Every day brings new information on the challenges everyone’s facing. Some false, some real. It’s hard to know what to believe anymore. Except that this will be life-changing for all of us.
Meanwhile, one of the times I was up last night (due to my post-menopausal bladder!) I opened our side hatch and spent a few minutes star gazing at the still and silent night sky. This morning I left the boat for the first time since Wednesday, to relish a long walk to Hurleston Junction – and it felt as though mother earth was breathing huge sighs of relief. Spring is springing into life. Nature of course is oblivious to the madness ..
Our next move, as far as we can plan at the moment, will be to the Llangollen Canal. Not what we’d previously planned. Hopefully the locks will be opening at the end of next week.
Boogying and Bathing in Barbados
So, back to last week and our well-timed week in the sunny Caribbean.
Barbados is the most easterly island of the Caribbean. It’s 21 miles long, and 14 miles wide. As I said in the previous post, you can drink the tap water which is some of the purest in the world due to being filtered by coral and limestone. The island gained its independence from Britain in 1966.
On Thursday morning I was up early for a Yoga session, on the ‘Ocean Garden’, adjacent to the beach. It was totally sublime. A dream come true. A memory I shall hold dear forever. No photos. My phone didn’t accompany me. Just my heart and soul.
Sarah and I played croquet on the lawn again later that morning, and then we all played Table Tennis in the afternoon. We relaxed in the sun. Drank cocktails (well not me, I’m a party pooper, a good coffee and lots of water in the day or fruit punch was as outrageous as I got!), talked, laughed, dodged the tropical rain in the afternoon, read, listened to the ocean.
On one of the nights, I forget now which one, I was so mesmerised by the singer entertaining us, I couldn’t help but dance. I subscribe to the ‘dance like no-one’s watching’ school of thought …
Even though I was the only one out of dozens of guests! After a few minutes, a gorgeous American woman called Kathy joined me (she’s behind us in the picture below). She said she saw me and was so grateful someone made the first move, as she’d been wanting to dance but hadn’t the courage to go it alone. Not long afterwards, all four of us, along with Kathy and her three girlfriends (who were all celebrating their 70ths!), joined us. Maybe after all this uncomfortableness has dissipated, people will find ways to not worry so much about what others think, and dance when they want to. I’d love to think so.
On Friday 13th, we all went on a Catamaran trip. No disasters occurred despite the date, just much more eating, drinking, snorkelling and boogying. Oh and just floating around! We met a fabulous couple from Northampton on the boat. We may even have been filmed dancing and doing the actions to YMCA at the end of the trip (definitely not for public viewing!)
We swam with green turtles, which was an absolutely magical experience. My younger daughter is a proficient scuba diver, who loves turtles. She’s swam with them many times. I never imagined I’d be able to overcome my fear of drowning and be able to snorkel in the open water with them. I think what helped was having a fairly calm sea, that I’d practiced a few times beforehand, and on the boat they had floatation vests for us to use if we felt we needed more confidence.
The fishes above are an example of what I saw whilst there. Sadly I don’t have an underwater camera … These were in aquariums at St Lawrence Gap, in a bar called ‘The Dive Bar and Restaurant‘. We had a fabulously fun night there on Wednesday evening at their Open Mic night. We played the tambourine (played?), and a rather interesting large ‘cowbell’. Great fun. ‘Richard’ was very friendly, and we met a lovely lady from Wigan who chatted and informed us she and her husband returned to Barbados every year. For ten years or more. In fact we met many people who love the island so much they come back again and again. I can totally see why.
Entertainers and Entertainment
There was a wide mix of entertainment at the resort – though unfortunately it had to stop at 10pm due to the close proximity of all the rooms! The two bars however continued serving until 2am. I was in bed well before then every night, others took full advantage.
We had the pleasure of entertainers such as soul singers, steel bands, limbo dancers, and a mix of Bajan floor shows. On Friday evening, after eating at the hotel, we took a taxi to Oistins for their fish fry night. Sounds odd aye, to not eat at their fish fry? But it felt wrong to pay for food when we were fully inclusive! If we’d arrived early on it would’ve been different. But we didn’t get back from the Catamaran trip till after 5 …
We went after dinner and soaked up the atmosphere, did some more boogying to the reggae, ska, and Michael Jackson, being played on the stage, and watched the dancers girating and doing acrobatics. It was a spectacular carnival atmosphere, but with a large crowd we did feel a little aware of the need to be watchful and keep ourselves safe.
I drank just one bottle of the island’s beer ‘Banks’s’, then chose a water. Again, why pay for alcohol when we had it in abundance at the resort! We stayed till about 10pm, then took the offer of a taxi ride from a Bajan who decided to endear himself to us (he’s behind me and Sarah in the photo below). I think he may have been a little high. He serenaded us for the duration of the journey back, driving ridiculously slowly (we’d already negotiated the fare so it mattered not to us), because he wanted us to hear all his music. It was a unique experience!
Sunsets and Rises
Barbados is known for its sunsets and sunrises. The former Karen and I experienced a couple of nights in a row, by naughtily trespassing on the neighbouring hotels balcony! The latter I only managed once to get out of bed by 6 am, on the final day using a LOT of self-coaching. Oh my! I so wished I’d done it on other days. It was overcast and not the best, but the atmosphere at that time of day was sublime. And I saw turtles chilling in the sea in front of me. One of the men at the watersports area told me on the Saturday they often could be seen early in the morning before it got too hot.
Karen and I also took advantage of the catamaran trip from the resort out into the bay. I even took my phone in a waterproof case I’d got seven years previously when I was in Bali. Luckily it worked! I hadn’t quite realised how fast and how small the catamaran would be. It was definitely an adrenaline pumping experience! Our sailor, Amra, had some intriguing theories on the Covid-19 crisis. We were hearing so many different stories while there; I tried my best not to get caught up in any of them and just ‘be’ in Barbados.
I’d booked a full body massage at the spa for the Saturday evening. I love it when I can do that before a flight. Just before heading there, I visited the two stalls on the beach that I hadn’t had chance to before. Olive made me a coral and turquoise anklet to fit my not terribly slim ankle! Then Janice braided my hair. I’ve always wanted it done, though only half my head. I love it! It’s so easy to manage. It may be come permanent …
So Sad To Leave
Our flight wasn’t until the evening of the last day. We intended to make the most of whatever sunshine was to be had. Sadly it rained for a couple of hours that morning! I wasn’t too bothered as I had to pack anyway. Once it stopped, and I’d squeezed everything back into the case (including a bottle or two of rum!), I walked into ‘The Gap’ to see it in the daylight. Otherwise it was a case of enjoying the delicious food on offer, watching the birds picking at anything they could find, and soaking up the vibes to bank in my memory so I could return to this ‘happy place’ in the days to come …
I didn’t even know then how much I’d need to be able to do that. Nor do I know yet how many times I’ll close my eyes and dream I’m back at Turtle Beach Resort in blissful, brilliant, Barbados.