We are back sailing after a few week hiatus on St. Kitts and Nevis. On our way to Guadeloupe we made an overnight stop at Monteserrat. It was a 5 hour sail away, but worlds away once we got there. Half the island was destroyed when the volcano erupted a decade ago. We hoped to take a quick tour of the island before dark to see as much as we could. The island does not get many visitors these days so we got bombarded with taxi drivers trying to get our business when we got off the boat. Taxi drivers are always a little aggressive but the drivers in Monteserrat fight over you and leave you speechless as they battle it out. Really uncomfortable, you don't know who to go with without offending someone. Sam seems to get all the business, so being from Buffalo of course we had to go with the underdog. Helena was great, warned us that she would have to drive fast to get it all in before dark, and these are little, windy roads through the hills, but we made it back alive.
There was a river that used to divide the island which is now filled with ash and dirt that came down from the hills, once you cross that you are in no man's land. The land is still covered with lush greenery like the other half of the island but all the buildings are half buried and there is no one in sight. She showed us the hotel where she used to work which was covered in ash. From there we could look down the mountain to the town of Plymouth below which was directly in the path of the lava flow. It is still a restricted area so that's as close as we could go, but it was surreal even from a distance to see a town devoid of all activity and buried, it was like time had stopped. She was a wealth of knowledge about the medicinal plants that grow all over the island, the one that's good for your heart, another stamina, stomach ailments and temporary tattoos. And also recent history, the music producer, Sir George Martin, had a recording studio on the island before the volcano erupted and people here were used to seeing famous recording stars on the streets. This was once a vibrant community, but now half the population has left the island and you can't help but wonder how they will be able to rebuild what has been lost. Touring the islands we have seen some of the worst devastation that mother nature can unleash, it gives us a healthy respect for her.