Friday, March 31, 2017

Clifton Heritage Park

Plantation ruins

At the corner of our Bay in Paradise is the Clifton Heritage Park. It was established to preserve the area and the artifacts from earlier cultures. To us, at first, it looked like a great wander along the beach. All four boats agreed to meet at the beach at 11:00 for a walk and picnic lunch. After locking three dinghies together, we headed down the beach. Again, the water is just too amazing to put into words. As the sun comes out from behind clouds the water simply glows in various shades of blue and turquoise. The sand gives way to rock formations that house tiny pools of water that are so clear you don't realize there is water in them.

The path veered from the beach inland a bit and we were walking under a canopy of leaves. Tucked back at the base of some of the trees we saw three feet tall termite nests. Every once in a while we would hear a bird sing, but never saw it.

As the path led back to the beach we spotted a structure of some kind being built. It had benches and a roof and looked like the perfect place for us to stop for lunch. We pulled sandwiches, snacks and beverages from our packs, kicked back and relaxed as we listened to the waves lap against the beach. There was a sign that showed a map of the park. We still had lots to explore. By 1:00 Don said, "Next time you guys suggest a walk on the beach, I need to ask more questions." But the best part of our journey was up ahead.

We passed Flipper Beach where the TV show was filmed. We passed an area where all the vegetation was dry and grey. This must have been where a big wave came ashore during Hurricane Matthew. As we continued on through the more formal part of the park, the destruction became more evident. There were areas where rubble was piled and you could see the outline of roads that had been washed out.

We passed another shack where there were wet suits and snorkels hanging. For a fee, you could engage their services and snorkel out to some sunken statues. They were the ones that informed us that we needed to have a wristband to be in the park. But there had been no people or signs up to this point to tell us that. We said we would pay when we saw where to pay. As we rounded the corner, we saw the Visitors Center and Gift Shop. One problem. None of us brought any cash since we hadn't seen any any need for any when we initially investigated yesterday. Fortunately Dave had his credit card and we were cleared to wander the rest of the park. We were glad we did. This end held all the history.

The first thing we noticed as we headed toward the cliffs along the water's edge were some statues. They were made from palm tree trunks. The heads were simply carved and each has a blue head scarf tied. The statues were facing various directions and represented the slave women looking for their Africa. It was gut-wrenching. Around the corner were the remains of four stone cabins that housed the 67 slaves that worked the cotton and sugar cane fields. None of us left that area unaffected.

Now we were walking along the rocky shore of New Providence. Off shore we saw a propane tanker tied off waiting to unload fuel for the energy plant. The cliff leading up to the plant had "the hundred stairs." It is reported that these stairs were used by the pirates to sneak their bounty ashore. Some of us were too chicken to walk out to the edge (Brenda) while others (Mike) freely peered over the ledge at the indentations carved into the stone by the force of the waves.

That ended our three mile tour of the park. We could either go back the way we came or take the shortcut back. Even though it was the road, we chose the short cut. Another mile and we were back to our beach and our dinghies.

Blue Moon and Amata Marie are heading out tomorrow in different directions, so we had another evening of appetizers and sundowners to celebrate the time we had shared. We look forward to bumping into them again in the future.


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