Our current stop was Dominica – The Nature Island of the Caribbean. The small Caribbean island has received this advertising slogan due to its lush and species-rich flora and fauna. At the same time, the saying is intended to avoid confusion with the Dominican Republic, which is much more well-known.
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Dominica Island’s small scales
Dominica is an island of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean, located between Guadeloupe in the north and Martinique in the south. The island has a population of just over 72,000 and the capital is Roseau. Dominica is considered the greenest island of the Antilles and bears the unofficial nickname “the nature island”.
Dominica Island’s small scale:
– the island is 46.4 km long and 25.6 km wide
– in Dominica there is left-hand traffic
– the state language is English
– the colloquial language is Antilles-Creole, called patwa (Patois) by the inhabitants
– the currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar
– Dominica is located in the hurricane-prone zone of the Caribbean (hurricane season between May and November)
– the Morne Diablotins is the highest elevation on the island at 1447 m
– Morne Trois Pitons National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
– the largest cities are Roseau (16,000 inhabitants), Portsmouth (3,600 inhabitants), Berekua (3,000 inhabitants) and Marigot (2,669 inhabitants)
The port info of AIDA in Dominica
location: Roseau Cruiseship Pier
Lying time: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
All on board: 6.30 pm
AIDA Hafeninfo St. Lucia: Download
The tour “Whales & Dolphins”
Accompanied by a beautiful rainbow, we reached the port of Roseau at around 8 a.m. The town of 16,000 inhabitants is the capital of Dominica and also the largest city on the island. At 8.30 a.m. our tour Wale & Delfine started, which we had booked directly via the AIDA. Since Dominica is considered the Whale Watching capital of the Caribbean, we didn’t want to miss this trip. Every year from November to March you should be able to observe whales, especially sperm whales, here. Some sources even claim that the chance of seeing a whale on a tour these months is 90. Super, then we will most likely see which ones… we thought.
About 50 more AIDA guests were on board with us. However, since the boat was two-storey and offered sufficient seating and standing facilities, it was distributed nicely. Two researchers from Germany, who belong to the association Spermwale e.V., were also present on the ship: Andrea and Wilfried Steffen. The two passionate whale lovers set up a whale research centre on Dominica years ago and now come to Dominica once a year for three months to explore the animals in the water every day and to bring the subject closer to the school children. The two are also active in Germany with lectures.
By boat we have more and more away from the coast to go in search of whales. The living conditions for whales are optimal here off the coast of Dominica, because through the steeply sloping seabed you have water depths of up to 3,000 meters only five kilometers off the coast. Down there, sperm whales hunt for their favorite food – giant octopuses and squid. After a good 10 minutes of driving we stopped and the crew gathered at the stern of the boat to hear with the help of a hydrophone the click sounds that whales produce for locating. With these underwater microphones you have the possibility to locate whales within a radius of up to 7 kilometers. Really madness. Unfortunately, the crew did not hear any click noises in all directions, so we continued. The search continues!
Andrea has always given us interesting information about sperm whales, for example that about 60 sperm whales live permanently around Dominica. For the most part, the sperm whale females and their kittens, which need about 400 kilograms of squid per day. Males, on the other hand, need a ton of food per day. Since they can’t find this amount in the waters around Dominica, they move to colder areas and only return during the mating season from November to April.
At two other places, two further tests were carried out with the underwater microphones, but unfortunately no noise was heard here either. What a pity!
A large group of dolphins
After a while, the captain suddenly called like crazy “Dolphins! Dolphins!”. You couldn’t really see how quickly everyone was outside the boat and kept an eye out for the animals. At first you only saw a few dolphins that swam close to our boat, but suddenly it became more and more. No matter where you looked, only dolphins. Andrea agreed briefly with the experienced captain and then told us that this is a very large dolphin school with loose 500 animals – 1/3 of the groups you always see above water and 2/3 of the animals under water. Absolute madness!
