Category Archives: St. Eustatius

Life on the Golden Rock

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.

10 things I’m going to miss about Statia

In little more than one week I will be moving back to Curacao. There are many nice things to look forward to, but of course there are things I am going to miss too. Except for my friends, young and old, and special people I met, these are the 10 things I will miss most of all about the Golden Rock:

1. The travel time

Wherever you are on Statia and wherever you need to go, travel time is minimal on an island of 21 km2. Have an appointment at 11:00 sharp? Leave home at 11:00 and you will be right on time, Statia time.

2. My scooter

Although I sometimes have to tape my scooter to prevent it from falling apart, I love my blue monster. No need for air conditioning, the wind through your hair and Makeda’s arms around my waist.

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3. My running route

As a runner you love certain roads. I will miss running the road to the Botanical Garden and the road at Lynch going down towards the Berkel plantation.

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4. The animal shelter

For almost two years I have been volunteering at the SEAWF animal shelter. How I will miss all these cuddles!

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5. The roaming animals

Although there are roaming animals on Curacao, it is nothing compared to the number of cattle and goats on Statia. I know, they are supposed to be fenced and kept under control, but I still love it when a big  bull is slowly peering through the shutters of the pub.

6. Everybody greeting each other

On Statia everybody is greeting each other. Waving, honking, nodding, “good morning”. I think I’m going to stick with this habit on Curacao.

7. The Leatherbacks swim team

Makeda has been swimming with the Leatherbacks since almost two years and I have been a coach for a year and a half. I will miss all my kids, the swim meets to St Maarten and St Croix, the fun we had and even the times they drove me crazy 🙂 I love you, guys!

Leatherbacks

8. Turtles hatching 

I’ve witnessed Leatherback turtles, Green turtles and Hawksbill turtles hatch on Zeelandia beach a few times. This is so special!

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9. My big yard with fruit trees

Mango’s, guavas, bananas, soursop, starfruit, cherries, cashews, sugarapple, papaya… and a hammock.

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10. The chance to find my own blue bead

Blue beads are very special for St Eustatius. I have been given one by someone special, but I never found my own. If you find your own, or as some say ‘if a blue bead finds you’, you will always come back  to Statia.

We’ll see where the wind takes me.

Next: 10 things I’m looking forward to about Curacao.

 

From the Golden Rock to Dushi Korsou

It has been a while since my last post. Many things happened. I’ve traveled to St. Croix with the Goldenrock Leatherbacks swim team, to Costa Rica and Panama with my daughter and to Saba with my family. In the meantime I decided to leave St Eustatius, the Golden Rock, after two years, one month and three weeks and go back to Curaçao where I was living before July 2012. Curaçao, or Korsou in the local language Papiamentu, where everything is ‘dushi’ (sweet), is another part of the Dutch Kingdom in the Caribbean. Yes, it’s confusing. Soon I will be working again in the dive center of Go West in Westpunt.

It’s quite a hassle to arrange flights for not only me and my daughter, but also for my three dogs Nelson, Onai and Rosa. Plus some excess luggage of course.

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The move back to Curacao also means that I will rename the blog from “Life on the Golden Rock”, to “Life on a rock”. And that I will do my best to post more often again. Promise.

 

3 days and 500$ to go for the Goldenrock Leatherbacks!

As you might have read in my post On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark! we are preparing for the annual swim competition in St. Croix. “We” are the board members and parents of the Goldenrock Leatherbacks in St. Eustatius and especially the swimmers Matthew (16), Mel (10), Marshel (10), Jason (10), D’Seante (10) and my daughter Makeda (8). I’m the coach of this crazy bunch.

Last year in St. Maarten we looked like this:

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This year in our brand new uniform we look like this:

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Because of some organizational issues (let me not get into detail with that because it will take a week), we all of a sudden have to travel on Thursday instead of Friday, and we have to come back on Monday instead of Sunday. This is going to be a looong weekend. No problem, because we love long weekend on new islands, BUT….

* We have to pay for 2 more nights hotel, transportation and food

* We leave THIS Thursday, June 12!!! That is three more days to go to get the funds together for these extra costs. We already harassed all our friends and family members, so things are really getting tight.

If you would like to help us out and give a little donation, please contact me on vfraukje@gmail.com and we can do this via Paypal. I wanted to add a Donation button, but apparently I do not have the right account type 😦

Also if you don’t like to donate, all crossed fingers, toes, prayers, positive vibes etc are more then welcome!!!

GOOOOOO LEATHERBACKS!!

Mission possible!

On March 7 my mom and I started an interesting experiment. See my post from March 7. She posted a letter in Leiden (the Netherlands) to me in St. Eustatius (Dutch Caribbean or better Caribbean Netherlands) with only my first name

Fraukje

and the name of the island

St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean.

No last name, no street address, no nothing. To receive mail on this 21 km2 island is not always easy, but my blind faith in the Statia post office, or rather the Statia post lady, is rewarded. Exactly two months after my mom posted the letter, see what shows up in my mailbox:

experiment letter

Inside  cute little duck 😀

duck postcard

Thanks!!!!

