Askari Cruise Page 18
Cruise — As told to Diane M. Byrne
— April 2003
The Time of Their Lives, Part III
We had the rare opportunity to visit a “pan yard” and experience the music first-hand. We watched in awe as a local steel band turned ordinary-looking oil drums into wonderful melody makers. The music they produced was so loud that it could be felt for blocks away. The band was composed of Trinis of all ages, but the most impressive drummer was a teenage boy who played without missing a note. We listed to the steel orchestra for well over an hour, and we were thoroughly amazed at their performance and impressed that each played without any sheet music. As we walked away, I imagined what it must sound like during Carnival when hundreds of bands compete for the prestigious title of Steel Band of the Year. I’d really hate to be a judge faced with the responsibility of choosing a winner, but I’d love to be a spectator one day!
Fortunately, the view from this side of the island was several steps closer to our idea of a Caribbean paradise. Upon our arrival in Laguna de la Restinga, we were informed that we would be taking a river tour through the mangrove trees. Our party of eight was quickly divided into two groups, since each boat could only hold four people. We passed our belongings into the hull of the boat and headed up a series of shallow, narrow canals that meandered in and out of the mangrove patches that were anchored solidly to the muddy bottom. The innumerable mangrove trees, growing into, around, and above each other, apperaed to be intertwined into one huge mangled knot of roots.
At the end of this massive mangrove maze was a beach unlike what we’ve seen so far on our island-hopping. The sand, coarse, and chunkyu pieces of shattered shells outlined the water’s edge. As soon as our river tour ended, we unloaded our bags from the boat and darted toward the waterfront. We were fascinated with the large, unbroken shells that were randomly scattered across the shore, and the sound of our feet sluffling through the sand mimicked the soundof a continuously flowing rain stick. We cheerfully collected seashells and sand and quickly packed them into plastic bottles to take back to Askari, in hopes of creating our own Caribbean rain sticks to remind us of our adventures.
After meticulously choosing the filling for our rain sticks, we had a delicious seafood lunch at an open-air restaurant on the beachfront. Before heading back through the mangrove canals, we passed by a few vendors and purchased some souvenirs. Even though Isla Margarita wasn’t a picture-perfect paradise, the sights at Laguna de la Restinga made this visit one of a kind.
This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.