“We were standing ankle-deep on a sand flat that seemed to stretch to the horizon, a mirror image of a desert that appeared lifeless at first glance. It gave me that empty feeling when staring down a new aisle under construction in a food retail store. The abundant life under the surface was still ‘invisible’ to our green eyes.

However, as my eyes acclimatised to the blinding white expanse at the southern end of St. Francois atoll, they laid bare the lively grey shadows moving erratically across the textured bottom. Camouflaged by patterns of light playing on the bottom, fish were hunting crustaceans on this saltwater flood plain. The empty shelves of the shopping centre were instantly filled with tantalising sweets! My fingers nervously dropped the fly and I made a cast ahead of one of the dark shapes dancing on the ocean floor, the one closest to me.

I watched it move over the fly with the enthusiasm of a six-year-old buying a lucky packet. The excitement of the line tightening up was the equivalent to staring down onto a medley of toys and treats in the paper bag.

I stripped into the bonefish and it zipped off the flat like a pull cord race car.”


Leonard Flemming in his issue 15 story, The Candy Shop, about a visit to Alphonse Island and St Francois atoll. Read the full story below.



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