Friday, March 26, 2010

The View from Signal Hill, Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia

This image is a panoramic that I put together using Panorama Factory and shots from the top of Signal Hill on Pigeon Island in Saint Lucia. It's quite a hike to get to the top of this hill, but the view is spectacular.

Many years ago, when the Rodney Bay marina was constructed, they removed the sand and used it to build a causeway linking the island to the mainland. Since then, Sandals resorts has built a lovely hotel on the causeway, which some of the locals resent encroaching on this even lovelier historic national park.

This island has a lot of history. It was fortified by the British as a defense (and implied threat) against the French on the nearby island of Martinique. Fort Rodney, on the lower peak of the island, was the primary walled defense, supported by gun emplacements in the saddle between the two peaks. Signal Hill was used to display large signal flags on a tall flagpole so that distant friendly ships could receive messages. Near the present causeway are the ruins of the extensive headquarters and support buildings built to support the island as a major naval base.

Regrettably, Saint Lucia is undergoing an extreme drought, so all the foliage and underbrush is dry and brown. This is most unusual for this island, which normally boasts extensive rainfall and lush vegetation. The situation is so dire that the government is rationing water, cutting off service to various areas for several days at a time, unannounced and for uncertain duration each time. The locals still use water barrels, and so are generally able to coast through each rationing period. Nevertheless, it puts an incredible strain on their ability to host tourists, which is by far their greatest export.

Kathy and I hope to return to Saint Lucia a third time, when there is more rain and more green. Until then, we pray for them to receive good rains.
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