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  Entry has only been allowed since 2015 and permission will be withdrawn if there is more activity.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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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 to Montserrat

Antigua and Montserrat, 22 September 2016

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So here we are, on a tiny plane, I think the only passengers on a flight from Antigua to Montserrat.

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Just taking off, we are looking through at some small wharves at the north end of Winthorpe’s Bay.

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We would have taken off ENE but our heading is SW, so we’ve turned around and you can see a minor branch of the runway and the big building is probably a hangar for light aircraft.

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Nearby in Fitches Creek Bay, we see some seaside mansions and St George’s Anglican Church is amongst the trees at mid left.

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On the other side of the island, this is Jolly Harbour and Pearn’s Point.

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On the way, we get a glimpse of Redonda, a small hunk of rock owned by Antigua but located between Montserrat and Nevis.  It is difficult to land on and has no natural sources of water.  In the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries it was a refuge for pirates and from 1860 to 1914, people lived on it, mining guano.  There is a spurious monarchy of Redonda associated with it, though with only a tenuous association with the island.  The island has been recently cleared of long-horned goats (probably left by pirates) and black rats, which had stripped it bare.  Vegetation is now returning and the population of boobies and frigate birds is greatly increasing.  Redonda is also home to five endemic lizards that are unique to that island.  They include the Redonda ground dragon, Redonda tree lizard and the Redonda pygmy gecko that was only discovered in 2012.  Not surprisingly, we didn’t visit there.

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Now we are approaching Montserrat.  This is the north and east coast.

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In the background is the infamous volcano that erupted with great force in 1995, 1997 and 2010.  You can see where a recent lava shelf extended into the sea.

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Coming along the west coast now, from the north.

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… and coming in to land at the airport.

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We were met by our hosts and driven to our accommodation.

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We must have taken a detour on a northerly road for this view down the east coast of the island.  You can see that same lava shelf in the distance.

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Sunset from our balcony.

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

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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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I think this is probably Valley Church Beach.

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

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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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Nearby, this is Deep Bay.

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

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

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Nearby, a hummingbird and cacti.

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

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Not many people around.

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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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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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A bit of weather out to sea.

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

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Unfortunately there didn’t seem to be anyone around.

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Maybe if we came back in a few years.

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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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St Martin to Antigua

St Martin, Sint Maarten, St Bartholemey, Antigua, 18 September 2016

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Taking off from Princess Juliana international Airport in Sint Maarten.  Right beside the airport.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

This is a St Martin (as opposed to Sint Maarten) view, looking north over Simpson Lagoon with Marigot at the right at the end of the lagoon and Anguilla on the horizon.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

The inner suburban area of Sint Maarten.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

That strip in the middle is Philipsburg, commercial centre of Sint Maarten.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

 

The docks area of Philipsburg.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

This is now Saint Barthelemy, an island to the south-east of Sint Maarten.  The main centre of Gustavia in the foreground, Gustavia Industrial Zone in the cove at mid left and Gustaf III airport.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

The beaches are Anse du Gouverneur and Anse de Grande Saline. Saint Barthelemy was Swedish from 1784 when Louis XIV exchanged it for trading rights to Gothenburg, to 1878 when they gave it back.  It was then part of Guadeloupe but has been separate since 2003.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Antigua.  This is McKinnon’s Pond and Runaway Bay, near the main town of St Johns.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

St John’s.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

This is the Coolidge Cricket Ground, colloquially known as the Sticky Wicket Stadium, where Curtley Ambrose and Viv Richards no doubt played many times.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Near the airport with some older buildings.

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Aerial Photography, Antigua, Photography, Saint Barthelemy, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Having arrived where we were staying at English Harbour, I am on the floor with the dog at the local general store.

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Santo Domingo to St Martin

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St Martin, Sint Maarten, 15 September 2016

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Santo Domingo Port.

This is just after taking off in the plane.  The next eight images are flying along the south east coast of the Dominican Republic and the first ones are at or close to Santo Domingo.  They’re through a plane window of course so there are sometimes some reflections from inside the plane.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

AES Andres electric power plane and LNG importing facility.

 

Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Still the port, incorporates both of the previous images.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

San Pedro de Macoris.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

El Soco.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Isla Catalina and La Romana.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

La Romana.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Boca de Yuma.

Juan Sanchez Ramirez landed at Boca de Yuma in 1808, coming from Puerto Rico, and routed the French, who at that time controlled Hispaniola, in the Battle of Palo Hincado.  He then became Governor of the Spanish Colony of Santo Domingo until he died in 1811.  He is known as “the father of the Dominican Republic”.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Juanilllo, the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic.

