|Detail of Edgecliff “rocks”|
The last planned excursion here in Barbados is a tour of the island. I booked with Island Safari as I had heard it to be a better experience than Adventureland. However, one of the drivers told me that the latter had recently been acquired by the former.
I was to be picked up at my B&B but as with the other pickups of the week the driver had a bit of trouble finding me. I guess that’s a reason to stay at a hotel proper. Anyway, an Island Safari jeep drove by way past my pickup time and I flagged it down. Nope, he wasn’t my driver and had to call central booking to figure out who I belonged to. He had a spot left in his Jeep which seemed to have a much younger crowd of people than I had been accustomed to on this trip, but alas it was not meant to be.
My jeep, Dino, finally rolled around and wouldn’t you know it, I again was with old retirees each and every single one. I had to tour the island of Barbados with corny old white people jokes as my background noise, sigh.
|Plantain or banana trees|
The tour itself is great. We took about an hour to drive up from the Gap in the South all the way to the northernmost tip going through all the parishes but avoiding the Bridgetown traffic. Our driver was quite detailed in telling us about the vegetation (snap!), farms with their sugarmills (snap!), homes (snap! snap!), churches (snap!), and parishes and their historical and modern significances. Beautiful. My camera sure got a workout. The driver was also quite witty.
|Sugar cane fields|
Lots of sugarcane fields. Loads! I wanted to tell the driver to stop so I could run through the fields and get a stalk to chew on and suck out the sweet juice…so badly. We did stop a few times though.
First at Edge Cliff in the remote northern parish of St. Lucy. It is coastline all around but not the sandy white beaches of the rest of Barbados but rather rugged cliffs upon which the Atlantic Ocean crashes creating amazing waves and blowholes. The sight, the smell, the breeze, the mist…I could have stayed here for hours. Surreal!
We stopped also at Bathsheba, St. Joseph Parish on the eastern coast for a stroll along the beach and craft shopping. There were large rocks along the coastline and I was surprised to learn these were remnants of ancient coral reefs and not just any random rocks at all.
|Black bird on coral rock on the beach at Bathsheba|
|Large coral rock at Bathsheba|
Along the way, the driver pointed out the Sleeping Giant, a mountainous range that looks like a man asleep with his mouth open snoring! If you looked really hard, you could even see his beer gut! The driver stopped along the road several times for whatever photo opportunities we desired (Snap! Snap! Snap!).
|View at Hackleton’s Cliff|
In the parish of St. Joseph we stopped also at Hackleton’s Cliff and as we approached the driver shared the legend of it’s namesake. Supposedly, centuries ago Mr. Hackleton after an angry argument with his wife took his most favourite horse and rode it off the cliff. Okay! But we get there and realize that this cliff is nothing small. It rises almost perpendicular to the ground just a few kilometers from the coast. Perpendicular I say. Straight! Up to one thousand feet above sea level. Amazing! I got on my hands and knees to peer over the edge to confirm that! Taking a walk on the wild side I was! There’s no surviving this free fall! Of course the sight, the eastern sea coast, is amazing. Pictures don’t do it justice.
Prior to that amazing view we went off-roading through Joe River Forest. It was a rare look at what Barbados must have looked like prior to the 1600s when the Europeans came to settle and destroy the natural rainforest. Dark. Humid. Rolling hills. Gushing gullies. Green monkeys (introduced apparently by the Europeans as pets) darting from one tree to another but very well camouflaged. We saw two but had such a hard time trying to get them to pose for photographs! We saw giant bearded fig trees (los barbados trees) from which the island gets its name. Apparently, when the Portuguese arrived here they saw these trees that looked like a bearded face with it’s hairy roots hanging like vines.
|Ray of sun in Joe’s Forest|
|Termite afflicted tree|
As we bumped along and splashed mud on ourselves we saw strong mahogany trees, several types of palm trees, zebra trees, and lots of lush vegetation. Unfortunately, quite a few were afflicted with termites nests.
|At the plantation where we lunched|
Finally, we stopped for a Bajan lunch at a plantation. Throughout the tour, we were served Jungle Juice (rum punch) but this being my 5th day of free alcoholic drinks, I couldn’t handle any more!
This whole trip was worth it just for the waves crashing upon the cliffs at Edge Cliff and off-road driving through Joe River Forest.
|I simply love this|