There are a couple of beaches in the bay, Princess Margaret’s and Lower Bay. The first of these, as lovely as it is, was packed so full of people it looked like a seal colony. So, we carried on in the dinghy to lower bay, finding an empty plot of sand beneath a row of machineel trees.
The machineel tree has a mean reputation. It has won the Guinness Book of Records award for the most dangerous tree in the world. And here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
“All parts of the tree contain strong toxins, some unidentified. Its milky white sap contains phorbol and other skin irritants, producing strong allergic dermatitis.Standing beneath the tree during rain will cause blistering of the skin from mere contact with this liquid (even a small drop of rain with the milky substance in it will cause the skin to blister). The sap has also been known to damage the paint on cars. Burning the tree may cause ocular injuries if the smoke reaches the eyes. Contact with its milky sap (latex) produces bullous dermatitis, acute keratoconjunctivitis and possibly large corneal epithelial defects.’
Maria and I knew this (insofar as the trees are bad news) so thought it would be a safe bet in keeping the hoards away. We kept to one side of the trees so that our heads wouldn’t dissolve into a mushy pulp if it rained, and set out the beach towels. After an hour of peaceful slumber, a large family arrived. Clearly they hadn’t read the machineel tree memo. They dropped their stuff directly under the trees and occupied the beach. Bugger. I thought of mentioning it to them, but then I thought of Darwinism. Besides, there’s a huge sign on one of the trees pointing out why it isn’t such a good idea to be underneath them.
After another hour of shattered peace, we decided to de-beach and go back to the boat. Launching the dinghy in a swell is a bit of an art form, made harder when a gaggle of gormless people are in your way. Completely oblivious to our presence, some of them managed to blunder into the dinghy just as the swell rolled in, and were taken out like ten-pins. Ah well.
On the way back we called at Mojito to make arrangements for a tour of the island with Gerrit and Pascale. Continuing our dinghy ride back to Lady Jane, Maria said “Look at that naked woman over there”. I compliantly did, and immediately wished I hadn’t. The clearest image I can paint is to ask you to close your eyes and think of a Sumo wrestler. That woman was huge. Clearly she has no problem with body image, otherwise she wouldn’t have plopped into the water starkers. But really – in the middle of a busy bay? That’s gutsy.
Approaching Lady Jane we heard the alarm sounding. It transpires that one of the sensors had become dislodged due to heat melting the adhesive pad holding it to the frame. How long the alarm was annoying people for we have no idea, but I suspect we were cursed in at least four different languages.
The fireworks at midnight were fabulous by the way. We watched them from the deck of JaJaPaMi. I’m not sure the photo shows them to best effect, but one of the photos shows the mayhem.