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The Island with Two Airports

The beautiful island of Saint Lucia has two airports. Although only 26 miles North to South, this might seem a little excessive but the reasons are easy to explain.

GEORGE CHARLES AIRPORT

The smaller of the two, originally known simply as Vigie Airport, is located in the North of the island. It’s too small to land large wide bodied jets and therefore for the most part services, inter-island travel. LIAT run daily schedules to most other islands direct or non-direct. For many years, American Eagle ran a regular, very useful service between Saint Lucia and Puerto Rico. This became the port of entry to the USA and from Puerto Rico you could fly anywhere in the United States.

August 4, 1997 –  Vigie Airport, was renamed the George F. L. Charles Airport.

This decision was taken by the Cabinet of Ministers in recognition of Mr. Charles’ dedicated service both as a champion in the struggles for the working class, and as a statesman.

One of the most significant events in Mr. Charles’ career as an advocate for the rights of the dispossessed, occurred in 1945, when he was employed as a time-keeper on the renovation and extension project of this same Vigie Airport. A wild cat strike (the first militant trade union action of the island) by workers on the project, placed him into sharp focus as he expressed solidarity with the workers. The workers at that time were affiliated to the St. Lucia workers cooperative union. Mr. Charles became secretary to the union branch.

The event at Vigie Airport marked the beginning of a l

ong and difficult struggle on behalf of the workers of St. Lucia. It is from this base that Mr. Charles launched into populist politics.

Mr. George Frederick Lawrence Charles was the first Minister of Education and Social Affairs and first Chief Minister of St. Lucia.

HEWANORRA AIRPORT

Hewanorra International Airport  UVF, located near Viuex Fort in the southern area of Saint Lucia is the larger of Saint Lucia’s two airports and is managed by the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority (SLASPA). It is on the southern cape of the island, about 53.4 km (33.2 mi) from the capital city, Castries.

The airport is a Fire Category 9 facility that handles 500,000 passengers a year and can accommodate Boeing 777 and 747 and Airbus 340 and 300, and other long-range intercontinental aircraft. Aircraft maintenance is carried out by Caribbean Dispatch Services.

Hewanorra International Airport was originally named Beane Army Airfield and was used as a military airfield by the United States 6th AirForce during World War II. Beane Field was activated in early 1941 with a mission to defend Saint Lucia against an enemy attack.It was also used as a base/support airfield during the 1983 intervention in the nearby island of Grenada.

The former base was then refurbished and converted into a commercial airport.There is still a disused northeast/southwest runway north of the main east–west runway that was part of the military airfield.

The name of the airport is an Amerindian word meaning “[land of the] Iguana”, referring to what the Island Carib Indians called Saint Lucia.

Carnival 2018!

Late spring and summer is a great time to visit Saint Lucia. In 2018`, the summer events took off with Jazz in May, already enjoyed by thousands and now we are looking forward to July’s colorful, spectacular Carnival. Come and join us at Calabash Cove.

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A Saint Lucia Holiday is the Perfect Adults-Only Escape

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St. Lucia Facts Quiz – True or False?

In celebration of Independence Day -Try the Calabash Cove Quiz

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Breakfast with a View

BREAKFAST IN THE SHADOW OF MOUNT GIMIE

Nowhere in the world are there more beautiful swathes of crystal clear sea and friendly mountains, than from the Windsong Restaurant at Calabash Cove in St. Lucia. Furthermore, nowhere on earth is there a more becoming scenario, than during a quiet morning breakfast.

LETS EAT

Munching on homegrown sweet fruit such as Bananas, Paw Paw, Passion fruit, Pineapple and Mango is to die for. At the same time you are lazily gazing across the turquoise bay, taking in the colorful roofs of Castries, with forever greening hills behind. In the distance Mount Gimie with his peak wearing a hat of puffy white clouds and watching over all this totally unspoiled and magnificent tapestry of purest nature, like a God from Olympus. This is truly “Breakfast with a View”.

BREAKFAST WITH A VIEW

Bird at Breakfast Calabash CoveYour mind takes all of this in a most calm state of mind. Therefore, not surprisingly you don’t shoo away the little “Bajaritos” stealing morsels of the freshly baked deliciously smelling croissants. You stop minding them dipping their tiny peaks into cool healthy coconut water. Luckily no one challenges you for the French brewed coffee, you have that all to yourself, whilst embracing your thoughts of the early morning’s peace and purity.