 

Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Puerto Rico was probably covered in cloud (so I have no other images of the main island) but this is Ceiba Ferry Terminal, at the eastern tip of Puerto Rico.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Vieques National Willdlife Reserve and Punta Este, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Culebra, Puerto Rico.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

 

St Martin/ Sint Maarten is an island divided between France and the Netherlands.  This is the western tip, Les Terres Basses, St Martin. Anguilla in the background.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Cupecoy Beach. Sint Maarten in the foreground to the right, St Martin behind. Simpson Bay Lagoon behind the Sin Maarten buildings. The little white terrace houses on the left edge of the beach are half in St Martin and half in Sin Maarten.

This image provides a good summary of the difference between St Martin and Sint Maarten at the time.  Sint Maarten was an overdeveloped cruise ship destination, with multi-storeyed hotels and casinos, and more than 50% urban.  St Martin was more just a place where people lived with some nice undeveloped locations, much more interesting to us.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Sint Maarten, moving a little along the coastline.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

A resort near the airport.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

And here we are coning to land low over the beach.  I will have an image in a later post showing how this looks from the beach.

 

Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

This is a view from where we were staying at Over the Hill Guest House in Grand Case, nearing sunset.

We knew we were in the hurricane season in the Caribbean but fortunately we did not encounter one.  A year after we were there, St Martin and Sint Maarten were hammered by Hurricane Irma, which passed directly over the island.  95% of buildings in St Martin were damaged and 60% rendered uninhabitable.  Also, 70% of the buildings in Sint Maarten were damaged and a third destroyed.  Our accommodation appears to have reopened after being closed for around a year though now they probably have few guests due to COVID-19.  Most of the buildings in adjoining properties show in Google Earth as still levelled to the ground.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Houses on a nearby hill.

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Aerial Photography, Dominican Republic, Photography, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, seascape, Sint Maarten, St Martin, Travel

Night-time view in the same direction.

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Catedral Primada de America

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 13 September 2016

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

We stayed briefly in the zona coloniale, the old quarter of Santo Domingo, which is the oldest continuously occupied city in the Americas.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

The central area is quite safe, with a heavy police presence but especially coming from Cuba,  it didn’t always feel as safe outside that.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

We went to visit the Cathedral, but what we thought was the entrance was not actually the way to get in.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

So we had to walk around the block to get to the other side of the building.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

This looks like a forgotten side entrance but is actually the way in.  The statue by the door is of Archbishop Merino, 1833-1906.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

The cathedral is known by locals as Catedral Primada de America, though its proper name is Basilica Catedral Santa Maria de la Encarnacion.  It is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, begun in 1514 and completed in the 1540s.

 

Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

Evidently the grave of an archbishop, dated 1569.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

Santo Domingo is the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the Americas.  It was founded by Bartholomew Columbus, brother of Christopher Columbus, in 1498.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

Looking up at the ceiling.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

This is an altar at one end of the cathedral.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

And here it is at the top of this image, with the other end of the cathedral at the bottom..

It takes a lot of heavy machinery operating outside the cathedral to compress it in this way, and you have to hope the stonework does not fall down on you.

A safer and less expensive approach, which is less likely to incur the ire of the authorities, is to stitch together multiple images, six images taken with a fisheye lens for example.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

And this is the far end.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

At the far end, looking up.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

The inscription on the left says something about returning the picture of the Blessed Virgin of La Antigua to the Dominicans and is dated 1862, so it probably refers to the painting on the right.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

This somehow looks almost modernist in an El Greco sense.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

This is below the archbishop’s grave we saw earlier.  It’s a bit hard to translate the Latin because the words run together but I suspect it marks the graves of Don Rodrigo and perhaps his wife Senora Rodriguez, and is dated 1553.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

No idea what this says.  there doesn’t appear to be a date.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

Outside of the cathedral.  I think this is the way out.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

Out in the streets again, and we’re heading to Fortaleza Ozama (next post).

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

I’m pretty sure this and the next two images are from the Museo Casa de Tostado.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

This is the house of Francisco de Tostado who came to the island with Governor Nicolas de Ovando in 1502, and it was built in the early sixteenth century.  His son Francisco de Tostado de la Pena, who also lived here, became a university professor and was killed by the cannon fire of Francis Drake in 1586.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel .

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

Old doors on the street.

