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Explorers and Hollywood stars alike have been searching for the fountain of youth since the beginning of time.
Little did they know that it’s been off the coast of the Caribbean island of Tobago all along. And it’s named after a pair of stockings.
In reality, the Nylon Pool is neither nylon or a pool. It’s where an offshore sandbar forms a metre-deep wading area in the middle of the ocean, with water so crystal clear that when the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, visited, she likened it to the transparency of nylon.
The real story is that bathing in these waters is said to grant you everlasting youth. Plus a few other benefits (read on to find out).
How To Get There:
Glass-bottom boat tours to the Buccoo Reef and the Nylon Pool depart from Pigeon Point and Store Bay, on the southwestern coast of Tobago, twice daily. You can easily find tour ticket sellers at either beach. It’s a good idea to check out the boat before you buy. The boats vary in size, some with upper decks, and in the level of party atmosphere. Also, you may want to ask whether the snorkeling gear is provided, if you don’t have your own.
The cost ranges from $80 to $120 TT. I paid $100 TT for the 2.5 hour tour on “Cool Runnings” (about $15 U.S. based on current exchange rates).
The Buccoo Reef
The first stop on the tour, the Buccoo Reef, was called the third most spectacular reef in the world by French explorer Jacques Cousteau. The massive reef is known for its colourful aquatic life and 40 species of coral. The reef was declared a marine protected area in 1973.
Unfortunately, the day I visited, the water at the reef was quite choppy, and it was difficult to see much through the glass-bottomed boat.
Due to the rough seas, the crew suggested that we skip the snorkeling and spend more time at the Nylon Pool instead. The passengers agreed to move on. After all, we weren’t getting any younger…yet.
The Legend of the Nylon Pool
Life would be infinitely happier of we could be born at the age of 80 and gradually approach 18. -Mark Twain
Partially surrounded by the reef, the shallow water at the Nylon Pool was relatively calm, warm and a beautifully transparent shade of aquamarine.
As the boat was anchored, our guide explained the legendary benefits of bathing in these serene waters:
For women “of a certain age”, it’s said to reverse aging by 10 years.
For men, the water is reported to promote “male enhancement”. Based on the tenor of the debate in the U.S. primaries, I half expected to run into some candidates for the Republican nomination there.
For young couples, the story is that if they kiss in the waters of the Nylon Pool, their love will last a life time .
Does it work?
No doubt, there’s a rejuvenating quality to the experience. It’s an incredible feeling, standing in the middle of the ocean in the soothing water, with your feet sinking into the soft, coral sand. Coral sand works well as a natural exfoliant, and contains high levels of minerals and anti-oxidants. It’s an automatic pedicure, and if you rub the sand on the rest of your skin, you’ll surely walk away with a youthful glow.
I asked my Trinidadian friend to report on the “man benefits”. He laughed and, as if in a Seinfeld episode, noted that, at least while you’re in the water, it tends to have the opposite effect.
No Man’s Land & Magic
The tour makes a final stop for refreshments at a sun-drenched spit of white-coral sand known as “No Man’s Land”.
A local magician entertained us on the way back and he was really quite good.
That’s the thing about illusions and myths. You simply have to suspend your disbelief for a moment and let the magic happen.
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. –Sophia Loren
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