THE GEOGRAPHY LESSON

Mount Gimie is at 3117 ft the tallest peak in St. Lucia located in the rainforest smack in the center of the island.  Visiting Gimie to get close to your Breakfast with a View is a true Jurassic adventure without the Dinos. If you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of the shy Lucian Amazon Parrot. Climbing the Gimie is not for the fainthearted either. The mountain is covered in a bounty of interesting and beautiful vegetation of fine grasses, ferns and palms. Rich woods abound, such as giant Bamboo, Cocoa, Lansan, Teak and Mahogany.  Also fruit trees like Tangerine, Coconut and Grapefruit grace this jungle. An array of waterfalls with minature pools present themselves to cool mind and body. From the Gimie, on a clear day, fantastic views of all of  Saint Lucia’s coastline.  You can see both the Maria Islands and Gimie’s two spoiled but famous children, le Gros and le Petit Piton.

 

 

Chocolate Month- Some Chocolate history

A Short Chocolate History

Sitting in the Windsong restaurant overlooking Calabash Cove, I am sipping on my hot chocolate at breakfast. The rich thick texture of the locally made hot chocolate with a touch of cinnamon has a very distinctive taste. So very different from the rather bland, insipid  concoction often passed off as hot chocolate. Then I started thinking about Chocolate History. Where does chocolate come from?  As a child the answer would be; the market. After all that is where my parents bought the solid sticks of chocolate to make cocoa tea from market vendors. You grind it by hand, boil it in rich milk and then add honey and spices. Yum

But where does it really come from? Our chocolate history begins in Meso-America.

MESO-AMERICA & THE AZTECS

The region known as Meso-America lies between central Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northern Costa Rica.

Fermented beverages made from chocolate already existed around 1900 BC.  The Aztecs believed that cacao seeds were the gift of Quetzalcoatl, the god of wisdom.

To Aztecs the seeds had so much value that they were once used as a form of currency. Originally prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter, frothy liquid, mixed with spices or corn puree. It was believed to have aphrodisiac powers and to give the drinker strength. Still today, these drinks are known as “Chilate” and you still find them in rural areas of southern Mexico.

With the arrival of Europeans in the sixteenth century, adding sugar to the recipe popularised chocolate drinking throughout civilised society. Originally among the ruling elite, but gradually achieving wider popularity

In the 20th Century, chocolate was considered an essential component making up American soldiers rations during wartime.

The word “chocolate” comes from the Aztec Nahuatl word chocolātl, before finding its way into the English language.

THANK YOU THE MAYAN PEOPLE

The Mayan people, did leave some surviving writings about cacao which confirm the identification of the drink with the gods. Decorations on vases show these ideas visually.

Mayans would season their chocolate by mixing the roasted cacao seed paste into a drink with water, chili peppers and cornmeal, transferring the mixture repeatedly between pots creating a thick foam topping. Unlike the Mayans of Yucatán, the Aztecs drank chocolate cold, as an aphrodisiac or as a treat for men after banquets, and as part of the rations of Aztec soldiers.

Pueblo people, who lived in an area that is now the U.S. Southwest, imported cacao from Meso-American cultures in southern Mexico or Central America between 900 and 1400. They used it in a beverage consumed by everyone in their society.

Until the 16th century, this drink from the Central and South America was unknown to Europeans until Christopher Columbus encountered the cacao bean on his fourth mission to the Americas on August 15, 1502, when he and his crew seized a large native canoe that was laden with cacao beans.

After Columbus took these cacao beans with him back to Spain, it made no impact until Spanish friars introduced chocolate to the Spanish court.

FAMOUS NAMES IN CHOCOLATE HISTORY

New processing innovations introduced the modern era of chocolate. Joseph Fry learned to make chocolate moldable by adding back melted cacao butter.  In 1875 Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate by mixing a powdered milk developed by Henri Nestlé. By 1879, Rodolphe Lindt had invented the conching machine which further refines chocolate production.

Lindt, a Swiss-based concern with global reach, had its start in 1845.

Besides Nestlé, several chocolate companies had their start in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Cadbury was manufacturing boxed chocolates in England by 1868.

In 1893, Milton S. Hershey purchased chocolate processing equipment at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and soon Hershey’s chocolates with their famed chocolate-coated caramels was a household name in the USA.

West Africa produces most of the world’s cocoa. In recent years, the rejuvenation of abandoned cocoa plantations in Saint Lucia has re introduced an indigenous industry. Saint Lucian Chocolate is once again on the market.

