Please don't call me Taxi !!

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Wed 30 Mar 2011 16:49
Please don’t call me taxi!!!!

Every now and again the currents on the west side of the island run north
and this creates a rare phenomenon in Shallow Draught as the water becomes
incredibly clear allowing a great view of the bottom down to 7 or 8
metres. This means that vast shoals of fish become visible along with
their predators, where usually they are rarely seen but sometimes heard.
Shallow Draught is in effect a nursery for fish such as garfish, sprats,
snoops, tabbies and barracuda. The barracuda grow to about the length of
an average size person’s forearm and then move out into the deeper waters.
As a result we’ve seen quite a few as the water remained clear for 4 or 5
days before returning to its normal somewhat murky state – even the locals
are fascinated. Whether our photos will do the scene justice is moot but
we’ll post a few to see whether the effect can be seen. The shoals must
contain thousands of fish – we tried to count but failed miserably.
Shallow Draught also has turtles that regularly poke their heads above the
water but are as elusive as dolphins when trying to photograph them – we
have even seen them close to the beach when walking along Carlisle Bay.

We neglected to post in last month’s blog our meeting with the new world
record holders for rowing across the Atlantic – 33 days from the coast of
Africa to Barbados. Matt and his crew of 5 set the record in February and
he is planning, for his next challenge, to row from Australia to Africa
and is looking out for volunteers. The boat is just under 40 feet long and
is designed to be moved around in a standard long container – the photo’s
should show how this was done. A very different way of crossing the pond
and somewhat more physically challenging than ours, but a fantastic
achievement nonetheless.

Barbados had a royal visitor, Prince Edward, who was here to race J24’s in
a series of 6 races with some “celebrities”, none of whom we knew –
perhaps we are really out of touch. Anyway the Prince and his entourage
used the local J24 fleet with a couple of the regular crew to make sure
things didn’t go completely haywire. We know the crews of three of the
boats as they regularly tie up along side us when being hauled out. The
overall winner was Hawkeye with Robert and Clint on board but no prince –
he was on another boat and was red flagged for breaking rules on two
occasions so finished in the middle of the fleet. The event triggered a
wholesale refurbishment of the lifting bridge in the careenage in the
centre of Bridgetown and it was lifted to allow the J24’s to use the inner
basin. A very rare event and some locals had never seen it lifted and
comments were made in the local paper – so why was it built you may well
ask! However the lift was not without incident as on the first lift
someone forgot that there were lights strung between the lampposts which
were too low to clear the masts of the J24’s – bit of a mix up that was
sorted later in the day, but a little embarrassing all round.

We took a bus to the south of the island to take a look around and see a
bit more of the island. The south and west side of the island is where
most of the tourist development has taken place so the road and beach
frontage are primarily apartment blocks, hotels and restaurants. We went
as far as Ostins on the official blue bus and got a Z bus back, which was
a bit of an adventure. The island has the official blue buses run by the
government, yellow buses which are privately owned and the Z taxis,
mini-buses really, which can take only 10 or 12 passengers. The fare is
the same, $2 Barbados, but the Yellow buses and the Z taxis run much more
frequently and will often stop if you wave your arm or even slow down and
ask you if you want a ride. Both the Yellow buses and the Z taxis tend to
have very loud reggae and hip-hop music playing which can be good or not
as the case may be. The Z taxis are so named because of their registration
number plates. You’ll often find the Yellow buses leaving the bus stations
shortly before the official Blue buses to get the passengers before the
official buses arrive.

Andy and Lesley on Kodiak are now thinking of crossing to Barbados next
season before heading up to the US so we are looking forward to meeting
them when we get back to the UK and then hopefully meeting up in the
islands as they head north and we cruise. We have also tentatively planned
to meet Lesley and James for Xmas/New Year before they head towards Panama
and Australia – looking forward to meeting up with them again.

For a couple of days this week we were also anchored back out in Carlisle
Bay again when a swell was forecast and we joined 3 of the Tiami
Catamarans out there. A change of scenery was enjoyed and we even rescued
a dolphin. Now before you get excited it wasn’t a real one, we were just
chilling in the cockpit in the afternoon when a huge inflatable dolphin
that can carry about 6 people, started to float pass. We checked to see if
anyone was chasing it and as we couldn’t see any movement decided to
rescue it. In this short time it had moved quite quickly pass Andromeda,
too far to grab with a boat hook so Andrew jumped into the sea, swam to it
and caught the rope then bought it back to Andromeda. We sat and watched
for someone looking for it for a while, then Andrew swam in towards the
shore where rides on various inflatable’s were offered. As it happened the
owners were further down the beach so Andrew swam back – an unforeseen bit
of exercise. Later on a guy came to pick the dolphin and promised us some
rum punch as a reward but we are still waiting for that. Friday morning
we returned to Shallow Draught to our little berth pleased to be tied up
again after a very rolly couple of nights in the bay – we even had the lee
cloths up to stop us falling out of the berths as we rocked back and

The mast is in transit and should arrive soon – we know we’ve said this
before so we’re not getting into specifics nor getting too excited just
yet.........until we see a pile of boxes we are just trying to be patient.

While we were walking to the Texagas depot to refill our gas bottles we
came across a tree covered in caterpillars, but these were big. They were
as long as my middle finger and ravenous to boot. We understand they are
a species of moth but we’ve yet to see one, but they are very impressive

We came across an issue of Yachting World in February which had an article
about the ARC. It stated that this year there were no dismastings!! We
wrote a letter – outraged of Tunbridge Wells – well not quite, pointing
out that this was an error. They have published our letter in the April
issue complete with a photo of Andromeda leaving at the start of the ARC.
The caption reads “Andromeda of Plymouth embarks on the ARC......and a
dismasting”. Nice.

Jenny has had another scan and is now 98% sure she is having a little girl
– wonderful.

And so to the title of this blog – whenever we walk through Bridgetown to
return to Shallow Draught we are invariably waved at and the shout Taxi!
Taxi! is directed toward us. This is because all the taxi drivers assume
we are from the cruise ships and instead of walking would like a taxi back
to the cruise terminal so try to interest us in a ride with them. They are
always polite when we decline the invitation but even after 3 months they
don’t recognise us and regale us with Taxi! Taxi! as walk through town,
hence the tongue in cheek reference as the title.
Hope the photo’s work – more in due course.

s/v Andromeda of Plymouth

ps photos being posted separately