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Caribbean / Eastern Caribbean Cruises / Dominica

Cruises to Cabrits

Cruises timetable and data for this port of call

Cabrits main data and map

Cabrits National Park is located on the northwestern coast of Dominica, an area of 1,313 acres of upland and 1,053 acres of marine or underwater park. It is a uniquely saddle-shaped peninsula that was formed by the twin peaks of an extinct volcano. The term 'Cabrits' is derived from the french word for goat because sailors left goats to run wild on the Cabrits as a source of fresh meat for future visits. In the photograph to the left, the waterbody in the foreground is Prince Rupert's Bay. On the north side of Cabrits is Douglas Bay, the location of a marine sanctuary with a marked underwater trail for snorkeling and diving. In the saddle of the peninsula is found Prince Rupert's Garrison which was constructed between 1770 and 1815. The garrison contains over 50 major structures, many of which are hidden beneath the lush vegetation of Cabrits. Most of the construction was undertaken by the British, but the French made significant additions during their occupation of Dominica from 1778-1783. Fort Shirley contained seven gun batteries, seven cisterns, powder magazines, barracks and officers quarters. Stone used for building was native, black volcanic rock. The cement used as mortar was made from coral limestone collected on the nearby reefs. Chunks of limestone were heated on the nearby beaches until it turned to powder. This was mixed with fine aggregate, water and molasses to create the final mortar. The Cabrits was a military post until 1854. The forest then gained control and it wasn't until 1986, when Cabrits became part of the National Parks System. Numerous funding agencies in cooperation with the eastern Caribbean Natural Area Management Program of the Caribbean Conservatin Association assisted in the funding to begin the restoration of Fort Shirley. Restoration efforts began in 1982. At this time only the main buildings have been cleared. Trails are well marked and hiking is not difficult. There is a small building near the entrance with refreshments and a small sales room containing native products, T-shirts and hats woven from native plants. This is one of two sites on the Island for Cruise Ships to land. There is a large pier on the Prince Rupert's Bay side where cruise ships land. The Cruise Ship Building has a variety of interesting displays about Dominica. Cabrits is connected to the mainland by an emergent wetland, the largest on Dominica. This is a particularly important wetland for migratory birds. In the morning, during the spring, small flocks of white egrets would be observed flying northward into this swamp, an important foraging area. In the dry forests of Cabrits, there is always the rustle of leaves during spring, the dry season, this disturbance caused by lizards. From Fort Shirley, looking southeast across Prince Rupert's Bay, one will see the majestic and highest of all Dominican Mountains, Morne Diablotin. Devil's Mountain is not named for the Devil, but for a once rare nesting bird of it's Mountain top, the Black capped Petrel. The eerie call of this bird has a devilish call. The Petrel is an otherwise pelagic bird that spends all of it's time at sea except for the limited period of nesting. Presently, there are no nesting records of this bird on Dominica.

Schedule for the upcoming cruises to Cabrits

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