We’ve never seen so many dolphins at once. We stayed in the area for quite some time and did some laps. The dolphins loved the game with the boat waves and have more often jumped out of the water. Just great!
On the way back to the island we made a short stop to do another test with the hydrophone. But unfortunately you couldn’t hear any whale noises here either. The disappointment was written in people’s faces. You can’t influence nature and that’s a good thing. Suddenly it poured like buckets. It didn’t stop there. A white wall of rain hung off the coast of Dominica, so that you couldn’t see the island. But when we arrived at the pier again around 12 o’clock, the best weather was again.
Originally we had planned to make a canyoning trip right after the Whale Watching. But when we were back on our way to the ship, an AIDA employee came to meet us, who told us that the trip unfortunately failed due to the weather. Too bad, we were very much looking forward to it. But safety comes first.
The Caribbean town of Roseau
So we had a free afternoon. Also quite nice. So we walked directly to the reception, grabbed the current harbour information including a small city map and walked into the town of Roseau.
The area around the Cruise Terminal is relatively boring and did not seem very inviting to us. But otherwise we did not find the city of Roseau really appealing.
The Botanical Garden
The most famous attraction of the city is the Botanical Garden, which is about a ten-minute walk from the port. On the way there we passed two churches. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Fair Haven of Roseau, to which a path lined with palm trees leads, really pleased us from the outside. Unfortunately, the outside gates were closed, so we couldn’t take a closer look at them.
A few minutes further we stood at the gates of the Botanical Garden. Access to the park is free of charge. At the entrance there is a small overview plan, which you can orientate yourself a little. The main attractions of the garden are the Bamboo House and an old school bus, which lies crushed under a fallen tree. Our captain had already mentioned this photo motif in the morning during his speech.
After a visit to the Botanical Garden, we strolled back to the ship through the alleys of Roseaus and let the day end comfortably.
All travelogues from our AIDA Cruise (Caribbean Sea)If you read the list of islands that AIDA is heading for on the route Caribbean Islands, you might think it was a dream for a moment: Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, Grenada, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Barbados, St. Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Antigua. To reach eleven islands in 14 days is already a house number. But that was also the reason for us to choose this route. A cruise is predestined to get to know the Caribbean with its thousands of dream islands in a relaxed way. Here you can find all travel reports of our 14-day Caribbean cruise with AIDAdiva.
Day 01 Dominican Republic: Punta Cana – Short stopover before our cruise
Day 02 Dominican Republic: AIDAdiva – Our 14-Day Cruise in the Caribbean Sea
Day 03 Day at Sea
Day 04 Aruba: ABC Islands – Diving at the Renaissance Plane Wreck
Day 04 Aruba: Oranjestad – Tourist Attractions & Things to Do by your own
Day 05 Curaçao: Curacao – Island Tour, Attractions & the best Photo spots
Day 05 Curaçao: Ocean Encounters Curacao – Diving with Dolphins
Day 06 Bonaire: ABC Islands – Diving in Bonaire National Marine Park
Day 06 Bonaire: Kralendijk – Travel Guide & Things to Do
Day 07 Day at Sea
Day 08 Grenada: Diving on the wreck of the cargo ship Veronica L.
Day 08 Grenada: Molinere Bay – Diving at the Underwater Sculpture Park
Day 08 Grenada: Saint George’s – Tourist Attractions, Things to Do & Photo spots
Day 09 St. Vincent: Kingstown & Hiking La Soufriére Volcano
Day 10 Barbados: Wreck diving in Carlisle Bay Marine Park
Day 10 Barbados: Snorkeling with turtles in Carlisle Bay
Day 11 St. Lucia: Diving in the Caribbean with Scuba Steve’s Diving
Day 12 Dominica: Dolphins, Whale-Watching & the capital Roseau
Day 13 Guadeloupe: An island tour & the town of Pointe-a-Pietre
Day 14 Antigua: St. John’s, Nelson’s Dockyard & Fort Berkeley
Day 15 Day at Sea
Day 16 Dominican Republic: Punta Cana – Relax one day on the Beach