Last Day in Montserrat

Montserrat, 24-25 September 2016

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I took very few photographs on our last day at Montserrat.  We relaxed and also spent some time at Bunkum Bay Beach.

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Antigua, Architecture, Bunkum Bay Beach, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

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Antigua, Architecture, Bunkum Bay Beach, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

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Antigua, Architecture, Bunkum Bay Beach, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

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Antigua, Architecture, Bunkum Bay Beach, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel .

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A quick view of a nearby church (St Peter’s Anglican) next morning before a trip to the airport for our flight out.

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New post-eruption buildings at Lookout, near the airport.

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A last glimpse of the east coast and the new land at Trant’s.

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… and just nine minutes later, we are approaching Antigua from the north west.

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Pearn’s point, then Five Islands Harbour.

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Jolly Harbour.

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Homes near the airport.

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Touching down.  We stayed overnight and flew on.

Next:  Jamaica.

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Air Studios Montserrat

Montserrat, 23 September 2016

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On the main road, out of the exclusion zone, just north of Plymouth.

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This is the tower of St Anthony’s Church.  Had I known about it at the time, I would have asked to visit.  It has been rebuilt no less than six times on the same site.  It was first built in 1635 when the colony was only a few years old by the first Governor, Anthony Brisket.  In 1666 it was burnt down by French and Caribs; on Christmas Day 1672 it was levelled by an earthquake; in 1712 it was destroyed by the French after they had used it as a barracks; in 1899 and 1928 it was destroyed by hurricanes; in 1989 it was damaged by a hurricane and in 1995 it was damaged by the volcano.

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Nearby, this is what is left of Air Studios, an international recording studio founded by George Martin, the Beatles manager.

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In the 70s and 80s, many artists recorded there including Eric Clapton, Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Paul McCartney, Police, Dire Straits, Climax Blues Band and Jimmy Buffett.  Here is a link to a video of the Stones recording there.

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What closed the studio though was not the eruptions, it was Hurricane Hugo in 1989, which destroyed villages, killed ten people, and had sustained winds of 220km/hr and gusts up to 385km/hr.

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The interior was stripped in 2012 in preparation for a renovation but George Martin died and the renovation never happened.

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Back on the main road…

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The weather is clear and the volcano simmers away.

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This is Olveston House, where we had dinner.

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And later, a sunset over the sea from our balcony.

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Air Studios, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, Street photography, Travel, Volcano .

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The Milky Way over Montserrat.

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Montserrat Springs Hotel

Montserrat, 23 September 2016

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This is the entrance to Montserrat Springs Hotel, available to visit because it’s just outside of the exclusion zone.

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It was once an exclusive hotel with guests such as the Rolling Stones, and featured its own thermal springs.

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There was no-one at the reception desk when we visited so we couldn’t book a room.

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The decor may have faded a little.

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An accounts book is open at June 1995.

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The floor was renovated some years ago with the addition of a layer of volcanic mud.

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I think this was the dining room.

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… leading outside towards the pool.

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Diving is not recommended here any more because the mud is not as forgiving as water.

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But the salubrious fittings remain.

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From outside the hotel, some views of the ruined parts of Plymouth that were not entirely buried in the lahars and pyroclastic flows.

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An old sugar factory. it would seem.

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It looks inviting but is too far inside the exclusion zone to be available to visit.

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The previous post covered the city of Plymouth, abandoned due to the volcanic eruption and the one before detailed the remarkable history of Montserrat.  There was an even more dramatic eruption in 1903 on an island not that far away.  Mount Pelée in Martinique erupted in that year, not far from the main town of Saint-Pierre.  They knew an eruption was taking place but expected lava, to be blocked by a valley, and they didn’t know about strato volcanoes and pyroclastic flows.  Only one person survived, protected by the thick walls of the town prison.  More detail on that in a post in a different blog here.

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Plymouth (Montserrat)

Montserrat, 23 September 2016

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We are about to enter into the high risk volcanic zone.

