The Windward islands of the Caribbean stretch from Grenada in the south to Martinique in the north and are so called because, as Christopher Columbus found they were the more windward of the Caribbean islands as he sailed from Europe to discover the New World….!
….using the Trade Winds which blow predominantly from the East to the West, these winds and currents in the Atlantic allow the fastest route across the “The Pond” and are used by us modern day sailors as we follow in Columbus’s footsteps!
The major Windward Islands are Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia and Martinique. Barbados is officially one of the Atlantic Islands but is commonly grouped with the Windwards just because of it’s proximity to them! Many of the present Windward Islands were once colonial island territories of France and are known as the French West Indies.
Barbados ~ Our Caribbean Voyage begins here!
The island was first colonised by the British in 1627 and later became a British colony. It was the centre of the African Slave trade as a wealthy sugar producing colony. This was so until the trade in slaves was outlawed in 1807 with final emancipation of the slave trade starting in 1833. By 1834 slavery was abolished in all the territories under British rule.
Emancipation Day was established on 1st August 1997 to commemorate the abolished slave trade.
The trident in the middle of the flag symbolizes the island’s status as an independent state from British rule which occurred on 30th November 1966! This date is now in the yearly calendar of dates as Independence Day! Barbados is still a commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth 11 as head of state.
The Coat of Arms of Barbados!
1st – 6th March ~ Port St. Charles, Barbados
We dropped anchor off the beach at Port St. Charles and surveyed the scene while we got used to being still!
Port St. Charles Marina and beautiful beach!
While Alan was sorting out the foredeck I remained in the cockpit sort of on watch when I was startled by a radio call to Musetta of Hamble from Bridgetown Immigration telling me that we must go immediately to ‘Check-in’ at the offices in Port St. Charles Marina!! Dinghy turned over, inflated and launched we motored into the marina and took our first steps ashore for 20 days! We were quite wobbly which was hardly surprising but I’m sure very funny to observe!! Formalities completed with the very friendly immigration staff we were soon on our way back to Musetta for some well earned rest!
.. was the nearest town to our anchorage and so we walked there the following morning to check it out!
The town is the second largest town on Barbados and is home to several beautiful beaches! We were recommended to go to the Fisherman’s Bar where we found good food and reasonably good wifi too.
We soon realised that the town was the usual Caribbean mixture of ramshackle dwellings interspersed with smarter buildings and of course the church always seems to have pride of place and a lovely building!
Speightstown used to be a busy trading port and is also known as Little Bristol! Historically, ships laden with sugar and other goods left Speightstown bound for the UK and especially for Bristol.
Guy and Kathryn had recommended a restaurant, the Fish Pot at Clinketts which is a favourite of theirs when they have visited Barbados. It was close to the marina and so walked a little further to find it! and discovered this picturesque beach!
The restaurant was open and so we were able to book a table for the following evening! The restaurant didn’t look much from the roadside but it was lovely inside and was right on the beach with a floating pontoon too so we could dinghy there from Musetta!
It was a really delicious meal, we were grateful for the recommendation. Thank you Guy and Kathryn!
Bridgetown ~ Capital of Barbados
We wanted to see Bridgetown and so before we left the island we took our life in our hands and boarded one of these buses, a Reggae Bus, to the capital!! Our bus was
nowhere nearly as smart as this one! I did at one stage question my sanity in boarding it but hey, when in Barbados it seemed only fitting that we should sample the local transport! The music was about as removed from true Reggae music as one could imagine, it was of the unbelievably loud, head-bashing stuff, truly dreadful! Ten minutes would have been bearable but the journey was longer than that, it was a long ride into Bridgetown!! We came back on a government bus, blue with a yellow stripe, a much more pleasant ride!
The Harbour at Bridgetown!
I really liked the feel of Bridgetown with it’s bustling streets full of local vendors mixed in with some old colonial buildings!
The Old Town Hall at the edge of the city park, The Parliament Building and a Harbourside park!
We discovered the headquarters of Englands Barmy Army cricket supporters right beside the harbour! The banner says it all really?!
Barbados as we know has produced many great cricketers, Sir Garfield Sobers with whom I had dinner once when I was in Trinidad in my flying days! Also Gordon Greenidge, Joel Garner, known as ‘Big Bird’ due to his enormous height of over 2 metres, Desmond Haynes and Malcolm Marshall – cousin of the Health Official who checked us in at Port St Charles!
Sadly there was no cricket on to watch while we were in Barbados but fellow cruisers were in Bridgetown for minor game and because there were very few supporters they were given some tickets to help make up the numbers!!
6th March ~ End of our stay!
We had no more time to spare in Barbados, we needed to move on and keep up with our schedule. We were well rested from our Transatlantic crossing and we had planned an overnight passage to St. Lucia that night. We readied Musetta in a fairly leisurely fashion and then motored to end of the fuel dock to fill up with water, we didn’t need fuel!
Barbados was lovely, we enjoyed our visit there and perhaps we will be back next winter if time and the winds permit?!
St Lucia next…….!!