Friday, 11 November 2011

All at sea: in the Caribbean


Landfall, British Virgin Islands.

Look who is delighted to be off their great big hulk of a cruise ship and onto a real boat, a racing catamaran. We are in Tortola, heading out from Road Town across the Sir Francis Drake Channel to go snorkelling around the nearby islands.

The sails aren't rigged yet, so we are still standing up, but you'll notice that we are holding on firmly, (and at this point only drinking fruit punch!)

Wonderful snorkeling, with beautiful corals, Sergeant majors and Coral Fins, after which excitement we need a little lie down,

followed by a swim at Peter Island.

Back under sail with a good rum punch.

We arrived in Antigua on Independence Day and docked alongside a British navy ship busily decking itself out with celebration bunting.
Judging Antigua to be a flat island we had pre-booked a jeep in England from Tropical Rentals. Oh, goody, it's red!

The view from Shirley Heights was amazing.

And Independence Day flags were everywhere.

Just look at Himself in Nelson's Dockyard.
Can you feel the heat? 
Can you see the tropical downpour gathering?
Can you imagine our race back to the jeep in time to get the roof back on?
After a terrific downpour the sun came out, the roof came back down, and the intrepid travelers headed to a beach to stretch out in the sunshine.
Another day, another island, another beach, this time Grand Anse in Grenada. We picnic under the shade of a tree in the heat of the day and spend our time luxuriously and aimlessly floating and swimming about in the warm, turquoise water - my idea of heaven.

Blissed out on the water taxi heading back to port.
St George, the capital of Grenada is claimed to be a pretty place, with a mixture of French provincial architecture and robust Georgian stone buildings and coloured wooden houses on the hillside beyond. I asked any number of locals for the best areas to see this architecture but they didn't have the faintest idea, so in true tourist fashion I did a bit of aimless wandering but didn't discover very much.

Then it was back to our balcony

 and the end of a perfect day in Grenada.

Eyes bigger than belly? 

No, belly and eyes both big.(Or perhaps it's just the glasses.)

In Bridgetown, Barbados, Himself chats to a couple who live near us in England.

We've come to take a look at Nelson while he is still on his column. The monument was erected in 1813, seventeen years before the one in London's Trafalgar Square. This Nelson has become a controversial figure, seen by some as a symbol of colonialism, and there is talk of him being replaced by a national hero. We spoke to a couple of locals. Waste of money, they thought, to take Nelson down. He had already been moved to look the other way some time past, at great expense. Leave Nelson where he is, was their opinion, and place a national hero somewhere else.

It is blisteringly hot and ambitious plans for sight-seeing are abandoned in preference to a seat in the shade.

I'm still eating, (but who can resist a chocolate milkshake?)

And we are still dressing up.

By now we know no shame, and when the Bagen Doo Flicky Show invite us on stage on our final evening, up we go.  I am shown how to 'shake ma booty'

which, after time at sea, is a size worth shaking!

"Look at me" says the stilt man, "do what I do."

The Y&F show them how

and the stilt man jumps over them!

Our last morning in Barbados and the Anderson Sealy Steel Orchestra gives it all they've got. 

And this Y&F hasn't put on so much as a pound!

Goodbye Caribbean.


  1. Please....who does not enjoy looking at vacation pictures. I think they are wonderful. Looks like a deliciously fun respite. I live vicariously!

  2. Boy oh boy, I don't know how you are coping with such stress and hardship? And why didn't you take me??

  3. What a joyous time you have all had, and you look so fit and healthy.

  4. Dear Bonnie, yes, we had a fun time, but it is lovely to be back home.

    Stress and hardship, Gary. What's that? (We'll take you with us next time.)

    Rosemary, you spoke too soon. I have a cold, caught from those horrid people in the plane who coughed and spluttered and never once used a handkerchief. I actually saw the woman in the seat in front of me wipe her nose on the airline blanket! That, and some of the 24 hour feeders on the cruise ship leave me feeling that the British are revolting!

  5. I can not believe my luck, joining a cruise in grey November.

    I would have sworn you were on a Cunard cruise, with the black tie dinner.
    How many black tie dinners are there during the cruise?

    I want to go on a cruise, the Cunard transatlantic passage to New York. But Mr Paula wants to see at least a "4" where the "3" stil is (speaking of age). And even the women at the travel agency immediately said "You are WAY too YOUNG!"
    Mr Paula is aftraid of the company of elderly, and by elderly he means 80+. We would love to share a table with 60+. Actually at parties we enjoy the company of 60+ more than the company of 40+. It's just more fun!

    Enjoy your trip and the company :-)
    Not to forget the Sacher cakes.

    Greetings, Paula from Vienna, you know, the Sacher-City ;-)

  6. Hello Paula, We were on a P&O cruise with four black tie dinners on our two week holiday, although there was still quite a bit of dressing up on the casual evenings as well. We also thought, like Mr Paula that we were way too young for a cruise! (Himself will be 70 in January, so we put ourselves into your 60 plus fun bracket!) The friends that we went with are in their early forties and they are wonderful holiday companions, I don't think that we would have enjoyed ourselves half as much if we had gone on our own.
    Cruising is not for everyone. Things that we did not like were:
    the number of hugely obese people eating themselves into an early grave on 'freedom' dining. We were on fixed, waiter service dining which was very civilized.
    Constant background noise of the ship's engine.
    The frustration of having to get back on the boat at interesting destinations.
    The feeling that we had never left England. (Although, contrary as ever, I loved the very English afternoon teas!)

    My idea of bliss on a boat is the racing catamaran, lying on the webbing in my bikini and getting soaked by the spray. I suspect that Mr Paula might also prefer that to being on a cruise ship.

  7. Thank you for the insights.

    I thought I lost your blog, could not remember the name and there it was: hidden in my settings in my dashboard. So I am back and I am looking forward to reading more about Miss Cellany.

    A cruise probably is a group-thing - when you travel with a group, you have to move on when the group moves on. Maybe we try a short group holiday, no ship included, as a start.

    Speaking of food: the woman in the agency told me, the longest pause between 2 meals/buffets is 30 minutes.

    I bet you would be exactly the kind of company we are looking for. I could never go on a German ship (there are no Austrian cruises, at least not for the sea, only for rivers), hearing only the German language. Aren't we lucky, British company would be a treat for us :-D