So Dominica was for trekking and wildlife. Other islands were more suitable for bumming on a beach. There are fabulous beaches in the Caribbean: Savannah Bay in Virgin Gorda, Buccoo Bay on Tobago (despite it being overdeveloped), Loblolly Bay in Anegada, Orient Bay in St Martin, Meades Bay, Anguilla, Pigeon Beach in Antigua, Choc Bay in St Lucia.
Each has their own characteristics, and the beauty of them is that if you get bored of one, there is another stunning one a short walk away. For sheer convenience and early morning pleasure, the most wonderful beach for swimming I know is Rockley Beach in Barbados. I’ve stayed in a couple of hotels nearby and each time I have loved that feeling of getting up real early, just as the sun is beginning to lighten the sky, and head down to the beach with just a pair of shorts, a t-shirt and a towel. So much of the south coast of Barbados is built up and unless you are in a hotel it is relatively difficult to get access to the beach (a universal right but one which is becoming increasingly infringed in several islands). At Rockley though, a grove of palm trees allows a lot of liming to go on, dominoes to be played and Jo Everybody and his family can get down to the bay. A gentle crescent just over a third of a mile long, Rockley Beach is pure sand. It gently slopes down so you can get in carefully, but it continues to drop so you are don’t have any embarrassing places where you think you are drowning and stand up in three inches of water. Neither Caribbean nor Atlantic, the south coast has sizeable but non-damaging rollers that come in at a regular pace. You can bounce up and down on them put your head in amongst them, swim into them or parallel. The water is tepid and it makes you do some exercise, so by the time you emerge you feel refreshed and invigorated. I would generally share the beach with about a dozen other freaks at that time, some other early risers from the hotels, a couple of residents, Black, White or Asian, who make it part of their morning regime. The camaraderie is brilliant, as you know what is so important that you are sharing. Later in the day it gets crowded, full of screaming kids, dogs running loose and not a place to put your beach towel, but at that early morning swim you can own the whole beach. I would come out, dry myself down and put on the t-shirt, cross back to the hotel, have a shower, be down at breakfast and then go to work. What a way to make a living.