St. Eustatius Airport Expansion Project: Days 11 & 12 (May 1-2, 2021)
I spent Saturday May 1 working on ink renderings of some of the field drawings I did this past week. This was necessary in order for me to minimize the amount of post-excavation work that I'll have. Having made decent progress, I was able to take Sunday off- my first full day off since I arrived. Now that we are out of quarantine and free to explore the island, I made my way to Lower Town by way of a very, very steep cobblestone path known as the Slave Path.
Slave Path to Lower Town, with Saba in the distance.
I spent an amazing two hours lounging under the shade of a tree on a narrow stretch of beach, between the ruins of two 18th century stone storehouses. It was here that I spotted a baby octopus, traversing the sand where the waves break along the shore. I only wish I had my phone with me at the time.
While not as "picturesque" as the white sandy beaches of the more touristy Caribbean Islands, I would argue that the black sand, which is comprised of volcanic material, is of a finer grit- making it more soothing on the feet. It's fineness is also its handicap, as it to sticks to EVERYTHING.
I then returned up the steep Slave Path to the adorable historic section of Upper Town, and headed over to Fort Oranje. The 17th century fort has a commanding view of the Caribbean and served to protect the roadstead, which is a stretch of water that provided the perfect conditions for anchorage and was the lifeblood of trade and commerce on the island in the 18th and 19th centuries. It's also credited with firing the "First Salute" acknowledging American sovereignty on November 16, 1776.
Fort Oranje sits atop an eroded cliff, with the Slave Path visible along the left side.
Throughout the centuries, the walls of the fort have collapsed and have been repaired several times due to land erosion. Over the last ten years or so, an abatement project seems to have successfully prevented further erosion.
From the fort I made my way back to the Science Institute, encountering many small lizards and two St. Christopher ameivas (Pholidoscelis erythrocephalus). Now I'm relaxed and ready for another week of hard work & discovery!