Travel: Barbados


This time last week, I was sitting in the departure lounge of Grantley Adams Airport, having spent a glorious fortnight in the beautiful Barbados sunshine. Fast forward 7 days and I find myself in front of my computer screen, staring out of the window at the rain falling from the grey skies over South West London! Despite my pleas, nobody seems to be in a rush to buy me a ticket back to the Caribbean (shame on you!) so I thought I would put together a little highlights blog to fuel my inspiration (i.e. daydreaming). Hopefully it will help out with yours too...

Wildlife

Situated about 900 miles North of the Equator, Barbados has a vast array of tropical fauna and flora. Although the lizards and dragonflies were fairly common, I still found it fascinating to observe their behaviour and try to capture their intricate details on camera (without scaring them away)...

Green Lizard hiding on a palm.

I'm not entirely sure but I think the left one is a roseate skimmer and the right an antillean skimmer.

Before coming to Barbados, I set myself the goal of capturing a decent shot of a hummingbird in flight (something I hadn't achieved on a trip to the island three years earlier). I saw two different species of hummingbird: the green-throated carib and the antillean crested hummingbird. Despite trekking around the island, my best sightings were actually from the apartment balcony...

With wings beating at around 50 times per second, freezing them in the photo was a challenge. After a bit of trial and error, I found a shutter speed of 1/2500 just about did the job...

The crested antillean hummingbird is much smaller (about 8cm in length and weighing only 4 grammes) and thus a bit more elusive. The shot I captured below of one perched shows off the shape of the crest but, sadly, doesn't show the glossy green colouring when it catches the sunlight. I suppose I will just have to book another trip and try again!

While on a wildlife trip around the island, we were taken to Woodbourne Shorebird Refuge where I sat and watched this green heron catch tiny fish in one of the ponds...

The extension it could achieve from its neck was incredible and made my old rugby injuries start to ache just watching...

I can't post a blog without mentioning banana-quits. Although they're found all over the island, I love their bright colours, distinctive chirp and the the way they always seem so busy...

Underwater

At around 26°C, it was very hard to get me out of the clear blue seas of Barbados. Whether it's surfing or snorkelling that tickles your fancy, I could not recommend the island more highly! One of my favourite excursions is always a catamaran trip. My family has used Bolador Tours for 3 cat trips now and we've never been disappointed. Not only is the boat rumoured to be the fastest in the Caribbean (that doesn't surprise me - it's a rocket!) but they take smaller groups to make the experience more personable and enjoyable than the larger "cattle-marans" (a term coined by Jeff, the skipper) available on the island. There were several stop-offs including a coral reef and an old wreck - both swarming with brightly coloured fish.

We were also able to get in the water and swim with the majestic, green turtles...

Bajan Life

Bajans are some of the most genuinely friendly people I've met. Sometimes when travelling, it's easy to become wary of locals trying to take advantage of tourists but that just doesn't feel to be the case in Barbados.

It may seem a bit twisted to go from underwater photos of fish directly to their being prepared in the market but that's reality and I can honestly say that, athough I enjoy swimming with the fish, I like eating them a lot more!

Oistins has become famous for its Friday nights of soca dancing and feasting on fresh fish from the numerous stalls. However, during the day, it is a very active fishmarket. I arrived there nice and early one morning to buy some mahi mahi for dinner. As it wasn't too busy, it gave me the opportunity to snap Patrick at work on one of the stalls...

Three years ago I photographed an international rugby match between Barbados and Guyana. I was too early to catch the Caribbean cup matches this time but I popped down to the Garrison in Bridgetown to watch a sevens competition between a few local teams. Rugby in Barbados is growing but in desperate need of funding and especially team kits. If you think you might be able to help or want more information on upcoming fixtures, you can find them on facebook...

One thing I really like about Barbados is the island's split personality: on one side you have the beautiful, flat Caribbean sea; on the other there is the much more savage coastline of the Atlantic ocean.

The lighthouse at East Point

The gravity-defying rocks, eroded over thousands of years at Bathsheba.

"Soup Bowl" at Bathsheba is a world-famous surf break. The winds weren't that favourable while I was there so I decided not to risk a plane jouney home covered in lacerations from the reef and opted to surf further round the coast instead. I'm obviously a lot softer than the local boys who decided to clamber around the rocks before picking the right moment to enter the waves...

This was my third visit to Barbados and it certainly won't be my last (I hope). If you ever get the opportunity to go then I highly recommend it. Equally, if you want any advice or information, don't hesitate to get in touch and I will point you in the right direction.

As per usual, my images are available for purchase and you can contact me at info@robinboot.com

Yours forever daydreaming,

RB

#Travel #Barbados #landscape #surf #wildlife #hummingbird #birds

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