The Allure and Danger of Natural Pools
St. Barths, a jewel in the Caribbean, is known for its pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and natural beauty. Among the island’s unique attractions are the natural pools, known locally as ‘piscines naturelles.’ These pools, formed by the ocean’s powerful waves crashing against the rocky coastline, are a sight to behold. However, despite their beauty, they hold a tragic tale that has led to their closure.
The Unseen Closure of St. Barths’ Natural Pools
Despite the lack of visible measures or widespread publicity, the natural pools in St. Barths are officially closed. This may come as a surprise to many visitors, especially those who see photos and posts on social media platforms like Instagram, showcasing the beauty of these pools. However, it’s crucial to understand that there is a legal stop to visiting these locations due to a heartbreaking incident.
The Tragic Incident at Petit-Cul-de-Sac
On October 25, 2022, an 11-year-old girl named Mina Berlizon-Wetstein tragically lost her life in the siphon of the natural pools at Petit-Cul-de-Sac. Despite the exhaustive rescue efforts, Mina’s body was found in a cavity of the siphon, over five meters deep. Amidst the heart-wrenching sorrow, the operations were called off on October 28, 2022.
Mina’s parents, Emilie and Aurélien, organized a memorial walk on the first anniversary of the tragedy. Over two hundred people joined them, marking their chests with stickers bearing Mina’s name within a heart. The crowd, including local elected officials, walked from the Territorial Council building to Shell Beach, where a bed of flowers was released into the sea, mirroring the gesture made a few days after the search for Mina had ceased.
The Lingering Drama and Call for Action
Mina’s parents have expressed their concerns about the lack of safety measures at the site and the continuous influx of unknowing tourists. They fear another tragedy, as many visitors are unaware of what transpired last year. Despite the official prohibition, it’s evident that people continue to visit the pools, as seen in social media posts.
Emilie and Aurélien are determined to see changes implemented at the site to prevent further accidents. They stress that while there is a legal ban on visiting the pools, little has been done to enforce this rule or inform the public effectively. For now, three cords serve as the only barriers at the entrance to the siphon.
In Memory of Mina
As we remember Mina, let her tragic loss serve as a stark reminder of the dangers that can lurk beneath the beauty of nature. While St. Barths continues to be a paradise for visitors, it’s crucial to respect the rules put in place for everyone’s safety. The natural pools of St. Barths are closed, and it’s our collective responsibility to honor this directive, ensuring that no more lives are lost in these beautiful yet dangerous waters.