Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Maldivia Rock Fall

Bert Constantine surveying massive rock that has fallen into his banana plantation

I have written much on this blog about Maldivia, the area in the upper Jamestown Valley just below the Briars. For us it is a very special place with so many happy memories, and so much history: the Maldive Islanders who according to legend created the Maldivia Gardens, the fatal duel that took place near Chubbs Spring in 1809, and the visit of Napoleon Bonaparte to Maldivia House in November 1815.

The Briars Hill from the Maldivia Banana Plantation

Rock falls are always a danger on St Helena. Above Jamestown large metal mesh fences have been installed to protect the inhabitants. In the upper Jamestown Valley, beneath the Briars, signs warn of the dangers. More threatening though is the large mountain to the west, the unlikely location of what is still referred to as "cowpath".

The west side of the upper Jamestown Valley

Often last year we wondered whether the large rock detonations made by Basil Read, the airport contractors, in the east of the island, might trigger rock falls elsewhere.

Maldivia banana plantation from near Chubbs Spring

Last year, woken by the early morning sun, I regularly made my way to the banana plantation to weed the young banana trees planted beneath Chubbs Spring and in full view of the Briars. Every morning I walked through the place where the large rock has now fallen.

Weed free bananas

Anyway we are very relieved that nobody was hurt. A little piece of each of our hearts will always be in Maldivia, and we cannot wait to return to see our good friends the Constantines and to see how the bananas are fareing.

Maldivia House, one of the few houses that Napoleon visited

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