gall and gumption

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Leeward Islands

This photo looks southeast, down the length of St. Kitts' Southeast Peninsula, an arid, scrubby and almost empty stretch of hills and salt ponds. The distant land mass stretching from east to west across the frame is the lower slope of Nevis -- you are looking directly at its northern coastline. It's only a couple of miles between the two islands and there is, or used to be, an annual swim, from Nevis to St. Kitts (swimming with the current). You can't see it but a little southeast of Nevis is Montserrat, with the plume of steam from Soufriere Hills always visible. When the volcano sent up a cloud of ash in July 2003 I was staying at Margaret's house, and the ash blew to St. Kitts and settled on every horizontal surface. It blew silently from the south all night and in the morning there was this layer of fine gray dust on everything. All flights to and from the Leeward Islands were canceled for about 24 hours. In St. Kitts the Southeast trade wind is called the sea-blast. If you live on the windward side of the island salt air constantly blows hard off the sea: your stereo will have a shorter life, metal objects get corroded and crusty after a while, and you can feel the grit of the salt on surfaces.

From high above, like if you were maybe in a low-flying plane, you would see that Nevis and St. Kitts and Montserrat make up a sort of chain of mountains with Nevis furthest south, Saba and St. Eustatia (Statia) and St. Martin to the North, and even St. Bart's. From any one of these islands you have a view of at least one other, across the lovely lovely blue sea.

This picture is by my friend Susie, Margaret's daughter, who visited SKN last month. Margaret lives in Barbados now, where Susie also lives.


Post a Comment

<< Home