Abandoned in 1997, Montserrat's capital Plymouth has been compared to a modern-day Pompeii. Buried deep in ash and volcanic debris including boulders up to the size of the houses that once stood there, the once thriving business and commercial centre of the island now resembles a dust-covered lunar landscape through which deep canyons have been gouged. Plymouth lies within the volcanic exclusion zone and access into the town is not currently possible.
The devastation of Plymouth however can be safely viewed from several safe vantage points. These include the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (you will need binoculars) or Garibaldi Hill (currently in the exclusion zone and access restricted) and Richmond Hill (when this is opened). The best way to view this modern-day Pompeii though is from the water by scheduling an island boat tour. These tours begin from the port in Little Bay and head south along the coastline passing Woodlands, Isle Bay, Foxes Bay and then to Plymouth. You will get a close up view of the destruction wrought by the volcano and the new landscape that it has created. Note that the boats are not allowed to stop or disembark passengers on the pier in Plymouth. Tours generally last two hours and are subject to weather and volcanic conditions. There are a number of operators that offer Plymouth Boat tours.
Hubert 'Buffy' Buffonge