Dominica

Caribbean Round-Up

My trip has now come to an end, I am home and back to (some kind of) normality. It’s been over a week since I returned to blighty and by scheduled content has all now been posted, which means it’s time for a round-up of my favourite images from the trip!

Before I start though, if you have missed any of the posts from the last 4 months then they will all be linked throughout this round-up.

 Propellor - Grenada Marine, St. Davids, Grenada 07/01/2016

Propellor - Grenada Marine, St. Davids, Grenada 07/01/2016

Our trip started in Grenada, where the boat had been played up at the end of last season, and when we arrived our first full day was spent at the boat yard checking the boat over and starting to get things in some kind of order. I really love this pictures of one of the propellors, it’s closed and still and had been like that for the past 6/7months but still looked barely used. It was quite an obvious picture to take but i’m pleased with the way it came out. I actually had trouble taking this image as there was a support right in the way so I had to contort around it to get the composition that I wanted.

This picture features in my Hello Grenada! post.

 Bonfire - Mount Cinnamon Hotel, Grand Anse, Grenada 08/01/2016

Bonfire - Mount Cinnamon Hotel, Grand Anse, Grenada 08/01/2016

The next picture that really stands out to me is this one of a bonfire. This was actually taken the day after the picture of the propellor. We were sat at the beach bar one evening, knowing there would be a bonfire that night but we never expected it to be as big as it was! The thing was huge! Almost 10ft tall before it was lit, and the flames jumped and danced up to well over 15ft. I had taken my camera down with me that night to photograph the bonfire but never expected the magnitude it would be. All the images came out perfect but this one if my favourite from the set.

This picture also features in my Hello Grenada! post.

 Ivan & Brenda - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

Ivan & Brenda - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

After a mishap in Grenada we skipped up to St. Lucia for some emergency repairs to our water maker. Whilst waiting for the parts to arrive we headed down to the Pitons for a couple of nights. On one of the days myself and our crew headed out on a hike to find the start of the Piton trail. As we neared the trail head we came across these 2 little guys. This picture will always stand out to me when I think of that hike. I named them Ivan and Brenda, don’t ask why because I don’t know. This picture actually started the whole naming thing I do. Oops.

This picture features in my Pitons Bay post.

 Tall Ship - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

Tall Ship - Pitons Bay, St. Lucia 29/01/2016

The same evening as our hike we saw this magnificent boat anchored up at the edge of the bay. Normally boats drop their sails at anchor this this one still had them up, so whilst I had the opportunity I grabbed my 100-400mm Superzoom to snap some images before the sails were dropped. I really love the colours in this picture, the sun was setting so all the colours around us were a chalky, muted tone which came out perfectly when I edited the photo.

This picture also features in my Pitons Bay post.

 Old Fig Tree - Wallilabou Gardens, Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 06/02/2016

Old Fig Tree - Wallilabou Gardens, Wallilabou Bay, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 06/02/2016

Our next stop after St. Lucia was St. Vincent & The Grenadines. We first stopped in a place called Wallilabou Bay, where some scenes in the Pirates Of The Caribbean films were shot. The place wasn’t big at all but just a short walk away was a small botanic gardens were we spent a morning. The images that stands out to me from that morning is this one of the Old Fig Tree they have there. From just the right angle the tree blocked out the visitor centre and makes it look like you’re in an abandoned village. This was a tricky picture to get because I wanted the stream flowing, so needed a long exposure, but without a tripod or flat surface it did prove difficult. I managed in the end and I am still super happy with the results.

This pictures features in my It’s A Pirates Life For Me post.

 Green Sea Turtle - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 14/02/2016

Green Sea Turtle - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 14/02/2016

Still in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, but this time in a cluster of islands called Tobago Cays. Now, Tobago Cays is famous for its abundance of Turtles that live in the area and we were not let down. We must have seen dozens of them swimming around in the area. Being one not to miss an opportunity I jumped in with my GoPro and saw around with the turtles, I got so many pictures but this was by far 1 of the best. To make sure I got plenty of pictures without missing anything I had my GoPro set to time-lapse mode taking a picture every half a second.

This picture features in my Tobago Cays post.

 Trafalgar Falls - Trafalgar Falls, Dominica 07/03/2016

Trafalgar Falls - Trafalgar Falls, Dominica 07/03/2016

Heading into March we started the month in Dominica, with our first shore excursion being up to the Trafalgar Falls. We had to take the bus up from Rosseau, the capital, and by bus I mean mini-van packed with far too many people. I still feel sorry for the little girl crushed between me and her mother. Anyway, when we got to the falls we were amazed by the sheer size of them! There wasn’t much water flowing as you can see but there were so tall the water was sticking the rocks with immense force. I have so many great images from the falls but this one is my favourite as it shows the sheer scale of them!

