Tobago really spoke to me. The island has tucked-away coves lined with golden sands and overhanging palms. It boasts numerous waterfalls with inviting fresh water dipping pools. Underwater there are reefs dotted with hundreds of sponges the size of Smart Cars, colored in red, green, gray and blue. Those and other marine wildlife are all due to convergence of the North Equatorial and Guyana currents plus the caloric stew drifting north from Venezuela’s Orinoco River. I was besotted with the place’s beauty and its gregarious people.
Caribbean islands are known for repeated conquests by European powers ever since the time of Columbus. Tobago, however, holds the record for it had power change hands a whopping 31 times! There were the usual suspects: the British, French, Spanish and Dutch. Even the Latvians got in the fray establishing two colonies in the 1600s. The first was done in by the Spanish. The second met its end by the spear tips of the fierce Caribe Indians. I guess the Europeans were just as enamored by Tobago as I am.
The island is graced with over 200 species of birds, many of which are common to South America. I chalked up 50 species myself, which is pretty amazing considering I am a ‘bird looker’ rather than a full-fledged birdwatcher. I spotted the rare white-tailed sabrewing, one of six hummingbird species on the island. Others included the rufous-tailed jacamar, blue-crowned motmot, red-crowned woodpecker, blue-backed manakin and the Venezuelan flycatcher. The list goes on. What a bird land.
But my Pisces blood drove me repeatedly back to the shore. My favorite spot was Englishman’s Bay, a secluded cove on the Caribbean coast that seduces like a ripe mango. Fringed with palms, dotted with pelicans and marked by scimitar-shaped beach, it is a tropical trifecta made for limin’ the day away. Its soft sand, warm sea and blue skies are embedded forever in my mind. Plus, there is Lula’s, the ultimate beach bar at water’s edge. What more could I ask for?
But the 10-day visit finally came to an end. It was time to fly home. So, the question remains; Did we make the right choice 20 years ago to live on Bonaire? Well, yes. And we will be staying. The hypothetical question, however, is would we have been happy if we had chosen Tobago instead? Most definitely. It is a unique, beautiful Caribbean island, one in which I believe I would have thrived. There are always those crossroads in life when one must choose one direction over the other. They are keystone moments that shape one’s destiny. Living on Bonaire has been deeply rewarding. Tobago? It now holds a special place in my heart. But it will always conjure up thoughts and images of what might have been.