Horizon at Sandy Point

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Home on the Grange

Grange Bay is my favourite place to spend time in the sea. In Tobago. Or anywhere in the world. Its unassuming arc-of-sand beach runs parallel and below the Mount Irvine Road. You can drive by  and miss it, hidden behind a tall fence and manchineel trees (also called poison guava) for one part, and a low stone wall whose steps have crumbled for the other part. Park at the wall. Behind the flaming flamboyant (if you are here in the middle of the year) you find a natural stairway created in the roots of the trees.
Grange Bay through the flamboyant tree near the wall

There are no facilities here. Just grey sand and green water. No distractions. Head straight into the water. In June, with hot sun high overhead, it's a little chilly but your blood cools to it, and aaahh, you can spend hours floating, flip-flopping around, or swimming lengths to and fro beyond the breakers as my daughter would do. It's never crowded. Today there is a couple by the rocks a good way off. A pale female lying in the sun reading - not a good practice at midday! A tall stripling comes down the tree-steps followed by three dogs.

There are two greyhound lean black dogs and a white fluffy perky mix. He looks like a small Sox, says the husband, his tail is curled up and he is frisky, running hither and thither on the sand, approaching the water then running back while the master puts on swimming goggles and dives right in.

It's easy to talk about dogs. Fritz! he calls to keep the white one from straying. TRex is the male. The third he says is a neighbour's dog that just limes with his two. Then, the dogs take off single file back along the main road. He goes after them then returns to the water. They've gone back home, probably to chase and hunt. They bring dead iguanas to the doorstep, he says, but his mother doesn't like them; they frighten her.
Manchineel, poison guava
Under the manchineel trees

Diamond Payne does a few laps, dips underwater and remarks on the school of small fish and the three large ones swimming close to shore. It's amazing, he says, his awe of the underwater world evident in his voice as he offers the husband his goggles to check it out. The offer is declined. Diamond, 15 years, has just completed his O levels. Math is mental abuse, he says, but he loves sciences, he wants to be a marine biologist. We encourage him. He's a high-jumper, and sprinter (100 and 200m) and could easily earn a scholarship. We stay in the water when he heads home. We'll remember his name and look for it in the Sports news.

An old man is trying to negotiate the descent to the beach by the wall. He seems stuck, one knee bent the other leg extended but not quite touching the sand below. He accepts help by handing over his bag. Danke, he says. We point out the natural stairway and leave him to find a spot to settle.

Desmond Pitt is an 82 year old history teacher. He went to high school in Montreal and stayed there, teaching. He took a ride back to Tobago on the Federal Maple, gift from the Canadian government to the short-lived West Indies Federation (1958 - 1962). There was a sister ship called the Federal Palm. Now he lives in Lambeau.

It's easy to meet people at the Grange. When everyone else has left the beach, we float and look for the goats that graze in the lot above the bay. Water-logged we emerge from the sea. Enough is enough, for this day.  Soon be back, the thought frames itself in the mind. Grange Bay, always welcoming.

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