A few hundred meters from our anchorage in Carlisle Bay are three shipwrecks lying on the bottom at a depth of 3-5 meters. Tourists are carted there on tour boats for snorkeling. The price of such a tour is between $ 60 and $ 90. Jörg Bauer and I grab snorkels and fins, jump into the dinghy and set off on our own. In a closed area we find a buoy to moor and jump into the water. I had never really snorkeled before. We float weightlessly, head down on our belly in the water. The water is pleasantly warm. It's a great feeling.
It doesn't take long for us to find the first wreck. As an artificial reef, it is home to hundreds of small, colorful fish that I only know from the aquarium.
The fish come closer curiously and when I turn around, a whole shoal romps around my feet. I'm slowly getting used to breathing through the snorkel. I could hang around here for hours.
As soon as a large fish approaches, the little ones disappear under the protection of the wreck in a split second.
There are supposed to be turtles here, but unfortunately we don't get to see them. Instead, a large marine mammal slowly glides over me.
It is Friday, January 24th. We - Burti, Jörg Bauer, Jörg and I decided today to take a bus trip north. There is said to be a part of the old jungle. The right bus is the line towards St. Andrews Church. He should drive once an hour, but we don't know exactly when. So we sit down at the bus station and wait.
And we wait, wait and wait. At some point one of the bus drivers speaks to us and asks where we want to go. We explain to him that we want to go to Turner Hall Wood to see the jungle. He shakes his head in disbelief: “There's nothing there. This is boring. Why do you want to go there? Better go to the old windmill or another attraction. ” However, he cannot answer the question of when our bus actually comes. We pass the waiting time with the stands around the bus station. There are cold drinks, grilled chickens and WiFi.
Our bus arrives after about two hours. We drive off and land in the thickest Friday afternoon after-work traffic jam. There is also the end of school and there are children in school uniforms everywhere who want to get on the bus. The bus is full and it's hot. The cooling of the open windows does not work in a traffic jam. Slowly resentment and whine spreads among my passengers. “My water is all.”, “I want a cold beer.”, “I want a cold coke.”, “I am so hot!”, “How long?”, “I don't feel like it anymore.”, "Will we be there soon?" ... And so we drive through the jungle to the next place on the coast. We get something cold to drink there and wait two hours for the bus to drive us back. It was fully worth it.
It is Saturday January 25th. My birthday. (Ok, now that I am writing this post, it is much later and we are now on St. Lucia. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you again for the many congratulations. I was very happy.) My wish for this day is to drive into the jungle again, get out earlier and hike a few kilometers. And alone. I don't want to hear a whine and besides, the blanket from Sissi falls on my head after the weeks at sea.
So I'm going back to the bus station. The bus arrives in less than a quarter of an hour, the traffic in the city is moderate and after about 30 minutes I get off in Porey Spring.
Apparently there is a small Rasta community at home here. Palm trees, walls and signs announce that Yah brings love and the Rastas will win the war without weapons.
A fountain is shared for laundry and personal hygiene.
My path continues along the road. Small cow pastures and thick jungle take turns. I walk through small villages with houses lined with palm trees and old trees.
There is not much left of the jungle. But there are always small oases with dense forest.
After about two hours of walking, I find a small bar and stop off. My stomach is growling. Rice with chicken and coleslaw is on the menu. The portion is huge and the chicken is very tasty. In a corner of the bar there is a small DJ desk and loud reggae music booms out of the loudspeaker. The DJ looks like he could be the little brother of Snoop Dogg be. As if cut from the face. Again and again he is warned by the bar woman to turn down the music. As soon as it briefly disappears backwards, Snoop Dogg turns up the volume again. He also dances with his buddies across the bar. Is that because of the rum?
After eating I set off again. I find a yellow bus parked on a property. One of the bus drivers probably lives there.