This picture features in my Trafalgar Falls post.

 Tommy Turtle - Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Tommy Turtle - Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 18/03/2016

Throughout March we spent time in Dominica and Guadeloupe. This next image is from Guadeloupe, and my favourite place to dive ever! We stopped off at the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve specifically to do diving as we had heard it was world class. Boy did it live up to the expectations! We did 3 full days of diving and this picture came from the very last dive. I must have been 3ft from this turtle and could have easily reached out and touched him, I didn’t as I didn’t know how he would react. I did name him, like many other animals on this trip. I gave him the name Tommy, doesn't he just look like a Tommy?

This picture features in my Diving Guadeloupe post.

 Archway - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

Archway - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

From Guadeloupe we headed up to Antigua to change crew. While we were there we headed round to a place called Deep Bay, a beautiful anchorage not too far from Jolly Harbour. One morning I hiked up to the fort to catch the sunrise. As I got to the fort the sun had already started to rise but it was no big deal. I found this archway, which actually led me to the very top of the fort, and it made the perfect image. The way the light comes in at an angle and falls onto the wall and floor just mesmerised me, and the landscape and water in the background just top it all off.

This picture feature in my Deep Bay Photo Mission post.

 Ripples II In Deep Bay - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

Ripples II In Deep Bay - Deep Bay, Antigua 03/04/2016

This next image is also from Deep Bay and makes us look like we have the bay to ourselves. We didn’t but with careful composition it worked just the way I wanted. The hotel slightly ruins the picture, and the area for that matter, but the bar is right at home. Like I said careful composition lead to the result I got, but mainly thanks to dad liking to be close to shore and brave enough to only have 1.5m of water between the keel and the sand means that all the other boats were far enough away that I didn’t have much to hide.

The picture also features in my Deep Bay Photo Mission post.

 French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

French Angelfish - Fran Jack Wreck, Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve, Guadeloupe 10/04/2016

April ended with another trip to the Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve as we made our way back south from Antigua. Our first dive site was the Fran Jack Wreck, which is where we met the French Angelfish you see above. It was pure luck that this picture came out the way it did, again with my GoPro in time-lapse mode taking pictures every 0.5seconds this guy swam straight past me as if I wasn't even there! He then hung around as we snapped some more pictures at the bow of the ship.

This pictures features in my My Favourite Place To Dive post.

 Lenny Lizard - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Lenny Lizard - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

From Guadeloupe we were back in Dominica, and that meant another trip down the Indian River. I have actually done 2 posts about Indian River but this image is from the second trip. At the halfway post of the trip you stop at a bush bar with a small nature walk. This guy was hanging around on a fallen tree and just let me snap away as many pictures as I wanted of him. I named him Lenny and he wasn’t the last animal I named on this trip.

This picture features in my Exploring: Indian River - Round 2 post.

 Cannon - Pigeon Island, St. Lucia 29/04/2016

Cannon - Pigeon Island, St. Lucia 29/04/2016

When we arrived back in St. Lucia we took a trip over to Pigeon Island and up to the fort. Pigeon Island was actually the first fort I visited in the Caribbean when I visited in 2015. The cannons at the top of the fort lay there broken and battered but they make great subject to photograph. With this image I wanted a different angle to the rest of the cannon pictures I had taken throughout the trip. The angle makes the cannon look sad and lonely while the wall draws your eye towards the tip of the cannon.

This pictures features in my Exploring: Pigeon Island post.

 Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

Glowing Trees - Tobago Cays, St. Vincent & The Grenadines 08/05/2016

From St. Lucia it was back to St. Vincent & The Grenadines which meant back to Tobago Cays. Towards the end of the trip I really got into making Long Exposure Time-Lapses, you can see a couple on my Instagram. This particular picture though i thought had been ruined! Some people on the beach, bearing in mind it was about 10:30pm, decided to shine their torches towards and in front of my as my shutter was open but in actual fact it really improved the picture! I only found this out as I came to editing all the images and putting the time-lapse together.

This picture features in my Time-Lapsing: Tobago Cays post.

 Driftwood - Sandy Beach, Carriacou, Grenada 11/05/2016

Driftwood - Sandy Beach, Carriacou, Grenada 11/05/2016

The last image I chose for this round-up was the above one of a piece of driftwood. Our final destination before getting back to Grenada was a place called Carriacou and a little sand island, aptly, named Sandy Island. This piece of wood was left after a storm that pretty much destroyed the island a couple of years ago. To me it made an interesting subject and I only actually took 1 picture of it, this one. It came out perfect and the black & white edit really makes the picture.

