Friday, 19 June 2009

Montserrat is Growing.

Anyone for cricket, mon?

I've long wished to visit Montserrat and am only sorry I did not see it before the devastation of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and the volcanic activities in the nineties. See Wikipedia. We toured the island with Jim and Wendy of Merengue and our expert tour guide, Joe Phillip (call sign Avalon on VHF 16). Joe tells us that the current West Indies cricket team includes a Montserrat native. We're hoping to catch a West Indies game further south.

A view of the cloud covered Soufriere Hills volcano in the north, taken from the observatory. You can see the pyroclastic flows on the western and eastern sides. Most of the island comes under an exclusion zone. The volcano is still closely monitored.

Before leaving Montserrat we rounded the north west to get a closer view of the airport over on the windward side. It was destroyed by a pyroclastic flow.

The airport in the foreground looks eerie and gives some idea of the magnitude of the flow on to the eastern side.

Our tour guide, Joe Phillip, is well prepared with handouts and photographs to answer our questions. He's a local gem. In his continuing research, he is collecting images taken before the volcano and wants to hear from anyone who can add to his growing collection.

Joe points to the bay by the golf course as it was before the volcano.

Look closely to see the thin line of palm trees running horizontally on the left and appearing as a darker foliage. Compare before and after photos. The island continues to grow in size as mud flows with each rainfall.

The three story house above was a real beauty before it was destroyed by a mud flow. Furniture and fittings are still in place.

Mud flows come with rain these days. The river is buried but still flows subterrainiously. (is that a word?)
Joe parks on the bridge (or at least about 20 feet above the original bridge) and shows before photos of the area.

Artists hands include Sir George Martin, Sir Elton John, Mark Knopfler and Sir Paul McCartney.

Beatles Producer, Sir George Martin, raised funds with a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London 1997 to build the Montserrat Cultural Center. The center includes a 450 seat auditorium and was opened in 2007. Martin had operated his recording studio, Air Studios on the island until Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Our anchorage at Little Bay, Montserrat shared with Merengue, a cat and some local fishing boats. It's deep and we were tucked inclose to the cliff.

The official Montserrat website has more info at

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