Island Fever

The Wind Surf & Saga Pearl II


It’s cruise ship season here in Dominica, which leaves me feeling like I am living on the island of misfit toys. All of these beautiful boats are coming in and out of port in Roseau as well as in Portsmouth. When I look at these boats, I begin to dream about what all the tourists are doing on board. I feel jealous that they have clean water coming out of their faucets and probably aren’t dealing with a propane shortage. They are probably being lavished with customer service and eating some food besides chicken. Euphoric recall is a powerful thing. Must. snap. out. of. it…and come back to reality.

I don’t hear too much talk in the Ross community about “island fever” but I think I can certainly see it at work.  Before I came to Dominica a friend of mine who had lived in Hawaii for a few years said, “beware of island fever”. That was the first time I had ever heard the term. She said it was basically having an acute realization that you are surrounded by water on all sides and feeling like you are trapped with no escape. I can’t say I fully know what she was talking about. For the most part, I forget that I am on a land mass floating between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The only time I have ever had scary island feelings is when a tropical storm was headed our way. Even though I grew up around hurricanes, I knew there was a place to go to that was not surrounded by water on all sides. Here, not so much.

Anyway, it is my personal belief that you have to get off this island at least twice a year if you want to keep your head on straight. Can’t really explain why in this post. There are many students who come to Dominica for their Basic Sciences education and don’t go home for breaks due to financial reasons. Totally understandable. I knew one student who planned to do this. By the end of semester three, the student had developed a panic disorder and was plagued with this “I gotta get out of here” thought. The student finally decided to go home for break before beginning semester four and came back a renewed person. The panic feelings, the heart racing stopped. The student successfully completed semester four and even stayed on Dominica for 5th plus some.  I guess the moral of the story is, you may save money by not flying home for break, but on the flip side you may have therapy bills and psychopharmaceuticals to pay for. Just sayin’.

I propose a healthy cure for island fever may be island hopping. At least by island hopping you can get away for a bit but not spend as much money as you would if you flew back to the US or Canada. You can ferry over to St. Lucia pretty cheaply if you are not prone to motion sickness. You can fly Liat to some of the other islands, even if it is just for a weekend. I would like to see a group of the islands at once by taking a cruise ship out of Puerto Rico or one of the other islands. It looks like the cruise lines that come to Dominica are the Princess Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, and Holland America. I am going to do some research and see if I can find a good itinerary that hits a couple of islands. Please give a shout out if you have done this or can recommend a particular vessel. If any readers out there have gone island hopping and can share how they traveled and what their destination was like it would be greatly appreciated. If you could choose one island to see, which would it be ?

About louisiana2dominica

Native New Orleanian lived on the island of Dominica for 8 years
This entry was posted in Daily Life in Dominica, Ross University School of Medicine, Travel & Dominica and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Island Fever

  1. David says:

    Hi, island hoping shouldn’t be a probably, like you’ve suggested before, ask locals.
    Eons ago there used to be two Caribbean ships that did just that, Federal Maple and Federal Pam they made stops only in the (BWI) from Trinidad in the south to Jamaica in the north namely Trinidad, Grenada, St. Vincent, Barbados, St.Lucia, Dominica, Montserrat, Antigua, Anguilla, St. Kitts, Jamaica. The schedule was standard the ships did not stop at second island of two island nations like Barbuda, Grenadines, and Nevis or Turks and Caicos, they crisscrossed- meaning when the Pam was headed south the Maple was headed north you would leave each island at midnight and get to the next by 6:00 a.m. spend the day and continue to the end of the line where you could stay two or three days while the ship was till in port or a couple weeks and catch the other back. Portsmouth used to be a main vessel port for vessels headed north with produce for the other islands. (Yes, it is true Dominica used to supply Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Anguilla, St.Martin/St.Maarten, St. Barts, Tortola, BVI’s and USVI’s with fruits and other produce) but that’s for one with a sailors mentality, not recommended for ladies. I’ve not been to Dominica in a while but there are ferries to the other islands if none else but Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St.Lucia.

  2. Rachel says:

    Ooohh I have tons of experience on cruise ships. Celebrity and Royal are the same company. Celebrity is for the 30-50 year old crowd and Royal is geared towards a little older, though not a party ship. Princess is party and Holland is definitely for the older, don’t get around much crowd. Celebrity/Royal has strong US flavor and Holland would feel a little more foreign in regards to customer service and scheduled activities. Princess is probably the lowest on customer service, the focus is more on making it a fun drinking ship. Don’t know about the other companies. Wow, that sounds like a great idea to get off the island. You can usually get inside cabins for $300-400 per person in a shared room.

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