Sunday, 18 May 2008

Montserrat (click for link)

Montserrat is a beautiful green island with an Irish heritage dominted by a large active volcano. The volcano had been dormant until 1995, when it erupted and destroyed the main town of Plymouth Over half the population left and those that stayed are now living on the north coast, in a somewhat protected area. We took a van tour of the island with Joe Phillips who is said to be the premier guide of the island and knew a great deal about the history as well as the plants and animals. He showed us a cashew tree with its bright fruit, wild bay leaves, cut up a coconut, and picked us some mangoes out of his friends front yard. He even knew where to find the home made ice cream, which is sold out of a van after the store in plymouth was destroyed. After the volcano, rains mixed with the ash and caused some flooding. The hotel in the picture is three stories high with only one and a half visable above the mud. There is a picture of the hotel before 1995, and as the hotel looks today. There is also a picture of the bay as it looked before the eruption and a similar picture taken by us. The island has grown over a hundred yards due to the ash. Joe was able to drive out on to the beach along the old pier which is completely land locked, onto the ash which covers the bay. It was very humbling to see the massive power that a volcano has. and the vastness of it's destruction. Looking out from the hilltop overlooking the ruined city (you are not allowed to go there) you could see the burned out buildings, the steeple of the church, houses and buildings covered in ash. It looked like a moonscape. After a potluck dinner with Migo and Salt and light, High Five rose early to head for Guadaloupe to meet Doug and Suzanne who flew in from Vancouver to visit for a week. S&L and Migo are headed to St Johns Antigua and possibly Barbuda

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