Sunday, March 18, 2007


May I draw your attention to Montserrat, the British oveseas territory in the Caribbean located just a short hop from Antigua. Everyone thinks it's deserted. It's not.

The hurricane(s) and volcanic eruptions of over a decade ago resulted in 9 of the 11 thousand people leaving, but they've been replaced by 2,000 incomers thus making the population about 4,000 now. The lower half of the island, the Exclusion Zone, is deserted and ruined (that's got a lot to do with the hundreds of thousands of tons of volcanic ash that cover the main town, Plymouth, and the surrounding vilages) but the top half is where everyone lives and, for those who can get it, works.
The volcano is due to blow again, sending upwards of 100,000 tones of ash into the air, or descending down the mountainside in pyroclastic flows which take 90 seconds to reach the sea and sizzle and boil. If you were standing there you'd look like one of those cartoon skeletons, stripped and burned of all flesh in a split second. Except it would n't be a cartoon. But of course if you ever went to Montserrat you'd never get anywhere near any danger as it's all sectioned off into The Exclusion Zone and in order to get anywhere near it you'd have to get the police involved. It's a beautiful island to visit with lovely people and it's convoluted history of Irish slavers has resulted in it's greenness bestowing an Irish flavour, particularly around St Patrick's day ( a national holiday) , or week as we have come to know it (thankyou Guinness)
The best website is, the Montserrat Volcano Observatory, and a neat album is by Jimmy Buffet, "Volcano", recorded at Air Studios on the island.

Oh, and the best liming bar on the island is called The Volcano.

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