Daytripping Along Dominica`s Eastern Shore: Pagua Bay, Richmond Bay and Rosalie Bay

Sunrise Farm Cottages are nestled on a slope above the Atlantic close to an organic  farm on the property.

Sunrise Farm Cottages are nestled on a slope above the Atlantic close to fields of organic produce.

After my nutritious and  filling breakfast at Beau Rive on Sunday morning, I decided to take a little walk uphill from the hotel along the main road.  My intention was to

Sunrise Farm Cottages are located a short distance from an entrance to Segment 6 of the Waitukubuli National Trail and the Kalinago Territory.

Sunrise Farm Cottages are located a short distance from an entrance to  Segment 6 of the Waitukubuli National Trail and the Kalinago Territory.

explore the setting of  a different type of accommodation. I tackled  another steep climb of about 10 minutes and came upon Sunrise Farm Cottages, which is situated on an organic farm.  It is aptly named, and one can easily watch the sunrise from any vantage point!  The wood constructed self-catering cottages scattered discreetly around the acreage certainly appealed to me.  I may give them a try for a longer stay in the Castle Bruce area sometime!

Also nearby was the trail head to the  interior part of Waitukubuli National Trail, Segment 6. I had taken this track some years earlier, but had picked it up in Salibia in the Kalinago Territory, a few kilometers further north.

This trail marker takes hikers into the rugged. coastal part of WNT 6.  Until this point, the track is on the road leading from Castle Bruce.  The whole trek takes 6 - 7 hours - and it`s worth it!

This trail marker takes hikers into the rugged. coastal interior  of WNT 6. Until this point, the track is on the road leading from Castle Bruce. The whole trek takes 6 – 7 hours and passes through several Kalinago villages.

I`ll have to complete it from this point on my next trip to the east coast!  However, this was not a day for any big `walks`.

Shortly after I returned to Beau Rive, I freshened up and then drove away for the day`s planned adventure: Pagua Bay House and its renowned lunch menu.  Before I departed, Mark, the proprietor suggested that I take a slightly different route to reach my destination.  As I drove through the Kalinago Territory,  I followed his instructions and turned left onto Horseback Ridge Road when I saw the  sign for it.  I drove up the concrete roadway for a distance and then looked for a point where the road forked.  There, I turned left again instead of right, which continued as the Horseback Ridge trail and is part of WNT Segment 6.   I continued along on the roughened concrete, making several steep descents while glancing briefly at valley vistas in the direction of the Concord Valley. (I did not stop to take pictures as the incline was a little scary for me).  After about 10 minutes, I arrived at the Touna Kalinago Heritage Village on the south side of the Pagua River . (This Kalinago Village is well worth a stop to observe the traditional ways of these indigenous people.  I had visited there many years ago.)  I  crossed the river and made a right hand turn back towards the ocean, while passing through the village of Concord, then Hatton Garden and finally Pagua Bay! I quickly turned left (away from the ocean) and I was there!

Pagua Bay Bar and Grill and Guest House is conveniently located near the airport and is across the road from Pagua Beach.

Pagua Bay House is conveniently located near the airport and is across the road from Pagua Beach.

Pagua Bay  House ,Bar and Grill  is conveniently located directly across the road from the beach, and is only about 10 minutes away

Pagua Bay is the perfect place for a beach walk.  However, I would be cautious about a swim as undertow can be strong here.

Pagua Bay is the perfect place for a beach walk. However, I would be cautious about a swim as undertow can be strong here.

from Douglas-Charles  (formerly Melville Hall) Airport. Of course, I took my walk along the beach first so that my appetite would be adequate for a large lunch. The day was fair and a blustery breeze blew in off of the ocean.  I could taste the salt – or perhaps it was sweat!  In any case, it did the trick and after half an hour I felt as if I were ready to try out their tempting menu!

Golden apple juice appealed to me again (it is in season) and I started off with a large glass.  Jenny, the welcoming waitress reviewed the selections with me and I chose a vegetarian bean burger with the toppings.  I was careful to only eat half of the bun because it was necessary to satisfy my sweet tooth.  It was completely satiated with a moist melt-in-my-mouth generous slice of New York style cheesecake, complemented with a cup of coffee made to my specifications (mild, not strong!).

Afterwards, I succumbed to a little lie-down in a comfy lounge chair set in the cool blue pool overlooking the ocean.

The bar at Pagua serves refreshing and uncommon alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

The bar at Pagua Bay  House serves refreshing and uncommon alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Lovely Sarafina was a pleasant lunch companion. She rested quietly near my table and was as good as gold.  No, she did not beg, and no, I did not tempt her. Those eyes are something else!

