The light is pink in the mornings here. It peeks through the hatches.. into a boat that’s eerily quiet. Quest is not pulling on an anchor right now, rolling in the waves or pivoting in its place. It’s not pissing down with rain at 3am and we sleep-zombies have to get up and close the windows. We don’t suddenly hear a squall and feel the anchor chain groaning with our weight. Nope, not 3m high in the air. All we hear right now is air con hum.
Saturday today! Thank goodness. Time to get off this boat. Leave the chemistry set alone, put the school books down, stop questioning Lu if Penglais School is harder than InterHigh. She gave me a full report btw – it’s about half and half right now. Kiss Delph for her incredibly hard work this week. Independent writing be like… ahhmazing. And times tables – conquering long multiplication, bless her. I’ve not been able to keep up with the adrenaline of it all.
Climb down Questie’s ladder. Go to Macqueripe Beach. It’s on Trini’s northwest coast. You turn off the main road five minutes from the boatyard onto a nondescript lane. You wouldn’t know it was there unless, well, you knew. Daniella at the boatyard told us about it. Hey Daniella 🙂
You turn, then drive for ages through an actual jungle. It feels for ages – but it’s only about 5km. It just feels it because you’re in an actual jungle. Mountains and nature reserve. The Ministry of Agriculture have a growing site here – rows of corn and plants under nets. There’s another official complex too for army-type people. Otherwise it’s just tropical trees, bamboo and big, white birds with long legs.
The road is strangely perfect. A bit different from the main road. Enthusiastic Trinidadian cyclists have noticed it too. They travel up and down the jungle road at speed. For a minute I thought I was back in Aber being blocked by the horde of cyclists on our A roads – except for the big, white birds with the long legs.
At the end is Macqueripe Beach. There’s a hut with a paying facility. You have to pay about two quid’s worth: twenty $TT – Trinidad and Tobago dollars. It’s for the changing room facilities and secure parking. Trinidad isn’t touristy though. People approach and ask if you’re having a good time. Every time we go.
There’s a zip-line too. You hear it before you see it. People whizz above you, over the path to the beach. Macqueripe itself is a small cove. There’s a sloping, concrete path through the jungle. The cove shines at the bottom. Green water, dark sand and stones laden with mika – it makes everything shimmer.
There’s not much of a beach at Macqueripe. It’s ok. We don’t come here to beach lime. We bring our snorkels and masks and head into the water. It’s not Caribbean clear, but there’s coral nonetheless. Large underwater rocks you can swim out and stand on.
The remains of a jetty are out on one side. This, we were told by a friendly swimmer (after he asked us if we were having a good time), was the site of a US submarine station during World War II. The Americans occupied Trinidad’s North West peninsula until 1972. When they left, the jetty went too. Now, big fish school the debris on the sea floor. And all the Trinis gather round. Macqueripe be like this.