Taking a helicopter tour to Montserrat

I’ve had a fascination with volcanoes for ages, I even wanted to study Geology/Volcanology at University…this failed to pan out when A-Level results weren’t as expected :-), however it’s not dampened my interest into volcanoes.  We went (pre-kids) to Antigua on what would turn out to be our last holiday as a couple.  Whilst there I spotted a sign for a helicopter tour to Montserrat, having known about the large eruption that occurred there only 9 years previous, it was a place I wanted to visit.

We turned up at the helicopter pad to find another couple who were on the same trip, made for a tight squeeze and somehow I drew the short straw and had to be seated in the middle.  The trip over to Montserrat was relatively quick at around 20 mins, with glimpses of turtles swimming in the Caribbean sea!

2004-09-13 15.17.38

As a bit of history, the volcano (previously thought dormant) erupted in 1995, this triggered regular pyroclastic flows and mudflows towards it’s capital city Plymouth, the city was subsequently evacuated.  Volcanic activity continued and in 1997 a large eruption occurred resulting in the deaths of 19 people and the city was abandoned and destroyed including the Islands airport.  The map below shows the exclusion zones and how much of the Island was affected…however the good news is that tourism is coming back to the north side of the island and a new airport has been built…would love to actually set foot on the island next time!

Topographic map of Montserrat in English

Topographic map of Montserrat in English
Image credit: wikipedia

Here’s some striking images from our trip, the one that stands out the most for me is the one with the church steeple sticking out….please note these pictures were taken in 2004 so the area may well have changed more since.

The old airstrip

The old airstrip

Spot the church steeple?

Spot the church steeple?

2004-09-13 14.49.05
Montserrat 2004
Montserrat 2004
Montserrat 2004
Montserrat 2004
The culprit..

The culprit..

Have you ever been to a volcano?  I would love to one day walk among the Hawaiian volcanoes…

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5 Responses to Taking a helicopter tour to Montserrat

  1. Alice Langley September 24, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    In 1996 a boy joined my school from Montserrat as his home had been destroyed in 1995 – I have been fascinated with the country ever since.

    One of my favorite memories is in the Dec of 1996, during a boring Maths lesson, Anton (the boy from Monserrat) starting jumping up and down shouting that it was Christmas out….we went to the window to see the snow fall. Our teacher ushered back to our chairs and tried to recommence the lesson but Anton was having none of it.

    He left the class and ran outside, laid down and began to roll around.

    Suddenly it dawned on us all…..he had never seen snow before.

    We were all let out of class to go and have a snow-ball fight.

    Being part of that day, that life changing memory for, especially after all e had ben though, was amazing, and something that will live with me forever.

    Thanks for sharing you trip…..it had made me reminisce and put a huge smile on my face. xx

    • Carly September 24, 2013 at 8:23 pm #

      Hi Alice, what a lovely memory, glad my post brought it back to you and made you smile! 🙂

  2. Louise September 25, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

    That looks amazing and such a lovely memory of your last holiday pre-children! I haven’t been to a volcano but have seen Vesuvius from the road and that is majestic enough. One of our holidays pre-babies was on a helihike to a glacier in New Zealand – happy days! xx
    Louise recently posted…Summer in Italy: Medieval night at Rocca San FeliceMy Profile

    • Carly September 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm #

      Hi Louise, thanks for stopping by! Now Vesuvius is on my hit list, would love to go there and Pompeii etc!

  3. Ashish March 6, 2016 at 12:35 am #

    Nov03 sara-leeyes sorry typo *pinterest i cant seem to see the pin it button anwrheye on your page? very very cool stuff by the way, Im a primary school teacher and your ideas are fantastic for the classroom:)Reply