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You can only get in there when all is quiet and no volcanic activity is detected.

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All these images are from the abandoned capital of Plymouth.

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You have to go in with a trained operator.  The car must be parked facing the way out and the engine kept running at all times.  Pyroclastic flows can be lightning fast.  Entry has only been allowed since 2015 and permission will be withdrawn if there is more activity.

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Looking south from the old wharf.

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Government House, the residence of the Governor.

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This is how it appeared in 1915.

(By National Archives, UK – Public Domain).

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This is the Molyneaux Building, built in 1989 as the corporate office for Cable and Wireless and the Government’s Audit Department.  It was the only building built entirely of concrete and was the town’s tallest building at four stories high.

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Much of the centre of Plymouth is actually completely buried beneath the ash and debris and there have been several layers through different eruptions.

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This is the Flora Fountain Hotel, built in 1984 and named for the fountain in the middle of the circular wing you can see in the distance.

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Plymouth was evacuated in 1995, then abandoned and destroyed in 1997.

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No-one died in Plymouth itself but 19 people died further inland at Streatham Village in a pyroclastic flow in 1997, though the village was officially evacuated.

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On the left, the circular wing of the Flora Fountain hotel, the top floors.

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Top floor of the Police Station.

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This is the building behind the Flora Fountain Hotel.

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Government Building.

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After the 1997 eruption, about 7,000 people, two-thirds of the population, left Montserrat and  4,000 went to the UK.  The current population is around 5,000.

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An abandoned office.

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Many of the buildings on the hill in the background were not completely destroyed by the eruption but the whole area will be uninhabitable for many years.

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In early 1998, there was a bank robbery in the vaults of an abandoned bank in Plymouth.  The robbers made six or seven visits to the bank and got away with $US300,000.  Eight people were arrested a few months later and most convicted.  The banks at least initially would not recognise stolen notes with listed ID numbers that had become in circulation.

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Buildings above the inundation zone, still inaccessible.

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Some areas saw more than twelve metres of mud and debris.

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We visited an abandoned sugar windmill tower in Richmond Hill, just outside the exclusion zone.

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We were able to climb up and see the view.

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Just because buildings are just outside the exclusion zone does not mean they can be reoccupied.

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Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano .

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Archaeology, Architecture, Eruption, History, Landscape, Montserrat, Nature, Photography, Plymouth, seascape, Travel, Volcano

On the far left with the brown rooves is the Montserrat Springs Hotel, that we shall visit in the next post.

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These were once upmarket dwellings.

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(See previous post for details of the fascinating history of Montserrat).

(Trivia note:  Just passed 1,000 posts a few posts ago).

Montserrat – North and East Coast – and History

Montserrat, 23 September 2016

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This is Montserrat.  The blue lines show where we went on the island.  Above the grey line is the part of the island that is still inhabited.  Below the line is the two thirds of the island that was abandoned after volcanic eruptions from 1995 to 2010 and to which access is largely prohibited due to the continuing risk of eruptions and sudden pyroclastic flows.  The grey areas are the areas covered by ash, lahars (mud) or other volcanic debris.

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This is a view from where we were staying, with the headland at Little Bay in the distance.

The earliest archaeological evidence of human presence is from around 2800 to 2700BC, in the form of a number of stone blades at Upper Blakes, in the north interior of the island.  The blades are made of chert or flint and come from Long Island, just off the north coast of Antigua.  This is the primary source of chert in the region because the rock there includes uplifted limestone as well as volcanic.  The makers of these blades appear to have probably been visitors because there is no further evidence of human activity for thousands of years afterwards.

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This is the wharf at Little Bay, now the main wharf on the island, well the only wharf on the island, following the abandonment of the former capital of Plymouth.

