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A man dives i nto Caura River on the reopening yesterday.

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Although the reopening of beaches and rivers was highly anticipated, there were no crowds at two very popular spots yesterday—Maracas Bay and Caura River.

Guardian Media visited the Caura River in Tacarigua around 9.30 am yesterday. There was no traffic on the winding roadway although police officers had set up a road exercise just opposite the entrance of the Caura Hospital.

Arriving at the entrance to Caura’s Pool 1 shortly before 10 am, employees of the Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation were removing the concrete barriers set up to prevent anyone from using the site during the COVID-19 lockdown.

When the barriers were completely removed, only five groups entered. The two largest groups said they were there to spend most of the day, having packed pots and stoves to cook their meals on-site.

Ramesh Gajai of Kelly Village, Caroni, was among one of the larger groups and said his family had eagerly awaited the reopening of the river.

As Gajai spoke, he lit his portable stove and deftly sautéed curry in preparation to cook duck meat.

His relatives unloaded chairs, coolers and drinks from their vehicle and within minutes, the group was all set for the day’s festivities.

Among them was a couple from St Maarten who said they were stuck in Trinidad when the borders were closed in late March.

Gustav Wilson and his wife, Natasha, said although they had been in the country for several months, they were just getting to experience a “Trini” lime.

Several metres away, a smaller group spent their time diligently setting up speaker boxes.

Avinash Dipnarine said pre-COVID-19, his group of friends visited Caura at least once a week.

“We come up, lime and play music. The past two months were very hard because we missed coming here and relaxing on a Monday,” Dipnarine said.

There was also no traffic heading to Maracas Bay.

On the beach, the most active visitors were children frolicking on the sand and in the water.

A school teacher from Princes Town, who identified herself only as Ria, said her children had been eagerly awaiting the reopening as she said they are a family of “water babies”.

“My son’s birthday was yesterday actually, the reopening of the beaches was a welcomed one because he wanted to come to the beach for his birthday,” she said.

Nkechi Dolly, from Diego Martin, was at the beach with her parents and their dog, Vince. She said they too were excited about the reopening.

“We’ve been waiting quite some time for this and to get a bake and shark up here on the beach,” she said.