Sunday, May 3, 2015

Celebrity Summit Day 3 - Barbados

Welcome to Barbados sign

I’ve wanted to visit Barbados ever since I found out that you could snorkel with sea turtles. We snorkeled with turtles in Akumal, Mexico last year and it was amazing, so I was especially looking forward to this port stop.

We’d booked the 5-Hour Lunch Cruise with Calypso Cruises, which included snorkeling, a sail along the coast and lunch. Here is a description of the tour from Calypso’s website:
5 Hour Lunch Cruise
Sailing Barbados aboard the Calypso Girl is an experience like no other. For this cruise we limit our numbers to just 14 guests for an intimate and personal ambiance. A splendid buffet-style lunch and unlimited drinks await you during our five hour cruise. Transportation and snorkel equipment are other included amenities when you sail with us.

Sail with us for an unforgettable day!
Sailing time is 10:00 am– 3:00 pm
Price: US$100.00 per Adult & US$60.00 per Child (16 & under).
Our tour group met at 9 o’clock just outside the terminal gates, then it was a short van ride to the marina where we boarded the catamaran and met our crew - Nick, Val and Mike. Our first stop was Carlisle Bay for snorkeling. There were already several tour boats anchored there, but Mike got into the water with some fish to feed the turtles, and soon we had three turtles swimming around us. There were at least three anyway. There might have been more but it was hard to tell since they all sort of looked alike. :-)  We weren’t allowed to wear fins so that we wouldn’t accidentally kick the turtles. But even with our small group of 14, there was a lot of bumping into each other. I had to take a bunch of pictures to get some without anyone's legs in the picture. Even though seeing the turtles was great, I had mixed feelings about feeding them. When you feed wild animals, you alter their natural behavior. I think I liked the snorkeling in Mexico better where you could look but not touch.

In addition to the turtles, Carlisle Bay had an underwater marine park with several man-made ship wrecks. We snorkeled at two of the wrecks – a 70-foot WWI tug boat and a steamer ship sunk in the 1980’s. The wrecks were really neat, close enough to the surface that you could see all the soft corals growing on them. And there were hundreds and hundreds of fish.  Mike even dove down and swam inside the tug boat.

Barbados turtle

Barbados turtle

Barbados turtle

three turtles

Barbados turtle

Once everyone was back on board the boat, Nick and Mike hoisted the sails and we sailed north along the coastline. I sat up on the bow soaking up the sun while Ron chatted with Captain Val. As we sailed, Mike started bringing out drinks and appetizers of fresh vegetables, little hot dogs, a cheese plate and smoked salmon on crackers. What service!

After an hour or so, the boat pulled up to a little cove that I can only describe as idyllic. We anchored and lunch was served – flying fish, chicken, baked macaroni and cheese, rice with beans, and salad. I couldn’t believe such delicious food came from a sailboat. We still had some time left before we had to sail back so when I was finished eating, I swam to shore and walked around the beach. It was so beautiful – like a piece of paradise.

On the way back to port, Nick told everyone to keep an eye out because the day before they had seen a humpback whale with her calf. I thought he was joking with us. Whales?? But he was serious. When we got close the area where the whales had been spotted, Nick suddenly yelled, “There’s one!” And there it was, its huge back slowly surfacing and then the splash of its tail. It was amazing! I never thought I would see a whale in the Caribbean. For the rest of the ride back, Ron and I sat in the hammock on the bow, perfectly content. I thought the tour would be about turtles, but it was so much more - sunshine and water, beautiful views and delicious food, the hospitality of the great crew. And a whale! What a fantastic tour.


Calypso Girl

Barbados beach

tropical flowers

stairs to nowhere

Barbados beach

Barbados sailing

Ron on bow

When we got back on the ship, Ron took a nap and I picked up some coffee from Café Al Bacio and went to Mama and Daddy’s cabin to see how their day had been. They had taken a ship’s tour called “Island Delights of Barbados” which had gone to an orchid garden and then to Sunbury Plantation House, where they’d sampled the local rums and cod fish cakes. They’d had a great time and like us were really impressed by how warm and friendly their tour guides had been. Barbados seemed like a very welcoming country.

afternoon canapes

There was a special menu at dinner that night, the “Top Chef Menu” where each item had been featured on the TV show Top Chef. It was an odd menu for a cruise ship. I mean, BBQ chicken with mac and cheese? But the braised short rib appetizer from Season 7, Episode 4 was very good. My favorite was the dessert, chocolate lava cake with caramelized banana and coffee ice cream. It was one of the best things I ate all week. Unfortunately, Mama had been fighting a bad sore throat all day (poor Mama!) so we decided to skip the show and turn in early.

Day 4 - St Lucia

1 comment:

  1. I like the way it looks as if the turtle is touching the snorkeler guide with the food, saying "hey, man, I'm not done getting treats from you yet"