THE EDITOR: It had been many, many years since my last visit to Buccoo Reef. As a proud Tobagonian, I have always encouraged visiting friends/relatives to make the trip but just never made the time to go myself. That changed two weekends ago when I had a guest, and we decided to rediscover this natural treasure. What a wonderful experience it was.
As we drove into the Store Bay car park, we were approached by a young man who politely enquired if we would like to visit the reef. The other touts did not descend upon us as I had expected, and in no time we completed our transaction. It would seem the Division of Tourism has been doing some training of our young entrepreneurs and they are to be complimented for that. I certainly complimented the young man on his cordial manner.
Our boat was scheduled to leave at 2.30 pm and with some time on our hands, I decided to take my friend to Fort Bennett in Black Rock. She had never been there, and she was as delighted as I was at the serene beauty of this little fort. Again, kudos to the division for a very well-kept site and pleasant staff manning the security booth.
Soon we were back at Store Bay and at the designated time, we clambered eagerly aboard. It was plain sailing out to the reef under the expert guidance of captain Wendell and his crew — no travel woes here. The rains of the previous days made the waters slightly turbid but, nonetheless, we were able to see a lot of the flora and fauna. Of course, there were not as many fish as in former times, but I was relieved that there was still some life on the reef. I even spotted a small manta ray.
The highlight of the trip, however, was undoubtedly Nylon Pool.
I don’t know where else in the world one can bathe safely “in the middle of the ocean” but here we were, young and old, splashing happily in water that was warm and no more than three feet deep.
We adults took turns using the coarse sand on one another to exfoliate necks, arms and legs, and I was very touched that some of the crew even assisted the older people.
And yes, I can’t forget the music. As soon as we left the boat to have our swim, the music began in earnest and even the little ones joined in the chorus of “take a bathe” and “we jammin’ still.” No one could resist. All too soon it was back on board, and after a brief stop at No Man’s Land, we were on the return trip to Store Bay. The three-hour outing was truly wonderful and I believe we got good value for our money.
I compliment the captain and his crew for their professionalism, and I encourage all stakeholders to continue enhancing our tourism product, in spite of the challenges.
We in TT have been blessed with so many natural wonders that we often take them for granted. Let us give God thanks for these great gifts and resolve to protect and preserve them for future generations.