We stayed at Queen Lobster in a cabin over the water with views of the waterfront and the tropical forest opposite.
The pace is slow. The roads are quiet and, with the exception of the main street, unpaved.
There is music, often reggae, every evening, from various directions.
Tourists are a minority – we’d guess less than 50 – with accommodation of various prices and types available – we paid $35 which is almost certainly top end. Coconut and fish are the main local products and the basis of the diet. Chicken and beef are also on every menu. The fruit doesn’t look good and, we guess, has to come from other areas.
Courtesy rules in Pearl Lagoon. Everyone wished us ‘Good morning’ and it is normal to address people by Mr or Ms followed by their name. So we were Ms Jan and Mr Alan. Our friendly local baker was addressed as Mr Byron; his ginger coconut bread is as addictive as his coconut cake!
Pearl Lagoon is famous for lobster but we never came across any – possibly we came out of season? Giant prawns were weighed and bought by our host, Ms Nuria, straight off the boat just beside our cabin. They made an excellent supper!
Pearl Cays are a group of islands outside the lagoon. They are the protected breeding habitat for three kinds of endangered turtles. Mostly undeveloped, the Cays must come as close as anywhere to the unspoilt, palm-fringed tropical islands of the Bounty adverts and our dreams.
Our recommended guide, Rodolfo, was having ‘a pause’ in taking trips out; our hosts, Nuria and Pedro needed to renew their licence and had experienced problems passing the naval post at the lagoon exit.
Eventually, late one evening, we were introduced to Mr George Fox, an experienced guide with a good boat who had a trip arranged for the next day. The prices of the trips are always uncertain – they depend on the numbers who turn out on the day. Thirty dollars each ‘maybe’ was quoted, lunch included.
The wind got up overnight, the morning was grey and cold, Mr George and his boat load of passengers arrived in the middle of a tropical storm, the forecast was poor until early afternoon. We made our decision …….not to go! See – we’re not as reckless as some of you thought!