"Would you take our
It was another fresh-faced couple.
Married maybe a few days. Maybe a few hours.
We'd had similar
requests from two other duos as we sat on the sugar white Antigua
beach that evening, watching another perfect Caribbean day
come to an end. We were glad to oblige and perhaps a little
flattered, too. Could they tell we were professional photographers?
Probably not, although we did have a Nikon with us, somewhere in the
beach bag. Then a sobering thought occurred--maybe we looked more
like their parents than their fellow honeymooners. They probably
weren't concerned that they might shatter some idyllic moment by
whipping out the camera.
But, we grinned encouragingly as they
posed arm-in-arm before a sapphire sea lit by the approaching
evening. The young lovers smiled, and the moment was frozen on
And we returned to the real reason we were on the beach
this evening. Perched in a "love basket," a two-person
swing/recliner that could symbolize couples-only resorts, we got in
position for the green flash.
Not the superhero in tights. The
lowercase green flash is a natural phenomenon often sought but
seldom seen. Under the right conditions, as sunset cools into the
sea, comes a momentary green sizzle on the horizon. Science explains
it as the refraction of sunlight through the thick lens of the
Earth's atmosphere. Island lore links it to romance: couples who
witness the flash are guaranteed true love. All agree it's a rare
sight, requiring just the right combination of sun, sky, and luck.
(Skeptics would add other requirements as well. "How many rum
punches does it take to see it?")
Undeterred by such cynicism, we kept
our vigil at the water's edge, like Linus in the pumpkin
Over the past decade, our work had led
us to the Caribbean many times. For the previous six months, the
islands had become our home away from home as we searched for the
most romantic spots, fertile places where love blooms wild and thick
with little coaxing. Along the way, tales of the green flash
tantalized us and became our Holy Grail of Caribbean romance.
excursions had taken us to places both off and right smack in the
middle of the beaten track. We'd journeyed to St. Thomas, high above
Charlotte Amalie, to a peak called Paradise Point and a place named,
appropriately enough, The Bar. Below in the city where shoppers
hustled to pick up one last-minute duty-free find before the
boutiques closed their doors, the lights trickled on one by one,
competing with a deepening sunset the color of a blooming hibiscus.
That evening, we had watched and waited, but the sun had fallen
behind a blanket of clouds before it reached the horizon. No green
flash that night.
And in Jamaica, we ended our Negril
visit at Rick's, one of the most famous sunset bars and restaurants
in the Caribbean. Nearby, fortified by Red Stripe and who knows what
else, divers plunged over the cliffs to hearty cheers from
onlookers. When the sun dipped low, however, the crowd turned to the
west. Once again, a band of clouds revealed itself when the telling
moment arrived. Lovers smooched and toasted their good fortune, but
no green flash appeared.
We had begun this latest odyssey on
St. Lucia, a luscious island where we'd happened upon perhaps the
most romantic resort in all the isles--Anse Chastanet. Here we were,
a man and a woman alone in nature. OK, there were other guests but
we couldn't see them, and presumably, they couldn't see us. Only a
roof and two exterior walls in room 7F separated us from the fecund
landscape, where, it seemed, everything we saw was sweet or in
search of sweetness. Swarming hummingbirds whipped through the
nearby palm fronds and greedy bananaquits begged for sugar from the
terrace rail, then from the coffee table, encouraged by our languor.
But, as in a fine painting, our eyes were led finally to the one
view for which 7F was designed. We let the birds be and surrendered
to the sight of the Pitons, twin mountains lording over the bay, the
resort, and over us in their green splendor.
That evening, as the day drew to a
close, we peered over the rail and looked west to the sea. More
clouds. Oh, well. Our disappointment was soon soothed by another
grand scene, the full St. Lucian moon, rising over the Pitons. No
true romantics could ever ask for better than that, could
But now at Sandals Antigua, we
couldn't help a mutual twinge of what? Irritation that with our
holiday nearly done we had somehow missed the boat? All around,
couples were celebrating their union, young Adams and Eves in a
tropical paradise. We swirled the remains of our last rum concoction
and admitted to ourselves that we were feeling more like inhabitants
of Noah's Ark, herded two by two in this couples-only haven. We
pondered these misgivings in the "love basket" and watched the sun
continue its descent in spite of out mothers warnings years before:
"Don't stare at the sun, you'll ruin your eyes."
Nevertheless, our gazes were fixed
now. The sun was dropping below a clear horizon. Only millimeters to
And then it happened.
A green flash.
"Did you see...was that?" After a
decade of looking, could it be?
The instant of lime-colored light was
undeniable, like copper coins igniting on our retinas. We turned to
each other. You saw it? I saw it!
Soon we found ourselves walking
hand-in-hand down the darkening beach. Ahh.. love.
couple approached us and we smiled. They weren't just young kids and
we weren't just an aging pair of guidebook writers. We were both
couples in love in what must be the most romantic area in the
Just one thing to do.
"Would you take our picture?" we asked
them, pulling out our camera to remember that green flash
- Husband and wife team Paris Permenter and
John Bigley have authored over 20 guidebooks and also edit the FREE http: www.Lovetripper.com, a romantic travel
magazine featuring worldwide destinations.
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