Friday 7 October 2011

Barbados September 2011

Sunday morning just a little after 10am I check in my bag at the new British Air Ways check-in counters at Gatwick North terminal, wow what a difference from my last visit, a fresh looking, stress free feeling area……………. After an eight and half flight the door of the triple seven aircraft opened at Grantly Adams International I was hit by a 30 degree heat and brilliant sunshine a good deal warmer than the eleven degree’s I left behind in the UK.

It wasn’t long before I cleared immigration and customs; then on to collect my car from Courtesy Cars  There was a warm Barbados welcome from the staff, they knew my name, may well have been a good guess, but I was a good start. The paperwork completed I was soon on my way to my hotel, Coconut Court Beach Hotel Thats a picture of the beach at Coconut Court [jealous or what?]

The trip from the airport to the hotel took only fifteen minutes and the check-in went very smoothly, just the registration and a swipe of my credit card and I’m on my way to the room {Number 83}. First impressions are good: a large room with a fridge/freezer, microwave, kettle, toaster and cutlery for four: a spacious wardrobe, a table and two chairs, and huge bed [very comfortable]. A pair of French Doors led onto a balcony, the view to the sea can only be described as – stunning. On closer inspection the room, whilst basic in the furnishings was obviously cared for and clean.
I awoke very early, still dark; 1am in Barbados is 6am in the UK at this time of the year, my get up time in the UK. Daylight finally comes and I’m on the beach watching the sunrise; beautiful, you have to come and see this.

Breakfast is served from 7am to 10am, the room price included a continental buffet breakfast but you can order other items at extra cost. For example a full “English Breakfast” was BD$29 [£9.70 approx.]  I ordered a “Full English” very good value; I wouldn’t need anything else to eat until the evening. The rest of the menu covered all other meals from the “all day” choices to the evening meal. There was something for everyone at pretty reasonable prices.

A stop at the activities desk on the way up from the restaurant I learn that this area is on the south coast of the island and is known as the ‘The Garrison Historic Area’ I’m going to spend the rest of the day having a good look round. Close by, a ten minute walk from the hotel was all the history I’d ever need; and there is plenty of it. I’ll perhaps make a stop by the museums another day.

To the left of the hotel beach area, assuming you are facing the sea is the ‘Board Walk’. The Board Walk runs parallel to the road and it’s possible to access the shops and restaurants as you stroll along. It took me about half an hour to reach the end at Rockley Beach. In this area there is a good selection of local shops/stalls to by all sorts of local crafts. Just across the road are more conventional shops and a small open air restaurant and coffee shop, very good coffee. I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day for my walk, the sky was a deep blue, only the odd cloud and the sun was already hot although the heat of the sun was tempered by a gentle breeze off the sea.  The rest of the day was spent on the beach at Coconut Court dipping in and out of the water. This was punctuated with the odd trip [well maybe more than the odd trip] to the beach bar run by the ever smiling Bradley or Antoniou [he seemed to answer to both, I must ask him which is correct]; absolute bliss. Catamaran trip booked for tomorrow, looking forward to that……..

Breakfast great as usual this morning, had an omelette; again I’ll not need anything more until the evening meal. The pickup time from the hotel was 09:30 for my catamaran trip, can’t wait. We, and my fellow sailors, arrived at the dock [it’s called The Careenage locally] Cool Runnings was the name of the catamaran. The Captain Robert Povey and all his crew were most welcoming with coffee and cake. We pulled out of the careenage and headed into the ocean turning right and heading down the West Coast of the island. The views to the island were stunning as we headed down passing some of the large west coast villas and hotels such as Sandy Lane Hotel [loads of money to stay there]. We had been sailing for about an hour when we pulled in closer to the shore and dropped anchor. This was our stop to swim with the Hawkes Bill Turtles……a much endangered species. We had our safety instructions from the captain and put on mask and bouncy aide. Splashes all-round as one by one we entered the water following a crew member to swim with the Turtles. If you get the opportunity don’t pass it by. Then all-aboard to sail back away to another spot to snorkel over a shallow shipwreck where we were able to feed shoals of tropical fish, a magnificent site. Some of my ‘ship-mates’ enjoyed a walk along the deserted beach or just sunbathed on the deck. At this stop a delicious lunch was served with quite a pleasant red [or white] wine, the traditional Rum Punch, or whatever you wanted as long as it was on board. It was soon time to head back towards Bridgetown and the Careenage; the sale back was as equally stunning, I just sit and absorb the atmosphere, the warm sun and breeze, bliss……………… [a word of caution at this point…….take with you and use regularly a high factor sun screen, especially sailing].

The next few days was spent on the beach a Coconut Court Beach; it was so relaxing sitting/laying on my lounger under the coconut trees with that  gentle sea  breeze wafting over me……………do I really need to go home?
More on my trip later………………
My trip was arranged by Intimate Holidays and my flight was with British Airways