Thursday, October 8, 2015

Living in a Luxury Treehouse in the Caribbean...For Free

Living in a Luxury Treehouse in the Caribbean...For Free
By Yvonne Bauche
As a kid, I wanted to live in a treehouse, just like Tarzan and Jane's. Wet, gray winters and a treeless backyard made it merely a childish fantasy. But that half-forgotten memory returned the first time my husband Michael and I stepped on to the huge wooden deck of our temporary home on the island of St. Lucia.
Perched high on a cliff side, the entire front of the house has an uninterrupted view of the sparkling Caribbean below. Large trees give dappled shade on either side, and with the creak of the deck underfoot and the gentle breeze, it feels just like being in a treehouse.
This one comes with all the comforts of home. The huge deck is furnished with comfortable wicker seating and a solid wooden dining table is our living and eating area. And with a stove and refrigerator outside, it's also our kitchen.
Our bedroom, although officially inside the house, easily becomes part of this open-plan living, thanks to its folding doors. With the entire front open, we step straight out onto our treetop deck. The deep shade and commanding view make it the perfect place to enjoy our morning coffee with mango and bananas from the garden.
Built with the environment in mind, using natural materials wherever possible, the house collects and uses what nature provides. St Lucia's lushness is testimony to the plentiful supply of rainwater.
At the bottom of the quirky and artistic garden is our private "room with a view." Screened by thick bamboo poles on three sides, the ocean-view shower, complete with sun-warmed water is a delight. And, it's a great spot to watch the fishermen laughing and joking as they haul in their nets far below us.
The big covered deck is the perfect spot to enjoy our nightly show. The sunsets are often spectacular, yet all different. Some are fiery reds and oranges as the blazing orb drops into the sea, others are more subtle purple and pink pastel versions, other nights we watch storm clouds boil far out to sea.
These are just the start of our evening entertainment. With dusk come the bats, they flit just at the edge of vision, so fast that by the time you see them they are gone. Not the fireflies though, they twinkle like fairy lights as they drift from tree to tree. With no streetlights and no light pollution, there is nothing to spoil the full glory of nature's celestial show.
Just minutes from a bustling bay, you would have trouble finding our tree-shrouded retreat. No foot traffic or vehicles go by; it is just the sea, Mother Nature, and us.
Shortly after night descends, we are lulled to sleep by the ocean and the symphony of a thousand tiny frogs. We wake to the buzz of bees in the flowering tree by our deck. As the sun rises, jewel-capped hummingbirds replace the bees. So focused on the blossoms are these tiny birds they come close enough to touch.
Although we have lived in many places around the world, none of them has been like this. It is a rare opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream and experience life in a treehouse.