Scenes from a (Tropical!) Winter Wonderland: Dominica’s Carnival 2015 Season*

Roseau is a busy port  in wintertime, filled with voyageurs from northern lands who have come in search of winter sunshine!

Roseau is a busy port in wintertime, filled with voyageurs from northern lands who have come in search of  warm winter sunshine and a lot of fun!

When I hear about how cold February 2015 is in eastern Canada, I thank God for the incredibly beautiful tropical weather that Dominica has experienced over the recent Carnival season.  No, I am not trying to ‘rub it in’; it is cooler here too (relatively speaking).  I did shiver at night during a recent sojourn at Springfield, my first home in Dominica. It is now a  private international research and study center for students, which  is located at about 1,200 feet above sea level, on the edge of the rainforest. I am sure the temperature dropped to below 20 Celsius (plus, that is) in the wee hours there.

When it rained heavily on Carnival Tuesday morning in Roseau, I feared that the grand

No, this is not a dream.  This is the Mercury Band tempting you to partake of a winter Carnival in Dominica sometime soon!

No, this is not a dream. This is the Mercury Band 2015, tempting you to partake of a winter Carnival in Dominica sometime soon!

Costume Parade might be delayed.  Evidently, it was slow to start, but the show was  ‘on the road’ by 11 a.m. – only one hour behind schedule! The streets of the capital dried up fast and the city quickly poured colour and spectacle on excited bystanders, who sought some shade under umbrellas or overhanging porches as the temperature soared!

 

I am sending you a little tropical sunshine, warmth and good cheer through the photos below.  I suggest that you look them over, and then dream of Dominica while you’re out shoveling snow or sheltering from the frigid winds! And maybe sometime, you’ll consider a wintertime visit to this tropical wonderland.

I started the Carnival long weekend at the place I love the most on Dominica: Springfield Plantation:

As dawn is breaking on the old estate, I am always reminded of the magic and mystery of this beautiful place.

As dawn is breaking on the old estate, I am  reminded of the magic and mystery of this beautiful place.

I always admire these stately royal palms, which typically mark the location of an estate in Dominica.

I always admire these stately royal palms, which typically mark the location of an estate in Dominica.

Cacao pods appear ready to burst with chocolatey flavour. They were once a prolific crop at Springfield.

Cacao pods seem ready to burst with chocolate flavour. They were once a prolific crop at Springfield.

This river pool at Springfield is a place where I spent many moments in meditation whenever I visit Springfield.

This river pool at Springfield is a place where I  have spent many moments in meditation  and relaxation when I visit Springfield.

I love to wander around the grounds of Springfield, which is an old estate that dates back to the 18th century.

I love to wander around the grounds of Springfield Plantation, which  dates back to the 18th century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a couple of days of solitude and tranquility, it was time to immerse myself in the vibrant energy of Dominica’s traditional Carnival and its sensational Costume Parade:

This creative costume caught everyone's attention and was frequently photographed.  I think it is a dragon and Jenny thinks it is a crocodile.  What do you think?  Photo taken by Jenny.

This creative costume caught everyone’s attention and was often photographed. I think it is a dragon and Jenny thinks it is a crocodile. What do you think? Photo taken by Jenny.

Pretty little princesses in lovely gowns were admired by all.

A pretty little princess in a lovely gown was admired by all.

Some little girls displayed their athletic and rhythmic talents in choreographed routines as Flag Wavers.

Some little girls displayed their athletic and rhythmic talents in choreographed routines as Flag Wavers.

King Karessah, Calypso Monarch 2015 out-performed 7 time champion Dice to capture this year's crown.  Well done, Karessah!

King Karessah, Calypso Monarch 2015 out-performed 7 time champion Dice to capture this year’s crown. Well done, Karessah!

Carnival Queen contestants impressed thje corwds with their creative traditional costumes.

Carnival Queen contestants impressed the crowds with their creative traditional costumes.

This brilliant traditional costume quickly caught the attention of enthralled spectators.

This brilliant traditional costume quickly caught the attention of enthralled spectators.

The Carnival Princess and Miss Teen Dominica were tow of the most photographed celebreties on the parade route!

The Carnival Princess and a Miss Teen Dominica contestant were two of the most photographed celebrities on the parade route!

This traditional costume was my favourite: simple, yet colourful and cleverly constructed!

This traditional costume was my favourite: simple, yet colourful and cleverly constructed!

Ready to roll!  Gwendominica is set to take in the sights and sounds of Dominica's Carnival Costume parade in Roseau.  Photo taken by Jenny.

Ready to roll! Gwendominica is set to take in the sights and sounds of Dominica’s Carnival Costume Parade 2015 in Roseau. Photo taken by Jenny.

 

The members of the Thunderbirds Band are always a sight to behold!

The members of the Thunderbirds Band are always a sight to behold!

Hysteria was a new band on the Carnival road this year.  They made quite a splash with their sexy costumes and high energy music. Photo taken by Jenny.

Hysteria was a new band on the Carnival road this year. They made a splash with their sexy costumes and high energy music. Photo taken by Jenny.

The Old Time Sake Band was out in full force, as usual.  I 'jumped'  with them last year and had lots of fun!

The Old Time Sake Band was out in full force, as usual. I ‘jumped’ with them last year and had lots of fun!

Some ,e,bers of the Mercury Band adorned themselves in blue body paint.  Awesome!

Some members of the Mercury Band adorned themselves in blue body paint. Awesome!

They guys in the Hysteria Band looked very cool under the hot sun! Photo taken by Jenny.

The guys in the Hysteria Band looked very cool under the hot sun! Photo taken by Jenny.

The Afri-Culture Stiltwalkers are beyond spectacular!

The Afri-Culture Stiltwalkers are beyond spectacular!

Do you think you could do that?  This troupe practises for months on the stilts while their club also puts time and energy into impressive costumes.

Do you think you could do that? This troupe practises for months on the stilts while their club also puts time and energy into impressive costumes.

This lady is totally into the Carnival vibe as a member of the sensuous Mercury Band.

This lady is totally into the Carnival vibe as a member of the sensuous Mercury Band.

Jenny strolls along Mero Beach on a quiet Friday afternoon immediately following Carnival celebrations in Dominica.

Jenny strolls along Mero Beach on a quiet Friday afternoon immediately following Carnival celebrations in Dominica.

On the Friday immediately following Carnival, friend Jenny and I did  a ‘last lap’ at Mero Beach.  While it was a

A beautiful sunset perfectly complemented the completion of Dominica's Carnival 2015 season.

A beautiful ‘winter’ sunset perfectly complemented the conclusion of Dominica’s Carnival 2015 season.

drizzly day, we were not deterred by a little dampness.  After a hearty lunch  beach-side at the ever-popular Romance Cafe, a  walk along the surf and a sea bath on  this quiet afternoon was a fitting completion to the lively events of earlier in the week.  I thoroughly enjoyed the my time spent in nature before and after the vibrant and festive Carnival Costume Parade in the city of Roseau.

And to all of you in the frozen north, I hope that these photos will bring you a little warmth – straight from my heart!

* Many thanks to Jenny Spencer for some great photos. She is a volunteer with the Zoological Society of London who is in Dominica for the third time to assist with  collaborative efforts to save the critically endangered ‘Mountain Chicken’ (Crapaud) frog.  You can read my earlier blog post about this important initiative here.  For the latest information about the Dominican Mountain Chicken Project, click here.

 

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