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Published: October 1st 2017
Geo: 13.11, -59.61
Slept in this morning, until around 9am; woke to watch us maneouver into the dock. Two large cruise ships plus one sail-cruise ship were in port ahead of us – cruise ship arrivals into Bridgetown are no longer an interesting event. The locals used to come out with picnics to watch them arrive; not anymore.
I had some work-work to do this morning, so we took advantage of the late departure to take care of that. Too bad that I have to do it while on holiday, but I guess it helps pay for the trips.
When it was time for our tour, we walked along the dock, past the tall ship from Malta, through the harbour shops, to our meeting point. The tour began with an open safari truck tour of the island. Right after we sat down, it poured rain … we dropped the plastic awnings briefly, until the rain stopped. It had already begun to turn stifling inside the truck. (Side note: there were a total of 16 of us on the tour – ten in our truck and six in the other. We had an excellent guide, Eric/k.)
Our first area of interest in Barbados was the
Sandy Cove section – playground of the rich and famous. We passed Abramovich's massive house – an architectural nightmare of concrete and columns – as well as many upscale condos and hotels. Although beach access is provided a regular intervals – all beaches are public in Barbados – it was difficult to know that we were anywhere near the coast because of the phalanx of buildings. Turning up the hill, we passed the Sandy Cove golf club, where Tiger Woods got married. As well as many more large homes.
As we crossed over the island, we changed from the homes of ex-pats and wealthy transients to the homes of locals. The west side of the island is mostly coral, and supports construction well. The east side of the island is sandier, much more susceptible to landslides. Locals plant bamboo and banana plants to reduce soil erosion. Plus, the beaches with calmer bays are on the west side – the east side tends to be much more turbulent: good for surfing but not as a playground of the wealthy. Much of the land is also still in the hands of a few white families: after the end of slavery, the government divided
the land and gave parcels to ex-slaves … but a series of droughts and storms meant that few could afford to maintain the land, so they ended up selling it – and their labour – to their previous controllers.
On the ridgeback of the island, we turned off-road into a small sugar plantation, to drive through the fields and mud briefly. Then we dropped down the road toward the east coast, where we paused at Bathsheba beach, to admire the strange rock formations and have a rum punch. Shortly after returning to the truck, it began to pour again. We dropped the awnings, but Paul and I still had to hold them steady, otherwise, they would blow back and water would leak in.
No matter. By the time we got to Bridgetown, the rain had stopped. More than that, it was actually very sunny. We were transferred to a new guide, Kenneth, who escorted us to a small boat. The sixteen of us were taken across the bay, where we moored near a shipwreck. The wreck dates from 1918 or so … at the end of World War I, the crew of a French supply decided they did not want to
leave Barbardos and scuttled the ship. Whether true or not, it's a fairly shallow and distinct wreck; the anchor sits slightly away from the rest of the hulk. The reef fish were very friendly, and we enjoyed ourselves for the 30 or so minutes we swam.
Then, back on board our little boat for a short trip to another part of the beach. We went for a long walk on the perfect pink sand … being a national holiday, lots of locals were out with family and friends, providing a great party atmosphere. The free rum punch didn't hurt my attitude, either.
At the end of the day, we returned to the ship, not even realizing we were hungry until we were on the shuttle bus. We went upstairs for a quick bite to eat, then showered. Met Pas and Sue at the Elite Lounge for drinks (I wasn't hungry, but did sample the goat cheese.) After dinner, the kids came to our cabin for conversation. Then they went to watch movies, and Paul and I went to bed.
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