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June 3, 2006
The Harrison's Cave is a natural wonder (one of Barbados' seven wonders) that has accumulated bedrock chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and forming pedestals from the ground. Technically they are known as stalactites (ceiling) and stalagmites (ground). These magnificent deposits are accumulated limestone that hardens and forms this huge unique pillars. There is very fresh, clean water cascading over each corner.
When you arrive, you pay around $12 to $17 to enter the park and inside they take you on a tram that descends into the caves. It was a little difficult to hear the tour operator as the speakers were a little fuzzy but you understood the main points. The train descends and stops at points for you to take photos. I strongly recommend having a covered camera case because sometimes there will be huge drops of water falling on you. Not a shower or anything, just droplets and if you're not prepared it could land on your digital screen!
There are spot lights in the cave and at the base you can actually get out and they let you wander around and take pictures. The water is very cold and absolutely clean like tap water. I was so impressed by Nature's ability to create piece of art. It was beautiful.
It took 40 minutes from St. Lawrence heading north to the parish of St. Thomas. We did have to pick up one other passenger.
It is best to hire a taxi to take you there and back. Pack some water, snacks, a hat, and camera. It is a peaceful ride with much that awaits you at Harrison's Cave. I recommend this to anyone who revels in nature's beauty.
From journal Barbados: Home to Flying Fish
April 16, 2004
On pulling into the parking lot, Ricky, our tour guide, showed us a tree named the bearded fig tree. He then went on to explain that in fact the island was named after this tree from the Spanish, who first named the Island Los Barbados, "the bearded one." The tree looks as though it is growing a beard. It looked like the type of tree Tarzan would have had a lot of fun in.
He then ushered us past all the long lines of people waiting for their tour. Cruise ship organized tour, Ricky said. He seated us in the restaurant while he collected our passes, and within minutes we were off on our tour, leaving the long lines behind.
They show you a video before the tour on the creation of the island. This is a great cave tour - you actually travel through the cave on a tram. We learnt all about stalactites and stalagmites and took lots of pictures
It was a great start to a great day.
From journal Great Holiday in Barbados
February 6, 2004
Geologically, Barbados differs from neighboring islands, which were formed by volcanic action. Barbados was born when the Caribbean tectonic plate was pushed up and over the Atlantic plate. During this process, the resulting volcanic eruptions gave birth to the surrounding islands, yet Barbados’ genesis lay in the ancient seabed and more recent coral beds being gradually lifted from the sea. Having visited St. Lucia several years back, it was immediately obvious to me that the gently rolling hills of Barbados were formed differently than the rugged terrain of St. Lucia, with its jagged pitons.
Six-sevenths of Barbados is covered by what was once coral reef – a porous coralline limestone easily penetrated by water. This is why there are few streams or rivers on the island -- water seeps straight through the limestone, creating Barbados’ famously pure, clean well water in the process. There’s little sedimentary run-off, too, which contributes to healthy coral reefs offshore.
As the tram wended its way through the cave, I noted that Harrison’s Cave was by far the drippiest I’d ever been in, with water percolating continuously from the surface. I was tempted to ask how the rate of stalactite and stalagmite formation compared with less watery caverns, but the opportunity never arose.
Those who have seen spectacular caverns such as Mammoth Cave in Kentucky would probably judge the more recent formations at Harrison’s Cave less impressive. But what Harrison’s Cave lacks in monstrous stalactites, stalagmites, and columns, it makes up for in hauntingly lit underground pools and silky displays of smooth, white flowstone. One memorable view was of a cascading waterfall plunging into a beautiful aqua lake with a roof of icy-white stalactites above – an enchanted spot. There’s little mineral coloring to the formations – no cuprous green or dusky ferrous tinges – since few mineral impurities exist in the limestone.
It’s best to visit the cave early, as the tram only accommodates a set number of passengers, causing something of a backup later in the day. A modern complex above ground features an excellent introductory film as well as the inevitable gift and snack shops, while the parking lot teems with vendors eager to benefit from the influx of tourists.
From journal I'd Rather Be in Barbados
by Cindy Grant
December 30, 2003
From journal Cruising the Eastern Caribbean