2003-01-23 :: Turf and Surf
Today was a bit of an action packed day (well, at least
for lazy people like us). We all packed into a van and went into
Clifton (the large town on the island). Besides walking,
vans are the main way of getting around on the island. Like on
Grenada, the vans here are clean and European looking, although
there are also a few Japanese pickup trucks with seats and a roof
that you can take. The vans have either three or four rows, and
they try to squeeze as many people in as they can (four people
per row at busy times, sometimes more if there are small kids).
The rides only cost 2EC a person (less than $1US), and there are
only a handful of drivers on Union. As a result, Tim and Cambria
know most of the drivers by name. The rides are also a bit
thrilling, as the roads are narrow and often have deep gullies
next to them for rain runoff.
Anyways, we took the van into Clifton to go see an old fort
on a fairly tall hill. The driver (Justin?) was nice enough to take
us up as far as the road would go, which cut off about half of the
overall hike. Along the way up there were several scenic views of the
island. At the top there was an old and fairly small fort with a few
cannons. A sign on the fort sez (I took a picture of it to read it
This fort has been built between
1776 and 1783 to protect the island against the French Navy and the
allies the American Privateers during the American War of Independence.
The 16-pounder cannons were brand new models much lighter than the
previous ones and may be prototypes, as that gauge had never been
used in the navy of that time. Their range was nearly 5 miles.
Yep. So.. we wound up staying at the top of the hill for a
while because it was nice and breezy up there, and there was
a great view. While we were perching, we watched the drama of a
speedboat rescue operation unfold. It took us a while to figure out
what was going on, but we think the rescue boat had been called out
to tow in a boat that had gotten stranded off the coast
of Union. Too bad the mighty Kodak camera only has a 2x zoom.
After a while we decided to head back down the trail and go to the
beach near the airport. We skirted along the edge of the yacht club grounds
(making Popeye noises.. well, at least I did), and stopped at a nice little
spot that was down from the docks. We put on the snorkeling gear and
swam out beyond the yachts to a reefy kind of area. Once again,
we saw lotsa nice little
fishies, none of which I can remember the names of. From there we swam
out to a tiny little island called Russell (sp?) island, where this
guy Russell lives. In the above picture it's that little island just
beyond the yachts. Afterwards, we swam back to our beach and devoured
some pringles and cookies that we'd brought with us to the beach.
On the way back home we wandered by the area where the yachters
dock. There's a fancy shmancy restaurant there that has two outdoor
pools- one for lobsters, the other for a bunch of nurse sharks.
In both of these tanks, the animals seemed to be playing some kind
of underwater rugby, as all the animals were piled up on each other
(when there was plenty of room to move about). Maybe they're
scrimmaging for a big game between each other. If only we were yachters,
we'd know for sure. We headed back home and sacked out for the day..