The beaches in Montserrat are (whatever they were before) black sand in the Exclusion Zone. Rendezvous Bay contains the only white (coral) sand beach in Montserrat and it is only accessible by boat or a rugged hike. Sand in the other bays is of volcanic origin and may be grey or black.
What you might not think of in connection with Montserrat - Beach sand mining had been a traditional practice for decades. A construction boom, associated with tourism, starting in the 1960's, combined with a local change over to stone (cement) houses, led to a huge demand for sand and aggregate and resulted in serious beach erosion. Beaches are now being monitored.
Of course two beaches in the Exclusion Zone have INCREASED in size, mostly due to volcanic activity
When Catholic-Irish settlers fleeing from persecution on St. Kitts arrived in Montserrat sometime between 1632 and 1633, they nicknamed it ‘The Emerald Isle’ because of the lush green giant ferns and forests climbing the sides of Montserrat’s two volcanoes, and the island’s resemblance to Ireland.
When we were trying to find a way through to the old capitol, we flew over some lush green areas which have regrown or regenerated since the initial eruptions of the volcano. If you just looked at them, you would think there was no problem. There were even some feral farm animals (cows, goats) which have survived on their own.
The pilot said even though everything looked pretty good below, that the leaves of the trees were full of dust and ash. They tried to help the seismic scientists to replace some of the batteries in the seismographs, but even though they had some rain recently, it wasn't enough to wash all the ash off the leaves. When the helicopter tried to land, it stirred up the dust on the leaves and made it too dangerous to continue.
Fondest memory: Seeing the farm animals in the trees. But I wasn't able to get a photo.
We didn't get to see the old capitol of Plymouth because of a pyroclastic flow The pilot pointed out to us that the buildings that had been there were burning and had smoke plumes spiralling up from the loations. Also he showed us where the hot material met the edge of the beach, the sea water was boiling and turning into steam.
This was very impressive to me. How hot would that have been?
eat at Ziggy's Restaurant, & drive the narrow, curvy, mountainous roads.
Fondest memory: the ferry boat ride from Antigua to Montserrat; my 11-day stay at the villa Wing Song; the perfect weather for tanning: intense sun, but comfortable w/temperatures in the low 80's, low humidity & cooling trade winds; the helicopter ride from Montserrat to Antigua.
Favorite thing: THE DOCK AT MONTSERRAT. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A SECONDARY DOCK FOR THE ISLAND. THE MAIN FERRY DOCK, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE NEAR THE CAPITAL OF PLYMOUTH, IS OUT OF COMMISSION.
Favorite thing: A COUPLE NATIVES ON THE DOCK IN ANTIGUA, WAITING FOR THE FERRY TO MONTSERRAT.