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Montserrat

An island covered in ash

date of entry 16/04/2008
mileage 629,351

capital Plymouth

area 102 km²

population 4.922

official language English

Montserrat, one of the British Overseas Territories, fell victim to a serious natural catastrophe in the 1990s. A volcanic eruption engulfed a large part of the island, which is only around a hundred square kilometres in size. Two-thirds of Montserrat is still in the exclusion zone. In 2008, Gunther and Christine Holtorf covered 500 kilometres on the devastated island. They obtained special permission to visit the closed-off town of Plymouth, which was abandoned after the eruption. Christine was moved to tears by what they saw, Gunther Holtorf explained. He was also deeply touched by the devastated city and the destruction caused to the houses of the former residents.
  • As on the majority of the islands in the Caribbean, arriving and departing presented a major problem. Most of the freighters were not particularly confidence-inspiring.
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  • "Montserrat is a fateful island," said Gunther Holtorf. The eruption of the "Soufriere Hills" volcano in the 1990s overwhelmed almost half the island.
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  • A large proportion of the population was evacuated.
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  • Two-thirds of the island is still in the exclusion zone.
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  • The capital Plymouth was so hard hit that it subsequently had to be abandoned.
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  • Gunther and Christine Holtorf were given special permission to visit Plymouth.
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  • What they saw moved them deeply. Like a modern Pompeii, the former capital was buried under volcanic ash.
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  • But life goes on in other parts of the island. Here an iguana crossed the travellers’ path.
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  • Video: Montserrat – moving moments on the fateful island.

Otto was here before ...

West Indies

date of entry 01 May 2008
mileage 629,834

French West Indies

date of entry 20 May 2008
mileage 631,325

West Indies

date of entry 04 June 2008
mileage 633,294

Germany

date of entry 25 August 2008
mileage 636,223