A Day at the Races ‘Bajan’ style

Barbados has a beautiful race track within its historical Garrison Savannah area not far from the hustle and bustle of Bridgetown.  ‘The Season of Emancipation Raceday’ was their 6th race day of the 2nd racing season and well attended, not only inside the grounds but outside too, plenty of people were setting up their picnics on the outside of the track where a grassy area along the roadside has benches and even bookmakers.

We chose to pay for seats in the grandstand to enjoy the atmosphere and some well needed shade, and it was great to wander around in between the races and watch the horses being brought back and forth from the stables across the road (and of course visit the bar).   Eight races took up a beautiful afternoon, we had a small wager on each race (BB$2, that’s about 80p) but only managed to pick one winner.

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This dapper gentleman was one of the starting officials

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After all that excitement we were brought back down to earth with Tropical Storm Don developing in the Atlantic heading for the Windward Islands, the forecasters were pretty certain it would pass about 90 miles south of Barbados heading towards Grenada so we stayed put in Carlisle Bay and let out a little more scope on our anchor chain.  Nothing more than a gusty day with a short burst of heavy rain in the afternoon but overnight the passing storm had created some pretty nasty swell which rammed us literally up the backside, pushing us forward on our anchor and getting us uncomfortably close to the relatively unaffected catamaran that had anchored in front.  At 1.30am we reset our anchor but within minutes were pushed forward again towards the catamaran.  It was a sleepless night for both of us.

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Tropical Storm Don passes south of Barbados

We accidentally ended up in Bathsheba on the east coast one day when we missed our stop on the bus, the bus turns around here and heads back to town so we stayed on board after the bus driver informed us that the bus doesn’t actually follow the route published on their website (well, this is the Caribbean after all). He very kindly dropped us off close enough and gave us walking directions instead.  But the sight of Bathsheba from the bus made us want to go back for a proper visit,  so back we went a few days later with a pack lunch and some beers.  Bathsheba is a small seaside village on the Atlantic side of the Island, surf crashes in over the reef and fit young surfers come here to enjoy it.  We sat by an area called the ‘Soup Bowl’ where they hold surf competitions, and watched them for ages.

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This ‘Silver Argiope’ or wasp spider had built a very elaborate web covering a huge cactus. As I bent down to take a photo I dropped my lens cap which bounced off the verge and deep into the web-entangled undergrowth (typical me). Brave Jez rummaged to retrieve it, whilst he was up close and personal he took this photo. Luckily for him she was more interested in prey that hadn’t been soaked in rum all night:-)

On Tuesday we had a glorious beam reach 10 mile sail back up to Port St Charles on the north west of the island, it is a little rolly anchored here particularly at night when the wind drops but the tranquility and beautiful views make up for it.  The water is lovely and clear and the snorkeling is great with a large diversity of fish and a few Hawksbill turtles, plus we have the added bonus of swimming ashore every day and walking the sandy beach.  On our first morning here we woke up to a huge school of juvenile fish seeking shelter in Joy’s shadow with a very large barracuda patrolling the perimeter, on the sea bed were loads of very plump starfish, I counted 22, all clearly visible from deck with 6.5 metres of water beneath us. There were none to be seen the previous day when we had snorkeled to check our anchor, apparently adults can move at 20 metres per hour over sand.

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Barbados is certainly a very special place.

 

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