Settlement appears to have commenced around 500BC and the main origin of these people was the Orinoco basin in what is now Venezuela.  The two main early sites were Trants on the mid-east coast and Radio Antilles on the far south coast.  Most of the archaeological sites though were wiped out by the volcanic eruptions from 1995 to 2010.  Fragments have been found of fine thin-walled pottery from this early ceramic period (500BC to 600 AD), decorated in red on white, black on red or black and white on red.  There are more sites from the late ceramic period (600AD to European contact) but the pottery is coarser and usually not decorated.  In all eras there is evidence of trade with other islands.

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Brades Fire Station.

Allioüágana is the Amerindian name for the island.   Columbus saw it and named the island as Montserrat in 1493 but did not land.

The conventional view has been that Montserrat was uninhabited at the time of European arrival and an Amerindian woman from Guadeloupe told Columbus the inhabitants were driven out, probably in relatively recent times, by Carib raiders.  It appears that there were no large villages on Montserrat at this time but there were inhabitants, as attested by early Dutch and French reports.  Some middens from a site in the north-west of the island also contain European trade goods.

Amerindians appear to have been living in Montserrat until at least the early eighteenth though most of the references to Amerindians in the late seventeenth century were to raids by Caribs from elsewhere.

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Lookout Yard Sugar Mill, built in 1921.

A group of English appear to have settled in Montserrat for three months in 1629 following a Spanish invasion of St Kitts but only stayed for three months.   Permanent settlement started in 1632 with a group of Irish Catholics who were joined after a few years by English Protestants.  Initially the economy was based on the cultivation of tobacco and indigo and there were no slaves.  Slavery was increasingly adopted along with a shift to a plantation cotton economy after 1650.   Black slaves came to be the great majority of the population.

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Inside of the mill.  It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1928 and rebuilt.

In the 1650s, the population was 600 or 700 and predominantly Irish.  Due to slavery, the black proportion increased over the years.  Overall population and proportion of black slaves increased as follows:  1671: 1,700  (31%); 1678:  3,700  (27%);  1707:  5,115 (70%).  The white population nearly halved from 1678 to 1707 due to white indentured servants leaving and being replaced by black slaves.  It then became:  1729: 7,000 (84%);  1788:  11,600 (89%) (peak population); 1805: 10,800 (91%); 1828:  7,400 (96%);  1834:  6,200 (95%);  1851:  7,100 (98%).  Slavery was abolished in 1834 and by 1851 the white population had fallen by more than 50% to 150.  The population in 1994 was 13,000 of whom 8,000 left the island following the eruption.  Current population is 5,400 and in 2011 the ethnic distribution was Black 88%, mixed 4%, Hispanic 3%, Caucasian 3%, East Indian 2%, other 1%.

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Looks like a steam boiler, out the back of the mill.

In the 1678 census nearly 69% of the population self-identified as Irish and since there were 27% black slaves, only 4% were English or other.  There were three groups of Irish.  There was the Anglo-Irish elite and then there was the poor farmers, labourers and indentured servants.  There were two sections of the Anglo-Irish elite as well.  There were the older group, dating back to Norman settlement of Ireland, Catholic and with much in common with the Irish workers.  The younger group derived from Elizabethan or Stuart settlement of Ireland, were Protestant and had more in common with the English.  None of the Irish were slaves but they nonetheless could be treated brutally.  The treatment of black slaves though could be worse.  For example, in 1771 a black slave was found not guilty of stealing a board and whipped through town anyway.

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Another corner of the mill’s back yard.

From 1750, the proportion of mixed race people and freed slaves gradually increased.  For example, in 1828, six years before the abolition of slavery, while 96% of the population was black, that comprised 85% slaves and 11% free.

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Looking north across Marguerita Bay on the east coast of the island.

Montserrat was attacked fifteen times between 1650 and 1712 by French, Dutch, Caribs and pirates – specifically 1650, 1665, 1666/67, 1672, 1674, 1676, 1682, 1693, 1697, 1702, 1707, 1710, 1711, 1711 and 1712.

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Some of the houses built for people displaced from the south of the island, largely financed by British money.

