Horizon at Sandy Point

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

She grows more beautiful ...

The way to Englishman's Bay from the Crown Point end of Tobago follows the rugged west coast. You go by Black Rock, pass Plymouth and Arnos Vale, Moriah and Castara. Though maintained and often re-surfaced, the road is narrow, winding uphill for most of the way, and challenging. Only skilful and careful drivers need ply this route. It's not just the road, the views are distracting. Whether or not the sky is clear, the sea slips in and out of sight. Dwellings and parlors cling to the edge of the roadway; and tracks to other houses tucked in the valleys are barely obvious. But you won't miss the silk cotton tree with its heavily buttressed trunk beside the roadway.
Castara - on the way
A mere 15-mile one hour drive takes you a world away from the rush and hustle of Store Bay. You shed the busyness of other people's lives. Castara charms you with its scaled down accommodation options, its school with a beachfront, its perches and retreats invisible up the hillsides. By the time you get to the cliff overlooking Englishman's, you are ready to be stopped, to be awed by its crescent shape, its fluid indescribable colour, between two headlands, protective like horns. Descend to sea level, and creep around the river on a sandy track.

From the lookout above the bay

The single structure, painted lime green, houses a souvenir shop and kitchen on the ground floor. Upstairs, the view is enchanting through innovative vertical "french windows." Fishing net is piled up beside a shed, its roof overgrown with wild pines and epiphytes. A sailboat, fishing pirogue or cruise craft shifts at anchor. There are never more than a dozen people enjoying the beach. It's a wonder that the powers-that-be have allowed no other development of the loveliest beach in the world. Everyone who comes here keeps the secret hope that this little piece of heaven remains untouched.

Eula's restaurant

Innovative shelter - wide open, or closed up like a box
Today, there are booby birds dipping arrow straight and soundlessly into the bay. They float for a quick second before lifting off again on powerful wide wings. This is a beach where turtles have been seen coming in to nest. Parrots roost in the coconut trees, and rise squawking as the sky darkens for rain. Strong breezes move the clouds to sea; the sun comes out and the sand heats up again.

Roof garden?
This girl claims it's her favourite beach

Perhaps it was once frequented by an Englishman who laid claim to land in this area, and by extension, the beach itself. Maybe it is still part of one of Tobago's old estates. Even if it had no name, it would still be one of the enduring symbols for Tobago - pulchrior evenit - that grows more beautiful with each encounter.

Water like silk; forested shore; wild birds; nesting turtles; who needs more?

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