Barbados, day 1 – Speightstown & Bridgetown

by Oana

25 Jan: After a wonderful full night sleep, we wake up to sunrise and see our beautiful setting. A 5*hotel would not get this view over palm clad beaches. Our berth is right next to the sea so water perfectly clean.

Ellie comes back from a run looking rather hot and is immediately in the water for a swim. She declares the hull is spotlessly clean with only some small barnacles that have taken hold around the stern, and which she quickly knocks them off.

We check-in with marina. $130 a night. Expensive but less than we thought, so plan to stay here a few days. Especially as we see the anchored yachts rolling in the swell. There are only 5 visitors berths and this is the only marina. So we are lucky. CB looks tiny next to 4 massive super yachts and an Oyster 655 next to us.

The morning is jobs. Lots to do and sooo nice to have able-Ellie helping. Oana says now she knows what it must be like to be on a yacht with professional crew! And then she goes down below to carry on cleaning the galley. Shore power is 110v60Hz like USA, but our isolation transformer converts to 240v automatically. Glad we installed that now. And out comes the sunshade, the full one that goes from stern to front of the boom. Instantly the boat is cooler  in the shade, as the lovely trade wind blows through.

Around midday we walk to nearest town – Speightstown. Very hot walk. Town is very “local” but has a charm. 95% of 250,000 population of the island is black descended from slavery. The 5% descend from deportations from England! Oh, and of course there is huge population of lobster Americans on holiday.

After a quick beer in a beach bar we walk back to get hire car that arrives at 2pm. So starts the exploring. We drive down the east coast through Holetown, that was first settled in 1700s, and onto Bridgetown, the capital, 15 miles away. All the way down this sheltered east coast are hotel complexes on the beach side of the road.

Holetown is clearly set up for tourists. It even resembles parts of Houston! But Bridgetown is again very local. And clearly ex-Bristish colonial architecture. Large stone cathedrals and parliament buildings and old warehousing around the small harbour. There is even a Trafalgar Square with Nelson on a column!  All manner of shops, but no icecream that Ellie and Glen have been drooling for.

As the sun sets we have a cocktail overlooking the wonderful beach of Carlisle bay (yes Cumbrians, Carlisle Bay! ). The bay is full of anchored yachts, all rolling in the swell. This is where we would have been without the marina.

At dusk the area around the bus terminal comes alive with hundreds of tiny bars opening to the locals, all chilling after work. The scene is surreal, like a movie. Hundreds of local people, mostly men, enjoying beer together. Dominos is popular with 4 men playing around a makeshift table, surrounded by onlookers. We ask what the bets are, but apparently the games are just for fun. The atmosphere is amazing, some people even dancing. Lots of calls for us to have a beer with them and one guy jovially  shouts, “hey man, bring your women over ere!”  and everyone around laughs. Super atmosphere. All very friendly and non-threatening.

On our way back to CB at Port St.Charles we stop in Speightstown for dinner to the sound of crashing waves on the beach. A wonderful first day in the Caribbean. But slightly spoiled at the end. Oana and Ellie are inside the boat and Glen is wondering around outside – as he does! When suddenly they hear a bang! on the hull and a big splash.

Somehow, Glen has managed to fall off the jetty next to the bow! He seems OK and even dives down to retrieve the car keys that were in his hand. But once out the water it’s clear he is not OK. A bit dazed and a huge graze on him arm from the life-lines. But thank goodness he didn’t hit his head on the concrete as he went down.

He says he simply stepped closer to CB and suddenly there was no ground to step on! Ellie and Oana patch him up after a shower an all seems OK. How can we come across the Atlantic unscathed then have this in a marina!!? What a numpty!

Sleep again come easily.

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