The French and their Carib allies captured Montserrat from February 1666 to July 1667 during the Second Anglo-Dutch War.  They took the Governor and 200 settlers prisoner and burned English dwellings, warehouses and sugar mills.  They also removed from the island slaves, cannon, horses and cattle.  The only group not targeted were those Irish who took an oath of loyalty to the French.

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We are driving as far south as we can go on the east coast of the island, towards Trant’s in the distance.

Sugar had come to be the main industry and by the time of the 1666 invasion, there were 40 sugar mills on the island, increasingly relying on African slaves.

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There was a settlement here at Trant’s but it was covered by the eruption in 2010 and the coastline extended by 650 metres.

Following the deposal of James II in England in 1688, Montserrat was often neglected by England due to the large Irish Catholic element in the population.

Montserrat was invaded and sacked again by the French for a few months in 1712 during the War of the Spanish Succession.  Again they burned properties and sugar estates and removed slaves, equipment, livestock and provisions.  Stapletown, one of the first settlements, was never rebuilt.  The eighteenth century after 1712 was the peak period for the dominant sugar industry, dependent on black slaves.

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Perhaps the only local resident.

Montserrat is also susceptible to hurricanes which on occasion have damaged or destroyed almost all buildings on the island.    There were for example such severe hurricanes in 1737, 1747, 1766 and 1772.

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The edge of the new coastline.

In 1782, during the War of American independence, the French invaded again and stayed for two years.  Initially they burned buildings and crops on sugar estates but there were some benefits for the locals since while the British had generally neglected their colony, the French Governor was relatively liberal, paved the roads of the main streets, improved public buildings and allowed trade with North America.

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The boiling house smoke stack at Trant’s sugar mill and the top of the windmill tower.  It had been fertile, flat land and there was an Indian village here for thousands of years until European settlement.

Montserrat is the only country outside Ireland to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, although this also commemorates an unsuccessful slave revolt on that day in 1768.  Slavery was abolished in 1834 and cotton became uneconomic, creating problems for the economy in general but not necessarily for former slaves.  Irish Gaelic was spoken by descendants of slaves as recently as the early 20th century.

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Some buildings on a ridge, not completely buried.

The years after emancipation were years of particular hardship.  The sugar industry had been declining for many years and had collapsed, most of the white population left, only 1.5% of the population was literate, and the government was incompetent and repressive, continuing to try to implement slavery-era laws that were now illegal in the British Empire.  Attempts to find substitutes for sugar were not successful until 1850 with the introduction of citrus lime production.  The late 19th century became a time of prosperity and Montserrat lime juice gained an international reputation.  The British Navy adopted Montserrat lime as an additive to grog (watered-down rum) and thereby earned British sailors then name of “limeys”.  The lime industry was wiped out by blight and the hurricane of 1899 though.  It was replaced by cotton from 1903.  These days most economic activity is in tourism and services.

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And in the distance, the volcano.

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(Main source for the history:  An Archaeological History of Montserrat, West Indies, Cherry and Ryzewski, Google Books download).

Antigua – West Coast

Antigua, 21 September 2016

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In our last full day in Antigua, we decided do explore the west coast.  Here we are, about to start in English Harbour.

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You might think that in a Caribbean island, everyone stays in a resort and it is very expensive.  Well, there can still be cheap accommodation options available if you look. (And we weren’t staying here but I also wouldn’t stay in a resort if I could avoid it).

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A rather nice cottage nearby.

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And a range of local transport, possibly available for hire.

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You have to go inland from English Harbour before you can get to the west coast.  These early images are all in and around a small town called Swetes.

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Tyrell’s Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.

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An old ruined windmill, a relic of the sugar cane era.

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We are at the coast now.  this is Carlisle Bay Beach.

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This is nearby, atop a headland.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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So there are places to stay in Antigua that might be entirely free, if somewhat lacking in privacy.

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A bit further on, at Morris Bay is some more enticing accommodation prospects that may be quite cheap.

