Far From the Caribbean, a Sea I Can Call My Own

Reposted from Caribbean Lady Gathers Moss
I have always been very nonchalant about beaches, seas and oceans. My ancestors arrived on the shores on Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad, so I have every right to be. The Caribbean was mine!

I’d turn my nose up at invites to the “beach” in Barcelona. Stones and green-brown water? I will sit on the promenade and drink sangria, thank you very much.

The French Riviera? Sure the water is blue, but cold nuh backside, and what’s with the boulders?

South African beaches are good to look at, but even a toe will freeze off in that Atlantic-meets-Indian melee. Plus the sharks are friendlier there.

I have yet to see the Indian Ocean on ground level, but it just seems so temperamental!

With the Caribbean Sea, you are afforded unblemished turquoise waters where underwater tea parties can be had. Waters so still, folks can congregate at around 6 a.m. blessed with shower caps, wade and ground. White-ish sands for long walks. Beauty so pure and unadulterated at a certain time of day that you just can’t look at it directly.

When I first got to the Pacific, I was expecting a scene to rival the Caribbean. I was initially sourly disappointed. I railed to my home-based friends about the brown stuff in the water. While it was beautiful and blue, there was always something to interrupt. A friend and I discussed how, in spite of everywhere that we’d travelled, nothing (NZ, SA, Tanzania and Namibia excepted) compared to the beauty of the Caribbean.

Then over Easter, I caught a boat and went up the Yasawa chain of islands and encountered islands so beautiful, at one point the cloud cover and sun made me seriously wonder if I was in the Matrix.

I’ve always been curious about the philosophers who believed reality was all perception, a creation of the individual. Interesting but extremely narcissistic.

The beach on the island we chose to stay at was pristine but interrupted. Brown from on top invading the flawless blue. I went in anyway, this time with a snorkel. The brown was in fact pink and purple, blue and sometimes yellow. Beautiful coral, living and breathing. We were all careful to steer clear of touching by accident. Fish of every colour and size imaginable.

Once I stopped only judging the beach on what I thought it could do for me from the top, what came with the interruption made my days. I could and did visit the reefs as frequently as I could. I wrote home inquiring as to what happened to our reefs. Was Barbados the reef? Where are the new inhabitants? What about the rest? Where are our reefs?!

I gotta say, the tourism here is different too. Maybe because it isn’t easy to get to, but the tourists here are so respectful of the space. Even more than the tourists, the locals are very clear about how the space should be treated, taking cues from the ancient religions that are now mushed together with whatever version of Christianity suits the village.

I love my region and hope we will treasure our space differently than we have in the past, more than just for our use, as if it exists just for us. Either way, I may have found a sea with a few more stories to tell than the one I thought was mine. We’ll see. In any case, I’m going visiting again soon.