Recently I returned from a wonderful two-week holiday on the East coast of Barbados. One of my family’s favourite places, it is only 20 minutes drive from our home, yet everything is different there. The salt air and breeze invitingly puts you in holiday mode immediately, the smell and sound of the Atlantic ocean, just steps away from our basic rented cottage. It was a treat to be there. Dry sand always underfoot, and never growing tired of watching the waves from the balcony. The massive ’round rock’ a few hundred yards away from our house, sitting comfortably on the beach, providing shade and a bench at the top for those who were adventurous enough to climb to the top to survey the magnificent view of crashing waves all the way to Africa and coastal scenery as far as the eye could see.
One of my favourite things to do is snorkel. There are many rock pools that come out at low tide on the East coast, when swimming is not dangerous. A well-known pool among the locals is the ‘Barbados Pool’ as it is in the shape of Barbados. It is only about 12 by 21 feet, but it is deep enough to cover a person standing to their necks, and it is one of the largest of this depth. There is always enough and more to see, even though only a modest aquarium size.
About 10 feet from the shore I put my first steps in to the pool, being careful not to touch the sides which are adorned with prickly white sea urchins. My body adjusts to the cool water and I quickly feel refreshed and ready for my adventure, with snorkel and mask adorned. A stunning bright orange sea centipede can’t help but catch my eye immediately. Six inches in length, it glides and arches its way through the sand and around the rocks at the bottom effortlessly. Her mate is not far away, smaller and ugly, but carrying out his important duties before moving back to join her. Made with the most perfect hands, no detail is overlooked, this sea creature senses danger of a shadow overhead (me) and responds by extending her built-in white daggers all over her body. I wonder if her sting is as intense as a land centipede?
The white sea eggs of all sizes that surround the walls of the pool have each caught something different in their spikes: leaves, little pebbles, shells, string, biscuit wrapper … A small rock lobster is hinged on a large sea egg, but its insides are gone, delicious flesh eaten by a fortunate prey, part of its shell sits on another nearby ball of spikes. Fish, varieties of aquarium size, brightest yellow, purple spotted, stripes of orange and black, inside and outside of rocks, holes, the rock formations a playground or an intricate water maize. Tiny Soldier crabs on the move on the sand and other crustaceans that I wish I knew the names of.
Surges of water enter my haven with larger waves – the tide is coming in, I have been lost in time. I don’t want to leave. I position myself more securely so that my body parts avoid the white waiting spikes and continue to explore through my mask for a few more minutes, getting up close with the reef in all its glory.
soon forced to climb out of the pool and wait for another low tide, another day, and I feel exhilarated, thankful for this natural aquarium at my fingertips, always different, always waiting for me.
Deborah (Debbie) Buckmaster has been sporadically blogging for a year, and loves to share her heart, her journey, and hopes to touch lives in the process. She enjoys praying in her different groups and longs to share in book form all that God has done in her life and the lives of others.