Thursday, November 12, 2015

Montserrat or Where you gonna go when the volcano blow?

Beautiful sail over to Montserrat!  Six knots or more the whole way, calm seas... and Pam snagged a whale just as we got to the point.  Must have been a whale.  It ran out almost all of our line and I kept tightening the tension to try to slow it down.  At the end it spit the hook somehow.  We ended up with the lure still attached.  Must be a Mahi or Wahoo or something down there with a sore lip.  Pam says she's going after it again tomorrow.

We be sailing!

Coming up on Montserrat

Coming into Little Bay
Wow... our own personal welcome!
It was calm when we anchored and we had paid attention to the weather in order to avoid the bad swell that this anchorage is known for.  Going to be a smooth night!  Smart!  Hah!!

We woke up after an hour or so rolling back and forth violently.  It's horrible and hard as hell to sleep.  You have to sleep on your back so your elbows keep you from rolling off the berth.  Not a great night.

Little Bay
Met up with Joe Phillip for a great tour of the island.  Joe is in his mid-sixties and has lived here all his life... so he's seen Hurricane Hugo in '89, Soufriere eruptions of '95, '97, '06, '07, '08 and 2010.  He was evacuated from his home on a Friday to return on a Monday in 1997... but Monday never came.  He and his family lived in a classroom in a school in the north of the island for more than 2 years.

He showed us his where his house had been... and many others.  In Joe's case, the homes deteriorated from abandonment (he wasn't allowed back) and the jungle reclaiming the land... not like the town of Plymouth which was overwhelmed by a huge pyroclastic flow which burned and buried huge parts of the town.  Still other areas in Montserrat were buried under rivers of mud and sand leaving the original roads and houses under 30 feet of mud and sand.  Rains have washed away most of the dirt leaving sand - which has become the island's greatest export.

Thirty feet of sand covering the old golf course.  Wonder if they've found any golf balls?
Spring water

Joe took us to Montserrat Volcano Observatory - where international geologists monitor the activity of Soufriere.  There is no reason to believe that it is done spewing out gas and ash.  We saw a terrific documentary showing the devastation of Plymouth... literally getting burned - then buried as the debris pushed into the sea, extending the area of Montserrat several square miles.

Soufriere steaming in the background

Joe hacking a path into an abandoned church

An abandoned house
Things left on Friday... we'll be back Monday!!!
What's cool about Joe - besides his intimate knowledge of his island - is that he has a million photos on his iPad.  He can take you to a place and show you how it looked before the devastation.

Checking in at the Montserrat Springs Hotel

Looking across the Montserrat Springs pool to the devastation of Plymouth.
Hard to capture the devastation... 
George Martin (Beatles fame) created a recording studio here back in the 70s and all kinds of important bands have recorded here.  Jimmy Buffet, Sting, the Police, etc.  We watched a short video of George Martin surveying the studio after Hurricane Hugo hit in '89.  It was destroyed and he was very emotional.  His legacy to the island is the Cultural Centre... a really cool facility for concerts, town hall meetings, weddings, funerals, church services... anything else you can think of.  He organized a charity event at Royal Albert Hall in London, featuring Jimmy Buffet, Mark Knoffler, Paul McCartney, Sting, Phil Collins, Ray Cooper, Midge Ure, Arrow, Elton John, Eric Clapton to raise funds for the island.

Cultural Centre

Setting up for an event in the Auditorium - about 400 theatre style seats behind us.

Bass player for the Beatles

Miss Pammy loves Sir Paul
Joe loves his island.  He is a great ambassador, gifted researcher and wonderful story teller.  We've been wanting to come here for years and are feeling terrific that we have been to see the island with our newest charming friend.

So... long blog.  Sorry.  Off to Guadeloupe tomorrow.  Hope tonight isn't as rolly.


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