Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Chasing the Tobago Cays…


(Adapted from my Travelogue) by Marlon. L. Joseph, Hospitality Officer, St. Vincent & the Grenadines Tourism Authority

By now we had dropped the sail and our windward bounce had been reduced to a somnolent mechanical cruise.  There were only whispering splashes as the double keeled SUN SPIRIT cut a foaming white path in the blue wilderness before us. Amazingly, we had all fallen silent and our eyes were fastened forward as we awaited the transcendent grandeur our skipper had promised. Glasses of rum punch were quickly traded for digital cameras and any gadget capable of offering proof that “I’ve been there, seen that!”  Even the raucous “soca” music had suddenly ceased to exist leaving our lucky ears hostage to the smooth swoosh of sharp keel slicing through tender swells until…

 “Oh my god! Is this place for real?!” A voice squealed with delight kicking off a responsive chorus of “oohs” and “awwws” just before the skipper’s voice broke in with pedantic courtesy: “ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Tobago Cays marine park”.

I felt myself becoming a child again…like those days when enchanted by Christian Hans Andersen’s fairy tales I dreamt of a land of endless wonder: houses of ginger bread against a forest of cotton candy at the edge of a lake of butter-scotched ice-cream.  It was that kind of enchantment that overtook me now...

Can sand be so white like young grains of corn? Can water be so glamorous, silver dazzling across sapphire with such splendid fervor as if an ancient treasure box belonging to some decadent pirate had finally split, exposing its blinding contents? Can these five islets flaunting their fluorescent green in this marine veld be anything but a mirage spurred by my thirst for fantasy? Or may be, quite simply, I had too much rum punch!  But moments like these in places like this must not be wasted on logic: the art of enjoyment is too simple and the time to enjoy oneself too little. Answers were therefore, irrelevant.

I just wanted the powdered clouds to continue their nomadic journeys farther south, deserting my overhead space, leaving only blue blazing tundra and birds sailing into vague. I wanted the turtles to continue floating to the glittery surface with deceptive paper weight, insisting we join them for a swim, this insistence mouthed through fleeting but frequent eye contact, hawkish and lateral, frivolous and curious ending with my body nestled in the supple grip of the waves playing hide and seek with these reptilian cuties and then having resorted to luxurious fatigue, lounge and watch crabs wearing helmets run about on a hermit- planet of pink and purple shells in a beach-white universe…

And already I was feeling sad for the SUN SPIRIT and others like it, those faithful yachts in bridal white, sleek and sweet within this placid aisle, abandoned by men gone on land to frolic with bromeliads on trails of wild romance, to return at dusk with a new bride in their hearts: “the Tobago Cays Marine Park”

ABOVE: lovely Jamesby, one of five islets that make up the Tobago Cays


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