Having spent 3 long lonely days in lovely St. Lucia it was finally time to catch the ferry over to Dominica and then wend my way somehow up to Portsmouth. Five AM and the ferry terminal is packed, the boat leaves at 7. I met up with several other Dominicans whom I had encountered along the way also anxious to get home. We settled in, the boat was comfortable, the sea calm and we promptly fell asleep. I woke up to a strange nautical sound, looked out the window and was amazed to see the ferry terminal in St. Lucia. Yes, we were an hour out to sea when the boat broke down and we had turned around and headed back to port. What little information we were given was in rapid, muffled French, which no one understood.
What I saw on my way up brought me to tears and is beyond words. Cars and trucks piled on top of each other, huge chunks of mountain now on the road, a house that was on a hillside now in the sea, a jumble of broken trees, rocks, cars. The bridge at Salisbury had been ripped from its foundation and tossed aside leaving a gaping hole, in several places you could see where the road was undermined by the rushing water. The little sweet Macoucherie River had become a raging torrent and completely flooded the rum factory, the cricket field, the cane fields and had moved sheds and buildings. There are many photos on the internet, but it has to be seen to be believed. Sister Caribbean Islands have been quick to respond with their limited resources. Where are the Canadians? the Americans? The UK is evident, but barely.
Anyhow we bounced over rocks, plunged through makeshift by-passes, splashed across muddy divides and made it home before dark. The driver took me right to my door. McDowell was waiting.