Mad Fish

Mad Fish
On delivery from Scotland

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Nevis - 15th to 20th March 2013

NEVIS – 15th to 20th March 2013


So after nearly a month in Antigua we are moving on. We are all stocked up and had a EC$1200 shopping bill. Not quite so bad when you divide by 4, but still pretty shocking! We are hoping that the dry goods and drinks will get us to St Martin at the end of March. This is a large French Island and is reputed to be excellent for stocking up before heading into the expensive BVI’s. We are making the most of the cheap fresh meat as it may be the last we have for a while.


We set off at 9am having checked out of Jolly Harbour Marina and treated ourselves to chocolate croissants and fresh coffee from the Epicurean supermarket. We expected no wind but there was some so we hoisted the main and even the spinnaker, but after an hour there was not a breath and we motored the majority of the 40 miles to Charlestown in Nevis. A fairly uneventful trip, except for the catching of a little tunny and spotting a whale. Typical with a fridge full of fresh food we catch a fish. With no useby dates on food, I am sure we are making fresh food last longer by the simple sniff test.

Nevis as we approach.

Nevis with St Kitts in the distance.

We picked up a buoy in Charlestown which is the capital. There are nearly 100 buoys laid. I don’t know why, as in the whole time we were there,  I think probably 15 boats used them. It is also amusing that boats cluster with others. There are masses to choose from but a boat will pick the one up next to you. This is nice when they are your friends but annoying when they are a big motor boat with a generator running or a charter boat having an alcohol fuelled row.


The next day was Saturday and Russell went ashore to clear customs whilst I did school. It cost EC$ 30 at customs but when we finally managed to check in with the port authority we were relieved of a further EC$ 160. This did include US$ 25 for the mooring buoy for a week. You are not allowed to anchor if buoys are provided and if they have all gone you still have to pay the fee for using your anchor. The other fees were US$5 per person for national park fees plus some environmental taxes. Still compared to the UK it is cheap, however at least in the UK they tend to have more shelter rather than being open to the sea.


We went for a walk ashore in the afternoon tying the dinghy at the town dock where a number of ferries come from St Kitts daily. We went to tourist Information but as it was Saturday it was shut. We were able to pick a map up from the customs office which was useful. The taxi drivers were all touting for business but we just took a stroll up the beech and settled for a spot off Sunshine’s bar. This was brightly coloured and draft beer was EC$ 5 so we had a couple whilst the boys surfed in the waves whilst looking at our yacht. This is becoming fairly routine now and I am not sure what we are going to replace it with when back in the UK.


The boys were a little concerned at the number of pelicans that were dive bombing for fish very close to them.. The boys were surprised to see monkeys, unfortunately these were tethered to a bar and you could photo them for a fee of US$ 5, which was a shame as they run wild around the rest of the island.


For school we decided to do junk modeling and make some model boats.

After school it was time for some fun on the new outrage.

On Sunday we took the boat a few miles north to Oualie beach with the plan of hiring bikes from Winston. He was shut on Sundays and despite Chris Doyle saying it was a sheltered anchorage, on this day it was not, so we retreated back to where we had started. At least it had charged the batteries and given us hot water so not completely a waste of time.

We then decided to go to the Golden Rock Inn which is a boutique hotel with 11 rooms.

We decided to have lunch as then you could use the pool and Chris Doyle guide said it was a pleasant couple of hour walk back to Charlestownalong tracks and old plantation roads. We set off having put on our smartest shorts and ARC polo shirts so that we were not quite so scruffy in the nice hotel. We had to get a taxi costing EC$45 as no busses run on Sunday. John our taxi driver drove like a nutter because he wanted to get back for the wind jammer  (  had just arrived and likely held the key to a lucrative island tour for him. We said we were happy to be dropped on the main road and walk up so he could make it back in time. We walked past a church doing Sunday service. The preacher boomed out about hell and damnation and ripping children from wombs. The boys wondered what was going on.

