The Best Part

Carlisle Bay has a marine park in the middle of it. It is easy to get to. Just snorkel out from the beach… or kayak from your boat. It’s a great park, as marine parks go. Comprised of six sunken vessels, all in swimming distance of each other, and not too deep ~ about 12 metres at its deepest point.

Loads of life. Rays and turtles, fish of every Caribbean kind, enjoying the protection a marine park can give. Parrotfish – not for eating here, but for reef cleaning. Well, in this case wreck cleaning. Still, that’s ok.

Our favourite wreck is its oldest. The Berwyn. Good Welsh name. Complete coincidence that is. It’s the most atmospheric in the marine park. The prettiest too. Its metal surface is completely covered by corals and sponges.

The Berwyn was a French tugboat. We didn’t realise until the other day that she was scuttled by her own crew. She was due to return to France at the end of the First World War. None of the Berwyn’s crew wanted to go home. She joined the sea bed instead in 1919. Was that a epic meltdown or what?

Cant say I blame them. Plus, the Berwyn makes an excellent wreck. She is handsome and atmospheric. She lacks the metal eeriness of most other wrecks. Call me crazy, but she seems a happy wreck.

I can’t help wondering: did those sailors manage to stay in Barbados?

If so, which part of the island did they claim? With the car – which is now back in Shareef’s safe hands and boy, did he look pleased to see it, we tried to work out which was our favourite part of the island.

We found the east coast of Barbados quiet. Windswept. It has famous, Atlantic surf locations like the Soup Bowl, as well as surprising miles of empty sand dune-like terrain. Reminds us of home – of Ynyslas.

The west coast on the other hand is strange. Yes, you have the famous posh part; including Sandy Lane and Westmoreland. Just off the main road are high walls and electronic gates. But next door to the mansions are rows of traditional chattel houses. These are small properties, very Bajan. To be honest, I prefer the chattel houses. The mansions are quite frankly a blight on the landscape.

We parked at Mullins Beach. Didn’t leave the car though. A man approached and told us the beach had been privatised. The guy, who worked at the local fancy restaurant, was nice enough to be sheepish about it. The beach was small and crowded anyhow. Not what we were expecting.

We kept going until we found Folkestone Beach. Very much public. It had three birthday parties going on in the grassy areas. Phew! Normal again. Kids were running around the barbecues and the people getting together for the afternoon.

In the end we decided the west side is ok… but not for us. As we drove back to Bridgetown on the south-west, we relaxed. Shabby chic, sometimes more shabby than chic. It was familiar. Not too touristy. No wonder those sailors scuttled the Berwyn. Carlisle Bay is one of the least residential parts of the island. I hope they found their best part too.