St Lucia’s Rodney Bay: “Floating, the hills clear in their distances”

For St Lucian writer and cultural activist John Robert Lee, the sheltered beach at Rodney Bay, on the island’s north-western coast, is a place of idyllic childhood memory and peaceful respite

Rodney bay, St Lucia. Corbis Images

“Rodney Bay is my own favourite beach, which sometimes I can have to myself. During the Second World War, the Americans had two bases in St Lucia, one in the south and the other in the north, in Gros Islet, named Reduit, which area was also home to the beautiful stretch of beach that now forms the length of Rodney Bay.

“That beach holds a special childhood memory. When I took my very first trip to that part of island, it was with my mother — an adventurous woman who loved the sea — and brother. I was probably still in primary school. She hitched a ride for us with a friend of hers who drove a truck and was going to the beach to load up with sand for building — in those days there was no problem getting sand off the beaches. It was quite an adventure. The old diesel truck, and then arriving on the concrete paving of the old base, where there were guava trees, if I remember well, and of course sea grapes.

“A perfect time here would be: early morning or late afternoon, the water calm and warm; not too many people; sea gulls and herons above; little fish nipping at your legs; in the company of one or more good friends; and just lazing, floating on my back, looking at the surrounding hills, and Morne Gimie, our highest mountain, clear in their distances.”

 

To lovers of literature and culture in St Lucia and across the Caribbean, John Robert Lee is known as a man of letters and avid archivist. Author of several books of poems — most recently, City Remembrances — and editor of anthologies celebrating his country’s literary history, Lee is also a professional librarian, with a longtime base at St Lucia’s Folk Research Centre, with its invaluable collection of books, recordings, and artefacts documenting St Lucian heritage.

 

Caribbean Airlines operates regular flights to George F.L. Charles Airport in Castries, St Lucia