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.

Sugar Trade, Barbados.

MS Braemar was docked on Sugar Berth in Bridgetown. Sugar cane cultivation in Barbados began in the seventeenth century. Initially, rum was produced but by 1642, sugar was the focus of the industry. Barbados was divided into large plantation estates which replaced the small holdings of the early English settlers as the wealthy planters pushed out the poorer.To work the plantations, black Africans were imported. After 1750 the plantations were owned by absentee landlords living in Britain and operated by hired managers. The slave trade ceased in 1807 and slaves were emancipated in 1834.

On the dock there is still the remains of the machinery used to load the sugar cane onto the ships for exporting.

Hello in Bridgetown.

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.

The Waterfront, Bridgetown.

Filming finished we headed back to the ship on the dollar bus.

Guitarist Oscar

Back on ship the Braemar set off for a night sail to Tobbago.

Leaving Bridgetown port.

Storm Ciara and Spring Tides

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.

Met office weather forecast

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.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7983919/British-Airways-records-fastest-transatlantic-flight-Storm-Ciara-blows-jet-US.htmlMore info about AMP

It’s been spectacular on Eastbourne Seafront, where Ciara combined with a full moon and spring tides to give a pretty amazing weather picture.

Eastbourne Pier

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.

High waters

American Express and Seagulls.

I was working at the American Express Community stadium recently, Falmer, Brighton. The Stadium, known as the American Express Community Stadium, or colloquially as the Amex, is the home of Brighton and Hove Albion FC (The Seagulls). It hosted Premier League football for the first time in August 2017, following Albion’s promotion at the end of the 2016-2017 season. It was however also it designed to allow hosting for other sports and events and hosted some matches from the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Took myself off for a sneaky little solo tour during the lunch break:

‘The Beautiful Game’

Thomas Oken Tearooms. Our recipies.

A shout out to Thomas Oken Tearooms, Warwick:

http://thomasokentearooms.co.uk/

The tearooms are run by mother and daughter, Jo and Jess. Quintessentially English, it’s menu boasts hearty, warming soups, scrumptious cream teas and cakes, real local ales and a whole host of loose leaf teas served in fine bone china teacups- what other way is there to enjoy a cup of tea? All food is freshly prepared using quality ingredients.

Set against the backdrop of Warwick Castle the Tea Rooms building was by Thomas Oken, Philanthropist and one time Mayor of Warwick. It is a perfect place to recuperate after a castle visit.

They have produced this book in response to the may requests from visitors for the recipes to the food sampled in the tea rooms. Copies are available from the online shop website:

http://thomasokentearooms.co.uk/on-line-shop/

I’m slowly working my way through the recipes- !

The Grand Hotel Eastbourne

Winter afternoon treat at the Grand Hotel Eastbourne today. The epitome of old Englishness and luxury, I never tire of this fabulous hotel. Was interested to see whose shoes I followed into that beautiful building. Apparently Claude Debussy, Ernest Shackleton, Charlie Chaplin, Dame Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Bros have all preceded me:

https://www.grandeastbourne.com/140-years-of-the-grand

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

#Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King. Inspirational Baptist minister and political activist, he played a key role in ending legal segregation of African-American citizens and the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

In 2017 I toured America’s Deep South and was moved beyond words to retrace Martin Luther King’s history.

‘You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say’ Martin Luther King’.

English Seaside Saturday.

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.

All the fun of the Pier.?

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.

Looking out from the pier west towards Brighton.

A wander on it passed a grey January afternoon nicely.