Wednesday, 17 January 2018

A fortnight in the Caribbean - Part 1

We have friends who live on Nevis (there are twin islands - St Kitts and Nevis) and who have asked us a number of time to visit.  We though that a trip before braving the cold of the UK this past Christmas would be a good idea!  We duly booked the trip early last year, not realising that the Caribbean would be having some of their worst weather for a long time during the (summer) hurricane season.  Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused total destruction on many islands, and at one stage we thought we might never get there.  Luckily, Nevis missed the worst of it all; the damage to our friends' property was thankfully confined to their front gates being blown down and a few missing roof tiles.

We drove directly from home in France to London (Gatwick) airport  on 24 November 2017 and then the following day, we took an early morning flight to St Kitts, stopping for one hour on Antigua (where most of the passengers disembarked!).  On arrival at St Kitts airport, we were met by a taxi, which took us to the quay, where a water taxi, skimming wave crests at high speed,   carried us over the waters to Nevis in 15 energising minutes!  The taxi pilot kindly phoned ahead to our friends, to let them know we were on our way so they would be ready to meet us. Very organised!
Just to give you some idea where St Kitts and Nevis are in the Caribbean, if you did not previously know! Most of the other islands on this map were very badly affected by hurricanes and outside help and reparation is slow in arriving.

The island of Nevis, which is separated from St Kitts by a 3 km (2 miles) channel. It is only 93 sq km in size (36 sq mi) and the capital is Charlestown; you can see the "by-pass" road around the town on the West coast.

We arrived fairly late in the afternoon and the photos  taken from the ferry were not the best!

The next morning, though, after a good nights sleep, I was delighted to see many enchanting humming birds zooming around in the garden.This is a Green-throated carib (Eulampis holosericeus), motionless for just a moment!

The bees looked much the same as those we have in France!

We went for a walk through a strip of trees and bushes down to the nearby sandy beach; it was very quiet and peaceful with almost nobody else around!

Looking across the water towards St Kitts.

We spotted a hermit crab on the sand.

Back at the house, we discovered vervet monkeys in the garden - lovely to see, but they do a lot of damage!

The very colourful Frangipani caterpillar (this one's 120 mm or 5 inches long), of which there were several on one plant, eats most of the plant's leaves, but we were told they actually do the plant good, as by eating the leaves, the plant's  encouraged to produce more flowers!

Lovely to see hibiscus flowering in November!

The garden was full of birds I have never seen before!; this is a Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola).

Lesser Antillean bullfinch (Loxigilla noctis) This is the male; the female is brown.

Out on our first drive around the island (maximum speed limit 40 mph!), we were told this is one of the original old houses, called a "skirt and blouse" house.  The skirt (bottom of the house) being built of stone and the blouse (top of the house) of wood.

 One of the most noticeable things we observed on the island were the many scrap cars! There is nowhere to dump them on a small island, so they are just abandoned by their owners for the vegetation to take over!

As above. There are plans for a private company to import and operate a car crushing plant, as the numbers of such cars must run into many thousands and apart from being unsightly, further damage to this beautiful tropical environment should  be avoided!

We ended up in late afternoon down at the beach, where we met up with friends of our friends, for a delightful meal of fresh fish of the day.  It was interesting to watch the storm in the distance over the sea, while we were standing on the beach, in temperatures around 30 C  (86F)

This is just to give you a first idea of our holiday.  Many more photos of the island are to come in Part 2, but due to me not feeling well,  I am far behind in the editing process!


Also see my daily diary HERE


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



28 comments:

  1. Wow, spectacular photos Dianne. I especially love the caterpillar on the Frangipani leaf. I never knew they were actually good for the plant. We always thought exactly the opposite because the poor Frangipani looks naked after the caterpillars finish their job. It's nice to learn that they are actually doing a job and now I will think more highly of them.
    Sam

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    1. Sam that is the story we were told and they just leave them to get on with eating the leaves. Presumably they have the right answer. Thanks for your comment appreciated. Hope you are well Diane

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  2. Hi Diane - lovely to have this post ... and how fortunate your friend's home and Nevis weren't too devastated by those appalling storms. Lovely photos and thanks too for the maps (Nigel's responsibility I suspect!) ... I've never been to the Caribbean - so wonderful to see your photos ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary, no Nigel had nothing to do with the maps my own work!! Nigel always checks my blogs though before I publish as his grammar is much better then mine!! He also adds bits of interest that I might have missed. It was a wonderful holiday in the sun, only sad we had to go back to the UK after for me to catch all the winter bugs!! Hope you enjoy the rest of Nevis when I get around to the remaining photos. Take care and keep warm Diane

