Puffs of smoke, ash and lava flow at the top of Soufriere volcano, Montserrat

Montserrat - Flying in by Helicopter - A Singles Break 2

Author: Sue Rogers
Date: 9th April 2011

Montserrat - A Day Trip from Antigua

  • This is a 10 day singles holiday in Antigua.  
  • I hop on a helicopter to Montserrat  for the day.

Montserrat in a Nutshell

  • Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory. The island measures approximately 10 miles in length and seven miles in width. Ironically, (when you look at it now) Montserrat is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants.
  • Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Montserrate, after the Virgin of Montserrat in the Monastery near Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. "Montserrat" means "serrated mountain" in Catalan. But he was told that the island was uninhabited and didn't land here.
  • The first settlers were Irish, from nearby St Kitts, in 1632. The British took control, after attempts by the French to claim ownership and sovereignty was affirmed by the Treaty of Breda in 1667.
  • The previously dormant Soufrière Hills volcano erupted here in 1995 destroying Montserrat's capital city of Plymouth. Between 1995 and 2000, two-thirds of the island's population was forced to flee. The volcanic activity continues, mostly affecting Plymouth and the east, but there is a large exclusion zone (half the island is still a no go area) and the volcano is under constant scrutiny.
  • The north of the island is still attempting a renaissance and there is hiking and some beautiful beaches

From the Helicopter

  • There are great panoramas of Antigua, of the Caribbean  and of the Soufrière Hills Volcano itself.
  • We marvel at the volcanic ash and the buried villages and other buildings.  A strong smell of sulphur-it is still belching steamy wisps  from the yellow fumaroles on one, cloudier side. 
  • And we land for a stroll. It is windy and desolate and very grey.
  • A salutary reminder of the power of nature.

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