This is the part of Mustique that makes me want to stay. This always happens. Sigh. I should be the intrepid traveller. Instead, I can’t help trying to grow roots everywhere we go.
I don’t really care for the mega-rich, very private bla-bla part of Mustique. I could take it or leave it. You question me, dear reader?! What would you prefer: ten bedrooms, an army of staff, infinity pools everywhere you turn and never needing to lift a finger? Don’t answer!
The very best thing about Mustique for me is its rich, unhindered nature. Turns out that a well-manicured place can have its uplift. This island is super safe – hiking trails go all the way around and through its hills and beaches. When you take the mooring ball, you get a booklet of hikes to take back and study. This is stunning.
You can walk all over the Caribbean if you choose – of course. The stunning thing about Mustique is that you can do so as a woman on your own. It is that safe.
‘Are you crazy?’ my mum writes when I propose doing the around-the-island trail solo. Our tour guide, Alf, revealed he does this same hike every morning. Takes him a couple of hours, he told me. I checked – it’s shaded in blue on the map.
‘I still don’t think you should do it on your own,’ my mother maintains. Her words are even stronger than that. ‘Please don’t do it on your own,’ she writes with exclamation marks – the written equivalent of alarm bells and whistles.
At first, I laugh at her dramatic response. It’s hard to convey the Disney feeling of this island. Not that Mustique has theme parks and rollercoasters. It is quiet here, very quiet. Nature is its Disney castle.
At the heart, animal-wise, is Mustique’s most populous large vertebrate. Chelonoidis carbonara – the red-footed tortoise. They are found all over the island. There is something magically comical seeing tortoises freely wandering around. Found throughout South America and the Antilles, Chelonoidis carbonara‘s only two predators are listed as humans and jaguars.
Aha. Makes sense why there are so many of them wandering happily around. I think the jaguar problem has been largely sorted out on Mustique. But human-wise, they are definitely at risk of being run over by the jeep mules. Doesn’t stop them sitting on the road – especially if it’s rained. We’ve seen it. A good road puddle is valid reason for everyone else to slow down. Mustique is filled with drivers avoiding tortoises.
I let my messages back to my mum slide for a while. Eventually, when she writes again reminding me how she feels about me walking on my own, I write back.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll probably be too lazy to do it in the end.’ The truth is; if you don’t want to boil, you have to get up early in the morning to go. And, now that the girls are back at school, the morning cool is also when lessons are live back in the UK. Jack is usually tackling his email work pile at this point. I need to be around.
A message pings instantly back. ‘That’s good. I’ll do the walk with you when I come to stay.’
Ha! There it is – my mum’s angle. Predictable as the wind. I smile. I love our relationship.