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Architecture, Cathedral, Dominican Republic, History, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Santo Domingo, Street photography, Travel

Woman feeding pigeons, I think near the cathedral.

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From Havana to Santo Domingo

Havana, Cuba to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, 12 September 2016

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I’ve just come back from a weekend covering the Thredbo Blues Festival and now have 3,000 images to process, so these posts may slow down a bit for a while.

On Monday around 12:30pm we were driving back from Thredbo. Normally I would have been playing table tennis and have had my car parked outside the centre. Had that been the case, the car would have been pulverised by hail, golf-ball sized or even larger. The windows would have been broken, all the panels dented and the car may have been written off.

Such are the incidents of the unfolding Climate Crisis. Especially with the current political corruption and paralysis, particularly in the US and Australia, it is merely a foretaste of what is to come, and not just in Australia.

Today there was also a fire burning on the edge of Canberra, just a few kilometres from where I live (though blowing in the opposite direction). Homes and an industrial area were threatened. A recycling centre is burning, creating hazardous smoke and Canberra Airport was closed for much of the day. Today was a high wind day. That fire is relatively under control but further high winds are forecast, including for a large area of south eastern New South Wales where there are several large fires burning out of control. Conversely, conditions may also be easing from tomorrow and the Indian Ocean Dipole (a major trigger) has now moved to neutral.

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OK, back to the Cuba/ Caribbean trip. This post shows images taken from the plane between Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

We have taken off from Havana and are now flying east over Cuba.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

The farm land looks productive.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

Perhaps you have read of the insect apocalypse.  80% decline in insect numbers over the last forty years, perhaps worldwide, at least Europe and the US.  Global warming is a factor but probably a greater cause is use of insecticides and other agricultural poisons.  Perhaps Cuba is fortunate here, because US sanctions may mean they have no access to modern toxic chemicals from companies such as Monsanto.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

We’re still over Cuba, but now the coast and islands at the eastern end.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel .

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel .

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel .

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

I’m pretty sure this is the western tip of Haiti.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

For those with limited knowledge of geography, the island to the east of Cuba is Hispaniola, which is divided into Haiti to the west and the Dominican Republic to the east.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

I have read that you can see the boundary between Haiti and the Dominican Republic from space.  Haiti is quite deforested and the Dominican Republic not at all.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

This goes back to the days of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic (1930-1961).  Dictators are usually bad news but he preserved the forests and sent the army in to ruthlessly suppress illegal logging.  Haiti on the other hand is one of the poorest countries in the world with little effective government and the whole countryside was stripped bare.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

It was too cloudy for me to see the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  We are by now over the Dominican Republic (and probably for one or two of the previous images).

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

A large dam with a city near by.

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

Agricultural land

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel .

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Aerial Photography, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel

Probably the coast near Santo Domingo.

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Montague Island Monochromes

Montague Island, New South Wales, Australia, 8 to 11 November 2019

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Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there may also be more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies. (Click on any image to see it larger).

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pelican in Narooma Harbour.

Montague Island Day One..

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Humpback whale disappearing.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Humpback whales, mother and calf.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Seals off a headland.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

A seal launching into the sea.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

At the lighthouse cottages when the storm hits.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested terns courting.

Montague Island Day Two.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Silver gull.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Silver gull chicks.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

View from the lighthouse looking south, showing the stones sacred to the Aborigines (the whale, the shark and the tortoise) and also the small lighthouse cemetery.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

View of lighthouse cottages from the lighthouse.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

The old wharf.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Sea eagle.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Tiny ground flowers.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Old banksia setrrata cone.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Little penguins coming ashore.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Great cormorants on rock.

Montague Island Day Three (Morning).

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Seal interactions.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Shell on rock.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Sooty oystercatchers.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Created tern coming in to land.

Montague Island Day Three (Afternoon).

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Silver gull and nesting material.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested tern with fish.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Silver gull coming in to land.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested tern and chick.

Montague Island Day Four.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Contention.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Competing for space.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Welcome swallows.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

The lighthouse receding.

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Australia, Crested Terns, Landscape, Lighthouses, Macro, Montague Island, Nature, Photography, seascape, Travel, Whales, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pelican confused by sign.

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I’m due to go down to Thredbo for the Thredbo Blues Festival next weekend but because of bushfires in the area I won’t know whether the festival is on until later today or tomorrow.  There may or may not be a post on that in a few weeks.  Next week though, I expect to resume the account of my travels to Cuba and the Caribbean at Santo Domingo in the Dominican republic.