Journal archives for March 2023

March 10, 2023

Visit to Nevis and St. Kitts, February and March of 2023

This year we went to Nevis quite early in the year because I really wanted to take a non-stop flight not only traveling to Nevis via St. Kitts, but also coming back home again to NYC.

If we could get a non-stop flight for our return to NYC, we would not have to change planes in Miami, which is unpleasant, difficult, and time-consuming. When you go home from Nevis via Miami, the trip from St. Kitts to JFK takes 8 hours, as compared to 4 hours if you are fortunate enough to be on a non-stop flight. For the end of this trip I booked us onto the last possible non-stop return flight back to NYC, which occurred on Saturday March 25th (presumably this counts as the last day of the winter tourism season) and because we wanted to stay on Nevis for 4 weeks, that meant we needed to start our vacation on Feb 25th.

I expected Nevis to be all dried out, as the winter drought is usually still going on at this time of year. However, we were fortunate that Nevis had had a lot of rain over the course of about 3 weeks before we arrived, so everything, including the wild hillsides, looked quite lush and green, and there were a lot of weeds and wildflowers in bloom. There were several that I had not seen before, including the Yellow-flowered Waterhyssop shown further down this page.

The Oualie Bay Area, where we stay, had seen some changes since last year's visit: the very large rough pasture between the hotel and the main road was completely and thoroughly fenced off with barbed wire, except for one entrance near what I call "the laundry barns" of the Oualie Beach Hotel. However, a few feral donkeys and a flock of local sheep were able to find their way into and out of the pasture using that one entrance.

Major road work was being carried out on this part of the main road (the main road is the road which encircles the island). In the Oualie area, the road is being widened, in most places it is being raised, although where it goes over a steep hill with poor visibility it is being lowered, and also it is being resurfaced. This process has temporarily made the road very unpleasant to walk along. The workers seemed to be using a mixture of crushed rock and concrete mix, which was dumped on the surface, steam-rollered in place, then watered, and allowed to sun dry, and set. Then about 4 inches of asphalt was laid down on top of the crushed rock mixture. When the work is completely finished, I hope there will be somewhere on both sides of the road for pedestrians to walk, because currently the edges of the the new road are just like small messy cliffs. If you accidentally drove off the road, your car would roll for sure.

There is a small herd of beautiful and friendly brown cows which are are usually to be seen wandering around next to and in around the hotel. The cattle are owned by John Yearwood, who also half-owns the hotel, but during this visit they were not around at all. Because the roadwork would have been dangerous and unpleasant for the cattle, John currently has had the herd pastured in a field some distance away, to the east of Lovers Beach.

The two kitchen cats that usually grace the hotel with their presence had been cut down to one by a sad accident. I was told by one of the staff that Bandit got run over when he was crossing the road, but another staff person said the cat was accidentally poisoned. The one surviving cat, Smokey, was impossible to find most of the time, so unfortunately we had very little cat contact until quite late in the trip, when Smokey realized that we were an asset because we had brought with us a bag of delicious kitty treats with catnip in them.

The local wildlife, such as the insects, including the butterflies and moths, was interesting because it seemed to be a somewhat different line-up of species to what is here when we are on Nevis in April or May. For example. I twice saw a Zebra Longwing near the hotel.

I managed to find a few new species of plants, as well as several new Lepidoptera, and plus, searching for new-to-the-list shells on St Kitts produced a decent number of positive results for me.

It is too early for the Neem trees to be fully in flower, and the beach morning glories only have very few flowers out this early. The Flame Trees have no sign of flowers yet at all at this time of year.

Posted on March 10, 2023 11:46 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 19 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

March 17, 2023

In St. Kitts and Nevis in February/March 2023

Because I wanted to be able to take a non-stop flight both ways -- here and back home to New York City again -- we are on the island of Nevis early this year, very early, since we are usually in the Caribbean in April, or even in May.

The so-called "shoulder season" of tourism, which is between high season and low season, is what allowed us, back in the 1990s, to visit the private island of Mustique, in the Grenadines, and stay at the Cotton House Hotel at reasonable prices. Actually I think we have never been to the Caribbean this early in the year before. It makes a big difference to what is in bloom of the trees and wildflowers and weeds.

For example, i have only seen one small plant of the Popping Pod. It had two buds on it whereas a few years ago here I saw many, many of them flowering.

And as for the invertebrate life, I have seen a lot of egg masses of the Apple Murex washed up on the beach on Oualie Bay, so I think it must be egg-laying season now for the Apple Murex.

We have had some rain at night on a few days. It also had rained hard on and off for 3 weeks before we arrived, so the landscape did not look at all dried out, although usually that would have been the case in late winter, as we were not in the spring rainy season yet.

Yesterday afternoon we saw in the sky a lot of clouds that are called "Mare's Tails" which mean that rain is on the way. It rained hard for about an hour today at about 8 am, but the sun is out now.

Posted on March 17, 2023 04:46 PM by susanhewitt susanhewitt | 0 comments | Leave a comment