Sint Maarten is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

smwebSint Maarten

Sint Maarten encompasses the southern third of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, while the northern two-thirds of the island constitutes the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin. Its capital is Philipsburg.

In 1493, during Christopher Columbus‘ second voyage to the West Indies, upon first sighting the island he named it Isla de San Martín after Saint Martin of Tours because it was 11 November, St. Martin’s Day. However, though he claimed it as a Spanish territory, Columbus never landed there, and Spain made the settlement of the island a low priority.

In 1994, the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France signed the Franco-Dutch treaty on Saint Martin border controls, which allows for joint Franco-Dutch border controls on so-called “risk flights”. After some delay, the treaty was ratified in November 2006 in the Netherlands, and subsequently entered into force on 1 August 2007. Though the treaty is now in force, its provisions are not yet implemented as the working group specified in the treaty is not yet installed.

The island is famous for its runway at Princess Juliana International Airport, in which landing aircraft pass within at least 20 feet of Maho Beach below, due to the close proximity of the runway to the ocean. The planes appear to land dangerously close to beach goers. Therefore this beach and airport has become a popular place for people to view airplane landings.

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The Turks and Caicos Islands are part of the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola.

turksTurks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s-cap cactus (Melocactus communis), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning string of islands. The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Taíno people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800.

The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128 sq mi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny and relatively dry, but suffers frequent hurricanes. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch and other shellfish.

The first documented European to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León, who did so in 1512.  During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.

A second streaming camera is located on the opposite side of the islands at Grace Bay.

Bonaire is a Caribbean island located off the coast of South America near the western part of Venezuela.

bird5Casa Bonita

The name Bonaire is thought to have originally come from the Caquetio word ‘Bonay’. The early Spanish and Dutch modified its spelling to Bojnaj and also Bonaire, which means “Good Air”.  Bonaire was part of the Netherlands Antilles until the country’s dissolution on 10 October 2010, when the island became a special municipality within the country of the Netherlands.

Bonaire’s earliest known inhabitants were the Caquetio Indians, a branch of the Arawak who came by canoe from Venezuela in about 1000 AD. Archeological remains of Caquetio culture have been found at certain sites northeast of Kralendijk and near Lac Bay. Caquetio rock paintings and petroglyphs have been preserved in caves at Spelonk, Onima, Ceru Pungi, and Ceru Crita-Cabai. The Caquetios were apparently a very tall people, for the Spanish name for the ABC Islands was ‘las Islas de los Gigantes’ or ‘the islands of the giants.

Bonaire is also famed for its flamingo populations and its donkey sanctuary. Flamingos are drawn to the brackish water, which harbours the shrimp upon which they feed. Starting in the 16th century, the Dutch raised sheep, goats, pigs, horses and donkeys on Bonaire, and the descendants of the goats and donkeys roam the island today, with a small population of pigs roaming as well.

At Casa Bonita every day they faithfully put out sugar and fresh water for their fine feathered friends. this draws droves of little bananaquits, called chibichibis in Papiamento and suikerdief in Dutch.

Playa Kantenah, near Akumal, is a small beach-front tourist resort community south of Cancún Mexico.

Playa Kantenah

Akumal means “place of the turtles” in the Mayan language.  Playa Kantenah is located in the state of Quintana Roo.  Part of the Yucatán Peninsula, it is one of the most forested areas of the world when considering biotic mass per hectare.  There are four generalized ecosystems in Quintana Roo—tropical forests, or jungle, savanna, mangrove forests, and coral reefs.  Biological experts consider the coastline of Quintana Roo one of the best manatee habitats worldwide.

Quintana Roo is home of the world famous city of Cancún, the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, the towns of Bacalar, Playa del Carmen and Akumal, as well as the ancient Maya ruins of Chacchoben, Coba, Kohunlich, Muyil, Tulum, Xel-Há, and Xcaret. The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is also in the state.

The statewide population is expanding at a rapid rate due to the construction of hotels and the demand for workers. Many immigrants come from Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco, and Veracruz. The state is frequently hit by severe hurricanes due to its exposed location, the most recent and severe being Hurricane Dean in 2007, making landfall with sustained winds of 280 km/h (175 mph), with gusts up to 320 km/h (200 mph).

Chocolate Hole Bay is located on St. John,  an island in the Caribbean Sea and a constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands.

Chocolate Hole Bay

St. John was first settled by the Arawak Indians who had migrated north from coastal Colombia and Venezuela around AD 300. The Arawaks inhabited the island until around the year AD 1300, when they were driven off by the more aggressive and warlike Carib Indians.

Christopher Columbus is credited with being the first European to see the Virgin Islands during his second voyage to the New World in 1493.  The Danish West India and Guinea Company represented the first Europeans to settle the island in 1718.  The Danish crown took full control of the colony in 1754.  Sugar plantations, were established in great numbers on St. John because of the intense heat and fertile terrain, which provided ideal growing conditions.

In 1917 the United States purchased the U.S. Virgin Islands for $25 million from the Danish government in order to establish a naval base whose purpose was to prevent German expansion in the Western Hemisphere. They also agreed to recognize Denmark’s claim to Greenland, which they had previously disputed.

Cayman Islands Webcam

October 6, 2008

The Cayman Islands are a British overseas territory located in the western Caribbean Sea, comprising the islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman. It is a major financial centre in the Caribbean.

George Town

The Cayman Islands were sighted by Christopher Columbus, on 10 May 1503 on his disastrous fourth and final voyage to the New World. He named them Las Tortugas after the numerous sea turtles there. The first recorded English visitor to the islands was Sir Francis Drake, who landed there in 1586 and named them the Cayman Islands after the Neo-Taino nations term (caiman) for crocodile.

The Cayman Islands have the dubious honour of having experienced the most hurricane strikes in history. The largely unprotected at sea level island of Grand Cayman was hit by Hurricane Ivan on 12 September 2004, which destroyed many buildings and damaged 70% of them. Ivan was the worst hurricane to hit the islands in 86 years.

Mount Pelée (French: Montagne Pelée, or “Bald Mountain”) is a dormant volcano on the northern tip of the French overseas department of Martinique in the Lesser Antilles island arc of the Carribean. It is among the deadliest stratovolcanos on Earth.

Mount Pelée

Mount Pelée is famous for its extremely destructive eruption in 1902 and the destruction that resulted, now dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century. The eruption killed about 30,000 people, most deaths in the destroyed Saint-Pierre, at that time the largest city in Martinique, due to its deadly pyroclastic flows. The eruption left only two survivors in the direct path of the volcano, one alive because he was in a poorly ventilated, dungeon-like jail cell and the other, living on the edge of the city, escaped with severe burns.