Trip Dates: 10/21-11/11/17
Finally, I bring you the final installment of last year’s vacation to Barbados. The last few articles covered the history of several areas across the country, but today I will show you some of the natural wonders of Barbados—with just a little bit of history.
Animal Flower Cave
Located at the northernmost point of Barbados—creatively named North Point—is Animal Flower Cave. These caves were carved out of the cliff face by the constant motion of the waves over centuries. The coral floor of the cave is estimated to be between 400,000 and 500,000 years old.
Visitors can enter the cave at low tide down a steep stairway built through a former blowhole from the surface above. The cave also contains a series of “pools” of collected water that are deep enough for swimming.
The caves were named after their discovery in 1780 for the many strange “flowers” that would suddenly hide when touched—of course, sea anemones. Animal Flower Cave still contains many anemones, although, at the time of my visit a torrential rain had flooded much of the cave with fresh water, killing many of them. But fear not, life…uh, finds a way—several tiny anemone had already begun re-growing.
To me, however, the most remarkable part of the cave is the view out of the cliff face, opening onto the open ocean.
Barclays Park and the East Coast
During one of our leisurely afternoons we stopped for a bit to relax in Barclays Park. The park is a cozy area set amongst the trees along a hillside overlooking the Cattlewash area of Barbados’ Atlantic East Coast—so named for the cattle that once waded along the beach.
This section of shoreline is among the most beautiful in Barbados, and much more secluded than the developed West Coast, perfect for someone as antisocial as me.
However, if you are looking to swim, this is not the place. This coast is constantly subjected to the full force of the Atlantic Ocean, strong currents and many jagged rocks render these waters dangerous. Otherwise, the area is perfect for a private stroll or picnic along a beautiful beach. Speaking of food, we also stopped for lunch at a café along the beach, and I couldn’t help but do a quick sketch.
St. John’s Parish Church
Farther down the East Coast, set atop a hillside with gorgeous views of the coastline below, is St. John’s Parish Church.
The first church here was possibly constructed around 1645, although no one knows the exact date. This church, constructed of wood, burned down and was rebuilt in 1660. The new church lasted about fifteen years before being seriously damaged by a hurricane in 1675. Once again, it was rebuilt.
This time, it lasted about a hundred years before being heavily damaged in yet another hurricane in 1780. Showing a surprising amount of patience, the parishioners once again rebuilt the church.
If you have followed along thus far, you know what happens next. Yes, you got it, in 1831 the church again fell victim to a hurricane. St. John’s, as it appears today, was rebuilt in 1836, and has yet to be destroyed by a hurricane.
Interestingly, St. John’s Parish Church is the resting place of the last descendant of the second brother of Emperor Constantine.
Just down the road from the church is Codrington College, an Anglican Theological school set amongst rows of palm trees.
Upon his death in 1710, Christopher Codrington III deeded a portion of his plantation estate to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Construction began on the building in 1714, and a school was opened in 1745, although the College would not exist in its present form until 1830.
Like St. John’s Parish Church, Codrington College was severely damaged by the 1831 hurricane. The building was rebuilt in 1833. Then in 1926 Codrington was gutted by a fire, but was restored in 1930.
Most recently, restoration on the school began in 1989 and has been ongoing ever since.
It is worth noting that the drive to Codrington is flanked by a pond containing ornamental fish. It is also worth noting that this pond seems to attract a large number of ducks, and that these ducks are not afraid of, nor have any interest in moving for oncoming cars.
On the shores of the Southeastern Coast of Barbados is Foul Bay, a beautiful beach area surrounded by cliffs.
You may remember a few weeks ago when I posted a brief description of the relief printmaking process. I created that print from a photograph I took of Foul Bay.
Foul Bay may seem like a strange name for such a beautiful location, but Foul here does not refer to the state of the area. As I have pointed out, Barbadians are rather literal in their naming conventions. Foul is actually and adaptation of the word Fowl, as in birds. The bay was in fact named for the large number of migrating birds that once nested in this area.
It was also in this vicinity that I sketched one of the many Ginger Lilies that can be found around Barbados.
The Pride of Barbados
No article on the natural wonders of Barbados would be complete without the national flower, the Pride of Barbados.
Also called Flower Fence—because it is often used as a barrier hedge—this flower blooms year round, especially in the tropics. The national flower, specifically the red variety with yellow fringes, can be found on the Barbadian Coat of Arms.
This beautiful flower is also a member of the pea family. There, that is your bit of useless information for the day. Tell your friends.
My sketches haven’t actually done this beautiful country justice, and for that I apologize. But sometime in the near future I will be returning for Round Two, and I will try again with some new beautiful and historic places.