This picture features in my Sandy Beach post.

So there you have it, my favourite pictures from the past 4 months. If you would like to read any of the posts from the last 4 months most of them are linked under their respective picture but you can check out my Caribbean Archive for the rest.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Which of these is your favourite image? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

Exploring: Fort Shirley

On the morning of April 17th myself, mum, CP and Nena went to explore Fort Shirley. Fort Shirley is an old military garrison dating back to the 18th century, first occupied and built by the British but later taken over and improved by the French. The garrison was abandoned in 1854 but restoration work started in 1989 by Dr. Lennox Honeychurch and so far the Officers’ Quarters, Soldiers’ Barracks, Powder Magazine, Ordnance Store, Guard House and Ramparts have been fully restored.

 Welcome - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Welcome - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Our trip started by taking the dinghy from Ripples II at 9am, arriving at the dock shortly after. From the dock we walk through the cruise ship terminal to be abruptly stopped by a rather rude and unnoticeable security guard. He asks us if we are going to inform him about us leaving our dinghy at the dock so we tell him we were just looking for someone to tell. After a short encounter with him we are on our way to the ticket office, which is actually a café, where we purchase our park tickets before heading up the trail to the fort.

 Trail Head - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Trail Head - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

We reach the fort and are amazed by how well restored everything is. All the building are tastefully painted and all look original despite the level of restoration that has gone into them. We wander around the buildings, most of them are locked so we can’t actually explore the insides but we can only imagine what is inside. One building we can get into is the Gun store. A few cannons site in the entrance and at the end of the long, thin, white room is a cage with cannonballs of various size lie on the floor and shelves.

 Cannonballs - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Cannonballs - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Just like everywhere else we have visited, cannons are in plenty and all look untouched and original, all pointing out to sea as they would have been when the fort was in use. As we look out over the bay the view is breathtaking, we can see straight out to sea one way and over the entirety of Prince Rupert Bay and Portsmouth the other. The Officers’ Quarters impress me the most our of all the buildings. It sits loud and proud at the centre of Fort Shirley, again it is locked but I can only imagine what lie inside.

 Officers Quarters 1 - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Officers Quarters 1 - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

As we meander around the grounds we notice lots of small, skittish, lizards amongst the grass. I spend far too long trying to get good pictures of these lizards, sitting right in the sun with the heat beating down on me with no mercy while I balance my camera and 100-400mm superzoom lens atop my small travel tripod. I succeed in my venture and come away with some great pictures of the small, skittish, Lizards.

 Laurence The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Laurence The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

From here mum and I part ways with CP and Nena while they head off further up the trail to explore more of the area. Mum and I head back down to where we started to go snorkelling round the corner in the next bay. On our way down though we come across more lizards, a little less skittish this time. The one I got the best photo of was sat in a patch of sun that had made it’s way through the canopy above us.

 Leo The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

Leo The Lizard - Fort Shirley, Portsmouth, Dominica 17/04/2016

When we finally arrive back at the bottom of the trail we quickly grab a drink in the café, cool off in the shade and notice another Lizard perched on the windowsill above us. We try our best to grab some pictures, which we succeed at, before finishing our drinks. From there we head back to the dinghy and off to snorkel in the cool clear water in the next bay.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Have you ever explored an ex-military fort? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

Exploring: Indian River - Round 2

I know I’ve already written about the Indian River but this time was different. This time it was myself, mum and dad. Mum wasn’t with us when we first took a trip down the river so this time was for her benefit. 

We set off from Ripples II at about 4pm when Daniel, our assigned boat boy for our stay, picks us up. When we get to the entrance to the river we are handed over to our guide, Sam, who rows us down the river and back feeding us knowledge and facts for us to take away.

 Land Crab - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Land Crab - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

On our way up the river I wanted to focus on getting as many pictures of wildlife as possible, wildlife such as Land Crabs (like the one above), Herons, Lizards, etc. My plan works to an extent but lots of the animals are hiding behind/in and amongst the roots and shrubbery.

 Legless - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Legless - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

We divert down towards the Witches House on our way up the river to have a look, we don’t get off the boat this time but instead go past the house for about 50m before turning round. The skeleton prop is still hanging from the tree but his remaining leg has fallen off and is now nowhere to be seen.

 Sleepy Pup - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Sleepy Pup - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

When we get to the halfway point, the bar is waiting for us. We order our drinks but asked for them to be served when we return from a walk down the path. As we start on our way down the path we notice a small dog sleeping in the shade of the plants growing around him, obviously escaping the heat of the day. We can’t resist taking a couple of pictures. We walk to the same point as last time, the same point as where I met Larry The Lizard on our first trip, take some family holiday photos then mum and dad return to the bar whilst I stay to take some pictures. 