It was very laid back though and we were warmly welcomed and had a lovely chat with the new manager called Peter. He had only been there 5 months and was keen as everyone is to hear about our adventures of sailing from the UK. I am thinking that a T shirt with “we left the UK in August and it took 17 days to cross the Atlantic…” so we don’t have to repeat ourselves, might be a good idea. I am hoping the kids lack of enthusiasm when asked “and what do you boys think of the adventure?” is down to them being asked the same question every other day rather than them actually not enjoying the trip.

The food was fab and not badly priced at around £60 for the 4 of us and that included my lobster sandwich which came with salad and fries. We didn’t need to worry about our children disrupting the other diners, as a large table filled with Americans celebrating a 60th birthday was next to us. They spoke very loudly about the events of the week and some bits were a little close to the knuckle. Oli had spotted that one of the men had put the camera under the table and taken pictures of the ladies. The camera was then passed to other men asking who the pictures were of. Apparently one lady had see through knickers on, so I am guessing the camera had a good zoom. One of the ladies apologised when I bumped into her in the toilets. I said not to worry, but they had learnt a new game. The women obviously had no idea that the photos had been taken and I think Oli probably got the men into a lot of trouble.

We enjoyed a refreshing dip in the pool with the back drop of the big mountain behind us and views across the sea. Conscious of our couple of hour walk back we set off. This was not easy as the map was quite vague, but finally a house keeping staff pointed us in the right direction and we enjoyed walking most of the way back.

Being a Sunday the deserted tracks were empty and every so often we came across houses with children who wanted to talk and look at our map, give us directions and generally break the journey. One little girl who was probably 3 or 4 told us“we don’t let white people round here” which made us giggle. We apologised and continued on our way.

The views were great and a real contrast as we headed through the old plantations, many which are now hotels. We stopped at the Hermitage for a sprite and headed off again. It took us nearly 3 hours to get back and our feet were definitely feeling it. The boys did brilliantly, although they did say never again and I have to say I was in agreement with them. The sandwiches I had made thinking we would be going on a bike ride were waiting in the fridge and we ate these for dinner whilst watching and Indiana Jones film.

The monkeys. They are green vervet monkeys and were brought to the isalnds in the 17th century and kept as pets.

Glad we chose to walk back. At least it was mainly downhill.


The next day we were rather stiff and settled for a day of school and booking bikes to do a gentle cycle around the island on the guides recommendation of reasonably flat roads. Our friends Chris and Steve said they were going to hire bikes too. We set off back to Oualie beach on the boat and all went ashore where we picked up the bikes and started off clockwise as advised. It was all fairly nice and we zipped along on good quality hire bikes at a cost of US$ 90 for the 4 of us. Then the undulating hills started. We did more up than down and steadily we got higher and more tired. The Waitrose biscuits and water were keeping us going and on many occasion we had to resort to pushing the bikes up the hills. Russell and Oli managed to cycle up the really steep hill, whilst I cajoled and pushed Ethan and my bike up it. Ethan has 2 speeds when riding a bike. You either can’t catch him or he has stopped refusing to go any further. This continued for most of the day but we did get round. Chris and Steve decided to take it easy and we went to Peak Heaven which we had been recommended to have a good kids play area.  We were told it was ¼ of a mile off the main road. This turned out to be pretty much straight up and it was a hot and very hard struggle to get up there. The historic village of Rawlins (close by) is elevated 1200 ft above sea-level.  The view was amazing, the beer tasted better than ever and we ate our picnic and the boys played. It took us 45 minutes to push the bikes up and less than 10 minutes to get down. The brakes were on non stop and Ethan quickly learnt that brakes were required when pushing as well as riding. I am surprised I had any brakes left when we got to the main road and Russell’s were actually smoking. We all agreed that Peak Heaven was lovely and better got to by taxi.

Above - not a runway but a dragrace strip! (
Below- the view from Peace Heaven.

I managed to catch my hair in the chain. Serves me right for trying to be a kid i guess.


Luckily the rest of the way was pretty much downhill or flat. We stopped at sunshine’s and caught up with Chris and Steve. Frustratingly for them they could see their boat still on the mooring, but knew there was 4 miles to get back to our starting point. They were tempted to swim to the boat and get Winston to come get his bikes but we all plodded back on to the end. The legs were jelly like and the bum a little sore but we all agreed that we had enjoyed the day but we would not be trying the island cycling tour again.


