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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Hello all! Today was a great day, nothing bizarre like yesterday but that is quite alright with us! After the usual morning routine of presentations up until lunch, we got in the van and went for some natural history sight seeing. We went northwest to see some sugar mill ruins, Romney Manor, and the Brimstone Hill Fortress.
The sugar mill ruins were small but really amazing. We walked around through some tunnels and over old brick structures, worn out by time. There was a woman there with a baby monkey named "Junior" charging a few EC to hold him and take pictures. A few of us went for it. There were a few stray dogs running around too, and they were very affectionate and sweet. I got some great pictures from the ruins, and of the animals. I'll be adding a link to see more soon. Currently I'm having issues putting them up in my usual fashion.
After the ruins, we continued on up the road to Romney Manor. This was a place with beautiful gardens and views of the volcano, and the lower island. I didn't ask or find out, but I'm assuming this Manor was somehow connected with the ruins below. We were able to walk around and take photos of some of the beautiful flowers on the premises. At some point we heard a loud ruckus coming from the upper branches of a huge tree. We pulled out the zoom lens and binoculars and saw a pair of young peregrine falcons making a scene. I was only able to capture one of them, and didn't get the best of photos but they were clear enough to make an identification. We met a local who told us how these birds often steal the young chicks around the manor not long after they have hatched from their eggs. Too bad for the chicks, but I would have liked to get a picture of the effort.
We all packed ourselves back into the van and continued up the road to Brimstone Fortress. This piece of land juts up out of the earth from ancient volcanic activity. It sits several hundred feet above sea level making a great spot for watching out for intruders. The British built this fortress to protect the island from French invaders back when the island was producing sugar. Recently St. Kitts has been making efforts to rebuilt the fortress for tourism and as a national park.
We were able to explore this area as well. It was incredible to be up so high, and see so far out onto the sea, and into the island. There were cannons at every angle, it was quite the place.
I think we spent a good 3-4 hours up there, and our group was all pretty tired from hiking around. We made dinner plans and hopped back in the van once again for our decent back into town.
Dinner was at a small beach-side BBQ called Cathy's. We sampled her 'famous' rum punch, which was very strong but tasty. Our group sampled several items off the menu and we all shared a taste with each other. Included in this sampling was: ribs, spiny lobster, shrimp, snapper, and chicken, all made with special spices and BBQ smoked goodness. We all very much enjoyed our meals and sides. We always get some interesting sides, like fried bananas, baked/spiced mac & cheese, rice, etc. After dinner a neighboring spot on the 'strip' had a fire dancer so we moseyed on over to check him out. It was a pretty neat show, although his repertoire of moves was a little limited.
That was it for our evening, Kater and I, along with our group were shuttled back to campus to rest up for the big catamaran boat trip tomorrow, which will take us out and around Nevis (St. Kitts' sister island). We're pretty excited and need our rest! Stay tuned for that.

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