We arrived in Barbados with newfound enthusiasm, after a very tough and long time at sea.
It had been our longest stretch without touching any land, and we were as ready as ever to step off the vessel and indulge in the earthly activities we had so missed: internet, junk food, grocery shopping, souvenir shopping, meeting new people, and hanging out at the beach. There was suddenly so much we could do. Another factor adding to our already plentiful excitement was that we were finally in the Caribbean.
The general sentiment on the ship was one of huge relief and happiness, as well as a sadness at the realization that the next few sails were some of the shortest we will have: 4 days, 9 days, 10 at most. We had entered a new, final phase of our experience on CAF; we are closing in on our last month of sailing, our last 15 remaining school days, our exams, and finally, our graduation. With all this running through our brains, sleep-deprived from excitement and late-night calls to our families and friends, we eagerly took our first steps on shore.
We happened to arrive at a very particular time for an Island like Barbados: Good Friday. This presented upsides and downsides for us floaties. We witnessed something truly remarkable, like local celebrations, events, speeches, and the general warmth of the Bajan people we experienced just by walking around. On the other hand, having been at sea for almost a full month, craving snacks and cold drinks, we found that all the shops and grocery stores were closed. However, this seemed like nothing because we were on land, and that was all that mattered.
The Bajan culture was strikingly Caribbean, possessing a general sentiment of relaxation and a laid back attitude prevailed amongst locals. Ethiopian colors, Rastafarian culture, reggae music, dreadlocks, shirtlessness, beautiful sand beaches filled with local people dribbling soccer balls all made up this truly island vibe.
While on the island, students got several free full days of shore leave, wandering off in groups of four to experience the island fully. There was so much to do on the island. Some students got the opportunity to rent small Hobie Cat Catamaran 14-foot sailing boats, putting their sailing skills in action. Us floaties really can't get enough of the ocean. Many students had the chance to visit a big festival that consisted of Caribbean music and Bajan food, including the famous flying fish sandwiches and the classic rice and beans. Other than that, Barbados was much more about meeting people and experiencing scenic beaches than partaking in any particular activities.
We did, however, have some remarkable port programming organized by Class Afloat. We visited a biodynamic farm project, an organization that’s working towards becoming a fully biodynamic farm, the first of Barbados. Here we learned a lot about sustainable farming and how to make a farm as happy and healthy as possible, as well as much about the geographic history of the island. Later, we had the chance to visit a Rum distillery where we witnessed the process of distilling the classic Caribbean liquor.
At PEG Farm and Nature Reserve, learning about some of the geological features of the island.
All in all, Barbados was to many, one of the year's most interesting, most relaxing, most needed, and most beautiful ports. I'm sure it was many people's favorite port of the second semester, and an excellent first taste of the Caribbean. We quite enjoyed the good mood that everyone was in because of being in port on such a beautiful island, but, as always, we felt that little urge to get back at sea.
- Written by Grade 12 student Tommaso