Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson

Lighthousekeeping is rich and poetic. It’s about the relationship between orphaned Silver and mysterious and pragmatic lighthouse keeper Pew. And it’s about stories. Silver’s hunger for stories and Pew’s willingness to tell them. Stories about people and past lives. Every life has a story long after the physical body has gone. Oral stories passed down through the generations.

‘Tell me a story Jeanette’-

… you certainly told a magical one in Lighthousekeeping.

Cuba Briefly.

The wonderful Cuban government gave the Braemar ship a safe haven and a flight passage home. I had been on the ship for five amazing weeks. The first two we island hopped the Eastern Caribbean The next two we island hopped the Western Caribbean and also visited Central and Southern America. We had a few issues and port refusal entries on the way due to Covid-19 on the ship but our real problems began trying to get flights home. No port would accept the ship to allow us to disembark and fly home. After nine days at sea Cuba came to our rescue and what an amazing country it is. We left under police escort, a barrage of press photographers and roads lined with police and curious locals filming our journey, waving- many with their faces covered.

Leaving the seaport. Coaches and police await departure.
Local people filming our departure.
Traffic stopped to allow us to pass.
Press at the port.
Planes ready to take us to the UK.

On our coach seats there was a touching gift from the Cuban Government that made me smile- so kind.

The drive to the airport revealed a rural and stunning country. I truly felt I had gone back in time. Cars were old and battered, looking like they were from the sixties or seventies. There were people on horseback and horse and carts, motorbikes and cycles. It was a privilege to visit. I had already planned to visit Cuba later in the year and this tantalising glimpse has made me more determined to return.

Roads cordoned off to allow our convoy to pass.

And look at this magnificent old plane: sitting on the side of a runway.

To conclude this post we arrived at the airport in convoy still. Security was a scanner in a camouflage tent. Then back in the coach to the plane. Again to a whole load of media attention.

Security.
Reporters covering our departure.

Finally into the air to a stunning Cuban Sunset.

Havana! I have fallen in love with you. I won’t be long returning once all this world madness has subsided.

Salt Ponds and Slave Huts, Bonaire.

Not only is Bonaire beautiful, it has an interesting socio-political history in the salt ponds and slave huts. The salt ponds were where the salt, one of Bonaire’s most important export products was collected to then be shipped abroad.

Salt Ponds

The pink water at the salt ponds comes from the sea water, being very transparent and reflecting the color of the salt ponds’ base- cell membranes, which contain carotenoid pigments. It is these that give the salt crystallisers the pink-red colour which are reflected in the water.

Pink water

The slave huts, constructed in 1850 during the slave time , served as camping facilities for slaves working in the salt ponds. They were used as sleeping quarters and a place to put away the personal belongings of the working teams.

Slave huts
Looking out to sea!

Judging from the modern graffiti, there are still a few political issues on the island.

#InBonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

Bonaire is one of the ABC Netherland Caribbean islands, the other two being Aruba and Curacao. One of the best and cheapest ways to see the island is by scooter. We hired ours through Scooters Bonaire in Kralendijk:

https://www.scootersbonaire.com/

Price was $50 US for a days hire, including a full tank of petrol and insurance. There were no hidden costs- special deals for cruise ships. Helmets are now compulsory in Bonaire.

All set, we hit the open road.

We covered the beaches, the salt ponds and slave huts, restaurants and shops. It is a fabulous island.

Kite Beach, Bonaire
Kite Beach
Salt ponds Bonaire
Slave Huts
Shops and restaurants

To quote George Ezra we were ‘riding shotgun in the hot sun’ seeing Bonaire in style. Ready now to move on to Aruba and Curacao.

Scarborough, Tobago.

Had a cruise stop at Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago a couple of weeks ago. We took an independent trip up to the Argyle Waterfall, a famous waterfall near Tobago with a 3-level drop of 54m into a series of pools surrounded by jungle.

It was a fabulous walk through the jungle up to the waterfall, then a climb up the different stages of the falls and a swim in the top two pools.

Jungle trekking
Wild swimming

https://www.visittobago.gov.tt/

Definitely one of a Top Ten Tobago must do. It was $10 US entry without a guide and a minibus cost approximately $120 US return. between ten of us.