The Caves At North Point
One of my friends worked for three years outside of north London, but never went to see Buckingham Palace. She never visited the Devon and Cornwall coast or traveled to the Highlands of Scotland to gaze out over some of the purest water on the planet. She even turned down an invitation to spend a weekend at Rua Reidh Lighthouse near Gairloch with a group of work-mates.
When I asked her, “How could you live there and not make an effort to see such magnificent sights?” she replied, “Aren’t we so uppity? ‘An when did YOU last see the caves at North Point… on the school outing when we were ten years old?”
Ouch! Sometimes the truth hits you like a badly-delivered googly. (If you need to look that up, you can do so here. World Cup is coming soon!) Here we live every day surrounded by the beauty and history of Barbados, yet so seldom do we pause to appreciate what we have.
So last week, Shona and I packed up the boy and a few eats and headed off for the Animal Flower Caves at North Point.
The Other Barbados – Rugged Beauty
Many tourists spend their time at a resort on the Caribbean (West) or South side and never see the rugged Atlantic coast of Barbados… and that is a shame. Compared with the western beaches, the Atlantic coast is virgin. No crowds, fresh trade winds at this time of year and – at some very special places – a chance to see our island as it must have been thousands of years ago. The Animal Flower Caves at North Point is one such place.
Over the years, the sea carved deep into the coral face of the east cliffs. For a few dollars, a guide will take you into the very heart of the cliff and into a series of connected caves that are large enough to hold hundreds of people. The pirates and smugglers of old must have loved such places.
Barbados is largely coral raised from the sea (or perhaps the sea dropped – who knows?), so the inside of the caves are full of fossiled creatures – even a two-metre long fish that smiles at you from his stone mouth. “How long ago did Mr. Fish die?” asked Shona’s boy. A good question, indeed. Standing at the top of the cliff, or peeking out of the cave and watching the sea smash into island, one naturally starts to ponder the thoughts that we never have time for as we work every day.
Yes, if you come to Barbados, you must see the caves at North Point. If you live here, then you must remember to take some time for yourself. Re-visit the places that caused you such happiness and wonder as a child.
And if you are lucky, you just might be able to steal a kiss on an empty beach. You won’t find an empty beach on the Caribbean side, but there are plenty on the East coast of Barbados.
Photo by Shona