We take a walk to one of the Caribbean’s most mysterious natural wonders
Although most of the Caribbean islands are of volcanic origin, crater lakes can only be found in Dominica and Grenada. In the centre of Grenada Grand Etang (“large pond” in French) at 1,740 feet is one such old volcanic crater, and is surrounded by myths. One legend has it that the mermaid-like goddess Orisha seduces men to then drag them down into the depths of the water. Others claim that those drowning in the Grand Etang reappear in distant places: St. Vincent, Trinidad or even Venezuela.
Researchers have taken samples from the bottom of the lake and discovered that the pollen and spores are up to 25,000 years old… The rainforest around the lake holds a stupendously rich diversity of flora and fauna.
Situated high in true tropical rain forest where the mountain peaks are frequently obscured by clouds, Grand Etang Park is a wonderful example of conservation in practice… This is one of the Caribbean’s few hikes as high as 2,000 feet but only 8 miles from the center of St. George’s.
With 160 inches of rain falling annually, Grand Etang is most noted for its tall mahogany and gommier trees, ferns and other plants. Animals include the mona monkey, armadillo, broad-winged hawk (locally called “gree-gree”), Antillean crested hummingbird (the “little doctor bird”) and the Antillean tanager (called “the soursop”).
When to go:. Sections of the park are more than 2,000 feet above sea level, high enough to cause decompression sickness (the bends) in anyone who scuba dives, then goes hiking the same day. Be prepared for a chilly wind.
Image courtesy: Flickr