Friday, 23 February 2018

A fortnight in the Caribbean - Part 4 and final,

My last reminiscences  about Nevis, see Part 1 - Part 2 and Part 3; here are a few more photos taken during our holiday.

Vance W. Amory International Airport on Nevis. It is only used for private aircraft, the main international flights all flying into the Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport on the neighbouring island of St Kitts, just a couple of miles across the water! When you land there, it is necessary to get a speedboat (fast, expensive but damp) or ferry (slow, cheaper but infrequent) to take you to Nevis.

Built in 1778, the Bath Hotel was once a playground for the rich and famous who came to Nevis to take in the hot spring baths. With the downturn of the sugar industry, Nevis stepped into the world of tourism with this hotel, which flourished for about 60 years. Since then the hotel has had various uses, reopening as a hotel from 1912 until 1940. It was used as a training centre for the West Indian regiment during World War II, and most recently, the temporary headquarters of the Nevis police, while the new station was built. (the old one was burnt down, I think, in mysterious circumstances!)

An old, but  now restored, cannon from the 17th or 18th century! This would either have been a part of the island's defences during one of the many wars in that era, or a cannon left behind after refitting of a visiting warship.

The royal cypher of one of the English kings named George. (GR stands for George Rex in Latin). There were three Georges in that era and I would guess this is the cypher for George III, who reigned in Great Britain between 1760 and 1820

View across to Nevis Peak; see part 2 for info on the old volcano.

Amazing views looking across to St Kitts.

Relaxing pool fed from volcanic hot springs.  While we were there, we had a couple of dips in the therapeutic waters; temperature varies slightly from day to day, but on those days it was 44°C (111°F)!  Not easy to get into, but once submerged to neck level, we managed to stay in for at least 5 minutes !!

Further information on the pool.

and some of the history - 108°F seems to be an understatement - perhaps it's global warming!

It was interesting for us to see a couple of baobab trees on the island.  We are of course fairly used to them in some areas of Africa. Both trees looked as if they had been inexpertly cut down or cut back at some stage long ago, as they had a number of branches growing out of the base.  Generally they have one big and thick trunk, sometimes many metres in circumference. Branches normally grow from the trunk a long way above the ground.

Here you can see the thick base at the bottom, with a number of branches growing out of it.

The pod from the baobab contains pips that are slightly sour and acidic. They  can be used as a replacement for cream of tartar.  The baobab is sometimes called a cream of tartar tree.

Driving to our next destination, we had to beware of goats wandering into the road; a common hazard. Also, just take a look at that frizzy wiring - scary stuff!!! But a note of progress - notice that solar panel on the bus stop roof!

Just off the main road are the ruins of New River-Coconut Walk Estates.

The tall boiler chimney is very visible, and the lower building  housed the old steam engine. In the 17th century, the sugar processing machines were driven by animal power,  but the industrial revolution eventually arrived here 150 years later! This suger production facility remained in operation until 1958—the last one on the island.

Underground, a mysterious space....

Machinery, bits of cane crushing rollers perhaps...

More cane-crushing machinery, now protected under a smart new corrugated iron roof. Restoration work on this site has partly been funded by the EU.

Nearby offices are sadly in a bad state of disrepair. The circular columns, stone arches and ceilings are quite elaborate for this industrial development, but a testament to the skills of expatriate British and local craftsmen!

This was the magnificent view that we saw daily from our friends' house, looking over to St Kitts!

I think this is an atmospheric optical phenomenon know as a "sun dog".  We were all lying by the pool when this was suddenly spotted.

To finish on an ornithological note, this is my collage of a brown pelican taking a dive into the sea to fish for its dinner!

Also see my daily diary HERE

and My Life Before Charente (updated  February 2018) 

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

A fortnight in the Caribbean - Part 3 - and 8 years of blogging

It's 8 years today from my very first post, and the beginning of blogging! I now have a number of blogs and many new friends. I am delighted to say that I have met some followers personally, and each meeting has been a great experience; with the discovery of common attitudes and interests, I have no doubt that lifelong friendships will be formed.  For those followers  I have not yet been able to meet, many have become friends via personal email and others via chats on the blog.  Thank you, one and all, for being there and taking the time to read and comment; it is much appreciated!

Back to reminiscing about Nevis, see Part 1 and Part 2 and here are a few more photos taken during our holiday.
Taken in the grounds of the Montpelier hotel.  Montpelier was formerly a 17th century sugar estate, but the buildings now transformed to provide luxury and upmarket accommodation....

