Ascent of The Quill 17:28.9N 62:59.4W
Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sat 19 Mar 2016 00:16
The volcano on Statia is known as the Quill, from the Dutch word for hollow, it dominates the South end of the island and last erupted about AD400. It is in the national park and has a number of hiking trails on it for which you need to purchase a hiking permit. Armed with our little green tags on our daysacs and a basic map we set off aiming at least to take the trail to the summit of Mazinga, the highest point on the island and part way round the volcano rim. The woods are the home of Red Belly Racer snakes, Soldier Crabs and Iguanas, we saw the first two but sadly not the Iguanas.
The path starts right down by the harbour and could easily be mistaken for a rubbish tip but it gives quick access to the level of the town and then the next section is road up through housing to the start of the national park. Then a steady climb up through woods to the crater rim, Phil saw one snake on this section.
At the crater rim the woods take on the appearance of tropical rain forest and around the rim we walked and scrambled through luscious vegetation, lots of Elephant Ears, Bromeliads and Orchids. The trail is marked with faded blue paint marks, occasional arrows and bits of orange plastic tape, very useful as the path was not always obvious. Some steeper parts also have ropes on them for assistance. We saw our second snake on this section and got quite used to almost stepping on the crabs. Eventually after a number of smaller peaks we made it to the top. We were told in the park office that the trail now goes all the way round the rim so, as there were markers continuing round, we took up the challenge of following them. After about 15 minutes of slow progress we realised that this was a bit silly, there were quite steep descents, it was loose underfoot and overgrown, so we returned the way we had come. We were told later that it was about a four hour walk so we would have been hard pushed to complete it in daylight.
We did however follow another trail down into the crater and back, a scramble on a path over boulders and around the large trees with huge buttress roots that grow down here, another snake and more crabs. When we got back to town for a well deserved drink of ice cold water washed down followed by cold beer we had been out for about six hours.
Sent from Windows Mail