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Published: June 13th 2017
Geo: 12.1279, -61.68
Saturday 21/01/12 At sea 24c hot and sunny
I've just overheard a conversation between a couple of passengers one of which is having to leave the ship at Barbados because she's unable to have the Yellow Fever vaccination for medical reasons, so she's flying back to the UK for 10 days and then flying back to connect up with the ship when we leave Amazonia. I would have thought a better option would have been to fly out to Barbados first (if she specifically wanted to go there) have as long as she wanted there and then join the ship after we leave Amazonia that would have been significantly cheaper and still achieved the same thing, or alternatively get off in Barbados and stay there until she can join the ship after we leave Amazonia. I certainly know what I do and it isn't fly back home for 10 days and then fly back and join the ship!
Today the ships pool area was transformed for a village fete competition with games such as bat a rat, officers in the stocks, nearest to correctly place the ship on a map of Sth America whilst blind folded, long ally skittles, chest wax
for men (ouch) and many others, all the stalls awarded points to the players and the three highest were awarded prizes at the end, good fun all round, however I'd developed vertigo so stayed horizontal on a lounger until lunch time then miraculously felt better so went down to the restaurant for something to eat.
Sunday 22/01/12 At sea 24c Hot and Sunny our clocks went back another hr
Commotion over breakfast this morning as number of passengers purported to have seen an owl flying alongside the ship causing all sorts of responses from the 600 or so ornithologists we seem to have on board, yeah right. Anyway later in the morning I was at a camera lecture when all of a sudden out of the port window there's .... wait for it..... an OWL flying alongside, absolutely unbelievable as we are some 600+ miles from the nearest land. It seemed unperturbed and wasn't distressed as far as you could tell, anyway after an half an hour of circling the ship it cleverly decided to stop and rest on the one part of the ship which is a) out of bounds to passengers, and b) out of view, after an hour
or so it apparently flew off still heading out to sea. One of the passengers from the camera club managed to get some remarkable shots of the owl which was later identified as a short eared owl.
So far I've been really surprised with the complete lack of mobility scooters on the ship ( if you've read my around the world blog you'll know what I mean) so far I've only seen two which is remarkable given the age profile of the passengers on board. In addition the there's a much better sense of respect to one another which was sadly lacking on previous cruises when it was everyone for themselves, no manners, and no thought for anybody else.
Monday 23/01/12 At sea 25c Hot and Sunny
Tuesday 24/01/12 Bridgetown, Barbados, 26c Hot & Sunny
Land at last we docked in Bridgetown, Barbados and were greeted with the announcement that half our six containers of provisions hadn't arrived as scheduled, (it's frighten to think that we've effectively eaten six container loads of food since Madeira) as a result we would have to spend an extra day in port and miss out our next stop which was supposed to have been Georgetown,
Guyana. It's not as bad as it sounds as there's nothing to do in Georgetown and when we originally looked at the itinerary we were surprised to be calling in there as it has a dubious reputation and is almost classed as being an unsafe destination.
As we disembarked we were greeted with a steel band which just set the mood, we'd already pre booked a tour to Harrisons cave which was a pleasant drive through the town giving us plenty of time to orientate ourselves. We've been to numerous cave systems in different countries but these was the first caves we've been to that used an electric tram to take you through the system, initially I thought it was a good idea but rapidly changed my mind as it became apparent that a lot of photo opportunities were going to be missed. There were two carriages which meant that at the designated stops the tractor unit would stop so as the front carriage was aligned to both see and take photos of the structures, it would then creep forward so the second carriage also had the opportunity. We were told not to worry about missing sights on the other side
of the carriage as we would be coming back the same way, whilst that sounds OK, in reality the perspective is completely different, which lead to an awful lot of missed opportunities, in addition everybody has a different take on what they wish to photograph so overall for us it was a wasted opportunity and unless you've never done a cave tour I wouldn't recommend it, shame but there it is.
Rather than go back to the ship we asked the tour coach driver to drop us of in the middle of town and we'd make our way back to the ship later. We enjoyed a pleasant hour wandering through the local markets, eventually making our way to the parliament building which we were unable to view inside as parliament was sitting, and then we met Randolph the Rasta.
Randolph runs the only licensed cycle rickshaw in Bridgetown (so he says and I must confess we never saw another one) Like most vendors he was persistent but had a certain charm about him so eventually we agreed to a half an hour tour with a free ride back to the ship thrown in for $25 US; not a bad deal as it would have cost us at least $10 US just for a taxi ride back to the ship.
