Day 64 of 68 – Bridgetown, Barbados

March 10, 2018 Paul Groves

Barbados looks like all the other Caribbean islands in this region but at its heart it’s very different. Unlike the other Caribbean islands that were formed by volcanic activity, Barbados is composed of coral roughly 90 m (300 ft) thick! Barbados sits at the junction between the Caribbean and South American tectonic plates. The subduction of the South American plate under the Caribbean plate scrapes sediment from the South American plate and deposits it under the island causing it to rise 1” every 1,000 years.

Barbados’ location in the south-east of the Caribbean region puts the country just outside the principal path of hurricanes (unlike our next two stops: Dominica and St. Thomas).

Today, Paul and I went on different excursions. My excursion was called “Barbados In Focus”, a photography oriented tour. Paul’s excursion was called “ Harrison Caves Experience”.


“Barbados In Focus”

My tour started with a discussion of the photography rule of thirds.

Rule 1: If your taking a picture of a person or thing, the object should be positioned 1/3 of the distance from the left or right edge of the picture.

Rule 2: If photographing a landscape, the horizon line should never appear in the middle of the picture. the horizon should be positioned 1/3 of the distance from the top or bottom edge of the picture. The reasoning here is that either the ground or the sky is the important element but not both.

Our first picture stop was at a “Chattel House”.

At one time, the island was covered with sugar plantations. The plantation’s workers would buy these small wooden houses called “Chattel Houses” . They are set on blocks rather than being anchored into the ground. In addition, they are built entirely out of wood and assembled without nails. This allowed them to be disassembled (along with the blocks) and moved from place to place. This system was necessary historically because home “owners” typically did not own the land that their house was set on. Instead, their employer often owned the land. In case of dispute with their employer, the house could be quickly moved to a new property. As time went by, they often added additional units to the house. (The lady that lives in this one is 90 years old and loves to have people stop and take pictures of her house. Our guide suggested that we give a small donation to the lady for upkeep.)

It was almost noon by the time we reached our next stop “The Sea Side Bar”. All this traveling left us very thirsty so we were treated to a sample of the local drink “Rum Punch”. It is made with 1 part lime juice, 2 parts simple syrup, 3 parts Barbados’ Mount Gay Rum, and 4 parts orange juice.

Barbados’ Mount Gay Rum is made from molasses and water that has been filtered through natural coral. This mix is fermented using an exclusively selected yeast and then distilled in both copper pot and column stills, before being aged in oak barrels.

Our last photo stop was at “Barclays Park” at “Bathsheba beach”. Bathsheba beach is known as the Soup Bowl where local and international surfing competitions take place annually. Another notable feature of Bathsheba beach is the large boulder that sits slightly offshore, known by some as Bathsheba Rock.

It was then a quiet ride back to the ship.

Harrison Caves Experience

The cave tour was an easy tour because narrow roads were built inside portions of the cavern to accommodate electric vehicles. Two passenger cars and a driver car make up one tour group. When we were gathering for our tour, we met a much smaller, younger group of college-age students with helmets, lights, and knee and elbow pads. They were going into the parts of the caves that require crawling on your elbows and knees. Luckily, none of that would be required on OUR tour.

The pictures do not fully capture the beauty the limestone formations and their sparkling surfaces. The pools of water are crystal clear. Many caves are cool, but not this one. The temperature was warm and humid, but not unbearably so. The most impressive part of the tour was when the guide had us turn off all cell phones and cameras, close our eyes, and then open them to absolute darkness. I’m not sure I have ever experienced such total blackness. It was fun (for a few minutes).