At some point earlier in the year, I made it a personal mission for us to travel internationally at least once per year. Thankfully we made arrangements for this trip BEFORE the boat and all of it’s surprises. Otherwise… well you know. So, this year I wanted a Caribbean destination that most caribbean cruises don’t stop in.
We elected Barbados to be our first international trip together as a couple along with our friends Bobby and Christina. I could go down the list of why we choose this tropical Caribbean island as our destination, but I’m thinking you can figure out a few.
Barbados is an independent country, originally part of the British West Indies until 1966. It’s about 260 miles off of the coast of South America – yeah, it’s pretty far down there! It’s also where pop/R&B signer Rihanna was born and raised.
As eventful as the pre-flight travel was, including a complimentary stay in the Presidential Penthouse Suite at the Fort Lauderdale Ritz ($2500/night), and getting past amateur hour with TSA’s elite task force and furry special guest, I think its best if we just get there already, shall we?
We have officially arrived!
One thing about us, is that when we travel, we want an authentic experience amongst the locals, not the resort oasis. Well we got exactly what we wanted to say the least. While we knew we’d be driving on the opposite side of the road, and that we were on the opposite side of the island from the tourist area, we didn’t expect…
– The two-lane roads to be the size of an average single lane in the U.S.
– That we’d either be going up or down, there was no such thing as a “flat” road
– The roads to be so curvy, there was no such thing as “straight”
– Pedestrians to walk in the road, there were no sidewalks in most areas
The roads made US inner-city potholes look like a flight line, yet locals were very comfortable with the conditions, and their speed reflected. Not to mention that if you deviated from the main highway, you would regret it for a long time (lesson learned from experience).
Continuing Day 1
By the time we arrived to our house, we were all shell-shocked, and contemplated canceling all plans in the country, in exchange for never driving again. One problem though, we were hungry, so back in the car we went in search of a restaurant still serving dinner.
The home we were staying at was on a farm, which was across the street from the ocean. It had amazing views all around! The only problem was, Google maps didn’t show elevation, and didn’t tell us that there were 200ft cliffs between the home and the beach. So, while we were a stone’s throw away from the beach, it would take an hour of hiking for our toes to touch the sand.
Needless to say, Day One was a bit rough to be honest. But it wasn’t ALL bad…
Day 1 highlights:
– Eating shark for the first time and liking it
– The introduction of rum punch and macaroni pie
– The beautiful turquoise color water, and beach views
– Meeting the two house cats, Frank & Jasper
We were shaken, yet hardened from battling the streets of Barbados. Literally! We knew what to expect, so the commute to Bridgetown didn’t knock us down for the count. We were on our way to our half-day charter with SilverMoon charters aboard a Leopard 47 Power Cat.
The boat was amazing, the crew was world-class, the waters were breathtaking. I could go on and on about our day, but I figured it’s best if we just show you.
As you can tell, the trip had now taken a turn for the best… and the trend continued as we explored various beaches along the southern end of the island, visited the Mount Gay Distillery, which has become our boat’s official Rum brand, and of course… drank more rum punch!
We were supposed to venture up north to visit a cave, but once we realized what a 90-minute drive would entail, we all agreed to leave that one unchecked, and opted for beach overload instead. We visited Crain Beach, climbed the cliff and splashed in the water some more.
Tiff and I were worried a bit about how our cats and the boat were doing back in Fort Myers Beach, but we hadn’t heard anything bad from our neighbors Randy and Corey who were pet/boat-sitting. So, we figured no news was good news! Here are a few more highlights and pictures.
Day 3 Highlights
– Picturesque band photoshoot
– Marcus the local bartender
– Pink sands of Crane Beach
– Will getting asked by a tourist if he was a lifeguard
– More Rum punch and macaroni pie
It was our final day in “the Barbs!” But we all felt that four days was the perfect amount of time to visit the island. It kept the trip relatively inexpensive, and had the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Any longer it would have felt a bit drawn out and repetitive.
As far as whether we would ever go back? The answer is no, and we knew that even before the trip. There are so many places to see, so why go to the same place? But would we recommend it? Absolutely! With a few caveats, of course. So, be sure to ask us for a few pointers if you ever contemplate making the trip.
The best part about it all, was that we were leaving the sea, palm trees, and island vibes of Barbados, for some sea and island vibes of our own back home. We were excited to get in the Tropical Christmas spirit, and see the cats. However, we weren’t prepared for the story our neighbors had waiting for us about their…… quality time with the cats.
Cats In Walls
Apparently, our somewhat skittish cat, Ryback, didn’t take too well to Corey our petsitter, and ended up scattering for any hiding spot possible. Exhausting all of his hiding options, he managed to find a board that was not completely screwed into the wall, and pawed at it enough to open and slip behind the interior walls of the boat.
There he stayed for what sounds like our entire trip, exploring everything from the pipes and wires in the sidewalls, to the engine compartment.
We didn’t believe the story until we came home and Corey showed us for ourselves. Ryback took off for the wall and disappeared for at least 30 minutes.
We opened all of the smelly hatches and called and called, but no Ryback was to be found. Finally, he emerged from the crevasses of the boat, and we wedged something against the wall as a temporary barrier to his new hiding spot.
Cats… I tell ya.