This was one of the days when my inability to sleep beyond 6:30 was beneficial. I had arranged before the cruise to meet Joe and Phyllis, along with another solo Nora for a catamaran cruise. I love being on the water, so was very excited the day had finally arrived.
I was out on my balcony watching as the pilot boat arrived. Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but the pilot is brought on board as the cruise ship enters or leaves the port channel to assist. The pilot is transferred to and from the ship with the pilot boat, and when he (I've seen a woman yet), arrives or leaves the ship, they are brought on board through an opening on the side of the ship. I understand there are times when pilot has to climb a ladder to reach the ship. My balcony was not positioned so that I could actually view the boarding.
The sun was just coming up and we were docking at the industrial port. Later, Captain Nick told me that there is some push to build a larger pier specifically for the cruise ships, as currently only a couple of ships can be in port at the same time.
Like the rest of the islands, tourism is the mainstay of the economy so capacity is important.
We met shortly before 8 at the forward elevators on Deck 3, then the group waited for me because I'd forgotten to bring along my bathing suit. Duh!
To get to our shuttle, pre-arranged by Calypso cruises, we walked through the terminal building, past a number of waiting taxis and outside the gates to a large tree. Joe was wearing a Calypso cruise crew t-shirt, so it was easy for our driver to find us.
At the marina, we were greeted by James who took our shoes and helped us board the catamaran. On board were Captain Nick, and Little. The latter's last name is Little but he truly is little in stature as well. There were six of us from the cruise ship, and another six passengers who were staying at various hotels in the area.
After introductions and an offer of an alcoholic drink - it was only 9 a.m.! - we were sailing out of the marina a short distance to Carlisle Bay. Here we anchored so that the rest of the group could go snorkeling, to look for turtles. Little led the group out taking along a bag of bread to entice the turtles. I suspect that isn't part of their natural diet. :)
Meanwhile I stayed on board the catamaran as I've never snorkeled...I took photos instead.
Yes, I got to see a turtle too! He/she surfaced just off the side of the catamaran.
I believe there were several passengers who later sailed on this, or a similar ship. I was told there were 94 on board...we were fortunate to have only 12!
After a brief stop, we moved further out in the bay to a spot where there are a couple of ship wrecks, one natural (not sure that's the right description) and one intentional. This time I didn't see anything, just sat and chatted with Captain Nick. He was born in Nova Scotia, and raised in Barbados. His father is a master ship builder, and when Nick acquired the Calypso it was in rough shape due to a hurricane. With his father's assistance he has repaired the catamaran and built up his business.
When everyone was back on board we sailed to the west end of the island.
The drinks were flowing, I even had a beer at 11 a.m., (it must be 5 o'clock somewhere, right?), and then James and Little started bringing out the appetizers. We had cheddar and blue cheese, sausage, parma ham, salami, smoked salmon and cream cheese...it seemed endless!
But then it was time for lunch! We had green salad, potato salad, baked macaroni, rice and beans, grilled chicken and fish.
After all that it would have been nice to curl up and relax, but it was time to swim! I'm always a bit nervous jumping into water that is above my head. I can walk out and be fine, but we were in 8-10 feet of water so it took a life jacket and a bit of encouragement to get me in. Once in the water, though it was incredible!
All too soon, we were back on the catamaran and sailing/motoring back to the marina, about 60-90 minutes away. Unfortunately we had a short day in Barbados, as all aboard was 3:30 p.m.
After saying our good-byes, we were shuttled back to the terminal gates. I stopped in the terminal to use the free wifi and pick-up a t-shirt for Eli. Then I grabbed the shuttle on the pier arriving back at the ship at 3:15. I"m pretty certain that is as close to all-aboard time as I've ever been.
This was truly one of the best days I've had in the islands. It was very hot that day, but being on the water it was felt comfortable. It was wonderful of Joe and Phyllis to arrange the cruise; they've sailed with Calypso many times and all I had to do was show up (and bring my bathing suit).
Next post - St. Kitts