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11.2 Arriving in Roseau

There are practically two alternative manners to come to Dominica, i.e. by air, or by sea. Dominica has two airports. Larger Melville Hall airport in the NE part of the island, and the smaller airstrip of Canefield just five kilometres north of Roseau. Neither of them can take large long-haul aircraft but serve the inter-island traffic. Melville Hall is served by American Eagle from San Juan, Puerto Rico, while most of the smaller companies with connections to the neighbouring islands prefer Canefield due to its location near Roseau.

The most important seaports of Dominica are located in Roseau and in Portsmouth in the NW Dominica. The opening of the new cruise ship berth on the Roseau Bay Front has greatly reduced the importance of Cabrits cruise ship berth near Portsmouth. This means that most of the visitor's coming to Dominica by sea arrive at the Bay Front of Roseau. Cruise ships use the cruise ship berth, and inter-island catamarans coming from Fort-de-France and Pointe-à-Pitre on the neighbouring French islands call the Roseau Jetty next to the cruise ship berth. The cruise ship berth can take only one ship at a time, and occasionally some ships call at the Woodbridge Bay deepwater harbour on the northern outskirts of the city. This is also where the few tourists coming by freight ships arrive.

According to Sharkey and Momsen (1995: 44) some visitors from the neighbouring islands use also the small port of Anse Du Mé in the north. Neither it nor the ports of Portsmouth and nearby Cabrits, however, are of great importance from the viewpoint of Roseau since most of the few visitors arriving those ports will not probably even visit Roseau during their stay in Dominica. Another group of visitors arriving by sea are the yachtmen who have several anchorages serving them along the Leeward coast of Dominica.

For the visitors arriving by air the first encounter of Roseau is the Woodbridge Bay harbour area on the northern outskirsts of the city. This is what a visitor arriving to Woodbridge Bay harbour will see, too, but one may have already been looking at the coastline of Dominica and seen Roseau by sea (see Fig. 41). After Woodbridge Bay one enters via the warehouse district of northern Goodwill to the residential district of Potter's Ville that is separated from the Inner City by Roseau River. For a slight moment passing through E.O. Loblack bridge one can see a panoramic vue of Roseau Riverside. (Fig. 42).

The situation is strikingly different for a visitor who comes by sea to the Bay Front. What one sees first is the façade of the city (Fig. 43). On the upper deck of a large cruise ship one can see the whole city. The view from an inter-island catamaran may sometimes be blocked by these huge cruise ships which make the city look even smaller and tinier than it actually is (see Fig. 41). On the other hand, visitors arriving by car from the airport sneak into city through its backdoor. One has no chance to make an overview estimation of the city before entering it but arrives in the middle of action.


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