© Photo by Amae

It had been 17 years since I was last here, on the island of St Lucia, where I grew up as a child. On this trip, I had promised myself that I would go to as many of the places I used to visit as a child, including the beaches, forests and mountains. One of the sights I most wanted to see was the view of the island of Martinique across the channel. As a child, I used to be intrigued by this vista. During the day one could see the mountains and the reflections of sunlight from the galvanised roofs of the houses and at night the headlights of cars. However, the journey, which I am going to write about, is my trip to one of the beaches on the eastern Atlantic side of the island. I intended to visit the beach to watch the sunrise. With this in mind, the night before the journey, I went to bed early. Settling in bed, I soon fell asleep. The cool night breeze soothing away the weariness brought on by my exertions during the day, which had been exasperated by the heat of the hot sultry sun. However, my sleep was intermittent; this was partially due to the excitement resulting from the anticipation of my walk, another and I would say the significant reason for my disrupted sleep, was the reoccurring sound of the cockerels crowing. Having been away for 17 years I had forgotten about this, and it was taking some time to get use to it, on the one hand, I found it disruptive, on the other side it added to the atmosphere: the feeling that I was away from England. On this night, however, the cockerels crowing, despite disrupting my sleep, proved to be a blessing because they enabled me to get up with plenty of time to spare before setting off on my adventure.

When I awoke it was still dark, to my surprise my mother was already up; I had forgotten that on the island people got up early in the morning. The main reason for this being that most people tried to carry out the bulk of the day’s work in the early hours before it gets too hot. My mother was in the kitchen preparing her breakfast, she turned around and asked me why was I up so early? I explained to her that I wanted to see the sunrise, the expression on her face turned from one of surprise to one of puzzlement.

After placing my camera in my bag and drinking a glass of water, I set off on the journey. Arriving at the place where I expected to find the dirt track that leds to the ocean, I instead found a tarmac road; this was not the only revelation, there were many more houses than I recollected. In fact, when I was last here, there weren’t any houses instead one would occasionally come across a makeshift shack built for travellers to rest or shelter from the sun and rain.

Proceeding along the road, which climbs steeply up the mountain, I was glad to see that the buildings became fewer and finally disappeared. The scenery slowly changed to something that I recollected from my childhood; this being one populated with trees and shrubs. However, I soon noticed that the trees and shrubs were not of the same varieties as in the past, for example, there were many more tamarind trees. I deduced that this had resulted from people throwing the seeds along the track and after 17 years these had grown into trees.

As in the past, the journey to the beach seemed to take longer than I expected. This was partially because, although on the map- as the crow flies, the beach is only about three miles from the house, in reality, one has to traverse several mountains.

I finally arrived at the summit of the last mountain at the foot of which is the beach. The view from the top of the mountain was as breathtaking as I remembered, even more so, because so little had changed. I was feeling so high, I was so eager to get there that if I had wings, I would have flown. In my hast, I decided to take a detour through the bushes, this as it transpired turned out to be a mistake. The journey through the shrubs proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated; This was because while in the bushes I had lost sight of the beach, which meant that I did not know whether I was travelling in the right direction. In addition to this, the light was still very dim. In hindsight I would have been better off had I continued along the main road? To find my way to the beach I had to rely on all my senses, in particular, my sense of smell. I vaguely knew that I was heading in the right direction to the sea because of the increasing intensity of the ozone. Eventually, after what seemed like an eternity, I emerged from the bushes. In front of me was the sea and thankfully the beach. From this initial sighting in what seemed like no time at all, I was walking on the sand and boy what a sight. Again, the view exceeded my expectations. In fact, I was so overcome that I froze to the spot.

The light was still soft, the sun had not yet arisen. However, I could see that there were a few clouds in the sky. The sky was the colour of blackberry sherbet candy. The scent in the air was as intoxicating as the taste. One did not have to see, the smells and sounds were enough to posit a picture in one’s mind. Standing still with my back against a coconut tree I absorbed the atmosphere. I decided that I would stay where I was because as luck would have it, I was near the middle of the bay. I was, therefore, in an ideal position to view the sunrise. I waited impatiently.

Slowly after what seemed like forever, the intensity of light increased. Suddenly a strip of light lit up the horizon; it then proceeded to advance towards the shore getting more prominent as it spread across the ocean’s surface. All of a sudden the fringes of the clouds were aglow; this was soon followed by shafts of lights shooting up from behind the clouds into the blackberry sherbet coloured sky. This had the effect of changing the colour of the sky to Azure. Slowly, an orange ball emerged from behind the clouds. It then proceeded to slowly ascend the sky. As it gained elevation, it revealed the white crest of the waves advancing towards the shore, and in response, their pace seemed to quicken. It looked as if they were as glad, as I was, to have the privilege of experiencing this sight. Suddenly a flock of birds appeared soaring up to the heavens and descending down to the surface of the ocean. In the ocean, the rocks revealed themselves as if awakening from deep slumber. The canopy of the coconut trees glowed reflecting a multitude of vivid colours orange, green, yellow and auburn. I could now see the contours of the landscape — the mountains and hills. I was so enthralled by these scenes that I forgot that I had intended to take some pictures. Quickly, I took the camera out of my bag and began frantically taking photographs; I wanted to capture these moments forever. In what seemed like no time at all I had used up the film, gently, I placed the camera back in the bag.

After a moments reflection, I decided to walk to the far side of the shore. As I proceeded along the beach, in the distance, I caught sight of a figure advancing towards me. At this point I was in two minds as to what to do, should I proceed or should I turn around? Not having a great deal of time to make a decision I quickly decided that I should continue walking towards the figure — for some reason I was not afraid. On hindsight, I believe that this was because of the rush of adrenaline I had experienced a few minutes earlier. As I got closer to the figure I could make out that it was a man, as I approached him I greeted him good day, he looked up at me with a puzzled expression on his face and greeted me good morning. I did not bother to stop, I instead continued walking to the other side of the bay. After I had deduced that there was enough distance between us I turned round to have a look. I was greeted by the sight of the man pulling a canoe into the sea. Having satisfied my curiosity, I continued walking.

Proceeding along, I came across a lagoon- one of the few remaining on the island. The water was still and calm. It was the colour of liquorice with a trail of light reflected in the middle. From the edge of the beach, the lagoon gently disappeared into the mangroves. After viewing the lagoon, I stood for a minute to take a look round and then headed for the road back to the town.

Interested in people, nature, science and technology, and history. MSc in Research Methods (Birkbeck), MA Industrial Design (UAL)

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