Coconut freestyle time is on! We have arrived Barbados in the Caribbean and this has been even better than expected. To start with the locals are the nicest and most welcoming people ever, then to add to it the country has great diving, snorkeling, surfing, kiting #alltogether and perfect weather (sunny, windy, short-lived rainfalls with mild temperature during the night) and to get things better we had family and really good friends visiting us.
So the Bajans (people from Barbados…. I also thought that the one born in Barbados was a Barbadians… WRONG!))…. so the Bajans are the coolest people ever. For you to understand how welcoming this people are, they see you walking down the street with that clueless face written “I am lost” all over you and they ask you “Where are you going?”. Our first reaction was always weird trying to avoid conversation with “strangers” but soon we realize that they always want to help you. Many times people would even walk you over all the way to the place we were looking for asking nothing in return. To get thing better they simple love Feijão. We got so many offers to sell him and to mate him that you would not believe it.
Barbados has also been a lesson of civility for us. Prior to being here, our previous experience was that only on the most developed countries one could find a highly polite and educated population, but Barbados has showed us very differently. This country has a slightly higher GDP per capita than Brazil, but in terms of civility they are way ahead of the curve when compared to other “similarly developed nations” that we have been. Simple things makes this country great… things like helping and greeting strangers, drivers stopping when sighing a pedestrian on a sidewalk, not honking the horn when someone stops in traffic, thanking others when a nice gesture is offered.
The even coolest thing about this country is that they are extra polite and civilized without losing that super cool Caribbean spark. They like loud and joyful music; they drink colorful drinks with nutmeg, drivers only use their musically funky horns to great friends at the road and to play with beautiful women walking down the streets and the coolest thing about this country is that they laugh loud and joyfully like there is no tomorrow.
I guess no one likes to be wakening up early, right? Maybe apart from being waken up by a faraway rooster at first light in a peaceful farm, right? Well, we may have found another exception to the rule. Here in Barbados at Carlisle Bay, the senior citizens start socialization really early at the beach and at 5:30 – 6:00 they are swimming all over the place and we are usually waken up most mornings with the most incredible laughs ever. How a day that starts like this can be bad? Man, these people know how to live.
The locals sailors are also great! When we arrived in Barbados we took our dinghy to the river where only local boats can stop, we parked it there to get fresh groceries, take Feijão for a walk, get a local phone and etc. On our way back, one of the boat’s captain saw us and offered his spot for us to refill water while they were out with guests on their daily tours. How cool is that?
Turns out they (Val, Nick and Mike) are great team and manage a very successful Catamaran called Calypso. They have really good reviews on Trip Advisor and are a great option to go snorkel with the sea turtles, shipwrecks, visit the West Coast and have a good time. Their website is: http://barbadoscatamaran.com and their e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, getting Feijão legally into the country was such a hassle, but even this was a fun series of events. There was so much bureaucracy that seemed like we were bringing a contagious plague into heaven. The only difference and what was so cool about it was that every government person was trying to help us to make it possible for Feijão to enter to country. For example, before coming we needed to send a fax requesting the entry and since we didn’t realize that, they even send themselves a fax, pretending it was us, to make it work. Well, after a few days, a lot of positive thinking and great creativity, we made a lot of friends and managed to get him legally and safely into Barbados.
As usual, Feijão was the main attraction with our guests. His poses are awesome, he rides the SUP like no other and now he is learning how to swim. He was also quite popular with other boat on the anchorage spots as well as walking around the beaches and streets in Barbados.
Well to be honest Feijão was the main attraction only during three of the four weeks that we were in Barbados. For a whole week Feijão lost his majesty to Tonico who came to visit us. Man, this kid and his right index finger could get him anything. When he pointed that finger to anything miracles would happen. What a lovely kid, very bossy around the girls… he always got them singing for him while he was eating. He was also very friendly to Feijão and vice versa. They became good friends apart from when it was time to eat banana… the little rascal eats more banana then Feijão. Anyways, very sweet kid, though I think I saw him biting Feijão a couple times. I am not sure I will allow them to socialize in the future when Tonico grows up, get a couple more teeth on that mouth and muscle up those wild jaws.
