08 March 2011 | Montserrat: sailing past the southern tip
Henriette - Great Sailing Weather
It looks like two different lands, sailing past it! The northern side a lush green in contrast with the awesome Soufriere Hill dramatic starkly beautiful volcano, barren and smoking against the skyline! The ruins and remains of the capital Plymouth reminds you of the forces of nature pounded on humankind over the years.
The whole town with all its houses, windmill towers and buildings buried to their roofs in volcanic ash! Boulders the size of large houses scattered around the town lying miles below the summit! We did not stop here and in contrast with the suggestions in the sailing guides, we went around the southern part closest to the volcano (which is very much active and boiling as we speak!). Due to the fertility of the ash, new growth forms pretty quickly over it which makes it difficult to see just how severe the ash deposits are!
The first eruption in 1995 destroyed the capital city of Plymouth. I assume they had ample warning as no lost of lives are mentioned but it resulted in a mass exodus of nearly 2 thirds of the 11 000 population - Leaving a ghost town behind. In 2003 the huge volcanic dome collapsed -0 a sign that the volcano will go to rest. This lead to the reopening of many areas (there is still restrictions to where you can go and how close you can sail to it!) - Several feet of ash were removed from the roads. People started repairing damaged houses and getting their lives back on track again. Then in the beginning of 2006 another spurt of dome growth was notice with lots of activity and a major event is now imminent! The exclusion zones are back to where they were and some areas were evacuated again.
From the sea it looks spectacular and I hope the pictures (that was taken in very bad light - almost sunset hours) using the entire zoom on my Nikon that I have will do justice to the dramatic sets of the scene...