The Animal Flower Cave

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NESTLED UNDER THE CLIFFS at the Northern tip of Barbados in the parish of St. Lucy, the Animal Flower Cave is deemed an attractive package of geology, local history and stunning sea activity that will treat all nature lovers to an extraordinary experience. Its remote location sparks intrigue and the remaining artifacts on sight, including the braces in the coral ceiling where the lanterns once hung, give an indication of life in Barbados yester-year.

Known as the lone accessible sea-cave in Barbados, it was discovered in 1780 by two English explorers. According to the dating carried out by the German Geographical Institute, the cave’s coral floor is estimated to be 400,000 to 500,000 years old and the ‘younger’ coral section above the floor is about 126,000 years old. Today, the cave stands some six feet above the high tide mark even though it was formed at sea level.

The huge coral steps leading down into the cave were built around 1912 and further down there are sea-anemones, locally called ‘animal flowers’, from whence the cave got its name. The flower consists of tentacles that can sting and paralyze a passing fish in the larger variety of species. The tentacles retract into the stalk or stump for safety on contact with an alien object like a stick. The flower then waits a while before coming out of the stalk again to allow danger to pass.

The swimming pool, as it is called by the guides, is located in a chamber and the completely transparent and absolutely still water does not reveal its true depth but looks deceptively shallow. The smooth floor of the cave worn down by the water and the rubbing action of the coral rocks over time has an undulating formation and the light lends a magical quality to this chamber. The walls of the Cave are full of fascinating formations which have been coloured green and brown by oxidation of copper and iron.

At certain times of the year and in bad weather the caverns become filled with water and the entrance acts like a giant blowhole. On calm days you can swim in the natural rock pools in the cave or perhaps take a look at the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean through the windows to the ocean (cave openings).

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