We motored back down to Charlestown and I made a chicken curry for all of us plus friends from “Ruffian”, Ian and Fiona. We had a lovely evening even if we did consume a bit too much wine.


The next day we went ashore and in search of some hot baths that Ian and Fiona had visited the day before. They were free to use. It was quite a strange place. The river was fed by a spring which produced really hot water. The local people told us how it had changed over the years as they had created a tiled pool and also dammed the river. They seemed to be doing a lot of work on one of the pools and I wonder if once they have tidied up the area if they will start charging to visit. The pools were seriously hot. Its water temperature ranges from 104F to 108F degrees and you could barely put your feet in, never loan the whole of your body. I found it was easiest to just get in, but you could only do a minute or so before feeling like you were boiling. It was really interesting talking to the local people who come here everyday to bathe. In one you can use soap. I was tempted to bring my washing.


We stopped of at a supermarket and picked up a few bits before heading off to St Kitts. We had really enjoyed our time on Nevis.

Told that the water had magical properties, Russell rubbed it on his head hoping it would cure baldness.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Antigua 17th February to 15th March 2013

ANTIGUA – 17th February to 15th March


I have been really looking forward to our visit to Antigua as Russell and I visited here before without children for a week around 3 years ago. The colour of the water took our breath away then and this time was no exception, even the boys noticed the blinding light of the turquoise water. We left Guadeloupe heading to Jolly Harbour arriving a little after 3pm. We had a brilliant sail until we came into the shelter of Antigua. The shallow depths which extend quite a way offshore are a new experience compared to the steep cliffs of the other islands. We anchored in 3.5 meters of water outside Jolly Harbour Marina. Some friends on Chewsy were here and we swam over to say hello. We enjoyed a rum punch and got the low down on the local area as they had been there a few days. We were also treated to them babysitting for us the next night so we could return to the hotel we had stayed in and enjoy a meal just the two of us. This was the first time since the beginning of October, so a real treat. The meal was stunning and a little on the expensive side but worth it. We babysat for our friends on Morning Haze so they could experience it too. The restaurant is called Sheer Rocks and definitely worth a visit if you appreciate good food and lovely views.


We arrived on Sunday and left on Friday. We had expected to leave on Wednesday but our friends on Morning Haze arrived and having not seen them since Greneda and unlikely to cross paths again we decided to stay a little longer. It was nice for the boys to have other children to play with even if at 2 and 6 they are younger than the boys. They are also German, but Lysander their 6 years old speaks good English and will begrudgingly watch films in English. We enjoyed a meal out with them followed by some local rum back on board their boat. A little over 50 feet it is somewhat bigger than us. We said goodbye to each other on Friday and headed round to English Harbour and they set off to Barbuda.


English Harbour is a famous dockyard which is called Nelson Dockyard because Lord Nelson was stationed there for some years. It was not his favourite place, but he did meet his wife here. The buildings have been restored and now house restaurants, shops and a rather interesting museum which is free, but donations are welcomed. We spent an hour going around the museum learning a little more about Nelson and what it would have been like to be in the navy in the late 1700 and early 1800’s. The boys obviously liked the cannons and weapons section best. We also learned that Nelsons body was preserved in a barrel of brandy to return it home. Rum was also a daily ration and it was decided to water it down as the quantity was making the men drunk. The English also got the nickname limys because lime was added to the water to stop it going bad.


Outside the museum was an Atlantic rowing boat. We decided that sailing across was hard enough and that rowing was definitely too much like handwork.


English and Falmouth harbour are separated by a small headland but joined by a road and a 10 minute walk between the 2. Both are frequented by the rich and excessively large and aptly named superyachts.


