||L O G B O O K - by Tony 'Captain' Philp
After seven months and 16,000 miles of sailing, faulty hydraulic seals, failed compasss, incompatible anchor winches, tricky electronics, parted backstay insulators, broken booms and numerous other occupational hazards Tony Captain finally has time and is privileged to offer some log notes on our stay in our first Caribbean island - Barbados.
MON 28th FEB - Were anchored in Carlisle Bay, in downtown Bridgetown, capital of Barbados - in six meters of water so clean we can see a turtle whose space weve invaded living on the bottom immediately below us.
Its barely 100 meters to the fabulous one and a half kilometer white sand beach so we simply swim ashore about as often as we use our own dinghy and are welcomed at the colourful and party all the time Boatyard bar and restaurant, sprawled between the main road and the sand. The newly renovated Boatyard is a well known yachting and tourist hangout and is decked out in gay Caribbean colours, offering us hospitality, showers, laundry and assistance with our every request, as well as some wild evenings.
A mile or so to the west is the enclosed man made harbour where we called briefly this morning to complete formalities and where gleaming white cruise ships are berthed every day - usually three or four at a time. Were told the record for one day is eight which contributes to the 850,000 or so cruise ship passengers who will visit Barbados in 2000.
TUE 29th - A perfect day quietly at anchor and with most chores and tidying up after our coming from Brazil done, Johns finds his way along the south west coast to a local surf spot for a session and Kristy busies herself in the local internet cafe downloading school assignments and e.mailing her progress.
The Boatyard advertises a 9pm to 3am free drink session tonight for a hefty cover charge and John and Sefo vow to get more than their moneys worth!
WED 1st MARCH - Monifa swims ashore before breakfast for a beach run and pities a homeless pair sleeping on the beach under a coconut tree only to discover after a closer inspection that indeed Sefo and John got so much value they couldnt quite make it back to the boat. Amongst us all we have many treasured photos taken on this trip but Monifa and Kristys furtively taken shots of the beach sleepers are undoubtable the best!
THUR 2nd - An extensive island tour guided by Monica our lady taxi driver reveals a single island nation eighteen miles by fourteen at its widest with a healthy sugar industry and other agricultural and livestock farming producing essentials for locals and tourists alike, famous Mount Gay and Malibu Rums and interesting crafts and souvenirs.
Hotel and accommodation construction is heavily evident all along the beach front west coast giving testimony to the vibrant state of the tourist industry.
We visit a two hundred and fifty year old wind powered sugar mill still able to demonstrate its ingenuity when they unleash the sails on the second Sunday of each month and set the shafts and crush rollers turning. Graceful old churches and plantation houses (some in ruins) are intriguing as are old cotton plantations side by side with luxury residential and waterfront complexes.
FRI 3rd - Having been graciously received yesterday by the Cuban consul based here in Barbados and with minimum fuss and complete cordiality issued with visas for all of us to visit Cuba in April we are once again ready for sea and a 200 mile sail to Trinidad and Tobago where we hope to catch up with old family friends and previous circumnavigators of the 1970 era the La Bordes and Suva residents of long ago Peter and Pam Cameron.
Once again the magnetism of the beach bar at the Boatyard is irresistible and we spend a vibrant evening ashore entertained by a superb show band and singing trio called Virtuosity.
Lydia has made a large bowl of Kokoda from a fresh walu caught on our way into Barbados and the owners and staff of the Boatyard who are game enough to sample raw fish are delighted at the opportunity to try a South Seas dish.
SAT 4th - Reluctantly and only because we are anxious to reach Trinidad in time for Carnival tomorrow night we weigh anchor at noon and motor gently to the enclosed harbour where the officials cheerfully clear us for departure.
John is once again hoisted to the mast head to attach a running backstay and we sail off in a fresh easterly breeze towards the south west and surely more adventures.
SUN 5th - Weve had a delightful sail overnight in a steady south easterly, and by mid morning were passing the lush, rocky northern coastline of Tobago. In the late afternoon we come upon Trinidad - also a green island but larger and more elevated. As the sun set we eased through the passage between Trinidad and Manos Island into a 4 knot current and motored a short distance into the port harbour of Chaguaramas - seven miles west of the capital Port of Spain. Pleasure craft buzz all about us - the Carnival frenzy already at fever pitch for tomorrow nights opening.