Las Cuevas

From the Gulf of Paria to the north coast of Trinidad. I’m not used to all this action. When I woke up this morning, I imagined spending all Sunday in bed. Awesome. Damn genoa. Bingo wings and sore shoulders.

Then Jack had this great idea. Let’s go to the beach. While we were processing his idea, he jumped onto the pontoon and twisted his ankle. Awesome. Now, we could spend all day in bed after all. No, apparently after ice and paracetamol, we were still going to the beach. Urghh.

I got the girls to protest. They even promised to do weekend school. Nope. We were still going to the beach. I spent an extra half-hour doing the washing-up. No budging. Cue farting around with the beach bag. He dragged us all off of the boat.

‘This is our last Sunday in Trinidad,’ he maintained with a slight limp. ‘We haven’t been to the north coast yet – and we always go to the north coast. We’ll have a swim, a walk and return via the bake shack. We are going to have a good time.’ I should add the word dammit. Nothing like being dragged out by someone who is suddenly grumpy about the whole thing.

But it was my turn for dammit. Because he was right. It was really nice. We drove into St. James. We went towards the Savannah and turned left onto the Saddle Road. The Saddle Road heads into chi-chi Maraval, then turns left into the mountains. Lofty mountains. Terrifying mountain road. The whole of Trinidad has to travass it if they want to visit the north coast. This makes the occasional landslips and hairpin turns even scarier. When in Rome.

The beach was awesome. But Las Cuevas beach always is. Slightly wavy, perfectly shallow, busy with Trinis liming as if their lives depend on it. People play football on the beach, throw balls wearing saris and headscarves, display bikinis which Brazilians would surely chew their own thongs over.

We walked to the end of the beach where the lifeguarding ends. Surfers hang out here. We came this far two years ago and it was full of empty sea turtle eggs. Dark, broken pieces of leather. I was hoping it would be the same today.

No joy. All we got was coconuts, leaves and pieces of plastic. Yep. Discarded, un-recycled plastic is one of the Caribbean’s worst, best kept secrets. Yesterday in the Gulf of Paria too, plastic debris was a standard floating feature in sheltered spots.

Let me be clear – I’m not judging. It’s not my place, literally. In some (hopefully not too many) years, I think plastic pollution will be largely eradicated in this part of the world. I don’t think people will tolerate it anymore. Education, impact and being sick of the status quo is needed first. In the meantime, we picked up as much plastic as we could and carried it back to the bin. I think we’ll try to do this every time we go to the beach.

We did stop at the bake shack on the way home. It was Sunday lunchtime. The music was pulsing. The buffet section, full of salad, garlic, pepper and tamarind sauce, was heaving. We were all slightly sunburned. I’ve never seen Jack happier. He was still slightly limping.


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