May 6, 2023
After departing from Antigua on Friday morning, Montserrat was an easy run to the south west and only took about four hours. It is one of the few places that I was adamant about visiting and I am glad that we didn’t just pass it by because it is small and ‘ruined’.
We arrived into the only point of entry and (arguably) the only anchorage visitors are allowed to use in the country This little spot (Rendezvous Bay) isn’t too rolly, and there are a lot of other boats here, although we haven’t introduced ourselves around. The views are quite nice as well. (We did read that you can get permission to anchor off of Isle Bay Beach, and we asked for permission, but it wasn’t clear whether we truly got permission from the gentleman on duty ?/!)
If you aren’t familiar with the history of Montserrat, it has been largely destroyed or rendered uninhabitable by their volcano, commonly referred to as the Soufriere Hills Volcano. The latest eruption began on July 18, 1995 and continues to this day, although, the current threat is minimal.
We hired a tour guide, Sunny Lea, who claims to be a bit eccentric, but his 40 years on the island provided us with a lot of detail and insight that made the tour memorable and worthwhile.
After seeing the island (and the volcano) from many different views, we also took one last trip to AIR Studios, which I had never heard of before, but now that I have I recognize them instantly. The location that saw many of the great albums of the 80’s produced on a quiet island with the best producer and best sound board in the world. Dire Straits, The Rolling Stones, Jimmy Buffet, Eric Clapton, Simply Red, Stevie Wonder, Rush and many more all came to AIR Studios to make some of the greatest albums of at least a generation.
The studio is now abandoned and in ruins like hundreds of other buildings in Montserrat, but what a trip down memory lane, and I didn’t even know it existed!
For more about Air studios click the link. Notably, the recording console used is still revered in the music industry and can now be found in Toronto at Subterranean Sound Studios and you can learn more about the history of the Neve recording console at the link a few words back.
We have been enjoying some snorkeling on a large reef in front of the boat as well, and while there aren’t ‘extraordinary’ things to see, it is one of the most lively reefs we have seen with plenty of fish, at least some turtles and significant coral.