I knew sooner or later we’d branch out beyond the contiguous 48. I mean after all, we are Growing a Greener World, right? So when Nathan called with an idea to shoot an episode in Dominica, I couldn’t believe my ears. On occasion, I’d find myself thinking about where we’d go to film if we ever left the country. Two places kept coming to mind: Costa Rica and Dominica.
Most people are at least familiar with Costa Rica, but not many can tell you anything about the other. A quick search on the web will turn up two main things about this small island nation: Pirates of the Caribbean II was filmed there, and – more importantly for us – they’re known as the Nature Island of the Caribbean and are making huge strides towards nationwide sustainability.
As it turns out, Nathan was approached about doing a celebrity chef appearance / fundraiser to promote the protection of sea turtles on the island. I told him the only way he could go, is if we came along too.
Going to a foreign country can be a daunting task for anyone. But when you add a television crew, tons of equipment, permits, licenses, etc. I started questioning if it was worth it. Thankfully, from Dominica’s side, they helped facilitate our arrival, permitting, immigration, itineraries, and all we needed for a smooth and productive trip. But even they couldn’t help prepare us for the unpredictable. So, here are a few of the things we learned behind the scenes while filming this episode in a foreign country:
- Wearing the same outfit for an entire week gets old. After a two-day trip to get there, things were running smoothly…that is until I realized my bag with all my TV wardrobe was never put on the plane. On day six, the last day before leaving to come back home, I was finally reunited with my bag. Meanwhile, the clothes you see on the show were purchased on the island and I wore them the entire week. Niiice.
- When filming in a rainforest, bring waterproof equipment. A good part of the island is rain forests. Our cameras are not waterproof. Our first day of shooting was to feature an eco-resort—in the rainforest! Why I didn’t think it would be raining on our shooting day is a mystery. So as predicted by our camera crew, we lost the video monitor on our lead camera.
Know how to swim for your life, or be ready to drown. In the midst of our hectic filming schedule, the tourism department arranged for a crew hike through one of the amazing rainforests. It was spectacular. All was well until we came upon our first river. The water was flowing swiftly – no, raging! The crew and I were secretly relieved, assuming that we’d have to turn around at the impassible river crossing. I now realize that’s why they provided several native guides. Next thing I know, ropes are being thrown across the river and the guides are heading into the water to assist us with the crossing. Fortunately, our local crew had the foresight to bring a waterproof video camera, so we got some cool underwater shots that appear in the show.
And one last behind the scenes tidbit—if you watched the show, the sea turtle segment was never written into the original outline. But we found it to be such a fascinating story and so important to the bigger message of Growing a Greener World, we just had to include it. It was one of those one-take, impromptu moments but we love how it worked out. It’s a great story and the owners of Rosalie Bay Resort should be commended for their conservation efforts of these majestic creatures. We applaud and thank you!