Monday, May 31, 2010

Adventures on Land and Sea

Blog editor's note: we have been in such a whirl of St. Lucian activity that the postings have got a bit behind, and i do apologize for the lack of recent photos. After the amazing activities detailed below we took Saturday mostly off (Vieux Fort Market in morning, relaxing in afternoon, bonfire at the beach with full moon at night), then on Sunday jumped in the cars and headed back out on the road to see the island. We're up in the north just now taking in the tourist areas and teaching classes at the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School, and are heading back south tomorrow afternoon. More pictures SOON !!!

Friday May 28: Adventures on Land and Sea
Our much anticipated hike through the rainforest finally arrived today. Having never been in a rainforest, En Bas Saut was quite a sight to see. We started our journey in Soufriere, where we met our drivers, Tony and Valerie. They took us up a long and bumpy road, 1700 feet to the beginning Edmond trail. The ride up to the national preserve was nearly as exciting as the rainforest itself. All along the way, our drivers provided us with information about local trees and their many uses. At one point we were even asked to identify a tree based on the smell of its leaf. After thinking it over for a minute, none of us could come up with the scent. We were pleasantly surprised to find that it was cinnamon! Going further up the road, we met our forest guide, Mitchell. He hopped on back of the Land Rover and we continued to make our way to the trail entrance.
As we arrived, we came across a sign that read, “…take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.” What an appropriate introduction to these beautifully preserved lands. As we began our hike, we were introduced to the forest plantations, which had been created for the purpose of timber production, as well as to help prevent soil erosion. The prominent tree species present included Blue Mahoe and Mahogany. Our whole rainforest experience was fascinating! And the fact that it even rained while we were there made it all the better.
The remainder of our day consisted of a boat ride off the shore of Soufriere where we learned about their marine management area. The managed area is broken up into marine reserves, fishing priority areas, recreational areas, and yacht mooring areas. It was created to help avoid conflict between those using the area and also to help protect marine resources. Not only was the tour informative, but it also gave us a chance to see the island from a different viewpoint; from the sea.
All in all our day was great! The efforts to preserve the land and sea here in St. Lucia are certainly something to be upheld and admired. It is good to know that there are those that can see the importance of protecting the future in the present. These efforts are the ultimate acknowledgement of the interconnectedness between the well-being of people and that of the environment.

- Andrea & Lindsey