Let’s Go To The Beach!
There’s no doubt about it… one of the best attributes of Saint Barth is its beaches. After all, the island is virtually swimming in them! And over the recent Easter holiday, many of the beaches were home not only to the usual swimmers and body surfers, but also to a flock of campers—as Easter weekend is the only time of the year it is officially authorized to camp. And camp they do! The campsites look like mini tent-cities set back from the sand in many cases, under the palm trees and sea grapes that line the beaches. Some people reserve their spots in advance, renting them from savvy landowners. Others simply stake out their spots, and start camping as early as the Monday or Tuesday before Easter to get a jump on things. All kinds of items can be found in the campsites, from hammocks and stoves, even televisions and computers, makeshift showers, portable toilets, family-size picnic tables, you name it. The pilgrimage to the beach is an annual ritual for many islanders, with their families and friends, who enjoy picnics featuring local recipes (my husband came back from visiting one of the camp sites with a Tupperware container full of pigs’ tails in sauce with beans and little dumplings). I approached all of this in my own manner, lending one of sisters-in-law an inflatable air mattress and never intending to set foot on the beach myself. At least that was my intention until my friend JoAnne decided to celebrate her daughter’s birthday with a sleep-over for a few 10 year-olds on the beach in Flamands, so we joined them there for an Easter Sunday evening BBQ with grilled ribs, assorted salads and cheeses, home-made brownies, a cooler full of beer, wine, and water, plus a supply of glow-sticks to light up the night and LED rope light to help illuminate a path to the tent. The night before we were at a very different kind of beach experience: La Plage (which means beach in French), the trendy restaurant located at the Tom Beach Hotel in St Jean. The joint was jumping with a well-dressed international crowd of tourists and residents, enjoying dinner under an almost full moon, live music and a crazy cabaret show featuring some of the staff— my favorite is Zachary, a dreadlocked waiter from Martinique who is really a dancer, and boy can he move! The perfect alternative to the camping scene if you ask me… Now that Easter is over, people can swap camping stories until next year, when they start planning their next outing on the beach. In the meantime, remember that all of the beaches in Saint Barth are, by law, public, and while you cannot camp out except at Easter, you can certainly enjoy the soft white sand and exquisite turquoise waters all year round!
More to come,