 

5 reasons why I love Zeelandia (or pro #8 of living on Statia)

Z

 

#1   TO WALK YOUR DOG

dogwalk 2013

This was last year’s dog walk organized by the St. Eustatius Animal Welfare Foundation.

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#2   FOR A STORMY DAY

stormy

#3   FOR EDUCATIONAL TRIPS

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#4   TO SEE HAWKSBILL TURTLES HATCH

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#5 TO SEE LEATHERBACK TURTLES HATCH

LB

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More pros of living on Statia:

How to become a Frequent Flyer (or pro #1 of living on Statia)

How to tape your scooter (or pro #2 of living on Statia)

How and where to swim (or pro #3 of living on Statia)

Wedding Witness (or pro #4 of living on Statia)

Statia in Shape (or pro #5 of living on Statia)

Nevis Agricultural Fair (or pro #6 of living on Statia)

Vogelfestival * Bird Festival (or pro #7 of living on Statia)

What cleaning up can do

W

As some of you know, my April A to Z challenge is off schedule due to moving.

houseSo the letter W in the A to Z challenge is for What cleaning up can do in a house. We’re not completely finished yet, but we’re getting there. Some before & after pictures 😀

The kitchen before….

IMG_0125… and after:

IMG_0273The living room before….

IMG_0127…. and after:

IMG_0276Bedroom #1 before….

IMG_0131… and after:

IMG_0269Bedroom #2 before…

IMG_0119… and after:

IMG_0280What do you think?

 

 

 

Vogelfestival * Bird festival (or pro #7 of living on Statia)

V

Monday April 28 STENAPA (St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation) held its first Bird (Vogel) Festival.

After being tested what our knowledge of the local birds was -I admit, I am terrible in identifying birds- we made a guided walk through town to spot the local beauties.

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Spotting and identifying the birds is hard enough as it is, taking sharp pictures of them is a nightmare. Most of my pictures looked like this:

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Not a bird in sight!

We spotted our national bird, the Kili Kili…

IMG_0220the common dove…

IMG_0225the banana quit….

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and many more, that of course wouldn’t sit quiet.

Back in the library, there was enough to do for young and old.

???????????????????????????????Making bird masks.

bird feedersMaking bird feeders out of empty plastic bottles.

In the end prizes (camera’s, binoculars and bird books) were given out to the kids that handed in the most beautiful picture or drawing of a bird. The jury, that consisted of two professional iguana-watchers that visited the island for the opening seminar of CNSI, had a hard time.

whisperingThe winning photograph by Tom showed one of the few (pet) parrots the island has. Congratulations!

parrot

More pros of living on Statia:

How to become a Frequent Flyer (or pro #1 of living on Statia)

How to tape your scooter (or pro #2 of living on Statia)

How and where to swim (or pro #3 of living on Statia)

Wedding Witness (or pro #4 of living on Statia)

Statia in Shape (or pro #5 of living on Statia)

Nevis Agricultural Fair (or pro #6 of living on Statia)

United forces at CNSI

U

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.

audience

flags

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

lunch

 

iguana

 

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.

opening

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 http://www.cnsi.nl

Relaxing en masse on the beach

Due to unforeseen circumstances like moving and not having an internet connection, I missed a few posts in the April A to Z challenge. I already made up the P (Paint it Purple) and Q (Quill).

Yesterday was Easter Monday. On Statia that means: going to the beach en masse, partying, dancing, drinking, dancing, eating, a lot of music. Some people also camped on the beach at night. The shoreline was covered with party tents.

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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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Paint it Purple

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. As proof of my “excuse” above, hereby a belated P for PAINT IT PURPLE- picture of my daughter’s room, taken before the unpacking was completed.

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On our way to St. Croix, swimmers take your mark!

O

It’s planning time again! The Goldenrock Leatherbacks swim team is preparing for the annual swim meet in the US Virgin Islands. In the weekend of June 13-15, six swimmers, one coach (that would be me) and two chaperons will be going to the 32nd Dolphins Invitational Swim Competition in St. Croix. All swimmers are between the age of 8 and 16 years old and ready to show the rest of the Caribbean that we are here.

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Matthew (16), great diver, good breaststroke and butterfly. Being the oldest one in the team, also a bit my assistant, if he’s not in an argument with his brother Mel. Jason (11) disappeared from the team for a while, but I’m glad he’s back, and stronger. Good breaststroke, good team player. D’Seante (11) likes breaststroke, backstroke, flipping around and talking. Who likes a quiet pool? Marshel (10) unstoppable in every sense, energy overflow, good butterflyer and great freestyler. Kaboom! Mel (10) good in all strokes as long as he stays focussed. Working good on those push-ups. Makeda (8) has a smooooth breaststroke and is getting better and better in butterfly. Keeping up good with the bigger fish.

IMG_8342This was last year on St. Maarten, with some different faces.

