Winter Experience #4 – Treasure

Hmmm – I’m debating whether or not this is a winter experience to share with you. But then, it is only March 1, and still technically winter, right?

Fact is, I returned home about a week ago after a wonderful week in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. TB is on the southwestern coast of the island, away from big towns. Slow-paced and safe, with no big resorts in the immediate vicinity, it’s the laid back Caribbean vacation place I’d always wanted to try. I finally got my wish.

Of course, another big element of that wish was to ‘get back’ to nature – and that’s what I want to tell you about in today’s post. No boring travel details, just the facts of my island retreat with nature.

Although the Bed and Breakfast where the retreat for my group of writer friends was held (Calabash House, Treasure Beach), had bedrooms for many, there was also a small cottage available on the property, only thirty yards from the crashing surf. Given the choice of a shared room inside the house, or a more rustic experience close to the beach, I chose rustic.

No air conditioning. (Temps between 74 and 89 every day.) No insulation in the walls. (Could see daylight between the  floor boards and the boards of the walls.) Screened and louvred windows. (Letting in breezes and tropical scents 24/7.) Ensuite sink and toilet with cold running water. (The outdoor shower – also cold water only – was a few steps from my porch.) Minimal lighting (doesn’t draw as many insects). A turquoise mosquito net fully covering a king-sized bed. (Restful sleeping experience.)

I slept each night and woke each morning to the sound of the crashing surf. Early morning bird song was my alarm clock (except for the morning that some croaking insect decided to let loose outside one of my windows.) The smell of jasmine blew through the cottage at all hours, and morning brought the sound of a lawn rake at work. (One staff person raked the spent blossoms and fallen leaves off the yard each morning, including the area around my little house.) Sometimes he sang – or even danced – as he worked, and he always had a big smile in greeting.

Daytime was a sensual symphony. Hummingbirds and butterflies of all colors, green mangoes and limes hanging from giant trees. Coconut palms, papaya trees, lemon trees, and flowering bushes full of color and scent. Fresh air breeze, and behind it, always the pounding of the surf.

Beach walks, brown sand laced with black lava granules, ancient reef uncovered by wave action, revealing shells whose inhabitants had died centuries ago. Shore birds, including brown pelicans diving for fish, and magnificent frigatebirds soaring near the shore.

In the ocean itself, pods of dolphins, racing our boat, and a sea turtle – ancient giant – swimming against the tide on her quest to lay eggs on her ancestral beach.

The week was a full stop away from life. With the exception of writing – our purpose for going their afterall – we did no work. There were no tvs, no radios, and only internet service if we chose to log in. I have no idea what happened in the world that week. I only know  the world did not end, and planes were still flying when it was time to come home.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to slow down, to think, to experience a tropical world. I’ll share more later. (Check my website for photos while will probably go up this weekend!)

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