The Ins and Outs of the Animal Flower Cave
Discovered in 1780, by two English explorers, the beautiful Animal Flower Cave is one of our island’s greatest treasures. Located at North Point, St.Lucy, it is the island’s only accessible sea cave. We at Ooutraje, ventured to the cave when we decided to feature it as our presentation for this year’s Crop Over Festival. We present to you our findings:
It is from this creature that the name “Animal Flower Cave” is derived. Known locally as animal flowers, the sea anemone is not actually a flower but rather a stinging polyp. These creatures spend most of their time attached to coral reefs or the rocks on the sea floor waiting for fish to pass by so that they can be ensnared in their tentacles. They are vibrant in colour, in order to attract the fish. These beautiful flowering creatures can be found on the coral floor of the Animal Flower Cave, however once anyone attempts to touch them they close, preventing their beauty from being shown.
As one continues to explore the Animal Flower Cave, one is privy to the beautiful fish which live in the rock pools found in the cave. These attractive fish swim from pool to pool of the cave, providing visitors with glimpses of their yellow bodies which are striped in black. These fish also provide food for the sea anemones as well as the exotic birds which frequent the cave, and are a vital part of it’s ecosystem.
Perhaps you’ve seen the music video to Billy Ocean’s famous song “The colour of love”, or the famous American soap opera the Bold and the Beautiful; scenes from this video and motion picture were shot right in the Animal Flower Cave. There is a very poignant scene where Billy stands right in front of a blowhole. Also known as a marine geyser, a blowhole is formed as sea caves grow landwards and upwards into vertical shafts and expose themselves towards the surface. This results in the hydraulic compression of sea water which is released through a port from the top of the blowhole. It is truly a sight to behold to see the water as it exits the blowhole.
A visit to the Animal Flower Cave reveals many exotic birds which travel from very far. These birds can be found bathing in the pools of the cave or partaking of fish like the tiger fish which can be found swimming in the pools. At certain times of the year, some exotic birds use the Animal Flower Cave as a place to nest, especially during the winter season when there are frigid temperatures elsewhere in the world. Some of the birds found include, parrots, macaws and lorikeets. There have also been reported sightings of eagles in the caves. Exotic birds are also very much a part of the cave’s ecosystem and are a welcomed sight for visitors and locals alike.