~ Witnessing La Soufrière’s outbreak on a sailboat ~
14.04.2021 10pm Emergency state in St.Vincent after Volcano outbreak
Dear friends, I write to you from Canouan Island, St Vincent and the Grenadines. As you might have already heard in the news, last Friday on April 9th St. Vincent’s active volcano La Soufrière erupted in the morning hours.
After another provisional cleaning session on anchor in Mystique we called it an early night and continued sailing over to Canouan which has a proper marina, Sandy Lane Yacht Club. Here a proper cleaning session with water supplied by the marina could be done. It took a whole day to clean the ship inside out, inside because the ash dust also had come in through the open windows.
Since last Friday’s outbreak La Soufrière has erupted again two more times and keeps on releasing streams of lava as well as clouds of ash and toxic gas.
The situation is disastrous, especially on the main island.
St. Vincent’s around 100.000 inhabitans are suffering from repeated power outages and lack of drinking water as well as other essential goods.
Like most of the caribbean islands St. Vincent makes its own drinking water by turning sea water into sweet water. That is now impossible because the sea water is polluted. Many people lost their houses. Locals living in the „red zones“ have been rescued and taken to shelters set up by the government or off the island by cruise ships from the region that lended their help. There are still a few people stuck in the danger zones who didn’t leave in time. Distribution of the available goods among the affected population is difficult. Covid regulations also exist here, now there is double chaos.
Many tourist attractions on St. Vincent such as Wallilabou where parts of Hollywood movie Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed, are covered by lava and falling rocks.
I have seen this place only two weeks ago! It is hard to believe the eyes looking at recent photos.
Wallilabou before and after
Local friends and fellow sailors keep sharing horrible pictures of the caused damage.
This time is said to be as severe as St.Vincent’s so far worst outbreak in 1902. The worst outbreak is said to be yet awaited.
While the neighboring islands are fighting with ash rains and damage as well thankfully we are save here in Canouan, only a mild dust came down so far, yet ash rains are expected here as well in the upcoming days. The wind brought the ash as far as Barbados island located east of St. Vincent. People there were advised to stay inside their houses for shelter during the rain.
My time here is slowly coming to an end. Travel destination plans keep changing on a daily basis aboard Pamina because of latest developments and changes in travel restrictions. For now we decided to set sails to Panama starting tomorrow and are all set and ready. The tour might take us around one week.
It will be my first time seing Charly’s sailordog skills in action during a several-day trip on the water and I am excited. We expect quite strong winds by the end of this week and are looking forward to explore the beautiful islands of San Blas which lay four hours outside of Panama City.
I leave this place with rich memories and gratitude to the manifold faces of St. Vincent and the Grenadines which I was able to witness and enjoy together with my adorable crew.
For those who wish to help the people of St. Vincent with a donation, please find below the information of the organization UK-SVG Friendship Trust based in London which is collecting donations from people who wish to help from overseas.
Every donation counts. Thank you very much. You’ll read from me soon.