The giant boat we now called home docked for the penultimate time at the island of St. Vincent. We rise early as we have another excursion today, a late booking simply to pass some time without being hounded by taxi drivers or sales assistants. The excursion provided a lunch so my sister, a picky eater like no other, hit the buffet and palmed a bunch of pastries in case there was nothing available that she would eat.
No sign of the extended family today. So we make our way to the meeting point for our exciting waterfall excursion. Consisting of 2 parts, separated by a lunch, we found ourselves in the group that were going to the waterfall first via coach as opposed to having the catamaran ride first.
We befriended our tour guides, Missy and Jason, both were very chatty, bubbly and eager to inform and answer questions. Jason was particularly fond of telling stories in amongst the savage beeping and tooting of the vehicles on the narrow windy road we were travelling. Jason’s best story was of the Islands Nine Mornings Festival that happens just before Christmas. Many of the locals engage in over the top lighting displays with the aim of winning a cash prize. The competition however has gotten so fiercely contested that the outlay of cash in order to keep up and buy ever more lights, models and other decorations, vastly outweighs the cash prize on offer for winning. Jason assures me that it is nevertheless worth every penny. Missy’s most memorable contribution was pointing out a rock formation that was destroyed in the war after being mistaken for a submarine. It allegedly looked like a glass and a wine bottle prior to the attack though I found no pictures online to back it up.
En route, we made a pit stop. This Island is where they filmed some of the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie and they weren’t going to let us go anywhere without knowing about it. We were dropped off briefly at an area with a little cafe and various pirate themed things to look at. A set of stocks, a gallows and some token pirate mannequins hanging up. Also some upright coffins you could stand up in for a photo and then a strange collection of scrap objects like old telephones and typewriters. Not sure how that fitted in. There was also a gallery of many of the stars of the film whilst they were in the area but the whole room absolutely stunk of weed so it was hard to concentrate.
The waterfall, once we arrived, was beautiful. The water below was very shallow and the waterfall was just high enough that it filled your vertical camera screen without having to leave the convenient viewing deck. Slow walkers and toilet breakers meant that by the time we had reached the falls, a number of people had already braved it and walked underneath. I asked what it was like to one chap, he informed me that the best thing was to walk straight in and then lean back for the best experience. Sounds straight forward. Me and my wife, H, stripped down to bathers and gave the cameras to my sister hoping she would get some decent footage of us. She decided she was not brave enough to go in herself.
First impression; water is freezing. Second impression; water hits you hard under a waterfall. We lost all sense of where we were and what was going on. Lean back? I didn’t even know if I was upright. As we staggered back out into the sun I felt that whilst it had been bracing, it had also been quite refreshing. Like the cobwebs had been blown away and I was breathing deep lungfulls of fresh air perhaps even getting a little high from it.
Not happy with the footage my sister took, we braved the torrent a second time. It was no easier to stand and smile for the camera this time around and so we just tried to get some decent GoPro footage and made way for the next lot of revellers. (See video below)
Once dry, it started to rain. An event that has been all too frequent and unexpected in the Caribbean. I blame global warming and the sheer devastation we have unleashed on this planet as a species. That’s the reason we travel a lot, so we can see the world whilst it still has some of this beauty left to see. Sadly, we are already too late for some things.
Lunch turned out to be chicken and rice. It reminded me of a dish I make back home. Even got a free local beer to sample. The rain passed and we headed off to a different beach to board the catamaran. The pilot was supposed to pick us up where we ate but the waters were too choppy. H kept with tradition and nearly got swept away by a freak wave that came ashore just as she was stepping on the ladder. She, as always when boarding boats, got a little wet.
The rain came in waves and so most folks sheltered under the canopied area of the boat whilst a few of us opted to lie on some netting at the front. It was really quite beautiful. The catamaran cut through the rough waters with ease and so it was a relaxing and steady trip. Once again, we got the hard sell on how Pirates was filmed here and went passed a few locations from the shoot. One was very recognisable as the Pirates Beware signs from the beginning of the movie. The movie props had all gone but it was recognisable none the less. The others were not so special. We came about to face a rock. This, said the guide, is where they filmed the scene with two guys dressed as women in a boat, rowing out of a cave. Everyone looked confused as to the location of this cave, which was quite large from memory. The guide explained that if you look carefully next time you will recognise these rocks as the wall on one side. Everything else was CGI. They had put up huge green screens behind these rocks and then added it all in digitally.
We were then distracted by some sunset rum. You know rum is pirate quality when it says 84% proof below a flammable liquid warning sign. I did try some, not neat after I saw several guys trying to look like they could handle it without crying, I watered it down in punch. It was harsh, but fair. We also did some snorkelling though I fail to recall if it was before or after the punch. I failed hard here. I cannot snorkel well with normal gear. My brain freaks out if i can taste the sea water. I didn’t have my full face mask with me so I had a go anyway and found that not only am I not good at snorkelling but I’m a bit of a poor swimmer. I could not, for the life of me get back to the ladder. I was swimming full pelt and basically staying still. I refuse to let the man on safety watch in a little boat pick me up though and I eventually made it, exhausted to the point of only seeing spots.
We somehow got back to the big boat, I was slowly regaining my senses but it couldn’t have taken us long to get there. We had dinner and went for an early night to stress about immigration in the morning and making sure we could get to our tour on time. Even filling out the immigration cards was stressful as they give you an example one and it’s not quite right. It turns out that even though we are in Barbados for two days we only write one day on the card. Why? No one knows. Just do it.