Talking about cools guests; in Barbados we had it all! First my father and Annete came for Christmas. It was great to have some family time just for us and catch up with my dad.
Then Felipe, Fernanda, Dudu and Fatima flew from the Big Apple to join us for New Years Eve. What a spectacular crowd. Felipe is an old great friend from college and he is best guy to do any kind of trip… mainly if it involves board-riding activities such as surfing, kiting or snowboarding. I really miss this guy. More now that he has upgraded his status as he is married to a beautiful, sweet and super cool lady and has some awesome friends. Dudu is very wise and the type of guy that in a few hours knew all about the boat and was helping on everything. He could easily be doing this and enjoying it if he wants.
Then we had a full house again and lots, lots of fun. Biselli came to visit us. He was our previous flat mate in Ipanema for the years prior to the boat and followed the project from its inception. He and his wife Renata have more family and friends than one can imagine. As expected they didn’t travel alone and not only brought world famous Tonico, but also brought two more couples along. They are officially friends, but I am certain they fit into the “family” status. They all knew each other very well and it was very entertaining just watch them interacting. It felt like we were inside the Friends TV Series. You know those type of friends that when one the couples is discussing something important they other couple feels that they have the right and obligation to participate and contribute to put more fire into the mess? Mate, this crowd was so amusing! By living on a boat we become sort of hermits, and having people that are so sociable and fun like this at Ipanema, makes you rethink and understand why human beings do something that is highly weird and crazy: we flock around in huge populated cities… this is because we are sociable beasts. And this group is my benchmark.
Finally the last guests we had in Barbados were my mom and her friend Vera. We had a really relaxing time, snorkeling, SUPing and exploring the rest of the island. Everyone who had the opportunity to meet my mother knows that she is the best company ever. If she drinks a glass of wine, then she is really out of the charts. The days that she and Vera were here were great and we were able to recharge our batteries!
As per water activities, Barbados is like Disneyland to water enthusiasts. Not only the beaches are stunningly beautiful, but it has it all water activities and everything in prime world class conditions.
When Felipe and Dudu were here we took some day to go kite surfing at Carlisle Bay and then travel to the far south of the Islands to find some really class-A wave kiting at Silver Rocks and Silver Sands. Felipe continues to be the same crazy psyco from colleague years and throws the craziest and stylishest airs ever. The other day I tried to copy him, fell hard and had to stay quiet for a few days.
For diving, at Carlisle Bay you can find at least five shipwrecks one sitting next to the other. The cool thing about them is that some are really old and there is a lot of corals, sponges and sea life around them. At Carlisle Bay and up the West Coast one can find a lot of friendly turtles around. Imagine if Sarah didn’t want to squeeze them like and orange and bring them to the boat to live with Feijão.
In fact the marine live is so wild than we have even seen some seahorses and mermaids while snorkeling around Barbados.
The surfing is amazing, when big swells come is it possible to surf some clean fun waves up West Coast such as Glitter Bay, but the highlight of the country is certainly the East Coast and Soup Bowl is the main attraction. This wave is a perfect “barrely” and a scary right-hander breaks on really shallow reefs… of course that on a close out wave I got way to close to the reef and as a result got a local souvenir… a “reef tattoo” that took a few days to heal. As expected the local surfers are quite friendly and the vibe in the water is amazing.
The West Coast is somehow protected from the wind and swells so on calm days is becomes a swimming pools, making it a perfect highway for cruising with SUPs
Now it is time to say goodbye to Barbados and head to Santa Lucia. We will do the crossing alone and as soon as we get there we will haul out the boat and fix a lot of stuff. So there will be lot’s of maintenance days ahead of us and money flying away.