Walking the Beaches -Negotiating the resorts

The resorts along the Morne’s beaches varied in levels of taste and subtlety.  Although many were very discerning resorts with flawlessly clipped vegetation and newly painted infrastructure, others were in a state of flux.  One resort had been used as a tax dodge, seemingly, and embroiled in arguments over which source of foreign funding was to be used to refurbish it.  As a result a string of half completed chalets littered the beach, and because there was no activity, the beach was being eroded severely.  Part of our role was to identify bad practice in beachside development.  One of the worst transgressions was the construction of solid concrete jetties and ramps.  Sand naturally is circulated around coastal systems, either within lagoons, out to offshore sandbanks and back or with longshore drift.  These flows are often not permanent, but cyclical according to seasonal affects such as tidal ranges or prevalent currents during different times of the year.  To restrict the flow with one of these solid structures is to both cause enhanced deposition and erosion.  It disrupts the sandflows to your neighbours’ beaches, and can eventually mean costly coastal defence measures are needed to be put in place.  These jetties and ramps can be easily built ensuring a gap below them to allow the flow of sand, and actually look much more aesthetically pleasing to the tourist eye.

We made fast progress on our walk; compared to the terrain of the south coast this was a doddle.  Only in one place were we nearly scuppered.  We kept to the beach as much as possible and had been suspiciously watched by resort security guards and some hotel staff (although many were very pleasant and said hello – they might have even offered us a drink if they thought we had any money on us), but at one place the beach was broken in two by a channel.  A hotel had built a small marina and an artificial lake in a golf course emptied into it.  The channel was deep enough for sizeable sea going cruisers, so we could not wade across to the beach on the other side.  We traced the stone wall lining the channel to the road bridge near the golf course.  As we tried to regain the beach we were almost instantly approached to a security guard.  He told us that we were on private property.  We tried to make out that we were on the beach (we were still standing on the stone wall and not the neatly clipped grass).  He smiled in the way that shows he knows how pathetic you are being, and said that we were in private property.  So we tried another tack, to point out how the hotel had restricted access to the beach by driving a deep channel through the sand, and were we expected to wade through that?  Again by the look on the face, he definitely thought that was the logical course of action.  So we tried our final card, that we were doing a survey on behalf of the government.  Eventually an uneasy truce was reached, we promised we were just passing through, he hesitated and before he could change his mind we headed back to the beach through the resort.  I was glad we did, as there were several features along this stretch , groynes protecting water sports areas for examples, that I was keen to take a closer look at.  This little peninsula at the head of the Morne was dominated by this most exclusive of all resorts, and we were definitely perceived as riff raff by the staff, let alone the owners or residents.  Well appointed chalets littered the beach front, the sports facilities were unequalled but hardly used, there must have been one staff to every two guests.  A night here would be 250 pounds a day, no doubt, and that would be just for the room.

We skirted the interior of this little peninsula next to the back nine of the golf course and headed back to the real world along the short stretch of coast back to the main road.  We saw little apart from a few fishermen angling off the rocks.

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