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Island allure

Photos by Onne van der Wal

The islands beckon — the warm breezes, the friendly people, the rum punches and reggae bands. “Don’t worry, don’t hurry, take it easy.” Yet more than anything else it is the island waters that stir our imagination and remind us that there is more to life than the 9-to-5 treadmill, the cold and gray winters — and “Survivor.”

Ernest Hemingway captures the allure of these waters this way in his novel “Islands in the Stream”: “When you walked out into it there was just the green light of the water over that floury white sand, and you could see the shadow of any big fish a long time before he could ever come in close to the beach.”

Flying over it, the vast tracts of turquoise water are a patchwork of sand and reefs teeming with fish and grasses and corals and conchs and turtles that charm and amuse and inspire. Beneath its surface beauty, the sea is a rich place to explore.
The anchorage is the encampment from which the cruiser ventures out into this world — or the more familiar one landside, which has its own unique attractions. The anchorage is a harbor of refuge from the wind and waves, but also from the hustle and bustle left far behind. It is peaceful, yet social. Friends and congenial strangers may visit — just not too many. The anchorage is a respite from too much of anything, a return to simplicity.
Beyond the anchorage are waters to sail, lagoons to swim, reefs to explore, fish to catch, rays to marvel at, new islands and anchorages to discover. Or maybe this is a day to just sit. Don’t worry. Don’t hurry. Take it easy. Take it all in. Let Hemingway be your guide: “Out across the flats the sand was bone white under the blue sky and small high clouds … made dark moving patches on the green water.”

This article originally appeared on the Places pages of the March 2012 issue.

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