I'm in a tent with a Jacuzzi. This is not a kinky choice of camping partner or the tight squeeze that it might sound. The Rockwater Secret Cove Resort on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast has pitched a colony of tents, each the size of a small cottage, on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. The tents are reached by a wooden boardwalk that starts out at the Zen-like stone garden. You pass through a mini-Stonehenge- and head up the boardwalk until it becomes a treewalk and you find yourself slightly above the foilage, on a level with the branches of hemlock, cedar and arbutus that cover the cliffs. The Pacific is off to the right, the tents are scattered here and there, some up, some down among the trees.
A big bronze bell guards the entrance to each tent, the entrance is an elegant French double door, the floor is cool earth-toned stone, the bed vast and inviting. In case you forget that you are in a tent, there are numerous zip-up windows that open up with views of the ocean which, this being a tent, you can hear crashing against the rocks.
And there's the jacuzzi - a few feet from the bed with its own view out onto the forest at one end and onto the sea at the other. It comes with an instruction manual and a control panel, even a remote control. As I prepare to step into the tub, I am quite sure that I will need none of them. How difficult can it be to take a bath with a bit of whirling water thrown in? I'm probably one of the few occupants of this tent to come alone. Children are not allowed; the boardwalk would rule out the old and infirm so the target market is obvious. The tents are meant for romantic rendezvous. And so, of course, is the jacuzzi.
Oh well, as a travel writer, I'm used to being alone in romantic spots. I've lost count of the number of times I have dined alone by candlelight while couples gazed across the flames at each other and I begged the maitre d'hotel for half a dozen candles so that I could see to write my notes.
I decide to give the jacuzzi a try. It is not yet twilight and I fancy bathing and gazing at the ocean. The tent comes complete with a CD player. I put on a Dvorak string quartet to set the mood, run the water and step in.
Hmmm. That control panel is more complicated than I thought. I may need the manual after all. Also, there is a difference between the two ends of the tub. One, facing the forest has a little seat. Perhaps better positioned for the massaging jets. But I want the view of the ocean. I've worn my glasses to that purpose. Now I'm glad I've got the glasses because the instruction manual is substantial. But before I plough through it, I see a button saying "color" on the remote.
For one wild moment I imagine that coloured water will pour from the taps. But no, a string of red lights have lit up around the inside of the tub. What with Dvorak and the lapping of the waves, it's sort of a soggy "Son et Lumiere." The instruction manual says that I should press a second time to choose colour. I press and press but seem to be stuck with the vivid red colour. "If in doubt, press everything," has always seemed a good rule of thumb so I hit a few more buttons - the red stays but I have activated a very violent set of jets . The manual gets washed to the floor. My glasses disappear into the maelstrom. The remote control has slipped under the tub.
I need to head for the fixed control panel at the far end of the tub. I set out - it is like swimming up a waterfall. The noise of the jets has drowned out my Dvorak. When I finally reach the control panel, I realize that it will mean nothing without the manual. The manual is lying in a puddle on the floor at the other end. I head back. I seem to be travelling with the current this time so make it to the puddle in a matter of seconds. While I'm at it, I fish for the remote but that has slipped beyond my reach. Clutching the manual above my head, I set back out for the fixed control panel. But once I arrive, I realize that without my glasses, still whirling somewhere in the water below my feet, I can't read the manual. I rest my weary head against the controls and decide to try the color button again. After a few presses, I get blue, then green and soon the whole rainbow kicks in - purple, indigo, gold, pink, green.
Happy and encouraged by my light show, I fiddle with the massage buttons again. They too, seem to have calmed down, and seem to be pummelling politely - except that, after a while, I notice that my breasts seem to be being pushed up to the surface in alternating rhythms. First one - then the other.
This is disconcerting but not unpleasant. I put it down to inadequacy on my part. This wouldn't happen to Angelina Joli. There again, she'd have Brad at the other end manning mission control.
Sitting in my own private rainbow, I drift into a delicious stupor. The view is wonderful. I can see a bald eagle perching on a branch just outside the window. The sea is crashing against the rocks. I've never quite fancied Brad so wouldn't want him working my remote but perhaps the head of Nasa would be up for a weekend on the stunning BC coast. Or that French geezer who does the spectacular light shows? The one who was married to Charlotte Rampling? Jean-Michel something....How would he feel about a night in a giant tent...