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This one even has its own car in the lounge room.

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And there is a ruined windmill nearby.

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Excellent views down the beach.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

I think “Location, location, location!” is the phrase.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A bit further along the coast, we found some colour transitions between sand, sea and sky.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

I think this is probably Valley Church Beach.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Not sure where this house is, maybe Five Islands, beside the road though, heading to the north-west.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We got to Fort Barrington National Park but didn’t have time to climb up to the fort.  I’d say this is a Martello Tower, rather than a windmill.  In other words, it is a small defensive fort from the nineteenth century (though not Fort Barrington).

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Nearby, this is Deep Bay.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A sign we passed on the way back to English Harbour.

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Antigua – Half Moon Bay and Devil’s Bridge

Antigua, 20 September 2016

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We went again to Shirley Heights for the view at dawn.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Another view of English Harbour, from a vantage point on the way back for breakfast.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Nearby, a hummingbird and cacti.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is much later and we are on the road heading for the east coast.  This is a Poinciana at the side of the road, introduced from Madagascar.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Half Moon Bay.  You can see how it got its name.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Not many people around.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is idyllic here but we had a less salubrious experience a bit earlier.  The road was blocked and we were turned back by a guard on a road leading to a beach near a resort.  We were told later by a local that this is illegal, everyone should have access to beaches.  Multinational resorts appear to be a new colonialism in the Caribbean and not have a good reputation with many locals we spoke to.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

It is three hours later and this is an entirely different beach.  This is Long Bay Beach, not far from Devil’s Bridge.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A bit of weather out to sea.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is Devil’s Bridge National Park.  You can see the natural bridge (bottom left) and the surge would be spectacular in a heavy sea.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

It seemed like a nice place for a bite to eat and a drink.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be anyone around.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Maybe if we came back in a few years.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

I didn’t see these people there either.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

On the way back, this is St Peter’s Anglican Church at Parham, built in 1840.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

… with a remarkable interior roof.

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, Devil's Bridge, English Harbour, Half Moon Bay, Landscape, Nature, Parham, Photography, seascape, Shirley Heights, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

(Church interiors with fisheye lens).

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Antigua – Fort Berkeley and Shirley Heights

English Harbour, Antigua, 19 September 2016

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

In the afternoon, we walk past Nelson’s Dockyard to visit Fort Berkeley.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Probably an eighteenth century ship’s anchor.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Looking back across the harbour at the marina.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Fort Berkeley, but from a distance.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is the same view with a wide angle lens.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The fort is quite small but this is evidently all that was needed with such a narrow mouth to the harbour.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

In the distance in the middle horizon is Shirley Heights, with another former military emplacement that we shall visit soon.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The last cannon left of twenty-nine.

The British were in Antigua from 1632 and English Harbour from 1704.  This was the best harbour in the islands of the eastern Caribbean.  Enclosed by hills, it was protected against hurricanes so the British were able to shelter here whereas the French had to send their ships back during the hurricane season.  All the other islands changed hands several times but the French never captured Antigua.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Looking across to Galleon Beach.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Either a storehouse or a guard house.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The sheltered stone steps leading up to the building on the right suggest that it was a store house supplied by sea, perhaps primarily for ammunition.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Passing by Nelson’s Dockyard again.  Didn’t need to make a phone call.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We are now on the heights at the other side of the harbour, at Dow’s Hill, where there is the remains of a large barracks.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A view of the spectacular coastline nearby.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Cacti and the sea.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Looking towards Shirley Heights, where we head next.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

View from Shirley Heights.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The Royal Military Guard House at Shirley Heights (named after Sir Thomas Shirley, Governor of the Leeward Islands in the late eighteenth century).  There were four cannon on a platform beside the building and a signal post above it.

