Life & Travels Afloat in our Moody
Not wanting to confine our exposure to the island to one or two ports, we hired a car for a day with Charlie and Kate. Forget Avis or Hertz, this was more about hoping the car would make it all the way round the island…..
The mountains are simply stunning. The rainforest extends to even the steepest slopes, and is glorious in its variety of species and colour. The roads are mainly single track of very variable quality, but frequently near vertical. One of the island’s claims to fame is as the location for that well-known make-up extravaganza, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, and there are markers all over the minimalist road map identifying scene venues.
Away from the coast (bit of a daft description, nowhere is far away), there are volcanic craters, waterfalls, boiling lakes and other delights. Nearly all within close enough radius of Roseau to entice cruise ship sheep to come and gaze (alternative to the favorite activity, to graze).
The East and West sides of the island are quite different, reflecting its brutal history. The colonisers, sorry, yes, the British and the French, drove out the original natives, the Caribs, leaving them only on the tougher east side of the mountains. Their poverty continues to the present, and is very evident.
But it is the very life of Portsmouth itself that sets the tone. It is 100% Caribbean, with few remnants of colonial descendants. The shops and market stalls are full of fresh fruit and veg, together with the basic foodstuffs. The houses are generally painted in bright colours, but there will be the most basic of shacks next door.
One oddity was a moored ‘abandoned’ small coaster. Doing a bit of research, Polar Bear, originally Barnstaple-registered, was the supply vessel for Lundy.