Wednesday, April 18, 2012

There’s Something About Being in the Sea…

…that makes me feel equal parts predator and prey.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Jaws movie, but I get the premise: if young, attractive people enter ocean waters for recreational purposes, it follows that they will be consumed by a man-eating great white shark.  While the improbability of a shark attack does not go unacknowledged, I can’t help but listen for the telltale dun-dun! that great whites exude when hunting.
            Honestly, I’m not afraid of being attacked by a shark when I’m at the beach.  Part of that is because it’s really, really unlikely… right?  And the other part is because I’m never more than ten yards from the shore—not exactly open waters.
            So what equal part of me feels like prey in the sea?  The part that is certain the sea floor is a minefield of poisonous jelly fish, rays, urchins and lionfish, camouflaged with a light dusting of fine Caribbean sand.  And it is just a matter of time before I plant my foot squarely on each and every one of these creatures.  I can only attribute my pessimism to the ridiculous perfection of Grenada’s beaches.  Nothing so idyllic can exist without a weakness.  My conclusion, then, is that hidden poisonous sea critters are the chink in the beaches’ armor.  They’re just hidden really, really well, ‘cause I haven’t stepped on one yet.  Or my theory is wrong and the beaches just really are that perfect.

Rex Resort

            Saturday Ivan and I went to Magazine Beach with a couple friends.  We’d never been there, so Holly and David were kind enough to show us the ropes, per se.  The “ropes,” in this situation, involved taking a bus we weren’t familiar with (Frequente/Point Saline) to a resort we’d never heard of (Rex Resort), then nonchalantly breezing past said resort’s security (cue the we-belong-here look) and skirting the wedding ceremony in progress (aka photo-bombing ops), to cut across the well-kept grounds and find ourselves at a truly serene little strip of quiet paradise.

            Magazine Beach differs from Grand Anse in that it is less populated and feels more secure.  There are no vendors zeroing in on you while you try to relax.  The shore is dotted with sheltered tables where you can keep your belongings (especially helpful if you don’t want sand in your purse).  Speaking of the sand, it does seem to have more ants than at Grand Anse.  The water is just as clear and tepid, though, unlike the more murky La Sagesse Beach.  Getting to a comfortable depth in the water means carefully walking over a ridge of rock that stretches just a few feet from the shore.  While the rocks aren’t very sharp, positioning your footing over them is difficult because the water tends to skew your depth perception.  Past that minor obstacle, though, the sand is soft and heavy.  I’d say it’s much nicer than the currents of seaweed and debris at La Sagesse.  Although the temperature and clarity of the water is on par with Grand Anse Beach, the waves are slightly more noticeable.  I use the word waves with caution; more accurately, I should say Magazine Beach has subtle rolls.  I didn’t see any water breaking prior to reaching the shore, but compared to the glassy, motionless sea at Grand Anse, this beach had some movement.  I was still comfortable with taking my non-waterproof camera into the water with me, if that gives you an idea of its “waves.”
            Remember the lesson I’d learned from our visit to La Sagesse?  Well, my shoulders were no longer maraschino red on Saturday, but petals of skin were rolling away, reminding me of my very delicate susceptibility.  You’ll be happy to know I avoided making the same mistake and managed a visit to the beach without burning!
David and Holly
            As I’ve said a number of times, I’m not the type to sunbathe; so our visit was almost entirely waterlogged.  Luckily, our friends are not sunbathers either, or they just humored us while we paddled around for a couple hours.
            We were honored with the presence of a school of fish.  Hundreds of them—each no bigger than my pinky—constituted a larger mass that folded and unfolded as one.  They turned direction in unison and cleaved through our group, parting to bypass pairs of legs, then uniting on the other side seamlessly.  My immediate reaction was to lunge for them.  (And this is where my other equal part is predator.)  I never actually expected to get one, but there was something so unbearably ostentatious about their darting just out of my reach that led me to awkwardly belly-flop left and right, grabbing at bubbles and water.
            This drawn-out event brought us to a discussion on fish, during which I pointed out how much I admire cuttlefish.  They are fascinating to watch and with a name like cuttlefish, how could they not expect to be hugged to death (which is more pleasant sounding that asphyxiating)?  Though I admit they don’t actually look cuddly.  Even as I left the water then to retrieve my camera, a group of cuttlefish passed through.  And me on the beach too far away to see!  How is that my luck?
            We finished up our visit drying off while David went snorkeling for shells and other fun finds, all destined for an ornate mobile being created by Holly.
 (The video shows all the crabs on the cliff side.)

            Ivan and a couple other students got a well-deserved break last night after classes.  For about an hour they tossed around a couple Frisbees on campus.  Despite the Frisbees regularly ricocheting off vehicles in the parking lot and a dorm window, the game went well.  All three were pretty talented, though none so much as me.  In fact, I was so superb, I discontinued my participation for fairness’ sake and just took pictures instead.  Ivan and I used to play Frisbee all the time in college.  As I remember, we were both pretty good at it.  But, I guess that was over five years ago.  (Add Frisbee to the list of activities this summer.)

Mildew on our tile floor
            I mentioned before that we have a friend on the island who is staying over summer break and will be keeping some of our stuff until we get back.  Apparently the school also offers storage services to students, although security may be questionable, so students are encouraged not to leave anything of value.  The school’s storage is also not climate controlled.  When you keep something in a non-climate controlled location in Grenada, you’re going to end up with mold and/or mildew.  Our apartment is climate controlled (to an extent) and I’ve still found mildew.  It’s been on the outside of our luggage, the cap on our vitamins bottle, on the fabric of my hat and along our unused hangers.  I found a few spots in a corner on our tile floor just yesterday.  I’ve heard of people coming back from breaks to find all of their clothes ruined from the stuff.  So I bought some extra-large Ziploc bags to seal away any clothing or fabric we’re not taking home with us.  Of the four large suitcases we have, we’re only leaving the hard-case luggage to avoid the fabric suitcases from being impregnated with mildew.  I sure hope it works out!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, no! You've given away directions to our perfect beach spot! Now it will be crowded with thousands of tourists! We're surely doomed. ;)