At the next corner I turn off the main street and go down a path steeply. I wanted to go there yesterday. In the Turner Hall Wood. Unfortunately, there is no real jungle feeling, because I can only walk along the edge. The actual jungle is protected and is closed to hikers. I still have fun. Photograph flowers and scrub. Shortly before the path leads me back to the street, I see a few monkeys sitting on the way. They are supposed to be totally cheeky and curious. Not this one. When I take the camera out of my backpack, they notice me and disappear into the undergrowth. Too bad, but I saw monkeys in the wild for the first time. That was a nice birthday present.
I wrote this post on December 14th. before departure in Santa Cruz. It was one of the articles that should appear during our Atlantic crossing. For various reasons, I have so far refrained from publishing it, but after the experience tonight, it is a need for me to express my opinion about cruise ships and their cargo.
December 2019, Santa Cruz, Tenerife: The day before yesterday Jens and I pulled up the new Genoa. It was a good opportunity right now because the wind had just died down. Then the easiest way to change the sail is because the sail will not fidget wildly in the area. I stood at the winch to crank the sail up, Jens the day before to thread the sail into the furling system. Suddenly the air stayed a little, I felt like I was taking a deep breath of air directly at the exhaust of a VW Diesel.
The Queen Victoria is in Santa Cruz today. There is a different ship in the same place every day. Everyone runs their diesel generator in port. Everyone leaves this fat soot flag, which can be seen in the picture taken from the foredeck of the Sissi. That is one side of the cruise industry. I can understand very well that the Venetians, the Hamburgers and actually all residents of the cities overrun by cruise ships want to stop this environmental pollution.
The soot is driven into the Sissi salon by the wind. We breathe in the soot when working on the ship, we also get it off in our free time. He pulls into our bunk. Only when the crusader says goodbye to his ship's blight in the middle of the night does fresh air slowly draw through our boat.
In addition, hordes of people invade the place with every cruise ship. They stand in line in front of us normal boat tourists in the supermarket and often carry out the groceries and drinks that we actually wanted to buy ourselves. The supermarkets here are small, and most of the time, they are only supplied and replenished the following day.
We cannot change it. We have to live with that. If they almost drive me with their e-bikes on the way from the boat to the shower, then I would like to push them into the harbor basin. Thank you, AIDA, for taking so many e-bikes with you and lending them to your passengers. Can't you at least tour the area on tour buses like the other crusaders? The buses also make noise, but they don't drive right through the marina.
January 31, 2020, 1:50 am, between Barbados and St. Lucia: I am lying on the couch and dozing a little bit to myself. My watch is almost over, I'll wake Jens up in an hour. The guard has been fairly uneventful so far - as almost always on the Atlantic.
A penetrating beep quickly brings me back from my twilight state to the waking state. The AIS collision alarm sounds. In less than half an hour it will be Britannia run over us or happen very close. Huh? Our AIS sends. Our AIS receives. They can see that we are a sailing boat. They can see our course. I am not particularly worried because many crusaders go to Barbados.
I sit in the cockpit and look at the bright light that is getting closer and closer. I can't see the position lights in all the bright lights. Our wind pilot controls his normal zigzag. Sometimes we will have the next meeting point 30 meters, sometimes 300 meters from the Britannia. In 20 minutes. I try the night photo mode of my cell phone, you can even see something.
The cruise line's course line on the AIS doesn't change an inch. He is heading towards us. First of all, I decide on our obligation to stay on course, which we as sailors finally have. The guy at the helm of Britannia must know that too. However, I support the wind pilot in his zigzag. I allow him to do the zig, not the zag. A quarter of an hour later it is certain that we will pass the crusader approximately 100 to 200 meters away. A welcome SMS for the Britannia electrical system appears on the cell phone. Ultimately, the shortest distance was less than the length of this steamer.
So far, cargo ships have always changed course for us, including the 300-meter-long chunks. Ferries have always avoided us. Only the cruise ships are a danger, because in our experience they don't do anything.
The bastards just stubbornly continue their course. When passengers are booted out in front of the ports, the dinghies also follow a straight line, whether a sailor comes by or not. This is not meant to be a generalization or a prejudice, this is my judgment after 6000 nautical miles of our world tour and a conclusion from several dozen encounters with these shining rubble.
