Category Archives: flora

United forces at CNSI


On April 24 and 25 the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute (CNSI) was officially opened in St. Eustatius. To celebrate this, many presentations were held pertaining to the reefs, fisheries, marine and terrestrial reserves, agriculture, tourism, vegetation, research studies, archaeology, diving, history, public health and geology of St. Eustatius, the Dutch Caribbean and the Caribbean in general. Scientists and students from all over the world were present, as well as representatives of Naturalis in Leiden, the University of Wageningen and other universities, Carmabi, NIOZ (Royal Netherlands Institute for sea research) and many more.



A local lunch was held at the beautiful Lynch family plantation. The endangered Lesser Antillean Iguana came to visit.





Governor Gerald Berkel, commissioner Carlyle Tearr and father Raffi of the Roman Catholic Church blessed the new institute, the STENAPA Junior Rangers gave a presentation about the formation of St. Eustatius and the brass band under guidance of maestro Dennis Amajan gave a great show. A big success by organiser Johan Stapel.


Jos Rokx of the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Island Governor Gerald Berkel and Edwin van Huis, director of Naturalis Biodiversity Centre in the Netherlands.

All in all a great initiative to promote and facilitate more research on our little Golden Rock!

Photos by


There goes my A to Z challenge.

The schedule was as follows:

Thursday April 17: the letter O for On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

Friday April 18: the letter P

Saturday April 19: the letter Q

Sunday April 20: RELAX on Easter Sunday

Monday April 21: the letter R

APRIL-CALENDAR [2014] - updated

Instead, this is what happened:

Thursday April 17: the letter O for On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

Friday April 18: I was off and moved to my new house with two bags of clothes and bed sheets, and my laptop. The internet guy was supposed to come by to check which trees need to be trimmed to get an internet connection in my new house. He did not come.

Saturday April 19: Weekend! I planned to go back to my old house, by scooter, with my laptop to post my P and R. The scooter broke down and the bicycle had a half flat tire. I did not feel like walking up and down between houses with my laptop under my arm. Instead I painted some purple.

Sunday April 20: RELAX on Easter Sunday morning and moved more bags and boxes in the afternoon and started unpacking.

Monday April 21: I was off, nobody available to fix a poor girl’s scooter. The whole island was partying on the beach. I joined them. On a half flat tire downhill, walking uphill.

So, my apologies, I did not stick to my A to Z challenge. But in my defense, I did not plan moving in April. I still would like to contribute with a belated Q, which might be a complicated letter for some of us. But not if you live on Statia, where the everyday life is influenced by the presence of the volcano Quill. I would like to reblog my post about the Quill today: going green inside the crater.


Indian River

Close to Portsmouth, on the northwest coast of Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic), you can find the Indian River. The legend says Dominica has 365 rivers, one for each day of the year. I didn’t count or visit them all on my holiday last July , but I do know that the Indian River is worth a visit. Tip: go in the low season and make sure you have the river for yourself!

Step 1: Find yourself a guide, preferably one named Gregory-but-not-Isaacs

Indian River 1

Step 2: Sit back, relax and enjoy the wide view

Indian River 2


Indian River 3


Step 3: Let Gregory-but-not-Isaacs tell you beautiful stories about the Kalinago indians, the nature and the island named Waitukubuli.

Indian River 4


Step 4: Find some amazing flowers

Indian River 5


Step 5: Watch the river get narrower, see the forest get denser and feel the atmosphere getting more mysterious…

Indian River 6


Indian River 7




… until you think life is a fairy tale!

Indian River 9


Indian River


Step 6: Discover a hidden bar, try a passionfruit punch and cool off in the river

Indian River 10


Indian River 12


Thank you, Waitukubuli!

Indian River 11


Going green inside the crater


In my last post I wrote about a new endemic plant species being discovered on the inner slopes of the Quill. The Quill is the dormant volcano on Statia, soaring to a height of 600m  (1,969 ft) at the Mazinga Peak. The name Quill comes from the Dutch word Kuil, which means ‘pit’ or ‘hole’. Thanks to the English settlers who couldn’t pronounce Kuil properly, we now have a volcano named Quill. I admit, it does sound more exotic and exciting than Kuil.

After reaching the rim at 380 m (1,246 ft) you can descent into the crater, which contains a lush tropical rainforest with enormous trees, like Fig trees and Yellow Plums.

The national park is managed by Stenapa and the crater trail is well maintained.

Here’s an impression of the crater trail.

getting ready My new bag – thanks mom & dad! 😀











New endemic species on Statia

As a result of ongoing study of the plant flora of St. Eustatius (Statia) by Dr. Frank Axelrod of the University of Puerto Rico, the New York Botanical Garden and Statia’s national park ranger Hannah Madden, a new species is discovered on the island. This gonolobus aloiensis has recently been described and illustrated by Axelrod and Dr. Alexander Krings in the Journal of Systematic Botany.

The vine is endemic to Statia and represents the first record of the genus for the island. Next to gonolobus aloiensis, the only other endemic species on the island is Statia Morning Glory.

Statia Morning Glory       Statia Morning Glory (picture DCNA)

Gonolobus aloiensis can be found in humid or wet evergreen forests at 275 to 400 meters elevation. On Statia the species only grows on the slopes inside the crater of the dormant volcano, the Quill. Its habitat is therefore not always easily accessible.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the newly discovered species yet, but it’s similar to this one.

Gonolobus1 Gonolobus (picture Fishbein)


For more about Statia’s beautiful nature, check out Hannah Madden’s  website The Flora and Fauna of St. Eustatius.

Crater Quill