News, Notes, and Dispatches From Wherever Coconuts Grow
Category: Caribbean

January 05, 2008

Man Dies After Falling from Coconut Tree

From Newsday in Trinidad and Tobago comes this sad news:

REGINALD BEST, 46, who died after falling 65 feet from a coconut tree on Wednesday, was given a final farewell by family and friends at a funeral service yesterday. Officiating at the service was Pastor Suresh Harripersad, who lent Best a ladder to climb the tree.

Grieving relatives said it was customary for Best to borrow pastor Harripersad’s ladder to get coconuts in the Debe Trace, Debe area where he lived.

Full story available here.

Posted by brian at 07:46 PM | Caribbean | Comments (461)

November 26, 2005

Coconut Palm Crashes Into Tent Where Ceremony Is Taking Place

Tragedy struck in Trinidad and Tobago recently, when a coconut palm tree cracked and fell onto a tent inside of which a traditional cultural ceremony was taking place:

PUNDIT Seeram Maharaj was performing the last of the Kartik rituals, a Hindu water festival, when he heard a loud cracking sound.

A coconut tree had crashed on a tent under which devotees had gathered.

Maharaj was pinned under the tent, with more that 18 worshippers, his son Deepak Maharaj recalled yesterday. "The incident happened about one and a half hours after the prayers started," he said.

Margaret Danook, 65, was hit in the head by the fallen tree and died before reaching the hospital. Six others, including the Hindu priest, suffered injuries. Relatives at Danook's Chase Village, Chaguanas, home said they were unable to speak with the media yesterday.

Full story here at the Trinidad Express.

Posted by brian at 08:11 PM | Caribbean | Comments (0)

November 06, 2005

Animals thriving amongs the coconuts

In what appears to be a letter to the editor, one person in Barbados makes a plea for growing coconut palms on the island. Besides: animals like to frolic amongst them. (As long as the coconuts don't fall and knock them out!)

Also interesting was this quote: "Just why anybody in their right mind would want to ship green coconuts by sea to Barbados, remains undetermined. There are not many people who would, or should, be willing to drink a coconut that is more than a couple days old. The aficionados of coconut water, would never touch one that was not picked that same day."

Note to self: drink only fresh coconut water.

Posted by brian at 10:28 AM | Caribbean | Comments (0)

July 31, 2003

Montserrat: The Gray Pearl

Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the number one place I wanted to travel to was Montserrat. If for no other reason than because I'd read so much about the warm, friendly people; the beautiful scenery; the recording studio made famous by McCartney, Sting, and other stars; and last but not least, the goatwater stew (Montserrat's national dish) in Plymouth. With a name like "goatwater", it had to be good. I was determined to try a bowl of goatwater.

Unfortunately, the 1995 violent reawakening of the long-dormant Soufriere Hills volcano (the very one Jimmy Buffett once sang about) on Montserrat changed everything. Within a few years, most of the island was covered in ash and lava. Indeed, the town of Plymouth is gone.

Two weeks ago, another eruption occurred when the lava dome, which builds up only to collapse, once again collapsed, sending out more ash and covering the island once again.

Here's a Montserrat website with a large collection of video and still photos of this July eruption.

Reading dispatches from Montserrat these days is sad. For instance, from a recent Reuters article:

. . . the volcano's dome has been continuing to grow and then periodically collapse, spewing superhot rock and ash. Half the island is still off limits because of the danger, and rockfall from the latest collapse was limited to that uninhabited area.

Work crews were still trying to clear main roadways on Wednesday, shoveling the sun-hardened ash into trucks.

Residents were using so much water to scrub away the mess that rationing was implemented. The water supply is drawn from underground springs, and the taps are turned off daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. so the springs can replenish the storage tanks.

The heavy ash crushed flat tin roofs on a few small rum shops and garages, filled the coastline with dead fish and killed off doves and pigeons. It choked the fields, destroying 95 percent of the vegetable crops and leaving livestock gasping for breath and unable to find forage under the dust.

The eruption also may have wiped out the national bird, the already endangered Montserrat Oriole. "There have been no reported sightings since the explosion," Greaves said.

Here's a link to the full Reuters article.

Following the eruption, the governor of the island declared Montserrat a disaster zone.

In 1991, the Montserrat census showed 10,639 residents. Today, there are less than 4500 people left living on the island, which from the home page of the official Visit Montserrat tourism website, you'd never know was in such dire straits.

Montserrat's chief medical officer, Dr. Joseph Hawes, was recently quoted saying, "Montserrat is still safe, still nice -- not the emerald green but we are now gray pearl."

I still hope to visit the island some day. I'd love to know if they're still serving goatwater.

Posted by brian at 11:58 AM | Caribbean | Comments (3)

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