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Family, Cricket, Lobsters and Jazz

Dad and Jude were staying in the Southern Part of Barbados. Unfortunately it isn’t possible to anchor, even for a short stay, south of Bridgetown. So we met up at the Carlisle Bay anchorage and moved Moana into Bridgetown Harbour. On the way we passed the old Blackwood Screw Dock, a marvel of Victorian engineering, through the lifting bridge, and into the Inner Basin (Old Careenage) right in the centre of Bridgetown. We were the only visiting yacht and alone once inside the bridge. The stern-to mooring had old barnacled buoys and a surge which made it a little uncomfortable overnight, but what a setting. We were now backing directly on to Independence Square and the towering statue of Errol ’Dipper’ Barrow, the country’s Premier immediately prior to Independence. An impressive and influential figure in Barbados history. After Independence in 1966 he continued as Prime Minister, and for the next 10 years held several other senior government roles, all whilst fitting in a lengthy affair with Nina Simone! The latter could be the reason why Jazz has such a foothold here. The Waterfront Bar and Restaurant on the Harbour has regular jazz sessions and on Sunday we headed over to ‘Lobster Alive’ on just along the beach with Dad and Jude to enjoy a wonderful long lunch of seafood with live jazz from ‘The Crustaceans’.  Art, the 80 year old Perth born restaurant owner and jazzophile, flies his own light plane over to Bequia and brings back spiny lobster, from what he says is a more sustainable source, before serving them fresh, charcoal grilled to barefoot punters at their beach tables. It didn’t take long for BG and Art to connect, a slot on the keyboard came up, and the rest is history as they say!

As we couldn’t anchor south of Bridgetown we headed up the west (leeward) coast and had a few days anchored off Prospect, Heron Bay and then at Port St Charles near Six Mens Bay. We took a morning out to take the Reggae Bus to Bridgetown to see markets and visit the Cricket Legends of Barbados Museum. Unlike some of the other islands Cricket Culture is still very strong here due to the continuing love of the game, depth of coaching and the Parish based leagues. The Museum has a superb, eclectic, mixture of West Indies cricket memorabilia focusing on the players originating from the Island. The great players were all represented, Sir Garfield Sobers, Wes Hall, Everton Weekes, Charlie Griffith, Frank Worrell, ‘Big Bird’ Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, Malcolm Marshall & Desmond Haynes. Also, the underrated Manny Martindale, who broke Bob Wyatt’s jaw in Jamaica during the 1935-36 Test Series.

We were on our own throughout the visit and just as we were leaving Desmond Haynes stopped us for chat. Instead of Freddie being starstruck it was me who started welling up and jabbering in awe at meeting the King of the Hook Shot. Anyone who can attack a Jeff Thompson short delivery, without a modern helmet, and nonchalantly pull him for a boundary deserves a lifetime of respect in my book.

We managed to meet up with Dad and Jude at Waves and when Matt, Clare, Nate and Casper arrived we also all got together at Turtle Beach, Cliff Beach Club, the Colony Club, Oistins Fish Fry and once again at Lobster Live for another magical Sunday lunchtime.

Our final family day together was spent on Moana. Dad sat back in one of the dickie seats catching the breeze as we sailed on a starboard tack 10 miles up the west coast from Bridgetown to Port St Charles. After a relaxing lunch we took the RIB over to the sand bank in Six Mens Bay to snorkel with turtles and Clare also saw see one of the big Tarpon. Before sunset we beached the RIB in Speightstown and went to the Fishermans Pub for a sundowner and a difficult goodbye after another marvellous day. Priceless time together with memories indelibly stamped!

We’ll stay anchored at Port St Charles tonight and tomorrow will set off for the overnight, 120nm, downwind sail to Carriacou.

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