Lovely Seraphina was a pleasant lunch companion. She rested quietly near my table and was as good as gold. No, she did not beg, and no, I did not tempt her. Those eyes are something else, though!

Eyes open or closed, the pool at Pagua Bay invites one to have a dip before or a rest after a delicious lunch!

Eyes open or closed, the pool at Pagua Bay House invites one to have a dip before or a rest after a delicious lunch!

Jenny, the gracious server and Sheldon the charming GM made me feel right at home at Pagua Bay Restaurant and Bar.

Jenny, the gracious server and Sheldon the charming GM made me feel right at home at the Pagua Bay House Restaurant and Bar.

I gazed around me at the lovely scene for a few moments, but I did feel drowsy and I gave in to that sensation for about half an hour.  Before I departed, I chatted amiably with Sheldon Bruno, the engaging General Manager.   We discussed his review of the first two nights of the  World Creole Music Festival, as he had attended both and would go for the final night after work.  I shouldn`t have been surprised when he told me that he lived in Roseau and drove across the island to work – in about 45 minutes.  The newly refurbished road through the Central Forest Reserve (named after former President Nicholas Liverpool) certainly makes it easier and quicker to go from one side of the island to the other. I expect this daily trek  doesn`t phase Sheldon – he is a very high energy guy with a ready smile and a positive attitude firmly in place. He definitely is an invaluable member of the team at Pagua Bay!

This view of Pagua Bay from its south side near the village of Atkinson also includes the two large rocks  (far right) that are situated near the bigger village of Marigot.

This view of Pagua Bay from its south side near the village of Atkinson also includes the two large rocks (far right) that are situated near the bigger village of Marigot.

A few raindrops chased me away from this enchanting site.  It was now mid-afternoon so I thanked my hosts and leisurely drove  for half an hour through the Kalinago Territory back to Beau Rive.  It was time to rest for dinner and make plans for my next and last day on the east coast.

Next morning, I tripped along the main road from Beau Rive in the opposite direction of the previous day.  I was curious to walk down to Richmond Bay, with its rocky shoreline and river mouth.  It had been about 10 years since I had spent part of day lounging in cool river pools with some Dominican friends who have since moved overseas.

I  slowly walked through the coastal forest on the public access road. When I reached the end of this right-of-way, a hand-made sign pointed the way to the beach so that no one would accidentally trespass on private property where a hotel is under construction. It was a bit tricky from here-on and I slid through slick mud and  stumbled over slippery rocks, but after a few minutes, I was ocean-side.

This river that flows into Richmond  Bay has some inviting pools in which one can cool off and revitalize!

This river that flows into Richmond Bay has some inviting shallow pools in which one can cool off and revitalize!

Richmond Bay`s remoteness gives it a wild, completely natural feel.

Richmond Bay`s remoteness gives it a wild, completely isolated feel.

I admired the views, but did not linger as I would be checking out of Beau Rive shortly and had to head back up the steep slope straight-away. I was in awe of this rugged shoreline and its secluded setting.  A great place to meditate!

My time at Beau Rive had passed too quickly as usual.  With the knowledge that I would be back sometime soon, I drove away with an idea that I should go down the coast to briefly revisit Rosalie Bay on this lovely day before returning to Roseau and home.

Rosalie Bay Resort is nestled just above the beach and the ocean.

Rosalie Bay Resort is nestled just above the beach and the ocean.

When I reached the T- junction of roads to the west of the Emerald Pool, I turned left and headed south to Rosalie. Road repairs were

Rosalie Bay Resort also abuts the mouth of the Rosalie River.

Rosalie Bay Resort also abuts the mouth of the Rosalie River.

underway and I travelled cautiously around broken pavement and potholes.  I arrived at Rosalie Bay Resort about 20 minutes later and noticed dark blue-black clouds approaching from the east.  I got out of the car and could feel the wind gaining strength. I really just wanted to walk along Rosalie Beach, which is renowned for sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs at certain times of the year. I was just at the end of this season, but I wanted to revisit this area and recall a time when I had watched sea turtle hatchlings run to the ocean to begin their lives underwater. I admire the ongoing dedication of volunteers and staff of the Rosalie Sea Turtle Initiative for their education and conservation efforts about three types of endangered sea turtles who come to this beach to lay their eggs.

The inviting patio at the Rosalie Bay Resort Restaurant is very inviting - except during a rain squall! (This photo was taken 5 minutes before it hit!).

The patio at the Rosalie Bay Resort Restaurant is very inviting – except during a rain squall! (This photo was taken 5 minutes before it hit!)

Rosalie Beach is a protected turtle nesting site.  It`s a great place for a brisk beach walk too.