The guy was a real laugh and a full time womaniser, the whole trip was one laugh after another, from going to the local fruit & veg market with explanations of the different fruits and veg for sale along with comparisons to the human body ( mostly male) to raucous laughter from the woman stall holders ( men don't do anything constructive here). He then told us he had forgotten to tell us that the tour price included two free drinks along the route so off we popped to the first Rum shack, it was little more than a garden shed with a fridge and a couple of bar stools and tables, we were greeted with a dismayed look by the few male customers already there, anyway being on full alert for anything suspicious I ordered a beer and Linda had water ensuring the tops were intact and the bottles weren't swapped around, rinks duly finished off we went for the second leg.
After a hour (I'm already getting ready for the argument about increased cost of the tour) we popped into a TJs bar for our second free drink, a proper establishment this one it only small but the owner Earl was also a laugh a minute so free Rum punches duly downed and depleted, I went on to neat Rums of different vintages and after two and a half hours we left having had a great time. We arrived back at the cruise terminal having had a fantastic afternoon, the half hour trip eventually ended up being nearly four hours without being asked or any hesitation on my part I willing paid him $50 US, yes it may be Randolph's scam as a way of getting more money from tourists, if so it worked for both of us, he was effectively employed for the afternoon rather than half an hour and we had a great experience, wouldn't have missed it for anything.
Wednesday 25/01/12 Bridgetown, Barbados, 28c Hot & Sunny
With nothing planed for unexpected additional day, we teamed up with Marie Ann the Dutch Lady from our table and caught the local loudspeaker on wheels aka the public bus. With a ghetto blaster at the front going full blare and roof mounted speakers positioned every metre along the length of the bus conversation wasn't just difficult it was impossible. There were no working dampers on the bus so every bump and rut, and there's many, means the suspension bottoms on the chassis with an almighty bang and the resulting jarring to your back, but it was both interesting and hilarious; it would appear that despite being a major tourist destination not many Caucasians use the bus service judging by the expression of the locals at the bus stops as we made our way Northward to Speightstown. As expected we passed numerous beaches with the all familiar crystal blue waters and swaying palm trees, truly idyllic.
There's not much at Speightstown, we wandered along the shore line watching a fisherman wade out into the sea casting his net and returning to the shore where he scooped out a hollow in the sand with his foot deposited his catch and then went back to repeat the process. I think for me watching him summed up Barbados, calm, relaxed, no hassle man.
Thursday 26/01/12 St George's Town, Grenada 27c hot and sunny
Unlike Barbados Grenada is a volcanic island with all the peaks and gulley's that you associate with such, and is known as the spice island; famous for nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, and just about every other spiced you can name.
As we'd nothing planned we decided to grab a taxi and go up into the interior to see the Annandale waterfalls and the Grand Etang Lake in the National Forest Reserve, the Taxi touts were doing a two and a half hour tour taking in the points we wanted to see as well as St Georges Fort, and the beach at Grand Anse Bay so we went for it. Our driver and guide told us his nickname was Whitty I've no idea where he got that from because he was far from whitty, in fact he was cold and uninterested, not a good start. On the way up Whitty told us of the devastating effect of the 2004 hurricane which lasted for over 10 hrs and demolished 80%!o(MISSING)f the housing and infrastructure along with the most of the plantations. Despite the lapse of time you could clearly see some areas which still haven't been returned to normal and as some of the plantations crops take 8 years to reach maturity its only now that things are returning to anything like normal.
The Falls were in very nice surroundings but good rather than spectacular. As we climbed higher the clouds descended and by the time we reached the lake it was a torrential downpour, after 10 minutes with no sign of it abating we decided to return to below the cloud level and go to the Fort, which affords a beautiful view over the harbour and its approaches as well as the town itself. The local guide gave us a brief history of the island pointing out the landmarks below us one of which is the prison. She went on to explain that sentences served here all hard labour and duration is that given by the courts with no parole, so life is life. The prison is self supporting with all inmates working to both support the prison and its infrastructure as well as growing their own crops and making their own clothes. When the hurricane hit, the prison was partly demolished and all the prisoners escaped, however within three weeks they all returned as there was no way of getting off the island and no way of supporting themselves on the island as all the local food crops had been destroyed.
In the afternoon we took time to wander along the harbour taking the back streets to return to the ship, a lot of the streets have a dangerous two foot drop between the pavement and the road, whilst we were wandering along all of a sudden a tourist coming the other way on the pavement just turned and stepped into the road and fell absolutely flat on his face straight across the road. Fortunately for him there was no traffic otherwise he'd have been a goner; he'd obviously hadn't seen or had forgotten the drop. He picked himself up by which time his wife and a lot of locals had come running to his aid, miraculously he didn't draw blood, it was a wonder he didn't smash his nose and teeth, although I suspect if nothing was broken he'll look an awful sight in the morning.
Friday 27/01/12 at sea 24c Hot but overcast with a few showers, forecasted for an increased sea swell with increasing winds.
Tot: 1.314s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 13; qc: 52; dbt: 0.0315s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb