Thursday, May 2, 2013

The pride of Bequia

Admiralty Bay, Bequia
 The skin on my toes is peeling. I slept terrible last night. I don't think it did any good bumping my head against a bolt in the handle of the dive shop door yesterday. We went for a swim, a great one, if I'd felt better. The swells were rolling in strongly and there was a lot of surge. The fishes didn't seem to care. We saw a turtle rushing under a rock. She could feel the danger, even when she was safe around us. The only stupid thing I could think of; even when the ocean was inviting me to enjoy the beauty; was that the bump on my head was making the mask strap too tight. We were shaken back and forth several times. Several times is too much, you start getting seasick in the water, it's not fun. Finally we decided to struggle back into the dinghy before the current took us further out. Then we went around the corner, to the breakers. The foam is pretty, but those rocks are scary if the ocean is dragging you toward them. We swam around the cliff to the beach, looking for nice marine life to admire. The water wasn't clear and all the creatures seamed to be sleeping in their caves. I heard a howling. Just like an owl at night going after its prey, the difference is that is almost noon, its 11:30, and I hear it in the water. Everybody in the group keep asking if they are the only one hearing the sad howling. No, we were not wrong. We heard it three, four, ten times, until we got up on the beach, then the sounds changed to seagulls and water breaking onto the shore.

My head is swelling more, and my brain is going nuts. It's hard to tell what affected me more, hitting my head on the door handle or the number of times I've hit it before. One day I'm accidentally going to kill myself, that's what my mother says. I hope I don't, but every time I hit it I get mad, it's like she'd put a curse on me. I know she didn't mean to.
I spent the afternoon on the boat. I thought a good lunch and a book would cure my headache. No drugs. I rather suffer the pain than take a dammed aspirin. It is a hot day, my clothes feels like fire on me. I finally go onshore, “walking will do me so good”, I think. In town I always try to visit the same places, the same food stands. I smile. I forget about my head. Its not beating anymore. I like to wander around the produce stand and feel the texture and smell the freshness of the vegetables.

Life is beautiful!

The town is happy. The people smile, they are all over the place doing their thing, following their ancient routine, fishing, gathering food, and taxiing tourist around the island. We seat down in a beer joint to wait. You always wait to get service in the Caribbean. A lady smiles, she is drinking beer. We just want to top up the cellphone. She is chatting. She wants to tell the scoop. The tourist have to know what the island people are proud of. My headache is back from the minute she starts talking. Its nothing personal, its just that my brain has to make an extra effort to understand what she says; her accent, the noise on the street, the loud music. But Jim is closer to her, he can hear better than me. Then he turns to me with his flat smile and just states: they killed a whale. The time stopped, it was like he was telling me that they killed someone I knew. “They killed the humpback whale around 11:30, this morning, and tomorrow everybody is going to see it and get their portion, for 10 dollars EC per pound”. My head is beating fast, my heart has stopped. I wish had not heard the poor creature dying.

Whale fishing in Bequia


March, 8th 2013