 Lenny Lizard 3 - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Lenny Lizard 3 - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

After my photoshoot with Lenny The Lizard, I know I keep naming animal but I’m not crazy I promise, I head back to join my parents at the bar. We have a couple of local beers whilst taking in our surroundings, try to waft the flies away from us, and try to get at least 1 half decent picture of the humming bird that is feeding on a nearby flower (we half succeeded at that).

 Hummingbird - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Hummingbird - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

We finish our drinks, climb back into the rowboat to head back down the river. On this leg of the journey I wanted to get some wider pictures of our environment, I got a few but nothing that interesting. I also took a couple of candid pictures of Sam, our guide, and mum. I resorted back to nature photographer mode after this, got out my 100-400mm superzoom lens and started hunting for wildlife again.

 Sam - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Sam - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

As we make our way back to the bay, down the river, a lot of the wildlife is still hiding from us so didn’t provide any good photo opportunities. That was until we get close to where our river journey began. Just as we round the last corner we spot a Greenback Heron and 4 Land Crabs all hanging out. It seems strange to us that they aren’t fighting or trying to eat each other, to capture the oddity I snapped off a couple of pictures.

 Land Crabs & Heron - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Land Crabs & Heron - Indian River, Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

We get back to where our trip started, change boats again, and head off back to Ripples II. On our way back Daniel tells us about what he does in the off-season. He paints. When he told us we all have the collective thought of “Oh god, he’s going to try to sell us some paintings”. To our relief he informs us he paints buildings, most of the ones he points out are orange but one, right up in the hills, is bright green, brighter than the trees that partially camouflage. They are all very well painted and really brighten up the shoreline. We joke that he had bought too much orange paint for the first one and had enough left over to do the rest.

We arrive back to Ripples II, say our goodbyes and head inside for another beer to end our trip.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Have you ever done a trip more than once? Why? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob

Have You Ever Seen A Mooring Being Placed?

Some of you may think this is a strange title and thing to blog about. I do too but I, as well as everyone else on Ripples II, were fascinated whilst watching 3 men place a 25tonne mooring block. The process is rather interesting and you’ll see why if you read on.

 Setting Off - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Setting Off - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Like I said, placing a mooring is a fascinating process to watch. It started when we heard an outboard engine at full revs, making a horrendous noise, similar to an empty blender. Upon taking a look we saw a team of 3 locals, one in the boat and 2 on what looked like a wooden raft, which we soon realised was holding the mooring.

 The Muscle - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

The Muscle - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

On the raft one of the men looked to be the muscle of the operation and the other looked like a new guy being shown what to do. It took the team about 20 minutes to get out to where they wanted to placed the morning block, engine still sounding like an empty blender. Remember that the block is solid concrete and weighs 25tonnes and they’re towing it with a boat using a 25 horsepower outboard, no easy feat.

 Give It Here! - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Give It Here! - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

When they finally got to the chosen spot the fun started. All of us by now were stood or seated at various viewing points around the boat and other people on other boats were also watching the afternoon’s entertainment. The new guy starting swinging the sledgehammer to try to knock the pin out that hold the block to the raft. He had no luck. I don’t think he even hit the pin once! I’m sure he’ll get better with time. 

Then came the turn of The Muscle. With one fell swoop he hit the pin, but what anyone didn’t expect was the pin to stay in place and the raft to break apart! Not completely but enough to put it out of action for the rest of the day. One more swing and the pin fired out with an almighty clang, the raft shot up as the block dropped from beneath it and almost bucked the men off into the water.

 Team Chat - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Team Chat - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

After the block had been released to it’s final resting place a quick chat ensued between the men, I assume they were organising what to do next. What happened next was rather expected. The Muscle jumped in, collecting his snorkelling gear from the driver and duck dove with a rope to tie to the block to mark it’s position. While this was happening the new boy was sat on the raft waiting, patiently.

 Waiting - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

Waiting - Portsmouth, Dominica 15/04/2016

 

After the line was attached and a temporary buoy placed the team retired for the day, dragged the broken raft back to shore to be fixed so work could continue the following day. As they passed us on their way back we all gave them a round of applause, dad threw them a beer each and thanked them for the entertainment.

The whole process took probably between 60 and 90 minutes. Long enough to keep us occupied before our afternoons adventure. But more about that in the next post.

If you would like to see more photos related to this post check out the Gallery below.

If you would like to see pictures before they hit the blog then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

I’m also on Bloglovin’ so follow me over there to be notified when new posts go up.

Have you ever seen a mooring being placed? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Rob