Category Archives: Hiking

10 things about Curacao I’m looking forward to

In 8 days I will be moving back to Curacao. Of course there are many things that I’m going to miss about Statia, but on the other hand there are many nice things to look forward to. Except for seeing old friends and making new ones, these are the 10 things I am looking forward to most of all:

1. Papiamentu

In the years I lived in Curacao I learned to speak the local language and I love it. I hope I will be fluent again soon.

2.  The Cinemas

After two years of watching the same movies on DVD and YouTube… Yesss!

3.  Running after dark

Of course it’s too hot (and in my opinion not healthy) to run during daytime in the Caribbean. On Statia there are no streetlights on the roads where I prefer to run. That means I always have to calculate the exact amount of time I need for the planned running distance and subtract this from the time of sunset. Let’s say I do a 10k run in 1:13 and sunset is at 18:23, I have to start running at 17:10 sharp, when it is still hot. On Curacao there are more streetlights, so I’m really looking forward to running when it cooled down a bit.

running shoes

4.  A boatride along the Bandabou coast

I just love the rocking of a boat while watching Knip, Jeremi and the other beaches pass by. And a cool dip in the water at the Blue Room.

5. Shorediving wherever, whenever

Shorediving on Curacao is just great. Diving gear in the car, broom broom, jump in the water and hello different world. I can’t wait to see the underwater world of Hundu and Manzanilla again.

6. Horsebackriding lessons for Makeda

Horsebackriding is one of the things I used to “bribe” Makeda (sorry) into  agreeing to the move to Curacao. She wants this for so long and there is only one single horse on Statia. On Curacao she can do lessons with other kids and go crazy about horses. And every now and then we’ll make a trip together. Yeehaa!

7.  The variety of white beaches

Like Grote Knip, Kleine Knip, Cas Abou and Lagun. Picture from Grote Knip here is from Tripadvisor.

kenepa-grandi

8. Brownies at Sol Food

The best brownies ever, in the heart of Westpunt!

9. Shops

On Statia, everything needs to come from St Maarten, the States or the Netherlands. Choice on such a small island is simply not there. Shoes my size? Forget about it. I’m not a shopping person at all, but I know certain shops are waiting for me on Curacao.

10. Watamula

One of my favorite places on the island, on land for a good hike, but especially under water. Packed with hard and soft corals, lots of marine life, shallow and deep. And all that just around the corner!

My bags are packed.

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Quill

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.

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Boven. Another Adventure of the Golden Rock Adventurers.

B

It was very early, but already hot on the island of Golden Rock. That Saturday morning, not long since the Golden Rock Adventurers came back from their quest for the Beautiful Secret of Little Mountain, there was not a cloud in the sky. Only the moon was looking down mysteriously.

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The Adventurers decided this was the day . They were going to reach the top of Boven, where no man has gone before. In their previous adventures they already learned the secret language of the island, so they knew Boven meant Upstairs or Above. In any way, Boven was high up!

Boven

So off they went. After the first narrow passage…

narrow passage

… they followed the curly flowers…

curly flowers

 

… until they found the Tree Witch hidden under the roots of the giant 150 year old tree.

Treewitch

 

The Tree Witch told them to follow the burning leaves untill they reached the never-ending water. The burning leaves were easy to find.

burning leave

burning leaves

And after a few hours they reached the never-ending water.

walking

 

to the sea

But something strange had definitely happened here. It looked as if a pirate ship had stranded here!

rope

The drunk captain even left his shoes.

Nike

On the beach lay on old treasure chest.

treasure

No luck! It was empty.

empty treasure chest

The Adventurers just wanted to take a break to build some fortune castles…

building stones

…when they heard something in the woods.

in the woods

A lovely little goat was being hunted by…

scared goat

…a giant goat-eating plant!!

plant

And before they knew what happened, the ground shook and broke.

broken

They noticed dinosaur eggs…

dinosaur egg

… footprints of a Something…

footprint

… and bones of a dead Something!

wooden bone

They ran to the lake…

lake

… where a friendly fairy showed them the way UP.

fairy

Boven

They finally started heading up the mountain and left the Something behind.

going up

rock with a view

But to be on the safe side, they pushed a big boulder down.

push a boulder

They were fearless.

fearless

They passed a field of dry grass. At least that’s what they thought.

grass

In fact, it was a field of hair!

hairy grass

 

And that hairy field was the perfect cover for… the African Lioness!

lion

 

 

They’d better run!

 

runBut which way?

which way

Luckily they had a compass…

compass

… that pointed them to the rocks.

rocks

Higher and higher.

higher

They climbed and climbed.

climb

That way!that way

They just took a little break when they saw… killer wasps!!

killer wasps

They had to hide in a cave until they were gone.

cave

This is what happened to the last person -a sunburned tourist- that got stung 70 years ago:

tourist tee

Sometimes (but only for a short while) the challenges were a bit demotivating.

tired

But only 10 minutes later they reached Where No Man Has Gone Before:

almost there

BOVEN!!!!

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They were rewarded with stunning views.

beautiful view

stunning view

After 7 hours of pure adventure, the Golden Rock Adventurers made it!

we made it

 

On top of the world!!

on top of the world

 

 

The Golden Rock Adventurers and the Beautiful Secret of Little Mountain

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It was a warm day in the beginning of eternal spring on the island of Golden Rock. Two adventurers started their search for the Beautiful Secret of Little Mountain. It was not an easy road.

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But they did not know fear and started their journey bravely.

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They found many challenges on their way. A cactus forest…

???????????????????????????????valleys and oceans…

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But with some help…

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they managed to get back on the right track. Although the signs were written in a secret language.

???????????????????????????????They barely had time for a drink and a snack…

???????????????????????????????because they noticed the signs…

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of a giant beast with hairy claws as big as swords!

???????????????????????????????Ruuuuuuuuuuunnnn!!!!

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More spiny challenges were ahead.

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But a trail of fantasy flowers…

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were leading the way to the old tree…

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???????????????????????????????LITTLE MOUNTAIN SUMMIT (translated from the secret language).

They had to hide for Indians in caves…

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and keep an eye on the volcano that was about to erupt.

IMG_9575

 

In the distance was a strange island that had never been there before.

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But something told them that was OK.

???????????????????????????????They finally made it to the top.

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But when they leaned over they saw…

???????????????????????????????POISON!! Millions and millions of liters of poison!!

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Was this the Beautiful Secret of Little Mountain?!?! That couldn’t be!

They turned around and saw the Real Beautiful Secret, only to be seen from Little Mountain. It was so beautiful, it couldn’t even be fully captured on camera. It was the WHALE THAT WOULD SAVE THE WORLD!

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With peace in their heart the Golden Rock Adventurers walked back to civilization, already fantasizing about their next adventure.

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Check here for more adventures of the Golden Rock Adventurers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going green inside the crater

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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! 😀

cratertrail1

 

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cratertrail3

cratertrail4

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cratertrail8

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