Rosalie Beach is a protected turtle nesting site. It`s a great place for a brisk beach walk too.

That early afternoon, the dark clouds moved in quickly, carrying an intense rain squall which would be unleashed on Rosalie moments later!

That early afternoon, the dark clouds moved in quickly, carrying an intense rain squall which would be unleashed on Rosalie moments later!

I watched those menacing clouds draw near, and I ran back to the restaurant to order a simple take-out meal for the road: hummus, plantain chips and veggies.  While I waited, I became increasingly nervous as the wind blasted the building and table settings on the porch flew off in every direction.  I picked a few pieces up and then rushed inside as the rain pounded down.  I sipped on sorrel juice and when my lunch package arrived, I hurried out to the parking lot in a torrential downpour.

Suffice to say that the squall diminished as I headed north. The sun shone as I climbed the mountainous road and entered the Pond Cassé round-about in the middle of the island en route to Roseau.  Half an hour later, I was back in the capital and the rain was about to begin!  I wasted no time in driving the additional ten minutes to my home where I unloaded my light luggage and snacked on my take-out from Rosalie Bay Resort. I would have to meet friends Victoria and Neil, who live near Rosalie on another day when the weather promised to be fine. You can read about our previous get together and gastronomic experience at this eco-resort here.

As I reflected on my east coast sojourn, I felt grateful for the pleasant conversations, dramatic scenery, delicious meals and serene settings that I had experienced over the past few days.

Without a doubt, I look forward to my next adventure on the Nature Island with great anticipation!

 

Living Eco-Consciously on the Nature Isle

This sign is found on Neil and Victoria's property , but its sentiment  is reflected  all around Rosalie.

This sign is found on Neil and Victoria’s property , but its sentiment is reflected all around Rosalie.

One of my favourite places in Dominica has always been the area called Rosalie  on the southeast coast. It has everything an environmentally aware nature lover could want: strong Atlantic surf; beautiful beaches; marine-life conservation; abundant healthy rivers; magnificent rainforest; plentiful hiking trails in close proximity;ecological accommodations; and  eco-conscious people who have built  environmentally sustainable private homes.

If   Rosalie  were not such a long, lonely, winding drive down (and up) rocky back-roads and then through the central mountains to Roseau,   I might consider a move there.  Who knows – I still might do it one day!

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Neil and Victoria’s home is tucked away on former farmland on the edge of a tropical forest near a rushing river.

I am presently inspired by an American couple that I recently met  who did just that.  Neil and Victoria are loving every minute of their environmentally sustainable lifestyle by a river deep in the forest near Rosalie.  While it’s only a mile by a rough (but motorable) track  to the main road, there are times when the plentiful rivers around them can overflow their banks.  Then they have to don rubber boots and slog their way out of the wilderness.  But it’s all worth it, they say!

The intrepid pair didn’t just land on the Nature Island and  impulsively decide to pursue ecological interests .  When Neil opted for early retirement from his position of events production coordinator at the University of Texas in Austin, he and Victoria, who was a stage manager, felt that they wanted to do something completely different from their urban way-of-life.

Neil and Victoria entertain on their expansive porch.  Neil enjoys a locally-produced Kubuli beer, which is made with pure spring water.

Neil and Victoria entertain on their expansive porch. Neil enjoys a locally produced Kubuli beer, which is made with pure spring water.

They carefully considered affordable  relocation expenses, reasonable cost-of-living, as well as the  type of terrain  for building and the friendliness of the people in several different tropical countries.  As it turned out, Dominica got top marks in every category!  And when they found their present property on Dominica’s southeast coast, the decision was instantaneous.  “We just fell in love with it!” exclaimed Victoria.  So they loaded a container with their most prized personal possessions, placed their  two adopted ‘rescue’ cats in airline kennel carriers, and they were off!

The kitchen is bright and airy.

The kitchen is bright and airy.

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The easterly view from Neil and Victoria’s sheltered porch.

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The porch overlooks the forest directly above the river.

For two years, they actually lived in a tent on a platform by the river. Meanwhile, Neil arranged the solar set-up for a pump for water and electricity, in addition to preparing proper drainage for waste water and the septic system.  Then they built a concrete foundation and took it step-by-step from there.  While Neil organized, planned and ordered the building materials, local trades-people and workers laboured hard to get the place up and running.  The sturdy wood and stone structure is carefully designed to let enough natural light and wind flow through the house. It is set well away from the river bank and has an expansive porch that permits spectacular views in three directions. An underground spring close-by provides them with pure drinking water.   Their only concession to conventional technology is  internet and phone connection. Fortunately, a neighbouring property had a line so it was not extremely difficult or expensive to extend the cable a bit further to their residence.  They considered this inclusion as a necessity, as mobile phones do not work in their secluded location and while they are very remote, some contact with the outside world could be helpful in many respects.