There is a restaurant that can open here and a brass band that plays on Sundays.  But we weren’t told about that when we arrived the previous night so either it had finished or more probably it wasn’t happening because we were there in the off season.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Remains of a cannon.  I wonder if it shattered in anger.  Underneath the crown is GR for George Rex, which doesn’t tell us much because it could be George I, II or III and is therefore between 1716 and 1820.  It’s clearly not an American cannon and therefore doesn’t relate to their George I (1789-1797), George II (1989-1993) or George III (2001-2009).

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A view looking north towards Indian Creek, Stand Fast Point and Mamora Bay.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Close by the Guard Station is the remains of another barracks.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back now at our accommodation in English Harbour, as the evening slowly descends.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife .

Antigua – Morning at English Harbour

English Harbour, Antigua, 19 September 2016

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We hired a car in Antigua and drove around as shown on this map.  The airport is at the top and we stayed at English Harbour, which is at the middle bottom.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is a view in the early morning from where we were staying at English Harbour.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

These days there is a marina.  In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was Britain’s main naval base in the Caribbean.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

We went for a drive and walk to the coast a bit further south.  Here we are looking back towards English Harbour and it is Fort Berkeley at centre left, built in 1704.  We will visit there later.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

From the same spot, looking south.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

A frigate bird overhead.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

From the same viewpoint as the earlier image including Fort Berkeley, but showing the context with a wide angle lens.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is a Turk’s Head or Barrel Cactus, endemic to the Caribbean.  Also known as Mother-in-law’s Pincushion.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Closer view with a tiny flower.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

This is Galleon Beach, Freeman’s Bay, so we’ve driven all the way around to the beach on the other side of the harbour behind Fort Berkeley in the previous images.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

Back on the docks at English Harbour.  A fishing boat has arrived and the fish are circling.  These are quite large, say about a metre long but they are not the target.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

There are swirls of activity as bits are thrown out.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

It’s a bit like a koi pool but this is the ocean.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

They are bringing the catch ashore.  I presume it is tuna.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

The crabs are interested too.

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Antigua, Architecture, English Harbour, Fish, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Street photography, Travel, Wildlife

And just a few minutes later, we have some tasty fillets.

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St Martin – Market and Beaches

St Martin, Sint Maarten, 17-18 September 2016

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

In the morning we went to the Marigot Markets.  Here are some fishermen preparing fish beside the sea.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

A huge array of shells.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

These locals appear to have locked themselves out of their car.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Markets in the background.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Next we went to Maho Beach, which is right beside the airport.  This sign on the fence at the beach and also at the end of the runway warns of the dangers but not all people take notice.  It is particularly dangerous when a plane has backed up to this end of the runway to take off.  People can cling to the fence to experience the jet blast but they can get blown away and unable to hang on.  About nine months after I took this photograph, a woman from New Zealand died here when she was blown off the fence and hit her head on te kerb.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Here is the beach, the runway just to the right.  We saw this view from the air as the plane came in a couple of posts ago.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

And there’s a plane on the way.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

There it goes….

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Nearby we saw these posters for a forthcoming Sint Maarten election.  Lots of big posters may not amount to much it seems.  At the previous election the party of these posters won only around 1% of the vote and it no longer exists.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Nearby this sailing ship was tied up at a wharf.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Could it be a surviving Dutch fluyt from the seventeenth century?

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

No, it’s quite modern, either a replica or a fantasy.  Semper pro gradiens (always progressing) is the motto of Sint Maarten.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

In the afternoon we went to Petit Plage, just north of Grand case, for a swim.  I didn’t take a camera with me because I didn’t want to leave it unaccompanied on the beach though as it turns out I could have because there were not many people around.  But I have no images of that to show you.  This is the beach at Grand Case late in the afternoon.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

An old house on the street in Grand Case.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Next day we were due to fly out in the afternoon but had enough time to visit Happy Day Beach for another swim.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

There were no other people around when we turned up.

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Grand Case, Happy Bay Beach, Landscape, Maho Beach, Marigot Markets, Photography, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Street photography, Travel

Some people turned up while we were there and were swimming as we left.

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