On the veranda.  This is where Princess Diana used to visit....

Cogwheels from the sugar cane crushing process reminding the visitor of what used to be here...

One of the lounges with a pub at the back, housing a great selection of drinks....

Nelson’s love affair with Nevis was largely due to Fanny Nisbet, a widow he met at a dinner party on Nevis. The two fell instantly in love, and their nuptials are without a doubt the most famous wedding here to date....

The house is no longer standing but the famous silk cottonwood tree, under which they got married, still is!

Moving on to another part of the island - nothing is very far away!  We arrive at the church of St Thomas, which we were told was the oldest Anglican church in the Caribbean.   The original church was built in 1643 and there are still a few old and broken gravestones in the churchyard (see below) from the 17th century....

It was closed up on the day we visited, so we did not get to see inside, but there are services on Sundays. There are loads of churches on the island, dedicated to all varieties of Christian faiths!

The churchyard overlooks the sea and the island of St Kitts in the distance.

The tourist signboard neatly describing the circumstances by which the church was founded and built, as a gift from English planter Thomas Cottle.

He was once the President of Nevis and a very benevolent slave owner, by the harsh and inhuman standards of the day, of course. This church was the only one on the island, and probably in the Caribbean, where the slaves and their master worshipped together. It was never consecrated, since it was illegal at that time for slaves to worship. The structure was severely damaged in a 1974 earthquake and again in 1989 during Hurricane Hugo. The building is still a primary tourist attraction and is presently undergoing restoration to stabilise it and ensure its historical significance for the future.

Inside the church; quite a modest building as you can see.

Part of a wall plaque recording the names and ages of some of the slaves who lived on the local  Round Hill estate and worked on the construction of the church. One child named Aaron is listed as aged only 4 and others are shown as having been born in Africa, obviously  being transported to the island as slaves.

Returning to some of the wildlife in Nevis!  Caribbean Queen or Jamaican Monarch butterfly (Danaus cleophile).

The panther anole (anolis bimaculatus), is a species of lizard that is endemic to the Caribbean Lesser Antilles islands.

African green, or “vervet” monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops).  These monkeys were first brought to the islands as pets in the 17th or 18th centuries. Some escaped or were set free and they have thrived ever since. They can be a nuisance, running off with food and anything else not nailed down!

Brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) wheeling over the seashore, no doubt seeking fish in the shallows.

Mangrove Buckeye butterfly (Junonia genoveva) taking a break!

Watching the sun go down in  a local restaurant with St Kitts on the skyline.

Also see my daily diary HERE

and My Life Before Charente (updated  February 2018) 

Monday, 22 January 2018

A fortnight in the Caribbean - Part 2

 We are still reminiscing about our holiday in Nevis before Christmas see (Part 1), so here are a few more photos taken around the island.
The foot ferry terminal in Charlestown, (the capital of Nevis) at a quiet time!. Ferries make the 15 minute trip back and forth to St.Kitts several times a day, mainly, it appeared, transporting workers to and from their homes.
P.S. I have just been reminded that the crane was made in Birmingham and possibly the anchor below.

A mural near the terminal.

An anchor, also close by, provides a nautical flavour.

Memorial Square, in the centre of Charlestown was decorated for Christmas, but sadly it only looked at its best with the lights on at night.

The Square has a memorial in the centre (see on the left of this photo) which pays tribute and honour to the soldiers of Nevis who gave their lives in WWI and WWII. 

On the edge of Charlestown is the Jewish Cemetery.

Further information on a useful tourist board.

As it says above, stones are left on the graves by visitors, letting the spirits know they were there.

Nevis racecourse, situated on the coast, away from most of the built-up areas.  We gather this facility used to provide a great day out  for the local population, watching horses and jockeys on the track.  Unfortunately, it closed down a number of years ago and is now just an abandoned area left to the mercy of the elements, with weeds growing and animals roaming around!

Look at the fabulous view with Nevis peak (3,200 feet or 985 metres high) towering in the background.  The mountain is a potentially active volcano, though no eruptions are recorded.  There are also hot springs on the island, more of which to follow in another post!

The only equine existence at the race course was this donkey and foal.

Other animal life grazing nearby at the race course, with an egret watching out for food.

More car wrecks littering the countryside; see Part 1

Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) . Apparently one of the very best flycatchers.  We could do with them here during the summer months!

Geckos are everywhere!

I just liked this shot of the half moon seen through the leaves of a palm tree!

Also see my daily diary HERE

and My Life Before Charente (updated  25 September 2016) I will get back to this eventually!