Saint Barthelemy underwater
BY SARAH BELMONT.
“How big Nemo’s universe can be ?”, one may wonder. Diverse are still far from being through with it. On Saint Barthélémy Island, swimming is a need as indispensable as eating or drinking.
Snorkeling with or without a breathing equipment is just as fun provided you enjoy the water. It is in this kind of astounding experience that lies the essence of a stay in the Lesser Antilles. It’s high time we took the plunge, isn’t it ?
Some, however, will never go for it, unless they know exactly what they are getting themselves into. FYI : into a famous coral zone known for its beauty and mostly its depth. No drowning at 30 meters above the abysse ! This assertion finds an exception in very few unfortunate accidents. Unlike massive corals, sheer fish-magnets, branch corals often fail to resist cyclone attacks. Similarly, local animals have overcome many impediments. Among them, are fishing and hunting, now fortunately prohibited on behalf of a natural reserve founded in 1996. Let’s throw in the pollution mainly resulting from tourism.
Why look at the dark side, when you can look at the blue side of things ? The nicest diving centers revolve around Pain de Sucre Island, near Gustavia, Saint Barthélémy’s capital. Out of respect for the endlessly threatened environment, anyone swimming across protected waters must pay the site one euro per expedition. This modest contribution yet guarantees a greater care for the mooring of each ship. As for the regular visitors of Saint-Barth’s bays, they can benefit from loyalty club cards. An extra reason to stay, even to extend one’s journey !
Once arrived, it becomes harder and harder to take off, indeed. It is absolutely impossible to miss the beauty of the water landscapes, which some will never dare penetrate. Afraid of waves, sharks or even fish ? It does not matter, any phobia deserves to be overcome if the adventure is worth facing it of course. It is worth its weigh of gold. In other terms, luxury in Saint Barthélémy does not lie in hotels only, but in geography itself.