I never expected to come back to Barbados. Not on Quest. To the point where I made the mental note of saying good-bye. Photograph in my mind, memory fixed into place. Ok let’s go.
All the islands in the Eastern Caribbean are different. At the same time though, they are all pretty similar. Even the French islands standing alongside the English-speaking ones. This is because, geographically the islands are all joined up into a chain. North to south starting with the Virgin Islands. Caribbean Sea on the leeward side, Atlantic Ocean on the windward. Down they go, all the way to Trinidad.
Then there’s Barbados. Barbados sits on its own, 100 miles to the east. It’s not even a volcanic island but a completely coral one. Rising up out of the ocean – the Atlantic Ocean. Barbados is completely surrounded by the Atlantic. No calm Caribbean here. It feels it. Sailing-wise, Barbados feels out there.
So imagine, after saying good-bye two years ago, coming to anchor in exactly the same spot again. Nothing seems to have changed either. The Port St Charles check-in process. The receptionist being flagrantly asleep. The wry smiles of customs and immigration.
The passport officer had a sign on his desk. It said, ‘I didn’t say it was your fault. I said I was going to blame you for it.’ We all giggled over the sign – including him. His giggles made us giggle.
Yep, Barbados is a breath of fresh air. Granted, it’s expensive air – especially next door in the yacht club where we swallowed our budget and ate a delicious lunch instead – but this place still feels fresh and humorous. And very, very clean.
Off to catch up on my passage sleep. Tonight I’m going to leave you with the beautiful words of Père Labat. Writing from the seemingly long time ago of 1743. 1743!
Good night 😊.
I have travelled everywhere in your sea of the Caribbean… from Haiti to Barbados, to Martinique and Guadeloupe, and I know what I am speaking about… You are all together, sailing the uncertain sea… citizenship and race unimportant, feeble little labels compared to the message that my spirit brings to me, that of position and predicament which History has imposed upon you… I saw it first with the dance… the merengues in Haiti, the beguine in Martinique, and today I hear de mon oreille morte, the echo of calypsos from Trinidad, Jamaica, St Lucia, Dominica and the legendary Guiana. … it is no accident that the sea which separates your lands makes no difference to the rhythm of the body.
– Père Labat