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LOS ROQUES "In The News"

Los Roques: Seeing stars on the sleepy lagoon, continued...
Once you've had your fill of life on the water, it's time to get under it. The diving here is superb: the sea is warm and clear, the coral phenomenal and the marine life prolific like turtles, rays and lobsters are common, whale sharks visit at times.

The most impressive activity of all, though, is Kite Surfing: standing on a board while being pulled along at high speed by a canvas wing. The islands' climate and geography are perfectly suited to the sport. Incidentally, the best kite surfers in the world can jump entire islands. That's how small some of these flecks of land are.

It's superfluous to talk of main beaches or best sand here: almost every island has a beach running around its entire perimeter, making it easy to find a superb strip of sand all for yourself. With more than 300 islands in the group, there is often more than one per visitor outside peak periods. Some may be comically small, but this is a place where anyone can play Branson.

En route to one such island, the driver of my boat spotted another vessel coming the other way. In it were three men and five large, writhing lobsters. The former had free-dived for the latter minutes earlier. There seemed little point in waiting for the catch to reach land, so trade took place between the boats. Floating market. Deal done. Dinner sorted.

AWAY FROM the beach and the sea, pleasures are simpler. Down a side alley off Gran Roque painted - by -numbers main square, I came across a young boy fighting with a marlin. Not that the fish was the adversary. The boy was using the carcass of the creature like a knight uses a lance. I didn't give him much hope. His competitor was brandishing a barracuda.

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