Neil and Victoria can also gaze into the inland mountains to their west.

Neil and Victoria can also gaze into the  mountains.

Of course, there is an organic garden in the making and plentiful fruit trees surround the property: mango; grapefruit;banana; and avocado.  Work is still ongoing as Neil continues to develop the lower level of the house with a guest en suite and Victoria applies her artistic talents to a beautiful tile mosaic  pattern in the upstairs bathroom.

I was completely taken with Neil and Victoria’s  determination to realize their dream and live in harmony with nature, as well as the surrounding communities.  Despite their somewhat isolated site, they do feel safe and Dominicans who live and farm in the area do watch out for them.  Their quiet, peaceful and warm demeanor seemed to me a perfect complement to  an ideal life on the Nature Island.

The stunning  views from their porch occasionally distracted me from conversation and I longed for a lie-down in their inviting hammock in these restful surroundings.  However, when I glanced at my watch, it was suddenly lunch-time.  We agreed that we would make the trip (with 4 wheel-drive vehicles!) across the rivers (there are bridges over some) and  out of the woods for an ocean-side meal at an award-winning environmentally sustainable hotel: the Rosalie Bay Resort.

My friend Sarah, who had previously introduced me to Neil in Roseau had kindly taken me in her “jeep” to this back-country locale and I was grateful for her generosity and enthusiasm.  My  little car could not have endured the rugged terrain!  While she drove us out of the forest, I admired the amazing scenery and the coursing rivers, which did  actually flow over  the road in a couple of places on this dry day in paradise.

Sometimes the powerful rivers around Rosalie can overflow their banks in the rainy season.

Sometimes the powerful rivers around Rosalie can overflow their banks in the rainy season.

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The Atlantic surf meets the Rosalie River near the restaurant at the Rosalie Bay Resort.

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Victoria and Sarah stroll along the path en route to the Zamaan Restaurant at Rosalie Bay Resort.

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The colours of the prettily decorated guest rooms easily complement the natural surroundings.

I had not been to Rosalie Bay Resort since I toured the premises just after they opened a couple of years ago.I was very excited about my first lunch in this environmentally friendly place by the Atlantic Ocean. When we arrived at the complex, we were directed to the parking lot.  Then we walked on well-marked pathways through the beautifully manicured grounds to the Zamaan Restaurant.  This big airy building is near the beach, with views of the pounding surf on its east side and the mouth of the Rosalie River  prominent in the northerly direction.

The restaurant was tastefully decorated for the Christmas season and soft music played in the background.  We all seemed to be in the mood for fish (I am sure I don’t know why!).  Neil and I selected the delectable local tuna burger, with a huge organic salad on the side.  Victoria chose blackened tuna on a mountainous bed of locally grown greens and Sarah opted for the mahi-mahi in an  exotic  home-made sauce.  I like to sample sorrel juice, which is a ubiquitous refreshment at dining establishments during the yule-tide season. While the bright red drink is usually heavily seasoned with spices and sweetened with lots of sugar, I enjoyed their version:  mildly spicy and not too sweet!

However, I made up for the healthy meal by indulging in a slice of lava-volcano cake with ice cream on the side.   I confess that I was the only one who gave in to temptation for dessert!  Be assured  that I do not regret it.  The chocolate concoction was divine!

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This carved sea turtle hangs over the ocean-side entrance to the restaurant. The hotel’s owners initiated conservation efforts for three types of endangered sea turtles which nest in this area about 10 years ago.

And yes, between mouthfuls, our conversation did continue on an environmental bent for some time, which then segued into exchanges about life as  expatriates on the Nature Island and various adventures  in our adopted country.

We did certainly linger over this delightful repast in such a tranquil setting. Around 3 p.m., we sensed that the staff wished to clean up the lunch tables in preparation for the supper hour.  Admittedly, they never rushed us, nor did they disturb us in any way.  I was impressed with their pleasant personalities, prompt service and willingness to help, if needed.

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This wind turbine generates energy for Rosalie Bay Resort.

As we wandered back to the parking lot, we admired the carefully constructed cottages, the natural swimming pool and the energy-generating wind turbine in the distance.  If I were on vacation, I would definitely want to spend some time here!

Sarah and I said our good-byes to Neil and Victoria, with assurances  that we would meet again soon.  It was certainly a pleasure to spend time with this lovely couple. I wish them well with their continued  sustainable living practices!

* Special thanks to friend Sarah for  sharing this adventure and taking me safely to and from Rosalie and  the back-country!