“Smile at strangers and you just might change a life.” – … anon.
St John, Antigua was our next port of call and we hired a jeep off of a friend on the island. Antigua is famous for it’s cricket and one of first stops was The Sir Viv Richards Cricket Stadium, named after local boy and hotshot batsman Sir Vivian Richards. Fast bowlers Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose also hail from Antigua.
We then moved onto Half Moon Bay in the Parish of Saint Philip. This crescent shaped bay is just one of Antigua’s stunning beaches (there are 365, one for each day of the year). It rests on the south eastern coast, facing the Atlantic and is almost a mile long, with amazing surf and calm turquoise seas.
After a drive around St John, we tucked into some tropical ice creams at Tropical Time Out Ice Cream Parlour and Deli. The ice cream is made fresh to serve with a whole host of flavours include pistachio, passion fruit sherbet, bubble gum, birthday cake and caramel crunch, to name but a few.
We have been to Antigua a few times and it never fails to delight. The island is beautiful and the locals friendly. The Caribbean cruise season is sadly nearly over now, sadly cut short this year with the corona virus issues, but hopefully we will return again winter 2020.
Grenada was next on our Island Hopping travels.
What is it about this island
That makes it to all paradise?
Is it the people, plants, places
That bring smiles to all faces,
And when on parting, tears to eyes
That venture into this Heaven
On Earth land? Grenada, Spice Isle!
My Sweet Grenada by Leslie Alexis
Oranjestad, Aruba was the next island on our Caribbean Island hopping travels. Here we hired an ATV to get around: Pardo Motorcycle Rental. $90 US for a half day. No website, but they hang around the port entrance in Aruba. Vehicle was a bit old and battered but it did the job.
We made our way over to the northwestern tip of the island, to Aruba’s California Dunes and Lighthouse- local name.Hudishibana
Moving away from the lighthouse we hit the dunes for a bit of off-roading- windswept with abandoned, albeit colourful, buildings scattered around, the dunes feel a bit wild and bleak.
Aruba is a beautiful little island boasting gorgeous weather, fabulous beaches and an ATV in the Outback was a fun way to spend an afternoon.
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.
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.
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.
Judging from the modern graffiti, there are still a few political issues on the island.
Caught up with the Braemar and Funky Blue in Bridgetown, Barbados.
We had a fabulous, fun day filming for the Funky Blue promotional video and website on the Bridgetown Boardwalk, which runs east-west along the waterfront through the capital city.
Filming finished we headed back to the ship on the dollar bus.
Back on ship the Braemar set off for a night sail to Tobbago.
Storm Ciara hit the UK with a vengeance today 9th February. Billed as the Storm of the Century, gales reaching over 70 mph in places have disrupted air, sea, rail and road travel.
It’s not been all bad though. A British Airways flight made the fastest subsonic New York to London journey. The Boeing 747-436 reached speeds of 825 mph (1,327 km/h) as it rode a jet stream accelerated by Storm Ciara.
It’s been spectacular on Eastbourne Seafront, where Ciara combined with a full moon and spring tides to give a pretty amazing weather picture.
A spring tide is a tide after a new or full moon, when there is the greatest difference between high and low water. A spring tide or ‘King Tide’ refers to the ‘springing forth’ of the tide during new and full moon.
By W. B. Yeats
Although I can see him still.
The freckled man who goes
To a grey place on a hill
In grey Connemara clothes
At dawn to cast his flies,
It’s long since I began
To call up to the eyes
This wise and simple man.
All day I’d looked in the face
What I had hoped ‘twould be
To write for my own race
And the reality;
The living men that I hate,
The dead man that I loved,
The craven man in his seat,
The insolent unreproved,
And no knave brought to book
Who has won a drunken cheer,
The witty man and his joke
Aimed at the commonest ear,
The clever man who cries
The catch-cries of the clown,
The beating down of the wise
And great Art beaten down.
Maybe a twelvemonth since
Suddenly I began,
In scorn of this audience,
Imagining a man,
And his sun-freckled face,
And grey Connemara cloth,
Climbing up to a place
Where stone is dark under froth,
And the down-turn of his wrist
When the flies drop in the stream;
A man who does not exist,
A man who is but a dream;
And cried, ‘Before I am old
I shall have written him one
poem maybe as cold
And passionate as the dawn.’
“The Fisherman”, published in 1916, depicts Yeats’ considerations into the loss of Irish tradition through the persona of a fisherman.
This image, caught on my Eastbourne seafront run last Sunday morning, made me think of The Fisherman by W. B Yeats.
I often think that there is nothing more depressing than an English seaside town in January, however I quite enjoyed a winter Eastbourne Pier this afternoon.
So a little information about the pier:
Work began on Eastbourne pier with a working capital of £15,000 in April 1866 and was completed in 1872. The pier is 300 meters long and built on stilts, which rest in cups on the seabed allowing the whole structure to move during rough weather. During the Second World War decking was removed to host machine guns to provide a useful advantage point to repel enemy landings. In December 1942, an exploding mine caused considerable damage to the pier and nearby hotels. It’s 1000 seat theatre was then destroyed by a fire in 1970 and was replaced with an evening entertainment venue that has since become home to Atlantis Nightclub, The Waterfront Cafe/Bar. In 2014 the pier caught fire again, this time destroying the large arcade and saloons in the midway. Mr Sheikh Abid Gulzar a local hotelier, brought the pier in November 2015.
The pier also used to have a Paddle Steamer service, (wish I had been around to see this) operated by P and A Campbell, who ran trips from the pier along the south coast and across the English Channel to Bolougne, France from 1906 until the outbreak of World War Two. The service was resumed after the war, but then gradually withdrawn. Culturally the Pier has appeared in various Agatha Christie ‘Poirot’ episodes, the 2001 film Last Orders and the 2008 film Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging. In addition the 2010 version of Brighton Rock used Eastbourne Pier to stand in for Brighton’s Palace Pier.
A wander on it passed a grey January afternoon nicely.
Leaving the Bordeaux sunset behind, Braemar sailed into Santander, to a stunning sunrise, passing Spanish fisherman bobbing about and pleasure crafts chugging out for a day on the sea. It’s beautiful coastline and sandy beaches were unexpected and a real treat.
To get through a very wet and windy Friday in Eastbourne we did some baking. Felt like a rainy morning thing to do.
Then enough was enough and I needed to get outside. I live at the beginning of the South Downs Way, which starts in Eastbourne, East Sussex and finishes in Winchester, Hampshire.
We blew those cobwebs away on The Downs on this typical Autumn day in Sussex, me and my dog.
And took a few photos on the way.