January 7, 2015
In our trusty RAV4 rental, the six of us travelled north, not to the squalls and cold of Ontario, just north, along the western shore of Montserrat to Little Bay. There we began our hike by walking through a concrete block company yard. We were observant enough to spy the arrow sign for Rendezvous Bay hidden in the vines.
According to the Montserrat Nature Trails pamphlet, our four kilometre hike over a hill top would be moderate and take us an hour. It took us twenty minutes to go up through thorn bushes in hot sunshine. We slithered sideways, high stepped and stooped to avoid the thorny branches. Brian discovered a piece of aluminum flashing which he used as a hiking pole and weed whacker to clear the overgrown trail. Navigating the down slope to Rendezvous Bay was slower. A hiking pole would have been useful. Brian was equipped!
We heard the waves before we saw the beautiful azure bay. We were delighted to peel off our shorts and shoes, and tumble into Rendezvous Bay. This is Montserrat’s only white sand beach, all others are black. One end of the beach is closed by a huge cliff while the opposite end is much lower with rocks and coral covering the sand in and out of the water.
Brian and I snorkelled briefly at the cliff end. We saw half a dozen different types of brightly coloured fish. I collected a few shells and small pieces of coral for my garden. I admired the baseball sized and bigger chunks of coral but left them on the beach. Carrying such items in a backpayck is not recommended. I am practising restraint for when we do the Camino.
it was soothing to our feet to sink a few inches into the wet sand with every step we took along the beach. A good stretch for our calves. Mindful that a granola bar would not be sufficient lunch, we rubbed the sand from our feet, donned socks and shoes and returned over the hill to Little Bay.
Last year, Bryan and Susan discovered Pont’s Restaurant, only because after twenty-one years of being there, Johnny Pont, chef and owner, decided some were having trouble finding his restaurant. The entrance to the restaurant is a very narrow path through a jungle of vines and trees. Without the sign, I would never have found this restaurant. There is an octagonal deck looking over the bay where we relaxed with our Carib beer and gave our orders for lunch. When our ribs and wahu (dense boneless fish)’we’re ready, we seated ourselves at tables made of slabs of wood, completely surrounded by foliage with a ceiling drooping with an eclectic mix of colourful buoys, lights, driftwood, coral and unusual sculptures.
Our food was delicious and plentiful as our ribs or fish were accompanied by mixed fresh vegetables, rice, potatoes and salad. Johnny sat and chatted with us when we were finished our meal. He originally worked in the kitchen at the Belham Valley Restaurant where ex-pats dined before the lahar of the volcano overwhelmed the valley and covered the restaurant and the golf course. While still working there Johnny began his own restaurant at Little Bay, beginning with a barbecue on the beach. He is obviously an island success story.