English Harbour is famous in sailing circles for hosting Antigua week and the Sunday parties at Shirley Heights Fort. We had just missed the Caribbean 600 event that had brought many of the racing yachts to the area. We did see some sail past us whilst anchored in Jolly Harbour. Our friends on Morning Haze watched the start which they said was impressive and were surprised to see someone loose their mast. It was not that breezy so not sure why it went down but it was back to the dock for one crew.


We walked up to Shirley Heights one morning and took breakfast with us to enjoy at the top. It was a good 45 minute walk across some cliffs and a steep walk up a big hill. The fort was used by the Navy and a lookout post sent messages across to St John’s (the capital of Antigua) to warn of impending attacks. The buildings have now been turned into a restaurant / bar that seems to be open most days. They do not serve coffee, which would have accompanied the bacon and egg sandwiches I had taken nicely. The bar was open at 9am so we could have had rum. We settled for water having used a full 1.5 litre of water on the journey up.


Despite being there on Sunday we opted to go to the new cruisers bbq on the beach rather than go to Shirley Heights. Russell and I had been before and it is very touristy and busy so maybe not too easy to keep track of the boys and being perched on a cliff edge not good for the nerves. The cruisers BBQ was interesting and around 8 boats went. We collected firewood and took our bbq grill. We had bought some burgers from the small shop in English Harbour that were not much cop, but mopped up the beer. Everyone was asked to bring a salad or something to share and amazingly everyone had taken something different and we were able to fill up on pasta, rice, couscous and my own noodle salads. To add to the excitement when putting a large log on the fire we were treated to a scorpion who had made it its home. It was pretty small and a pale beige colour rather than the expected black. Oli said that on a TV programme he had watched it was the scorpions with small claws that were the most dangerous, so we proceeded with caution and put him back in the woods, complete with his log. We didn’t have a camera to take a picture, so you will just have to believe us.


Once back on the boat we could clearly hear the music from Shirley Heights, so didn’t feel we were missing out at all. The next day we left for Indian creek / Mamora Bay.


Eric Claptons mansion is clearly visible from the entrance to Indian Creek. The creek is small and we were unable to get the anchor to hook and a look over the side showed the water to be a muddy brown from the muddy mangrove water. We therefore headed out and went a mile further up the coast to Mamora bay. This is home to the St James Club hotel which has a dock for visiting yachts. You can pay US$1.25 per foot and this gets you use of all the hotel facilities including watersports and 6 swimming pools. We anchored for 2 night and paid for one night alongside the dock. The electric supply was 110 and we could only run the battery charger. They wanted to charge us $10 US per day but we explained we would use ablaut 50 cents at a push and they waived the charge. We filled up with water at $0.25 per gallon. We couldn’t work out how we had been charged for more gallons than our tanks held. We later worked out it was US gallons rather than UK gallons and as they are smaller, we needed more. We should have waited until we were back in Jolly Harbour where you can fill up on the fuel dock for EC$ 0.25 per UK gallon which makes it about a quarter of the price. Anyway we had our monies worth out of the watersports where the kids went off in the Hobbie cats as much as allowed and we took 3 books from the bookswap putting in only one.


We were out of fresh food and the shop was a taxi ride away so we headed back to Jolly Harbour. We would have liked to go to Green Island but there was nothing in the book about food shops so we decided that we would save it for another time.


We had fully intended to stock up at Jolly harbour and leave. We then found that Intrepid Bear would likely not be in the BVI’s if we raced up for the first week of April and therefore we were no longer in a rush. We had planned not to go to Barbuda and now decided we should. No need to check out as Antigua and Barbuda are linked.


We had a brilliant spinnaker sail there and anchored off Codlington. We managed to swim ashore as the breaking waves meant it was unsafe to land the dinghy. Once back on the boat the wind died and we started to roll as we lay beam onto the swell. It was a really uncomfortable night and the next morning we upped the anchor and headed back to Antigua. This was now a 30 mile beat so we motor sailed. It was really disappointing


We went back to Deep Bay which has a sunken ship that you can snorkel on. The bay was really nice with just a beach and hotel. The boys spent 2 days windsurfing and really seemed to get the hang of it. We tried to snorkel on the wreck but the water was quite murky and it was a bit spooky too. No one had died as they were all ashore when the boat carrying pitch started to smoke and then caught fire, but still it felt like a dead body would appear at any moment. Perhaps we have been watching too much Pirates of the Caribbean.


