|Location:||At the northernmost point of the island, at the sea.|
|Address:||Animal Flower Cave, St Lucy District, Tel: 809-439-8797.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|1780||discovered by two English explorers.|
|~1912||steps to the cave built.|
|1961||private cottage built above the cave.|
This sea cave is famous for its yellow sea anemones called sea flowers. These short, cylindrical marine animals feed with the tentacles attached to their tops. The tentacles contain nematocysts, stinging cells, that paralyze prey. The tentacles move their captured prey to their mouth where they sink down their gullet. Down in the cave, you can see a small number of small purple anemones, although their numbers vary with the conditions, they are diminished in number these days.
The cave itself is quite an intriguing place: it has formations which resemble a turtle, hand, and a lizard, and the view through the cave and out to sea is splendid and worth the visit.
Although currently barren, the surrounding land once produced cane under the name of Animal Flower Plantation.
This is located at the northern point of the island. Twenty seven huge coral steps lead down to this cave at the base of the cliffs. These were built around 1912 and are a reminder of the dance hall days, when people from around the island arrived by horse and buggy for a weekend of seaside relaxation and fun. It is possible to paddle amongst the stalactites and stalagmites with the guide and watch the green and orange sea anemones wave their tiny tentacles in the rock pools. The locals call these anemones Animal Flowers, hence the name of the cave.
The cave is an interesting study in geology, local history and stunning sea activity. 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 time scale in the bar/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 25mm per 1,000 years, which is yet another indication of the cave's age.
Artefacts from bygone days, including the braces in the coral ceiling where the lanterns once hung. The ‘windows' to the ocean (cave openings) make for stunning views. On calm days you can also go into a ‘room' off to the right and perhaps swim in the natural pool, or at least take in yet another awesome view of the Atlantic through this larger craggy sea window.
The A-framed bar and restaurant has been on the site since 1961, first as a private cottage, then as a business in 1970. Outside the bar area they are a few cannons from sunken ships. You can also walk along the edge and see the ruggedly-carved bay for added views of this awesome coast.
Well-trained and amiable group of guides take visitors into the cave at a nominal fee.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.