I arrived in Dominica last Wednesday just as darkness was descending upon the island, the scene in many ways mirroring my thoughts and emotions at the time. This, of course, was in stark contrast to the anxious excitement I usually felt upon touching down at Melville Hall International.
All butterflies over the sometimes thrilling experience of landing here aside, I’m usually altogether giddy about getting back to Dominica; the chance to explore more of her trails and cultural traditions, to lime with friends old and new, and to sample ever more exotic Wa Bio bush rums creations setting my pulse to race more than any minor air turbulence.
This time, though, things were a bit different. Erika was to blame.
The beast of a tropical storm bearing a name more commonly tied to beauty had wreaked havoc on The Nature Island a shade over six weeks prior. I was nervous for those old friends, the villages, hotels, and special little places I’d come to know and love over my previous visits.
Built into a military fortress centuries old, Fort Young is today one of Dominica’s leading hotel addresses. Much of the hotel’s popularity can likely be tied to its history and ideal location for business travelers, but I was most impressed with the friendly and attentive service, particularly that provided by the nice ladies at the front desk and Ian, the great bartender at Bala’s Bar.
That first morning for me, though, was all about this view – a sweeping seascape extending in a way that I hadn’t expected all the way down to Scott’s Head at the very southern tip of the island.
Wisps of white clouds kissed mountain peaks to the southeast as the sun rose behind them progressively brightening the scene. I sipped my green tea. Fishermen set out in search of their catch. Others made their way back into port. Sea birds circled about, diving here and there for their share.
Just a normal morning in the Dominica that I’d always known.
I had no idea what my first day exploring the post-Erika Dominica would bring. Somehow, though, this view made me feel like everything would be just fine…