In my family, we ascribe different names for colours after our favourite holiday destinations. Oia blue is a deep Prussian blue named after the well-known Santorini village and caldera where we spent one idyllic Mediterranean summer. Cintsa blue is an icy, pale grey-blue, after the lesser-known Eastern Cape beach. And our favourite of course – Thonga blue – that unique shade of turquoise-blue which symbolises clear, clean waters, endless summer sun and ocean fun.
It is a day for Thonga blue seas and we head down to the ocean early for a low tide swim. The skies are clear and already the sun is hot. The water is so lovely we walk straight in without catching our breath. We lie on our backs, feet in the air, floating over rolling blue waves. The tide starts coming in and we jump over now curling green waves, cutting them sideways like a knife, feeling the foam hit us on the backs of our necks. We find it hard to leave and spend several hours in the water, until hunger drives us wrinkled and happy to lunch.
It is a sign of a great holiday when the colours, sounds, scents and textures of the place become embedded in that specific happy category of one’s memory, and for years afterwards one can tap into that memory bank and draw on one’s investment of joyful, stress-free family times. I believe you never undo these memories and they fortify you against future stress and adversity, such that for years to come we can remind one another of endless summer sun and ocean fun with a simple phrase like ‘Thonga blue’.