We took the dinghy round to St Johns as our previous visit on the bus from Jolly Harbour had found a watersports shop. We needed to replace the kids inflatable towing toy that had burst the seam between 2 chambers and now resembled a ball shape rather than a disc. It was difficult to stay on before and now it was near impossible. The manufacture was no help saying the warranty lasted 30 days and it broke after 33! They also do not do spare parts so it was a write off. They boys have so much fun and with much of the trip left we decided to buy a replacement made by a different manufacturer.


The bus journey was interesting and cheap at EC$13 eachway for all of us. That is a little over £3 eachway for the family. It takes about 20 minutes. All the busses are small mini bus type vehicles. They overtake at any opportunity and have to avoid the odd stray dog or chicken. People just hail them down anywhere on route and as they get on they say good morning to everyone. Very different to England where if you speak to someone they think you are insane.


St Johns on the first visit was pretty empty. There was no cruise ship in and you could browse around the duty free jewellery shops in peace. I tried to get the Pandora turtle bead for mother’s day but they didn’t have it. The $46,000 emerald ring was a little over budget and quite frankly ghastly so we said thanks but no thanks and went on our way. We could afford the Australian Ice Cream which was still as yummy as when we tried it nearly 3 years ago. Oli was not so impressed as other ice creams we had tried.


We set back off for Jolly Harbour and a big stock up before deciding to head round to Green Island. This was because the weather was still not looking good to go from Antigua to Montserrat and then up to Nevis. Large 3.5m swells were forecast for Sunday and this would not be good for the exposed anchorage of Nevis. We had planned to spend them in Jolly Harbour, but checking on Windguru again showed that we could still expect swells on the Wed being the end of the weekly forecast. Currently the weather was really calm with low swell and no wind so we decided to hot foot it over to Montserrat and then return to Antigua. You would normally not do this as the wind is on the nose on the way back but given for a bizarre reason there was no wind it was ok. Knowing that Montserrat anchorages are very exposed since the active volcano took out the only sheltered port of Plymouth in 1997 and remains an excluded zone it would be a 24 hour stop to do a tour and that was it.


SEE Montserrat Blogg for more on our quick trip.


We were back in Jolly Harbour 24 hours later and now had more food than we left with after catching a little Tunny and a massive Tuna. The little tunny was caught first and although small (the little bit is part of the name and not the size which can be big) we had only caught barracuda and Cero recently which you can’t eat. It would make a nice starter. If we had known we would have caught an 8lb tuna later we would have put it back. This was a real beauty and will feed us for the next couple of days. This is annoying as I still have fresh meat that needs eating. This resulted in us having burgers for breakfast this morning which the boys thought was brilliant. I reckon it is not much different to sausage and makes a change to cereal.


With the swells set to 3.5m from Sunday to next Wednesday (today is Friday) we are now off to Green Island which according to Chris Doyles guide says that we can ride out a hurricane here. It should be a 9 mile beat from English Harbour according to the book but as there is precisely nil knots of wind the seas are eerily flat and calm. The engine is on and we are enjoying a calm trip. On sorting out a locker I had found some bumper activity books and the kids have now decided they are a welcome break from school and can be done on passage. They are sat colouring and doing anagrams whilst I am blogging. This is just unheard of!


We enjoyed a few days in Green Island. We picked up a buoy which was free. Our friends Chewsy were there and later on Fabiola arrived and Open Blue. We had last seen them in Greneda. Fabiloa have 2 boys the same age as our so it was nice for the boys to play with Cameron and Samuel again. An impromptu sundowners on the beach had been suggested by another cruiser so whilst the boys played in the sea we enjoyed a cold beer. It was dark when we left and it was not therefore unsurprising that we lost another pair of goggles.


