Our first monkey sighting of the trip came on our way up north to St. Lucy Parish. The little critter scampered across the street and up a tree as our car approached.
When the island is being battered by a northern swell and high winds, swimming in the Animal Flower Cave is prohibited. This is for three reasons, as we were told by the gentleman at the bar:
- First, the surge of water is so strong it will knock the breath out of you.
- Second, the water will throw you up against the jagged rocks and cut you up like a cheese grater.
- Finally, the unyielding undertow will pull you out of the cave and sweep you out to the open sea.
The man then loudly claimed that he was “built for comfort, not for swimming.” Seeing the similarity in our body shapes and sizes, I nodded in agreement. Needless to say, we did not go swimming in the cave.
We did, however, go exploring in the cave, finding a few animal flowers (sea anemones) and enjoying breathtaking views of the sea—where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean—through the limestone and copper cave walls. The experience was memorable, as were the views of the waves crashing against the cliffs when we emerged from the cave and walked to the northern-most point of the island.
It's easy to forget the strength of the ocean when you live so far from it, but there at the cliffs, watching the water pound against the rocks with such fury, I was reminded of the majesty of the ocean: that the sea can be both calm and serene, and unrelenting and destructive at the same time.
The sea turtles are much larger than I expected. My frame of reference is the honu we saw in Hawaii, so perhaps I entered with improper expectations, but even still I was taken aback, at first, by the size of the green turtles by the pier.
An elderly man threw fish scraps in the water, luring the turtles up to the surface, and encouraged us to take copious amounts of photos. I snapped a few and then put my camera away; it was enough to see them there, bobbing happily in the sea.
Note to self: the portion sizes at the Oistins Fish Fry are very large. Each serving came with 2-3 pieces of fish, two sides, and three kinds of salad—much too much food for any one person to eat. Still, it is fascinating to watch the fish being cleaned, cut, seasoned, and then flame-grilled right in front of you, and the prices are among the best on the island.
After walking through the rows of fish vendors, we find a seat at Mo's (highly recommended by a few locals I had spoken to earlier in the week) and order our food. It arrives quickly, fresh, delicious, but overwhelming in size. We finish maybe half our meals before we give up.
The night continues now with soca music blaring from the speakers, and many Bajan dancers on stage while the throngs of people watch. I can't help but dance in place myself, captivated by the music and carried away by the beat that reminds me of dance parties of my youth.