Now I've let off my steam. We still have 10 miles to go to Rodney Bay, and will probably arrive in daylight. Then shower for two hours and then a huge steak in the marina restaurant. That's how I imagine the evening.
On a beautiful day in Barbados, Jens and Jörg want to go snorkeling. I don't feel like it, neither does Burti. We want to go ashore and go on an excursion.
We also have no desire to follow the hordes of tourists. We want to do an individual tour that no travel guide has. So we go to the next bus station and get on the next bus. We don't know where the bus will go. We also don't know how long it will take. The locals we meet in the queue want to know our destination. We don't know it. People think we're completely screwed up. A yellow bus pulls up, labeled “Sam Lords Castle”. We get in and off we go. The bus takes us an hour and a half across the island, continuing through suburbs of Bridgetown, past the airport and then another half an hour. At the terminus we are thrown out in the middle of the pampas.
First of all, there isn't much to see here. Did we take the wrong bus? The sun is burning from the sky, there is not much shade. Only at the intersection where we left the bus are a few trees around.
We decide to first walk past the bar and then a bit along the street. The bar has died out, but we now know that we will get cold drinks on the way back.
We turn on a small side street and run towards the sea. We want to try to get to the beach. We don't have much hope, there is no signposted way to the beach and the paved path soon turns into gravel and later into a tractor lane. A few puddles testify to rain showers that must have just come down recently.
The road becomes more difficult, the sun burns hotter and we don't want to go too far anymore. Our clothes are sweaty and the water we have taken with us is running out.
Apparently the idea of the surprise bus wasn't that good. We should have gone snorkeling. Or just spend the day drinking rum with the locals. Or stay on board and cultivate doing nothing. But then we go around a corner and the most beautiful Caribbean bay that we could have ever imagined emerges from nowhere.
We climb down a steep, half-ruined staircase to the beach and run to the sea. Everything is a little unreal.
There is a certain feeling of jungle between the palm trees. There are no empty beverage cans lying around here, no rubbish and no dirt. Only a few coconuts rot on the ground, eaten empty by animals.
It is lonely, except for us there are no people here. There is peace and quiet. The waves break, the water glows in the most beautiful shades of blue. Wonderful.
We run through the sand with bare feet, the waves wash around our lower legs. We could spend hours here. It is too dangerous to bathe. We can relax well here. The joy is great.
This is how you imagine the Caribbean when you see the brochures of the tour operators. Cruise tourists do not see such pictures. There is nothing here, not even a rum seller.
On the way back to the bus stop we stop in the very best mood in the small stall opposite the billiard bar. There is cold cola and cold beer. In addition, reggae music comes from a boom box. The locals put chairs in the shade for us so that we can get a cooling draft.
Although people don't speak a word of German, they can recognize our language by the hissing sounds. We start talking. It will be a nice afternoon. One of the locals weighs small portions of marijuana ready for sale, another sells them on the street. A third packs home-grown tobacco into portions ready for sale. People keep coming in to buy their smoke here. Everything is very relaxed, even we pale faces are accepted. Let's sit with the locals and have a good time.
On the way back to Bridgetown we take a reggae bus. The radio is playing loudly, the windows are open. We inhale the scent of the island again and hope that Jens and Jörg had an equally nice day.
The bus driver drives us relaxed in his yellow bus across the island and through the traffic jam in Bridgetown.
DISCLAIMER: Barbados is prohibited in all public transport, taxis, bars, restaurants and under roofs.
First we wanted to rent a car. There are the big car rental companies that are also known to us, but they also take big prices here. Then there are small, local and cheap landlords, but they are fully booked for weeks. So we decided on the bus.
The whole island can be explored by bus. There are the blue ones Governorate buses, the yellow private buses and white shared taxis with a large music system in them.
On average, the buses run every hour and late into the night. Regardless of the provider and the length of the journey, a ticket always costs 3.50 $, i.e. around € 1.75. That is cheap. It is important to always have small change counted with you. You throw that into the payment box at the bus driver.
