Nigel North
Tue 21 Feb 2012 02:26

Monday, 20 February 2012

Anchor: Port St Charles, Barbados

Yesterday was walk down the beach to Speightown - a mile or so south - with the vague hope of a restock of bread at the Supermarket but it was shut. Cut back then, and try the garage, which wasn’t, so we have bread again. But it was hot walking, and the pace was pretty slack. But before we set off we dropped in on Stephen - a friend of Joe C’s - as he lives in the marina complex having been involved in its creation just over a decade ago. His house backs onto the marina waterway complete with mooring and is one of the best in the development. We were treated first to a cold beer and then two hours of storytelling par excellence - particularly his involvement in the building of Grenada’s new Airport in the middle of the American ‘Invasion’. We were invited to attend next weeks polo match, if we were still around.

After a restless night for me as the subject of a concerted attack by mozzies and gnats - a night which saw me up again at 0030 armed with insect repellent and now fully clothed  whilst Alfie lay as always motionless and undisturbed, like Lenin in his tomb ALL NIGHT - we set off in a local bus for a rattling journey south down the beach road to Bridgetown, past all the expensive tourist beachside complexes, and then split up after being taken by the girl who sold us water - a Brummie - to a locals eating place set out as a buffet and gorging ourselves. Alfie set off to find accommodation and a flight home, whilst I got in a taxi to the US Embassy to see about a visa, which didn’t take long as the Americans had given themselves a days holiday and were shut. Alfie was more successful and had made all arrangements after a four mile walk about looking at places. Meeting up again, he took me to see the anchorage at Carlisle Bay where most yachts are anchored.

The trip back was memorable. Facing a substantial queue for the bus back we were noisily highjacked out of the queue at the bus station by another private bus running in competition. Most people declined, but not us. We were having an adventure right? Standing room only, we shuffled down the bus and hung on for grim death as the boy driver just out of Barbadian Borstal for driving offences careered along the narrow badly made roads daring any oncoming traffic to slow him down no matter how narrow the gap. But every corner would be followed by a slamming of brakes and max deceleration to standstill as the jaunty ‘customer spotter’ in reversed red baseball cap spotted potential customers to highjack and would leap off from the open doorway on the run to bully them onboard. More shuffling down the bus. Lurch and we’re off again. Then the third member of the crew made his presence known; a slightly built boy with reversed baseball cap but with the usual NY insignia on the back - only his was drawn on in biro - and selected for his ability to squeeze down past all us standing punters rail hanging to collect the money - $2 Bajan each, about 80p.

With the roar of cruelly treated engine through the open door, and full on regge playing at high volume through the bus speakers, the noise levels were extremely high, but this didn’t stop conversations being shouted from the back end of the bus to the 3 man crew at the front throughout. Amazingly we got back, as dusk fell, to find the spotless private ship Callisto next to us and the catamaran Pussy Cat we had been told about by Stephen, had sailed. The smart outdoor bar at the yacht club where we leave Perky tied up was deserted for once, but it was time to get back on board and turn the anchor light on, and fridge off - which needs solar energy.

A very big thankyou to all those who have kindly communicated their surprise at our arrival at the right place, all very much appreciated.