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The pool in St. Croix is Olympic size (50 m), so no baby races are done here. Freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly are done in 50 m and 100 m races, 200 IM’s (200 m individual medley, 50 m of each stroke), 200 m mix medley relays (50 m of each stroke by four different swimmers, two boys and two girls) and 200 m freestyle relays are on the program for our swimmers. Four days a week they are in the pool practicing and yes, playing and giving me a hard time. Kids! But seriously, I love my little team and I’m looking forward to spending a weekend with them in St. Croix!

No Olympics yet, but On our way to St. Croix.

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Nevis Agricultural Fair (or Pro #6 of living on Statia)

March 27, 6:00 AM

N

A group of more than 20 people from St. Eustatius, including crop and livestock farmers, gardeners, employers of the department LVV (“agriculture, livestock & fisheries”) of the island government, the vet and other people interested in agriculture, boarded the Waterman to go to Nevis to visit the yearly agricultural fair. As policy adviser of the directorate Economy & Infrastructure, working with the unit LVV, me and my camera were there 😀

Apart from people, the Waterman carried around 1000 kilos of sheep meat and a small amount of cow meat. Over the last year, Nevis has become a regular buyer of Statian meat.

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The manager of the agricultural department and the veterinarian/meat inspector made sure the meat was delivered properly to the Nevis abattoir.

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The fair was very educational and covered a wide range of agricultural subjects. Various techniques of growing vegetables were displayed. This can easily be done by anyone without a big garden:

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The information was abundant, on growing different types of grass, invasive species, health, backyard farming, pesticides etc. Farm animals, pets, flowers, vegetables, seeds, meat, herbs, homemade products like tomato and spinach-wine and much more was for sale. Especially the fruit trees were favorite: guava, lemon, lime, Julie mango, avocado, starfruit, grapefruit, you name it.

konijn

 

fruit

pig

snail

tent

flowers

fruit trees

grass

The Waterman arrived back on Statia at 5:30 PM filled with fruit trees, flowers, herbs, seeds and many other goods, possible business deals, a wet goat and a seasick Rottweiler puppy.

boat

Pro #6 of living on Statia is; for a work-related trip you just hop on the boat to another Caribbean island!

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More pros of living on Statia:

How to become a Frequent Flyer (or pro #1 of living on Statia)

How to tape your scooter (or pro #2 of living on Statia)

How and where to swim (or pro #3 of living on Statia)

Wedding Witness (or pro #4 of living on Statia)

Statia in Shape (or pro #5 of living on Statia)

Vogelfestival * Bird Festival (or pro #7 of living on Statia)

Knock knock, who’s hatching?

Knock Knock!    K

I  know I’m blessed. Happy, lucky and blessed! 😀

This morning I witnessed 81 Hawksbill turtles hatching on Zeelandia beach, THE sea turtle nesting beach in the Caribbean Netherlands. This is the 7th Hawksbill nest already for this season.

Apart from Hawksbill, also the Green turtle and the critically endangered Leatherback nest here, thanks to the never-ending sea turtle protection by Stenapa. Last month the entrance to this beach was finally blocked for vehicles, to prevent illegal sand mining here (high 5 for NuStar for their support). Sea turtles always come back to lay there eggs on the same beach where they are born, so it’s extremely important to keep this beach in good shape for the future generations of turtles.

entrance Zeelandia

Also worth mentioning here: the Stenapa Junior Rangers, small kids with a big future!

Stenapa Junior Rangers sign

Last year I witnessed a Leatherback nest hatching. There’s a clear difference between the two. The Hawksbill is much smaller than the Leatherback. Also, the Hawksbill has a “real” shell, while the Leatherback’s back is, well, leathery (I’m a genius).

First the baby turtles just look like moving sand.

first they look like moving sand

Everybody get your camera ready! Also the kids from the NuStar school were there. Last week two groups from the Golden Rock school had the privilege to watch this miracle.

get ready with your camera

There you go!

hawksbills there you go

hawksbills 78

hawksbills 83

These guys and girls must be pretty smart. Without too many problems they can find their way to the sea. Follow the light! During this short time on the beach (maximum half an hour I’d guess, and that would be a very slow turtle) they have to learn to remember this beach. Thirty years later they will come back to the same spot! I can see the smartness in this turtle’s eyes.

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There are ups and downs.

hawksbill ups and downs

Those human footprints are not an easy hurdle to take.

hawksbill in footprint

Follow the leader.

follow the hawksbill leader

It’s a long way for a tiny turtle.

it's a long way for a hawksbill

Almost there. Get ready for the big splash!

hawksbill ready for the splash

See you in 30 years!

 

Freedom: from Marcus Garvey to Jack Sparrow, from Chocolate Milk to Narnia and back

My mom challenged me with the letter F in this A to Z challenge. The F for Freedom.

F

My mom knows me well. She knows I must have many ideas and thoughts on the concept Freedom. She kind of unleashed a stream of thoughts that is so big and thick it can hardly put into words in a single post. I decided to make a picture collage (+ one  commercial from the 80’s) of what Freedom means to me. Disclaimer: it’s just a glimpse of my mind. And my mind only. Freedom of Thought. Freedom of Expression.

 

Inline image 3

 

Inline image 1 Inline image 2

Inline image 4

relaxation

What does Freedom mean to you?

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