Several months ago a former neighbor suggested that a good soak in sea water was the best remedy for alleviating countless health conditions.
He had specifically recommended the sea water that lashed the shores on the eastern coast of Trinidad. To be exact, he had high praises for the water that washed the shores of Mayaro, a former fishing village, now town hub, on the lower end of the eastern coast of Trinidad.
Interestingly enough, when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, not long after that suggestion, the answer came easily ... "a trip to Mayaro Beach and any two other beaches on the eastern coast". Having been asked, I took the opportunity to state my wish for a three-fold birthday present that would cost of a couple tanks of gas and long drives along a breath-taking coast. A pretty good bargain if you ask me!
As the actual date drew nearer, I had a sense that something was being planned, but the details were sketchy, at best. At least I knew that Mayaro was on the cards!
Skipping ahead ...
We headed east from San Fernando into Princes' Town, where we added the last crew member, before tackling the long drive to Mayaro. We were told that it would take at least two hours to make the trip one way. It was a blessing of sorts that the road itself was not 'highway perfect'. There were sections that had been paved, then dug up by the authorities, then repaved. There were some smooth stretches and some stretches that looked and felt as if there had not been touched for years by any kind of improvement work. There were hills, valleys and road slippage. There was certainly no smooth sailing from beginning to end!
It was a long and winding road, that brought back childhood memories about family visits holidays and frequent walks to the seaside.
So much had changed since I had made this trip almost 20 years ago. There were still buildings that had weathered the tests of time; others had been refurbished. Playgrounds, places of worship, schools, homes throughout the many villages were mostly well maintained and there seemed to be development work and new businesses everywhere. Best of all , there was a noticeable improvement in the signage that identified the towns and villages along the stretch, many of which I did not even see or remember as a child.
I am pretty certain that we missed some signs along the way. They are not listed here in consecutive order, but they were noted. Leaving Princes' ' Town we headed for New Grant; thereafter we passed through Tableland, Poole, Union, Mile End, Clear Waters, Mafeking, Rio Claro, before entering Mayaro and Mayaro central. There were main roads at that point branching off to the north, which would take you to Sangre Grande, and to the south, which would take you through Manzanilla to Guayaguayare and to Galeota Point. Next trip ...
We passed the Mayaro Market on the right and headed along the boulevard to the beach. There it was ... dead ahead. We could have driven straight on to the beach had there not been a line a fishing boats, probably placed there to prevent this 'drive through' urge. We turned right on to Gill St. in search of safe and easy beach access for vehicles. Many private and public structures lined both sides of Gill St. The rustic setting with a front row view of the expansive Atlantic Ocean was enough to spark the development that was obviously taking place, at least as far as we could see.
It was 5.00 p.m. when we pulled into a beach access and stepped on to the sand. It felt inexplicably wonderful just to be there. Everything was rushing in, especially the fresh air and the waves. There was so much to see.
The life-guards removed the red flags as soon as we arrived. It did not matter because the only thing that we intended to do was wet the feet. The 'chip-chip' came in with the water and we could see them hurriedly trying to bury themselves in the wet sand.
There was a bride and groom posing for pictures on the steps of the like-guard hut. This was not very far from the tsunami warning sign which itemized what should be done in the event ...
Small groups of bathers frolicked close to the shore. The coconut groves looked dark and wild. A few oil rigs could be seen dotting the horizon further south. Some dogs lay lazily on the dry sand which was strewn with debris. There was no obvious attempt at 'beautification and improvement'; that was the work of the sea. The entire scene was so simple and so rich.
The crew of three was content to walk in the wet sand and take in the wonders of nature's work. It was beyond words. Luckily, just before 6.00 p.m., when the sun began to lean deeply into the western sky, we remembered to take some pictures.
Of course, we share some of them with you! Remember to click on the images for expanded views.