I am standing on an absolutely pristine beach with soft, pure white sand and turquoise water so clear that I can see every detail at the bottom of the sea. The clarity makes this island as well as the 700 other islands that comprise this country a prime spot for diving, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, and yachting. This district sits on 360 islands and cays – with the two main ones linked by a small bridge and most of the outer islands and cays uninhabited. All together the archipelago consists of over 2,000 islands and cays and has almost perfect weather year round, even during most of its notoriously destructive hurricane season.
As laid-back and relaxed as the district and its people are now, their history is anything but. The original people of the islands were enslaved shortly after being ‘discovered’ by Christopher Columbus and brought to central and south America to work, leaving the islands vacant for 150 years. The main port was a favorite for pirates who stashed the wares from their raids in the various coves, and slaves were brought in to work the land by British loyalists escaping from the American Revolution.
Sixty percent of this island’s residents have the same last name due to a former plantation owner deciding to free his slaves and deed the land over to them. In appreciation they took his surname, and generations later it remains. The districts main town is named for a former King of England, and the country, though independent since 1973, is still affiliated with the Queen through being part of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Tourism is one of the main businesses on the island, but still when I arrive at this lengthy crescent of sand there is no one else here, and no one arrives for hours, until a family passes on a late afternoon walk. Many have heard of the main islands of this country which are overrun with cruise ships, casinos, and hotels, but not many have discovered this outer island. Do you know where I am?
This contest ended June 30, 2009
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