Final Island Review

January 10, 2001
By Wayne & Karen Brown

With our expedition coming to an end, we want to review each island we visited and tell you how it’s different or special. You’ve already seen the ratings from our young explorers, Bethany, Matthew and Frederick (See December 30, 2000 journal). They rated the islands on how much fun they had on each island. We’re mainly interested in the nature and history on and around these islands, so our ratings may be different than those of our young explorers.

St. Martin-St. Maarten: Rating 5
Come to Philipsburg, St. Maarten on the Dutch side of this island for the best shopping in the Caribbean. The people in both St. Martin and St. Maarten were very friendly. We thought there were too many cars here, though, as we got stuck in traffic jams while travelling around the island. We didn’t find many interesting historical things to see here. We also didn’t find much natural beauty on the island. This island is fairly dry with no rainforests. We did have an exciting shark dive here and the deeper reefs we saw looked healthy. See the December 16, 29, and 31, 2000 journals for more on St. Martin-St. Maarten.
Anguilla: Rating 8
Come here if you want soft, powdery white sand beaches. The island is very flat. There are not many historical things to see here. We didn’t find much natural beauty on this island either. This island also didn’t have any rainforests and may even be drier than St. Martin-St. Maarten! The best thing about our visit to Anguilla was our visit to Sandy Island. Sandy Island had the most spectacular coral reefs of all the islands we visited during our expedition. Because of Sandy Island, we gave Anguilla a high rating. See the December 28, 2000 and January 1, 2001 journals for more on Anguilla.
St. Barts: Rating 6
Come here if you want to visit a pretty town, speak French, eat good food, and look for celebrities. Gustavia was the prettiest little sea port city on all the islands we visited during our expedition. St. Barts is flat and dry. Most of the interesting history is found in Gustavia. We enjoyed exploring Shell Beach and looking at all the seashells. We snorkeled underwater off some of the beaches, but didn’t see much coral. We mostly saw big rocks with patches of fire coral and a few hard corals growing on them. See the December 27, 2000 and January 2, 2001 journals for more on St. Barts.
Saba: Rating 10
Come here if you want to visit the most unusual island in the Caribbean. We found this to be the most beautiful of all the islands we visited, even though it has no beaches! We wished we had more time on land to explore the nature trails and hike to the top of the volcano. We didn’t see many cars or people on Saba. We also didn’t see any tourists here, either. The coral reefs were not as beautiful as around Sandy Island, but they were more spectacular. During our scuba dives here, we swam over and around underwater pinnacles and underwater cliffs. We also saw many turtles and sharks here! See the December 18, 22, and 23, 2000 and January 3, 2001 journals for more on Saba.
St. Eustatia: Rating 8
Come to Statia if you want a quiet place to relax. We found many historical things to see. The island is interesting because of the big, old volcano that has its top blown off. The hike up to the top of the volcano was very pretty. We wished we had more time to explore the mini-rainforest down inside the volcanic crater. The deeper diving here was good and the coral reefs we saw were in good condition. Unfortunately, the shallow water snorkeling we did was the worst that we had on our expedition. See December 26, 2000 journal for more on St. Eustatia.
St. Kitts: Rating 9
See the Caribbean as it used to be, covered with sugar cane fields, on St. Kitts. We found many interesting historical things to see here. The volcanic mountains here were beautiful. We enjoyed our hike through the rainforest, where we saw green monkeys! Our scuba diving close to shore was disappointing because the corals were covered with algae. Further from shore, the diving was good and the coral reef was in better condition. See the December 20 and 25, 2000 and January 5 and 6, 2001 journals for more on St. Kitts.
Antigua: Rating 8
Come to Antigua if you like to sail. We saw the most sailing boats, and big, fancy motor yachts, here. We found many historical things on this island, too. Parts of the island were dry, but there was also a rainforest in one area we explored. We snorkeled here and saw the water was clear and the corals were not in bad condition. See the December 24, 2000 and January 7, 2001 journals for more on Antigua.


Philipsburg, St. Maarten is the best place for shopping in the Caribbean. The big buildings are hotels and casinos. Notice that the hills are somewhat bare.

The best coral reefs were around Sandy Island, off the coast of Anguilla. The dark areas in the water are corals. Can you find the shipwreck and the old restaurant on the beach?

In Gustavia, St. Barts, the old, green Swedish clock tower overlooks a stone church near the harbor. If you want to visit this island, bring lots of money because St. Barts is a duty-free port!

Our favorite island was Saba. The tiny village of Windwardside is built high on the side of the old volcano. Can you see the Caribbean Sea in the background?

The sleepy little village of Oranjestad, Statia. This area is called Upper Town because it is built on top of a cliff above Lower Town. Can you see the square church tower at the edge of the cliff? The two palm trees to the right of the church tower are at Fort Oranje.

On St. Kitts, clouds cover the tops of the volcanic mountains. Sugar cane fields cover the base of the volcanoes.

Karen takes a picture of a huge banyan tree in an Antigua rainforest. Notice the big prop roots that are growing around this tree. These roots give the tree extra support. This would be a perfect tree to build a tree house in!


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