Sea, sun and…scuba
Traveling is about getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing new things. And that’s exactly what I did in May 2016—well, partly.
The island girl and the sea
I was born and raised in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. My family being from the south (where my Port-Salut people at?), I spent a good deal of my childhood by the ocean. Pointe-Sable is still my favorite beach. I’ve snubbed beaches in the Bahamas and in the Dominican Republic because the water wasn’t clear enough or the sand fine enough. Yes, I’m that picky.
For me, a day at the beach is best spent with a good book and great friends. An occasional dip in the water is both refreshing and relaxing. There’s something magic about salt water on the skin. But I don’t wander in the deep end. While I will swim in a pool, I don’t have the skills to actually swim in the ocean. The waves, the current and the lack of a nearby wall to hang on to (just in case…) make me feel really uncomfortable. I’ve been in boats before; I’ve even been in a bwa fouye. Being on a vessel in the ocean is fine. What I have an issue with is relying on my swimming skills while in the deep blue sea. Which is a shame, for some members of my family (my late grand-father, my mom and my youngest aunt) we actually excellent swimmers.
Under the sea
Needless to say that certain water sports never made it to my bucket list, or any of the many lists I keep. And yet, I found myself sporting a snorkeling mask on one day and scuba gear the next. This was so out of character that both my sister and my husband asked for proof. (Here it is on the right! And my hand touching the bottom of the pool is a big no.)
I’d go snorkeling again. I like the fact that I could come up for air at any point in time. It’s also really neat to swim near all the fish. Life around a coral is beautiful.
Scuba diving is not for me. And it’s not for lack of trying. I went as far as diving in the ocean. But the moment my entire body was submerged, I panicked and forgot every bit of the hour-long training (video and pool dive) I undertook. I’m not ashamed to say that I chickened out. But I won a bet against my husband, though. He didn’t think I’d get in the ocean at all.
Side note: Most all-inclusive resorts charge an extra fee for water sports and other activities.
Let the sun shine!
Two days of sun bathing. That’s all it took to erase the mark of 10 long Canadian winters. I believe that winter actually sucks the melanin out of one’s skin. Of course, the summer months give me a bit of a glow. But the 6 to 7 months of winter that ensue quickly bring back that pale hue to which I will never be accustomed. Therefore, it was with utter delight that I lathered my skin with sun screen and let the sun work its magic.
I have never been homesick. I’ve missed living close to my family. I’ve craved a particular dish. But I’ve never hungered for my land. I’ve never felt the urge to go back. Don’t get me wrong; I do enjoy every visit. However, I once spent 5 years without setting a foot there, and I was OK. But the moment I dug my toes in the sand and heard the waves’ monotonous hum, I felt like I was home.
Home: where the water is cool and the sand is warm
I had the opportunity to set foot on 4 islands during that trip, and they all felt like home. Aside from the beautiful beaches, I found so many commonalities. From the people, who are warm and welcoming, to the succulent food, to the amazing landscapes. It felt like home because the only thing that gave me away was my accent, and even at that I felt welcomed. It felt like home because I was treated like a long lost cousin. My foreignness went unnoticed and was also somewhat celebrated—if that makes any sense.