Can you imagine getting up from your bed, going to the patio and having a view of a volcano? We present to you our backyard in Richmond Vale Academy: La Soufrière volcano.
La Soufrière Volcano - Our Backyard
One of St. Vincent's most dramatic vistas is a volcanic mountain situated in the rugged north. La Soufrière, often shrouded in cloud, waits for the hearty and energetic to climb its 4,000 feet to be stunned by its immensity.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is part of an island chain in the southeastern Caribbean called the Lesser Antilles, or Windward Islands. Referred to as the “Gem of the Antilles,”. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is comprised of St. Vincent. Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, Mustique, Union Island and many smaller Islands and Cays. Mainland St. Vincent is relatively young, about 3 million years old.
La Soufrière volcano occupies a central place in Vincentian history and psyche. Then, reflected in numerous times it is mentioned in the Bequia Mysteries. So, La Soufrière eruptions, and the volcanic nature of the soil, shaped St. Vincent’s history, population and culture.
It created the black sand beaches along the northern coasts of St. Vincent. Then, the rich, fertile volcanic soil spawned a densely forested interior. Which provided refuge and strategic launching pads for the Carib/Garifuna resistance war against European colonization. Also, the soil supported a variety of crops. Including sugarcane and bananas, which remained mainstays of the Island’s economy for many centuries.
Escaped slaves from such plantations on neighboring islands found refuge among the Caribs on St. Vincent. Intermarrying and expanding the population, eventually giving rise to a new ethnic group, the Garifuna.
The abolition of slavery in 1834. And the resulting labor shortage on the plantations, brought indentured Asian, Portuguese, European and East Indian laborers between the 1840s and 1860s, contributing to the admixture of cultures and bloodlines present on St. Vincent today.
La Soufrière has erupted twice in this century. In 1902 the present crater was formed during a violent disastrous eruption. In 1979, once again, La Soufrière shook the ground and St. Vincent was covered in ash.
St. Vincent’s La Soufrière Volcano dominates the north side of the island. And is accessible from either the leeward or windward coasts. There is a paved farm track from Rabacca on the windward coast, which is the most popular hiking route that will take you inland through plantations of bananas until it reaches the clearly marked trailhead.
From this point it is a 2-hour steady uphill climb to the crater’s edge. Then, during the 2 hour hike you will go through rainforest, mountain thicket. And cloud forest before arriving at the stunning volcanic rock and ash-strewn rim of this incredible crater.
The crater is immense and will fill your entire field of vision with an active lava dome located at its center. Then, there’s a trail that continues around the crater’s edge. And then down through the forest until it reaches the village of Richmond on the leeward coast. If you’re feeling really adventurous it is possible to go down in the crater and walk around the active dome.
A rope stretches all the way down the steep trail to the crater floor which will add an additional 2 hours to your hiking experience. Please note that an approved Tour Guide is required.
In St Vincent you can enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, and sailing with beautiful and pristine views of the Caribbean sea. The clear, warm waters surrounding the island are home to an amazing underwater world with pristine coral reefs teeming with a magnificent abundance of colorful marine life. Diving ranges from gentle to exhilarating with an infinite selection of wall diving sites, wrecks, caves and caverns to explore.
Snorkel in the turquoise waters of Tobago Cays, just a short boat ride away. And float among the hawksbill turtles and observe the wonderful variety of inhabitants of the Horseshoe Reef. Also, From octopus, scorpionfish, spotted moray and queen angelfish.
The sea around St Vincent is considered to be some of the best cruising grounds in the world where sailing yachts may explore the deserted cays. And rocks, sandbars and lagoons of The Grenadines. And the delights of the awe-inspiring islands of Bequia, Mayreau and Union Island.
In the Richmond Vale Academy, you can enjoy this beautiful view while you learn about climate change and global warming or fighting with the poor. But, if you really want to explore this volcano, in the Richmond Vale Hiking and Diving Center, you can hike La Soufrière Volcano. At the top, you can rest, eat, relax or go down to the crater of the volcano. Once inside, you can experience the silence and the beauty of the crater.
Now that you know how our backyard looks like, would you like to meet it in person? We assure you that you will not regret it and it will be an unforgettable experience.
We invite you to explore with us this beautiful volcano!
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