Green Island is a huge bay protected by a reef which gives an unintereupted view into the Atlantic. It is very strange as with the low swells you couldn’t even see the waves break. There were a few Superyachts up for the weekend. Bystander the tender to Velsheda was anchored just across from us. We had to rescue the sailing yacht from the very posh yacht club that doesn’t welcome visitors from the reef we were next to. He obviously thought he could cut the corner and failed. He was stuck hard and I watched with amusement as the well do do lady and gentleman aboard were looking concerned at having to get out and push along with the instructor who had taken them out. It took a lot of pull from Russell in the dinghy to pull them free. The wife managed to stay dry but the husband had to get off to reduce weight and free the keel. Russell commented that he hoped the keel was ok. He was thanked very much for getting them off, and they sailed off giving the reef a wide berth.


We decided to head round to Falmouth harbour and had one of those frustrating anchoring situations. It just didn’t seem to want to bite, or by the time we had got it to we were too close to others. Finally it bit and we were able to go ashore and stretch our legs.

We met up with Rafiki another ARC family boat and heard a bit about what they had been up to since Grenada. We spent the afternoon on the beach with them the next day and imparted our knowledge of all that is good on Antigua.


We left the next day for Jolly Harbour and the promise of a meal out at the Fish and Chip shop that is a converted London Bus. We enjoyed fish and coconut shrimp combo, washed down with a carib bear. We sat on the top deck. It was very strange and quirky and the food was good. It was worth the short walk along the main road.


We have come into the marina as the swell in the anchorage is not good and it gives an opportunity to stock up at the epicurean supermarket before we head to Nevis and St Kitts tomorrow. Russell is just returning with sliced bread for a treat of toast as we are plugged into electric and can use the toaster. It is the small things that have become a real treat.

Major disappointment ....the shorepower doesn't seem to have high enough voltage to make the toaster work, or it is broken. So no toast, just luke warm bread.

More Antigua Photos....

The boys doing the washing up.
This yacht is called "A". The owner must have run out of money when it came to buying the name, so kept it short.  Check out the spec.
Ethan thinks that the hull is upside down, and he has a point. I think it resembles Gill out of finding Nemo.

This is an unlikely berthing partner. The smaller yacht is similar in size to our boat.

At night the marina in Falmouth is lit up spectaculary by all the aircraft warning lights on the top of the masts. They also like to light the masts just to make sure we don't forget they are there when the sun goes down.

Fish and Chips on the London Bus at Jolly Harbour Antigua.
We sat on the top deck, at the back.

The grafity was as expected! The boys thought this was funny.

Hanging out the bus.
Below our friends Chris and Steve from Troon in Scotland came with us to enjoy the experience.




MONTSERRAT 6th and 7th March


We really wanted to visit to see first hand the destruction a volcano can do and also see one still smoking… does this make us strange?


The cost of a day trip with tour on the ferry is USD 159 per person – around £100 each. To fly in a little 9 seater plane is USD 295 per person. To take the boat cost us EC35 entry fee which is a little under £10. Bargain. We managed to sail most of the way there so that was free but had to motor back. The  hour tour cost USD 100 for all of us and EC 30 to go to the MVO (Montserrat Volcano Observation centre). This is a state of the art centre which monitors what is happening. volcanologists come from all over the world to observe and discuss the findings. They show a short video which shows some amazing footage from before, after and during the eruptions of which there have been numerous. check out for more information.


The south of the Island was evacuated in 1995 when it was felt that they could no longer give 6 hours notice to evacuate. It was nearly 2 years later in 1997 that the first eruption actually took place which caused devastation to the southern part of the island and buried the capital, Plymouth. Agricultural land was destroyed, villages were flattened and 19 people were killed. The recordning studio owned by George martin where the likes of the Beatles, Elton John and others recorded albums is just visible above the ash. A third of the population had left the island many taking refuge in Britain. With no homes they were housed in schools and churches and any other communal building. There was no room to take or store furniture and people could only take clothes and personal belongings to the shelters. With little hope of ever returning to their homes and no jobs many decided it was time to leave. Of the 12,000 people who lived on the island only 4000 remain.