The locals often advised us to take the yellow buses and not the blue ones. The yellow buses are more reliable. To judge this in its entirety, I lack the experience with the buses in Barbados. The fact is, however, that you have to bring time and leisure to explore the island by bus.
Basically you can really go to every corner by bus. And as long as you have change, they take you with you. In practice, however, the timetables are worth about as much as for Deutsche Bahn. Nothing at all. The buses leave their regular routes and come when they come.
On one of our tours I took the photo of the girls from the girls' school. After school, they waited together for the bus.
We waited for the bus the other way across the street. Suddenly a bus appeared with the label "SCHOOL" and we thought that it would collect the girls. The girls thought too, because they packed their bags and got ready to get in. Only the bus driver said nothing about it - he went on.
Some then set out on foot. That seems to happen more often here. Other students waited patiently, sometimes up to two and a half hours. They were there when we arrived, had a few refreshments in the local bar, and then waited an hour for the bus. When I think about how school bus traffic is sometimes scolded in Germany… The Barbados schoolchildren have an difficult life in this regard.
When the bus finally came, the students clumped around the front door. We were there at the back. Then we were discovered. White. Tourists. Strangers. The students were shooed away from the door and we were allowed to get in and sit down first. Wow!
I made a small video of the ride in the blue bus. The street has a lot of potholes, the bus rattles but everything is fine.
I also have a video snippet from a ride on the shared taxi, where the “conductor” of the shared taxi collects customers on the street.
Many EU regulations may be annoying. In our company, the buses must have an immobilizer so that the bus cannot start with the doors open. Here in Barbados, the open door is actually the standard. So we had to experience how a man wanted to get out of our bus at the rear door and the bus driver left while the man was still getting out. The journey was over for us, we had to wait for the next bus.
In any case, the people here are patient when they wait for the bus. Nobody complains, nobody fidgets. They all learned to wait.
A few words about the stops. There is sand on the beach. The stops are all labeled with the words “TO CITY” or “OUT OF CITY” and this indicates the direction of travel of the bus. City in this case is the capital, Bridgetown. Either the buses go there or they go away from there. A simple system, you can't go wrong as a tourist.
In any case, all bus drivers here are totally friendly. They even collect passengers outside of the stops if you wave at them. And we tourists are always asked where we want to go. So that we are not on the wrong bus. Great!
I actually wanted to stop blogging for a few days, but then I noticed that something was still missing. The announcement of who gave the best tip regarding our arrival time.
The logbook says: January 19, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. moored in Port St. Charles, Barbados
Since this is local time, I first calculate it in UTC - that's 9:15 p.m. Finally, we got most of the tips in UTC. Of course I also convert the others.
Gregor, January 19 0:39 a.m.
Martin, January 19 1:40 a.m.
CeBe, January 19 3:00 a.m.
Christine, January 19 8:00 p.m.
Jörg, January 19 “Towards evening”
Niels, January 20 7:07 a.m.
What do i do now Christine was only an hour and 15 minutes off when I convert her tip to UTC. But I think it meant local time, then it was only five hours and 15 minutes apart.
Niels was only 9 hours and 52 minutes away.
So our sister Christine gave the best tip. But that was via email and therefore not quite compliant. So I come to the following conclusion: Christine had the best tip and Niels is the winner in the tip game. I still have to look for the photo, I have not yet been able to choose a picture. I'll just send it to both of them!
There was a change of crew here in Bridgetown. Jakob moved from Sissi to Björkö, but Burti and Jörg moved in with Sissi. You will accompany us to Martinique. Jörg stepped on his glasses on the very first day, which is why we went to the optician in town today. A few days ago on the Atlantic, I bit an inlay out of the posterior molar tooth on the starboard side, which is why we went to the dentist.
It all happened in the best Caribbean weather, namely heavy rain. We hadn't tied the dinghy in place yet, so it was pouring out of buckets. That rarely changed during the day, when the sun was out there was a mighty laundry room in town.
Tomorrow we want to take a bus trip across the island. I will wave the camera and otherwise rest my fingers a little.
In the articles about crossing the Atlantic, I replaced the small pictures with normal sized pictures.