I looked at the boat. I looked at the sunny sky. I looked at our Tobago Department of Tourism hosts in their swimsuits.  I looked at my journalist guests in everyday clothes. And I sighed.

Contemplating her no-swimsuit situation, Laura Cotton tried on the captain’s t-shirt.

“Well … I looks like we came ill prepared,” I said. “I didn’t tell anyone to bring swimsuits. I came straight from a TV interview myself.”

Oh … I’m sure it won’t be a big deal. It’s only a three-hour cruise so the swimming stop can’t be all that long. We’ll make due.

That is what I convinced myself until we stopped at Cotton Bay. (I know … I like that name, too.)

It was glorious.

The sun shone bright, the water shone clear and for the first time in a month my phone wasn’t ringing nonstop. But here I was stuck on the boat as the others dived in … and my three journalists guests were stuck with me.

“I have a pair of shorts and a t-shirt you can borrow,” offered the captain. “Put them on and dive in.”

I shook my head and heartily thanked him.  He made me keep the clothes any way …. just in case.

I perched myself at the edge of the boat watching the Tourism folks cool off in the crystal clear Caribbean water.

Hmmmmm … they certainly look like they are in no hurry. Oh my goodness! What a perfect day! Too bad I didn’t bring a swimsuit. Poor Rea, Simone and what’s her name! It’s all my fault that they don’t get to enjoy it either. I wonder how unprofessional it would be to dive in with my clothes on. My shirt would dry quickly and this short linen skirt would, too. I wonder if they would follow my lead. I wonder if they are only not jumping in because I’m not. Hmmmm …

I hopped up from my perch and made the decision.

Handing the captain’s shorts to Simone and the t-shirt to Rea I said,  “Ok … I think we should get in. It’s too nice of a day. I’m going to swim in what I have on. You may take these if you wish.”

I held my breath for fear of their reaction and released it when their faces broke into wide smiles.

The water was too nice not to jump in … fully clothed.

Within five minutes, the group in the water included four additional swimmers in an assortment of t-shirts, shorts (the captain donated another pair) and every day clothes.

It was truly one of the most enjoyable two hours I’ve experienced in the islands. And my media friends (for they were true friends after the experience) echoed the same sentiment. That one spontaneous decision broke down many formal barriers and forged invaluable relationships.

Now my swimsuit is a constant item in my bag on any island tour – land or water.