Barbados 2

Phil Pascoe
Fri 23 Jan 2009 12:11

13:10.5N 59:38.4W

16 Jan 2009, Sandy Lane Bay, Barbados.

Paula and I arrived back in Barbados on 5 Jan, after a chilly start to the day in Gatwick - it was snowing!  The flight (Virgin Atlantic) went smoothly and we watch 3 films each.  Getting a bus from the airport proved a little difficult, they were either going the wrond way or they were full.  We resorted to a taxi in the end, $40 bds (£14), ouch.

Thankfully the boat was still there, bobbing on it's mooring, and the surf looked manageable.  Kenrick and Rawle were both there to help us wash the dinghy and prepare to head out to the boat with all our gear.  The boat wasn't too smelly and even the batteries showed some life even though I'd left them switched on for 2.5 weeks.  We were soon installed and relaxing, in preparation for another week in Barbados.  It was good to be back, but the heat is not easy to cope with, if one doesn't have the luxury of air-con and a plentiful supply of water.  Here are some of Paula's early thoughts:

We are having a fab time here - the days do have a habit of slipping away...its so hot everything takes much longer. Phil was pleased that the boat was still there when we got back to the Barbados yacht club. However, getting to it using the dinghy from the beach is a dodgy business. There is a big rolling swell and surf breaking on to the beach so transferring my 23kilo + 6 kilo hand baggage was not easy. Luckily the swell is smaller in the evenings, so it wasn't too bad, but by the time we left the club - two rum punches in - it took a bit of negotiating. Phil is looking for somewhere to have the outboard serviced having overturned the dinghy when they first arrived (glad I wasn't here for that one!)
We saw a turtle swim past the boat yesterday, then a mongoose in the grounds of the Hilton when we came ashore in the evening. Much other beautiful flora and fauna.

She was obviously in resonable mood at that stage.  Cruising in a hot climate, with the boat on a mooring 150m offshore and everything more expensive than at home, is not conducive to domestic harmony and joie de vivre.  The Royal Barbados Yacht Club is a wonderful place and the staff were very welcoming and helpful to us, but I became really cheesed off with getting a wet bum everytime we came ashore.  However, we survived.  Our days before Rob arrived were spent having another look at Bridgetown, shopping for food and drink (supermarkets are pretty poor), trying to find a berth alongside somewhere, trying to find a launderette to wash bedding left over from 2008 and visiting Bathsheba on the East coast.  we were told the Yacht Club had a buoy in the Bay with a water supply - Paula and I successfully tied up to this, at High Tide, depth reading 0.0m, and filled our tanks.  Much relief from Paula, she could now have a shower on the boat.  We revisited St Lawrence Gap for happy hour - Paula took to the Rum Punches immediately, and found an inexpensive Chinese restaurant for an evening meal (bargain). We have taken to using the White minibuses (usual fare of $1.50 (50p)) which are quite a cultural experience.

Friday Night Happy hour at the BYC was not too happy for Paula, as after a couple of Rum punches and some food, she felt rather ill and parted company with most of it.  Must have been sun-stroke as we'd only had a couple of drinks.  Getting back to the boat was a bit of a blur - Paula actually did the rowing - but we got there successfully and slept well.  The next day was fairly restful (I think) as we prepared for Rob's arrival in the evening.  On the way to the airport we walked to the local supermarkets and eventually found one that had a few items that we fancied and could afford.  It was too far to be convenient though.  All this made us rather late for the airport as the bus entered the rush-houir traffic.  Fortunately Rob's flight was late.  All went well from there, a near empty bus back to the YC, a beer and a rum punch and then out to the boat in two trips - without getting too wet.
Sunday in Barbados - it's closed!  We planned to take the afternoon bus tour from Bridgetown and thought it was wise to dinghy to the Careenage to give the outboard a run and then it would avoid having to tackle the surf when we returned. This went as planned, but the normal bustle of Broad Street was non-existent, amazing, everyone must go to Church.  Rob faced a totally different view of Bridgetown than it's usual noise and traffic.  We found a bar ($2 for beer) and a Chefette for lunch, and then made our way back to town for the Tour.  Long story short, if I can:  it was fairly good value, and quite a good way of seeing some different areas of the Island, but the places we stopped were dull.  The thing that made it was the bajan passengers on our bus.  They were mainly elderly \women with packed lunches and assorted bags, out for the afternoon tour after going to Church.  This was a weekly event for them - the banter was quite a hoot, although we could only understand every third word, and when they weren't gassing, they were sleeping or eating - you don't get a figure like that just by breathing!
We arrived back at 7pm (dark).  Fortunately our dinghy was still tied up in the middle of Bridgetown.  Unfortunately, it wouldn't start  - bugger!
So the best plan was for me to row back (about a mile), with mobile phone, and Paula and Rob to walk. All went OK until I came in too close to the shore and was sploshed by a couple of big ones – another mobile dies!  Anyway we survived and slept well.
Now we had to get away from Barbados:  the plan was to clear out of customs etc at Port St.Charles at the north of the island, get fuel and water and then head for Tobago.  After shopping for food we ‘relaxed’ with a few beers and rums on the boat and crashed out.  At 01.00h there was a big thud and Paula (less rum than us) was up like a flash to see what it was.  A very rude awakening!  We had broken free from the mooring and were tangled up with the mooring of another boat – our two chains had caught around the other mooring buoy.  If we had missed this we would have either been on the nearby breakwater/reef or off towards Venezuela – a chance in a million.  What if this had happened on Christmas day, where would the boat have gone?
We fendered well, tied everything we could and sat next to the other boat until morning.  It obviously took some time to get the Yacht Club staff to extricate us from this mess, but eventually they did, all in fairly good humour, but I’m sure they would have preferred a more peaceful start to the day. I had settled my bill at the YC and suggested they contacted me if there was and damage to pay for.  After being released, we headed up the Port St. Charles, loaded water and fuel, cleared out and came back south to anchor in a quiet Bay.  Long story short again – enjoyed some good snorkelling at Sandy Lane Bay and set off the next day.  25 to 30 knots of wind I felt was a bit lively for our new recruits so we aborted.  More snorkelling for two days until the wind decreased – fantastic display of fish over nearby reef and wreck.  Now time was getting short.  Friday 16 Jan we set off for Tobago – near perfect winds, sea still a bit lumpy, but this is as good as it gets.  A very comfortable passage, although Rob and Paula probably would describe it differently.
Next blog from Tobago.

Pics:  This is where the rum comes from.  Lotte Haas.  Rob in control and navigating (I think).