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A good sea bath on Good Friday


Al Gilkes

A good sea bath on Good Friday

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I made an easter resolution to start knocking myself into shape by ignoring the voices of procrastination inside my head and getting into a serious exercise routine.
To do so, I realized I would have to start with exercise I would find easy to enjoy – swimming. So I affirmed that I would spend this entire weekend – Good Friday, Saturday, Easter Sunday and Easter Bank Holiday – in the sea at my favourite Paradise beach.
About 2 p.m. on Good Friday, I jumped into my swim trunks, pulled on an old shirt, put on a cap and a pair of dark glasses and was soon cruising down University Hill in great anticipation of diving into the cold water and then doing a leisurely crawl for the first time this year.
I no longer harbour that traditional fear of going into the sea on Good Friday. I got rid of mine one day several years ago. But back then Bajans did not go into the sea on Good Friday out of fear the devil would be waiting under the water to grab them and pull them down into hell’s fire deep within the earth.
Nevertheless, that Good Friday I threw all caution to the wind, got into my car and headed for the popular beach of the day, Pebbles, and the original hot water pot – a healing source for all sorts of out-of-sorts physical conditions. As I entered the car park I couldn’t see another living soul from way by the Hilton jetty back down to the nearby Pebbles Restaurant and watering hole.
I got out of the car and walked to the edge of the car park overlooking the sea. And what a beautiful sea it was that day! Smooth as glass, baby waves breaking on the sand before gently retreating to the ocean.
Too sweet to resist, but that inborn fear held me frozen until I realized that I was indeed not the only person there.
Without a second thought I stripped, pulled off the cap, took off my glasses and rushed across the sand for a nice dive into the water.
When my head broke the surface again, I heard the other person, a man, calling my name. Without my glasses I couldn’t make out his face and, realizing my handicap, he said, with a laugh: “Al, it’s me, Reverend Cross.”
What a thing! On the day when I was supposed to keep out of the sea, here was another person in it who was a man of the cloth who, by coincidence, carried the surname Cross.
“You not afraid to be in the sea on Good Friday?” I asked him.
“Not at all,” he replied. “That’s bare superstitious nonsense.
Since then nothing has kept me from enjoying the Lord’s sea on a Good Friday, except for on the one just gone. The reason: the sea was so rough that listened to myself telling myself that if I knew what was good for myself, I would turn around and go back home.
Happy Easter to one and all!
• Al Gilkes heads a public relations firm. Email [email protected]

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