Those that remained have had new homes built for them in Lookout. They pay rent to the government and at the end of the end of a specified time they own the home. Many have paid for their homes and are now extending and improving them. They continue to build new homes, schools and hospitals and construction is one of the biggest employers. This is probably second only to customs who seemed to have 3 officers in the office and very little to do. The lady was sat at her computer muttering, "I just don’t know what windows to choose"! With few visiting yachts, as the anchorage is exposed and hence you roll in the swell . The ferries bring a handfull of tourists because is is expensive. I am really unsure why they need 3 people. There is obviously more people employed by immigration and also more employed by the port. I reckon it is a nice job if you can get it!


Our tour took us to see the new social services building being built. It was massive, but apparently they were going to rent office spaces to small businesses. We were shown the fire station which had numerous engines. Ethan made us chuckle that he didn't think they would do much good against the volcano. The big police station and the prison.


We were told that the UK supports them and they enjoy visits from the Royal Navy a few times a year who come and check on them and help out where they can. The biggest help they give is drinking the island dry although apparently they get a bit loud if they drink too much.


Little Bay is to be the new town and huge investment is planned to build a safe port that will attract cruise ships and sailors. There is talk of a marina. This will invariably cost millions as the infrastructure will have to withstand the full force of the Caribbean sea and any hurricanes that may hit the island. The water is deep and it is difficult to see how they can construct anything strong enough to withstand mother nature. I wish them luck and will watch progress with interest. Perhaps when we set off on another adventure we will be able to visit longer and really enjoy what the island has to offer.


With each eruption the island has grown as the pyroclastic flows tumble down the hills and valleys at speeds of 100 miles an hour. ( It looks like a huge cauliflower and covers everything in its path with a film of dust. The dust and rock extends raining down into inhabited areas and on occasions people are told to stay in their homes. The heat generated can cause the most amazing electrical storms. Our guide Cecil told us it gets so dark on days that you cannot see the bonnet of your car. The Navy distributed hard hats to everyone to wear during the eruptions as flying rocks could kill you if struck on the head.


These people have accepted and have great trust In the volcanologist to keep them safe. The volcano shows no sign of stopping and the current vent continues to throw plumes of ash and smoke into the sky. From a distance you would be forgiven for thinking it was just a cloud.


The areas are broken into zones and we were fortunate enough to be taken into zone V and see first hand what had happened to the once capital Plymouth. It was amazing to see that the buildings still stood. You expected everything to be flattened. The blast had removed all the roofs, windows and doors and just the shell remained. We went inside a hotel and walked around. The drawers in the office still had paperwork, it was just all left. The swimming pool was full of ash and plants had started to grow in the fertile soil. The flow had run into the sea and caused the land to extend further off shore. You could still sea the original dock that cruise ships used to visit. It is such a shame that such a vast area of the country will never be inhabited again.


In January 2010 the last big eruption took out the international airport to the east. The flows into the sea can clearly be seen on your approach to the island from Antigua.

A small airport has been build but there is no room to extend to take bigger planes and with only one hotel in operation at present they are desperate to build more and make tourism their income generator for the future. They have nothing to export as the sugar and cotton plantations were all lost to the volcano.


The people are all optimistic of the future and proud of their island and really keen to show it off. They rely heavily on the goods that are brought to the island by ships and it is essential that the harbour is recreated so that vital supplies can be shipped in in the absence of any planes bigger than 9 seaters being able to be landed.

They are also constructing a geo thermal energy plant which will harness the energy from the volcano and turn it into electricity to power the island.

I am really glad that we took the time to visit this island and see first hand what nature can do.

I found this new research just released today.

Photographs of our visit.

Oli on the beach.

Little Bay with Redona in the background.
Boys playing cricket with a local boy. A piece of wood and a coconut.

Mad Fish in the calmer Rendevous bay.

The new airport.
Plymouth. The former capital now destroyed.

The still smoking volcano.

Once a luxury hotel.

The swimming pool....

What a beautiful view. Such a shame it is not safe to live here anymore.

You can see the divide between those houses engulfed by the pyroclastic flow and those just a little higher up the valley.

Crabs on the slipway.

Our dinner.