also has stand-up paddleboards, so I may have to give that a try sometime. Trying new things is just part of the big adventure that is the Peace Corps.

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