My Calabash Cove hot chocolate meanwhile, has been joined by a fresh, warm and crisp pain au chocolat. The croissant, an Austrian invention later perfected by the French. I will just enjoy both and worry about the history of the croissant another time.

Calabash Cove’s Feathered Friends

 The Caribbean kestrel at calabash cove

Feeling Watched by a Hawk?

People often mistake these beautiful birds of prey for Hawks when in fact they are not.

The Caribbean Kestrel at Calabash CoveThey may sail majestically through the air on search for prey just like an eagle.                       They are even the largest native bird of prey in Saint Lucia. Hoteliers love them.

The talk is of a Kestrel, a beautiful relative of the falcons we at times find in cities where they prefer to hunt and live around old abandoned or remote and quiet buildings. The also like quiet barns in the country side or remote areas.

THE “GRACKLE’S” NEMESIS

The people at Calabash Cove like them for their looks. And they love them for another reason. They make life miserable for the pesky common blackbirds, properly called a Greater Antillean Grackle and usually a nuisance.The Grackle needs to be wary of the Caribbean Kestrel at Calabash Cove

The Kestrels like to plunder the Grackle nests when on the hunt and so keep their numbers at  tolerable levels or encourage them to move away altogether.

VIEW TO A KILL

Their favorite perch, from where to take off for long glides through the air above Calabash Cove is the Pimento tree next to the C-Bar. In spring, when foliage on the trees are not too thick they can be observed. Enjoy that pre-sunset cocktail with a wildlife show.. If you have the patience you can watch them putting on a hunting show chasing black birds, lizards and other small critters, such as mice.

The Caribbean Kestrel in action at Calabash Cove St LuciaPlease just don’t trouble them, they are our friends and we hope they stay with us for many years to come.

Reading: The Beauty of Birds

 

By Alexandra Kimberly

PRINCE HARRY & THE AUSTRIAN CONSUL

 pRINCE HARRY VISITED ST LUCIA

Prince Harry visited St Lucia in the summer of 2016. The owner of Calabash Cove, Konrad Wagner, was fortunate to spend some some with the Royal heir and dashing Prince. Konrad is also the Honorary Consul of Austria.

HRH Prince Harry joined Konrad at a  presentation on tree planting.  This was organised through the Rotary Club and Rotary youth groups, like Rotaract, Interact as well as the Babonneau Youth Sinergy.

Mr Wagner said ” We were talking about planting native tree species like Teak, Mahogony, Capeche, Mauby, Neem, Cinnamon, Moringa.  Our discussion covered why it is so important to plant these trees. They don’t just need help against soil erosion and air purification. There are also important economic factors with people deriving economic benefits from the mature trees.”

Mr Wagner continued ” Prince Harry came across as a very engaging person.  He was rather pleased that Saint Lucia was one of the first Commonwealth countries that took Queen Elizabeth’s Canopy Challenge to heart, by genuine reforestation efforts as well as dedicating a piece of forest as a specially protected area.”

Prince Harry to Visit Saint Lucia

On the 24th November, His Royal Highness will travel to St Lucia arriving in the afternoon at Pointe Seraphine where he will receive an official welcome to the country. That evening, Prince Harry will attend a reception hosted by the Governor General, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, in the gardens of Government House, overlooking the historic harbour of the capital, Castries.

The following morning will begin with an exhibition cricket match at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground. The event will see His Royal Highness watch an exhibition cricket match between two teams competing on behalf of His Royal Highness and the Prime Minister. Following the match, The Prince and the Prime Minister will present medals to their respective teams and exchange signed cricket bats.

His Royal Highness will then journey on to Pigeon Island, one of the country’s national landmarks, to attend an outdoor exhibition highlighting various conservation projects run by the young people of St. Lucia. Prince Harry will also unveil the dedication plaque designating the Castries Water Works Reserve and surrounding rainforest as Saint Lucia’s contribution to The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project.

The Prince will then travel by boat from the north of St Lucia to one of the most beautiful parts of the island, the south-western town of Soufriere that sits between the iconic Pitons. His Royal Highness will arrive at the harbour to the sights and sounds of a St Lucian street festival, with traditional food and drink on offer at local markets stalls. Prince Harry will have the opportunity to meet members of the public, youth leaders and local school children, with a St Lucian band providing the soundtrack.