Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Continuing adventures with SeaCat: The Garden of Eden in the rainforest.

We never quite know what to expect when we go out for a day with SeaCat. He knows us well and understands that we are up for anything different, especially if it means we get to see the stunning and less touristy side of Dominica. He knows we will be up for a challenge and he likes to surprise us. This time he promised us the Garden of Eden, and he was not overstating the case.
We had a very fast hike up through some rainforest and onto the middle section of the Watikabuli trail. It involved the traditional crossing of rivers several times and the odd scramble up a slope, but it was fairly easy walking compared to our usual walks with him. We then were walking through old plantation land. This is all owned by the government and is 'common' land. We walked through coffee trees, citrus groves, bananas and other trees that have been left.

We took a track off the main trail that had a sign saying 'Pommes Residence',  here we went up the old plantation road. Made from stones to form cobbles by slaves that goes through the rainforest up steep slopes. We reached a plateau, surrounded by mountains and rainforest. 

The plateau was more like an English Country Park, with large mature trees amongst pasture land. Sheep and cows were grazing the land and some horses were off in the shade of the trees. It all felt a bit surreal at nearly 1000 feet up a mountain after walking in rainforest to find this wide open space.

We then dropped down and crossed a small stream and followed the path up. The sight that met us when we came up from the stream filled us with wonder. Pomme's Residence is a traditionally built simple wooden house, with a corrugated tin raised roof and shutters. It has a separate kitchen to onesie and the water for the outdoor sink is piped from the stream using bamboo. It surrounded by the most gorgeous and well kept garden. There were large terraces growing all kinds of vegetables: brasic as, carrots, onions, squashes, potatoes, as well as more tropical varieties, a herb garden, fruit bushes, an orchard and lots of beds of herbaceous plants, perennials flowers and dotted around annuals. The house was surrounded by flowers.


We were warmly welcomed and encouraged to explore all the garden in our own time and ask questions. We discussed ideas and plans that he had. Darrell shared tips on beekeeping. We found out the names of all the fruits we didn't know and tasted many. We were invited to share lunch, a delicious soup made from a variety of vegetables, followed by fresh coconut water and fruit. We looked through a catalogue and discussed what fruit varieties would work in the garden. It was a very special place and a fascinating time spent there. A truely unique and different side of Dominica shared with us by SeaCat and his friends.

When it came time to leave, we all decided that we were up for the long route back to the trail, this consisted of following a series of trails through the rainforest, up and down valleys and along ridges. We went through the farmsteads of three other Rastas and enjoyed some time with them.

We then wandered back down the mountain to the trail. As we went through the old plantation we collected grapefruits to take back to the boat. A glorious day out visiting with SeaCat.

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