By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
First about the name: Dominica is often confused with the much larger country of the Dominican Republic which occupies about half of the island of Hispaniola near Jamaica and Cuba.
Silver Cloud at the dock in Roseau, Dominica
While the Dominican Republic was named (by Columbus) after Saint Dominic, as in the Dominican Order, by the time Chris got to this smaller island he was apparently running out of saints. Dominica got its name from the Latin word for Sunday (Dominica) or the Italian equivalent (Domenica). Columbus spotted the island on November 3, 1493, a Sunday.
Here in the Caribbean, it is pronounced DOH-men-EEKA in a sometimes successful attempt to distinguish little Dominica from the huge Dominican Republic.
Dominica sits midway along the Eastern Caribbean archipelago, just a few miles from the French islands of Martinique to the south and Guadeloupe to the north.
The island was not considered a high priority for the Europeans and they mostly left it alone in the first century of colonization.
The Arawaks and the Kalinago/Carib tribes were already hiding when European settlers got around to paying attention to Dominica. They did not fully escape; there is a waterway on Dominica called the Massacre River. It is said the river ran red with blood for days after incursions by French and British settlers.
Nevertheless, Dominica has one of the few remaining groups of Carib or Kalinago people. About three thousand self-identified Caribs live on Dominica; some have intermarried with other races or cultural groups.
Today the descendants of the Caribs have a six-square mile (15-square-kilometer) territory on the east coast of the island.
The island is perhaps the youngest of the Lesser Antilles; it is still being formed by geothermal-volcanic activity. If you’re truly interested in things like that, on Dominica you can visit the world’s second-largest boiling lake, about 7 miles or 11 kilometers east of Roseau.
What we have is a flooded fumarole, an opening in a planet’s crust usually found near volcanoes, which emits steam and carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, hydrogen sulfide and other gases. Superheated water turns to steam as it emerges from the ground and its pressure suddenly drops.
On Domenica, Boiling Lake is about 200 feet or 60 meters across; it is filled with bubbling greyish-blue water that is usually enveloped in a cloud of vapor.
All photos copyright Corey Sandler, all rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.
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