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  3. Bother!! PS I should have said ... I hope you're starting to feel easier - take care of yourself ... H

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    1. Thanks Hilary, I am mending slowly but the cough is irritating both of us and will not go away. Not the firs time this has happened so I know the cough could go on for a long time. Treatment just does not work!! Diane

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  4. Hi Diane Im impressed with this post and the pictures. Terrible storms Diane. Nice you are safe and ok . Take care ! xoxoxo

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    1. Thanks Gloria, yes the Caribbean suffered badly this year from hurricanes but St Kitts and Nevis were both lucky to have got away with far less damage then many of the other islands. Keep well Diane

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  5. thanks for letting me know about your blog change -- I just looked at my feed and thought you had stopped writing it. Looks like a great vacation!! Btw, The Crown is on Netflix -- which I believe you can get in France. You can even watch it for free for a week as a trial - perfect for a cold January.

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    1. Hi Deana, glad you have found me again! We cannot get Netflix, iPlayer or anything similar here in France. Firstly we need a VPN and then a minimum speed of 2 Mbps, but preferably 5 Mbps. Our speed here in the country is only 0.5 Mbps, we can rarely play YouTube even short ones. I guess we are one step up from dial up but barely!!!

      The weather here at present is foul. Not only is it cold, but it just keep raining and the countryside is like a saturated sponge.

      Take care Diane

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  6. He may do damage but that monkey is adorable!

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    1. I agree that they are fun to watch but I am glad we do not have them in our garden!! Keep well Diane

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  7. I'm so glad I came across your post today. I've been wanting to read more about Caribbean holidays. Thank you for sharing! Love the photos!

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed this post, I will be writing some further posts very soon. Thanks for the visit and the comment, much appreciated. Diane

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  8. I enjoyed this post Diane. I've never been to the Caribbean and I've been wondering how the people are getting on there after the devastation. I did not even know that some areas like where you were are more or less okay. I look forward to more of your holiday updates. I am glad you are recovering albeit slowly. Hugs. xx

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    1. Penny I think most of the other islands besides St Kitts and Nevis are struggling to get back to normal. So much damage to everything and the vegetation. St Kitts and Nevis were the lucky ones. Hope that you are also feelng better it is a bad bug this year it seems!! Hugs Diane

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  9. I love hibiscus it's gorgeous in your photo, Diane! And hummingbirds too! It's amazing with all the small islands in the Caribbean, seems like Paradise to me, esp. with the winter weather here. Hope you're good as new and feeling well soon!!!

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    1. I also love hibiscus we had them all over the garden in Africa. The weather was just amazing for us, but it is sad that most of the Caribbean suffered so badly this year. I am feeling better but the cough is just so irritating!! Keep well Diane

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  10. I'm happy that you have a chance to enjoy warm sunshine during your visit. Loved all the photos...you are so good. Funny but I never thought about monkeys being on any of the Caribbean islands. I always learn something when I drop by.

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    1. It seems the vervet monkeys were brought to Nevis in the 17th and 18th century as pets from Africa. Of course a few escaped and now there are many!!!!! Hope you are well Diane

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  11. I was particularly interested in what you said about the caterpillars; my experience here is dealing with grasshoppers. Unfortunately, they are so destructive and not helping at all. :)

    What a lovely place to visit, Diane. Happy to hear the damage wasn't too bad for your friends. And, there we again with the cars needing to be crushed. ouch

    xoxo

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    1. Grasshoppers are very destructive! It was a beautiful place for a holiday and the weather was perfect for December. Yes those cars...... they are everywhere but how do you get them off an island easily? Have a good day Diane

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  12. Hey there....I jumped on over here to take a look around. Love this pics of the critters! Great shots all the way around. Looks like a great place to be.

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    1. Hi Pam thanks for taking a trip to my other blog. This is a great place for a holiday especially in winter to enjoy some great weather :-) Hope all is well Diane

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  13. It looks peaceful and lay back. Just the place for a relaxing holiday. I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Great for a holiday but I would not like to live there. Being on an island does not appeal, I want to get out and see other things without the hassle of crossing the sea!
      I feel better just the cough continues!! Keep well T'other Diane

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  14. Looks like a beautiful island, except for the monkeys. Amazing the plants grow so fast as to devour cars and trucks. Seems there's a need for some recycling.

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    1. The monkeys are a real pest!! The weather is perfect for lots of growth. It is never really cold and there seemed to be quite a bit of rain around while we were there. Diane

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