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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Little Known Golden Rock of the Caribbean

St Eustatius (locals call it Statia) is scenic, and mostly volcanic
There are just three beaches, and tourism is on a small scale 



The island earned the nickname of the "The Golden Rock" from its once prosperous trading days when it was the busiest port in the Caribbean, and the center of duty free commerce. 


Photo Credit: Carrie Gibson 

This is one Caribbean island that has not been touched by mass tourism, and can best be described as an ecotourist adventure. 

Hikers will appreciate the dormant volcano, and divers can explore sunken ships along with the amazing reef which is larger than the island. And history buffs will be fascinated by this small island's history which changed hands at least 22 times.

The islands beaches are a result of the two extinct volcanoes - 
The Quill and Little Mountain. 


Photo Credit: Beach.com 

All three of the islands beaches are best for sunbathing and hiking. Swimming is not advised as all three have dangerous undertows. Actually most of the island has steep cliffs or hills descending into the sea. 




Mount Mazinga, better known as the The Quill

Often described as the "most perfect volcano" in the Caribbean
Photo Credit: flyandsea.com

Forest covered volcano, and also a nature preserve - The Quill rises to 1, 960 feet, and hikers can ascend to the crater's rim and then descend into the crater. The lush tropical rainforest has 12 marked trails, and offers a wide variety of wildlife, exotic orchids, birds and native vegetation. 

Statia's Famous Blue Beads



Photo Credit: Statia Park


Blue beads were produced in the 17th century in Amsterdam by the Dutch West Indies Trading Company, and used as currency for rum, cotton, fur, and tobacco. 

It is believed 30 of these same beads were used by the Dutch to purchase the island of Manhattan from the Indians.  

Many divers have found these blue beads at a site called Blue Bead Hole. As to how so many beads got into the sea around the island there are two stories. Slave wages were paid in blue beads, and after emancipation it is said the slaves threw their beads in the sea to celebrate their freedom. Another story tells of a cargo ship carrying beads which sunk off shore spilling the beads on the ocean floor.  

Interesting Fact:

During the American Revolution, the island was a way station for arms smuggled to the colonists. When the United States declared independence in 1776, Statia was the first foreign power to officially salute a U.S. flag vessel - an action the British did not forget after the war. 

The Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum displays the role Statia played in the American Revolution, and the islands airport is named after American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.   


November 16th is “Statia Day” 

Statia Day Flags Photo Courtesy of SoloCaribe


Local government, representatives of the American consulate, marching bands, and tourists head to Fort Oranje, with its turrets overlooking the ocean, for a reenactment of the first gun salute to the United States in 1776. 

Where is Statia located?

It's a 20 minute flight from St Maarten, and there are (5) flights per day.  

Dutch is the official language, however English is widely spoken. Both Statia and Aruba have capital cities named Oranjestad. 

The Dutch Caribbean islands of St Eustatius, Bonaire and Saba are all special municipalities of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other islands Aruba, Curacao and St Maarten voted to become independent countries with official Dutch Representation. 

Learn more about this Dutch Caribbean gem at Statia Tourism 
http://www.statiatourism.com/


Happy Travels,
Linda