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Ash, Ash, and More Ash

June 8, 2016

by Nicole
At anchor, Staniel Cay, The Bahamas

Touring the ruins in Montserrat was a completely new experience.  We had seen many ruins before, but nothing quite like this.  On July 18, 1995 the dormant Soufriere Hills volcano became active, exploding and destroying the capitol city of Plymouth.  From that time until 2000, nearly two-thirds of the island's population fled, mostly going to the United Kingdom.  You can find out more about the island here.  The volcano has been relatively quiet since early 2010, but it is still studied closely.  It is the most studied volcano in the world and it is known as, "Modern Day Pompeii."  There is an exclusion zone around most of Plymouth, which means that no one can enter that area.  Montserrat Springs Hotel is located just at the edge of the Exclusion zone.  Until recently,

this area was within the larger exclusion zone, and the public did not have access to it.  Now that it is open, people can explore it.  These ruins were amazing because every surface was covered in a couple feet of ash.  There was even a swimming pool that had been completely filled up.  It was a crazy thing to see, and one that was completely unique. 

The Sufriere Hills Volcano, seen from the grounds of the Montserrat Springs Hotel.
The Montserrat Springs Hotel entrance.

In the lobby a path was dug through the ash.

No one will be swimming in this pool for quite some time.

Pam F. said...

Great story and photos, Nicole.
When I worked at National Geographic Television at the time Montserrat erupted, we did a couple cool films about it. Maybe when you get back you can get your hands on them. I also have a tiny vial of volcanic ash from Mt. Saint Helens (which erupted I think in 1980?) that my dad brought back from a trip out west just after that eruption. Don't know if there's room on the boat for you to stash a tiny keepsake for your future child(ren) : )
Hi to your whole family from ours....