April 23, 2014

Barbados Sightseeing - Animal Flower Cave

The Animal Flower Cave is located under the cliffs at the Northern tip of Barbados. The Cave is an interesting study in geology, local history and stunning sea activity. This beautiful sea –cave is a “must see” for all nature loving visitors.

The cave’s history is little known yet quite interesting, for despite its remote location, it was the venue of weekend dances and socializing soon after the turn of the century. Artifacts from by gone days include the braces in the coral ceiling where the lanterns once hung.

The Animal flower Cave is the island’s lone accessible sea-cave and was discovered from the sea in 1780 by two English explorers. 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. The dating was carried out by the German Geographical Institute, and visitors can see a “map” of the dating work in the bar and restaurant.

The cave now stands some six feet above the high tide mark even though it was formed at sea level. This is because Barbados is rising about one inch per 1,000 years, which is yet another indication of the cave’s age.

The huge coral steps leading down into the cave were built around 1912. Down in the cave 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 the guides call it is in a chamber all by itself. The totally transparent and absolutely still water does not reveal its 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. 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).

The A- framed bar and restaurant has been on the site since 1961. Outside the bar area are a few cannons from sunken ships. Try our famous rum punch and sumptuous sandwiches in the bar with Maritza and Laura Ward, the family that operate this major attraction. The Cave can be visited Monday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Animal Flower Cave
North Point, St Lucy
Tel: (246) 439-8797