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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

THREE DEAD AND NOW A LIVE ONE .....


Two yachts snuck away from NEVIS early one morning, ....... Us, on ARITA, on our way to MONTSERRAT and Captain ARND on ZANSHIN, back to St. BARTS ....... We sure miss our companion sailor who has been sailing alongside us for more than two months ....... ARND took this beautiful sunset photo of both yachts the night before we all left ......... But the last three volcanic islands we have visited, have all been dormant ....... That's not a bad thing, really ........ MONTSERRAT, however, is alive and kicking .... Though we are hoping it doesn't kick while we are there....... The passage is 33 ocean miles directly into the 18 knot wind with a 10 foot swell running ............ That means slamming and thumping, and no more needs to be said about that ............



Halfway there, we pass the island of REDONDA, which was mined back in 1865 for phosphate (guano) or 'bird-sheizen' if the other two names are not recognizable ......... The island is steep-sided and virtually inaccessable, but back in 1865 a certain Matthew Dowdy Shiell, an Irish Montserrat merchant claimed the island for himself, since no-one else had, and in 1880 had the Bishop of Antigua crown his 15-yr old son "King FILIPE I of Redonda" ......... The son became a prolific romance novelist and held court in London, and before he died he passed on his crown to another literary genius, John Galsway in 1947, who became " King Juan I of Redonda" ...... He in turn, ended up taking to drink, bestowing titles right left and centre in return for drinks, and ended up passing the title to Jon Wynne-Tyson in 1970, who became ' King Juan II of Redonda" ........ And then in 1998 the title was passed on again to Robert Williamson of Antigua, who became "King Robert of Redonda" also known as 'Bob the Bald' ............... The "Queen" and I simply sailed past the 1000ft high island and had a really good laugh ........



We anchored beneath volcanic cliffs halfway between Little bay and Cars Bay on MONTSERRAT and rocked ourselves to sleep, after having cleared Customs and Immigration .......



Next morning, in looking back we could see REDONDA and NEVIS in the distance ........ And the first big building we came to is the MONTSERRAT CULTURAL CENTRE in a new development that is the future town centre, now that the old centre in PLYMOUTH has been totally destroyed by the volcanic eruption of 1995 ....... But here's the thing ...........MONTSERRAT once had an incredible recording studio run by music guru George Martin who recorded the hits made by the likes of Dire Straits, Jimmy buffet, Paul McCartney, Stevie wonder, Elton John, The Police, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Sting and the list goes on ....... The studio was blown away by hurricane HUGO ......... So all the artists got together and put on a benefit concert in Albert Hall, LONDON and raised the 3 million dollars to build this new Cultural Centre for the people of MONTSERRAT ............ Awesome .... You just have to double-click on 'the hands' to see who they really belong to ........



The soils on MONTSERRAT are incredibly fertile and everywhere there are gardens ....... We took this trip inland with Chris Doyle and the taxi-driver Joe Phillips, both of whom showed us some incredible sights .......

And in the distance is the bad boy " SOUFRIERE " Volcano, with its ever-present smoke and sulphurous plume .............. The houses in the foreground were all abandoned during the eruption and are now inside the 'no-go' zone .....



Joe Phillip, the taxi driver/tour guide, showed us the 'before' photos like this one, of ROAD BAY, the former anchorage and dock area of PLYMOUTH, before the river of rock and ash made its way downhill ........ Notice how the coastline no longer even looks the same ........ Gone are the docks and the golf course ............. <



Gone too, are numerous houses like these ....... Swept away by torrents of washed ash, rocks and boulders of volcanic andesite during the 1995 explosion...........



Check this out ........ A road intersection with that yellow house in the trees on the left ........ Same yellow house but with a different kind of driveway ........



And then there is this house, and what you are now looking at is not the second floor but the third floor still visible above a river of volcanic ash ........



Double-click on this photo and see so many houses buried in ash ...... The former town of PLYMOUTH now in ruins ..... 'Pompei" all over again, this time on Montserrat ...........



The resilience of 'MAN' on one end of the island and the power of 'NATURE' on the other ..... double-click on the photo to see the steaming, smoldering rim of molten rock ..............



One of the benefits of the eruption is that MONTSERRAT is now able to export black sharp silica sand to other Caribbean islands and huge barges come it to take it while trucks roar through the night to fill them .......... And there is always fishing to be done ............



And speaking of red-hot and smoldering situations, you may recall that a year ago in March, the "Queen's daughter", the "Heiress", Lauren-Anne and Tony Shiver were married in a beautiful ceremony on the pearly white sands of Elbow Cay in the Bahamas ................. The happy couple have just announced that they will be blessed by an offspring, expected later this year and probably in September ............ The "Queen of Florida" is super excited and tickets have been booked come volcanoes, fires, storms, hell or high water ............ She will be there to welcome the newborn into this wonderful World ......... Well now ..... Since we already have a Queen, whose real title is actually "QUEEN OF FLORIDA AND THE BAHAMAS" and an HEIRESS-in-waiting, there is now a distinct 50/50 chance that there may eventually be a "KING OF FLORIDA AND THE BAHAMAS" ........ Might as well grab the title and reserve it, since no-one else has .......

Check out the video ..............

video

NEWSFLASH ... NEWSFLASH ... NEWSFLASH ... NEWSFLASH .... (From our correspondent Joe Phillip on Montserrat) The latest claimant to the throne of the "Kingdom of Redonda" is Michael Howorth, a travel writer who contends that he inherited the kingdom from the former ruler, Bob the Bald, upon Bob's recent death in Canada. "King Michael the Grey" -- a U.K. yachting writer who presumably will soon surrender his British passport -- was crowned on Dec. 11, 2010 in a ceremony at Fort Charlotte, Antigua, an event that may have come as some surprise to local officials, since the generally accepted fact is that Redonda is part of Antigua. (Such an auspicious occasion might have been expected to take place on Redonda itself, except there is barely a place to stand upright on the steep-sloped island unless you are a goat.)

1 comment:

sir tommy said...

wow amazing history I love it. thanks for digging around and finding so much out about the places you go and have been. thanks for the lessons.