Can It Get Any Better?

by Ivan Butcher II

Although each trip and island has its own special appeal, it seems like each year the trips get better and better.

The thing was... l got home from St. Vincent about 2 pm from the airport, so I decided to take a nap for a couple of hours and then head out to Cramer's Park for a party. It never happened. I woke up the next day at 6 am. I slept 17 hours straight through the night into the next morning. Can it get any better?

This trip reminded me of our stay in Jost Van Dyke; not so much the environment, but the group closeness as we spent a lot of time together. What I noticed was that, at sometime or another, I found myself spending time interacting with everyone in the group. The hotel was cozy enough with special nooks all around. It was, also close enough for the beach and provisions. Talking about food, the Puerto Ricans have been our best providers. When it was to be a buffet... it was a 'Buffet': good, tasty food that could not be outdone.

The Vincentians seem to be proud humble people. We were well received everywhere we went We were even comfortable walking the roads at night, although you would have to be pretty naive to think that in any country or town, there are no bad guys (vampires) out at night. But, you did have to lookout for the traffic. They drive very fast on those narrow roads even at night. It's like when you are hiking, you have to watch where you step and what you touch... and trust your instincts.

The highlight of the trip for me was when I popped up, after being dragged under the waterfall and swirled around like I was in a washing machine. It was part horror and exhilaration. What a rush! In photography, when you talk of the precise moment, Ira captured that moment.

The trek to the volcano seemed endless and it was raining and cloudy. The sky cleared up for only a couple of minutes, which made the journey into La Soufriere worthwhile. The wall inside the volcano looked terraced, like how they cultivated their mountainsides, but more like layers of red, orange and brown hues of the earth and rocks, speckled with some short shrubs. The base of the crater had some trees which surrounded a large pond. We were told later that the first group missed the view because of the rain.

The adventure didn't stop at the volcano. Next, it was a spooky walk – through the amazing manmade Black Point tunnel, The entrance was like a foyer to a big cave, as you walk in you can see a faint light, literally at the end of the tunnel. The floor was like a steam bed because water was seeping through the walls and the ceiling. To add more suspense to being in the tunnel, there were bats flying when you passed them. At the end of the tunnel the view was like a photo from National Geographic. And oh... there was someone, always, nestled in the many caves that covered the mountain above the tunnel.

The turtle sanctuary procedure should be adopted here in the Virgin Islands. It is not only an attraction but, also, a needed attempt to try to prevent the endangering at such beautiful and unique creatures.. The armadillo, another amazing animal which was imported into the islands, was illusive during our hike through the Vermont National park. But again, I was with the group that saw three sets of parrots in flight from the lookout site. When we visited the botanical garden they did have parrots and armadillos on exhibit. The culture: this was the first island! have visited where the Caribs were not isolated but were, and still are, an intricate part of the history and the culture in their Islands. Olasee covers all of that history so well. As an artist, I noticed that there was an absence of art galleries and museums. Except for the exhibits at the fort, there is an untapped natural resource of creative talent.

We hiked their trails, climbed their peaks, swam in their rivers, sailed their seas, ate and partied at their restaurants, danced in their streets, applauded their Calypsonians. Our Association members, known as the 'Crucian Posse" left the Vincentians with an everlasting impression as they, most certainly, did on us. Can it get any better? I can see St Vincent in my future.

P.S. Although these other islands have offered some very beautiful, exciting, breathtaking experiences... "there is no place like home". In a slightly lesser degree, we can experience almost all of those things - without traveling for hours by boot or plane. By just stepping outside and hiking for an hour or two, you can "get lost in Paradise" and "forget" you're on St. Croix.

Ivan Butcher II had been the Vice-President of the St Croix Hiking Association.

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