Life, LIBERTY, and the Pursuit of a Sweet Vacation – Barbados.

Sea days are great, but port days are the best!

Today the ship was bringing me back to Barbados. I had done this itinerary back in 2013 with my mom and this was her favorite port. It’s very easy to see why and more on that later.

I wasn’t certain, but I think my roommates liked having some background noise in the cabin while sleeping. During the night, I’d leave the channel with the bow camera on with its music turned down low. This way there was some noise and when they woke up, they could see if we were in port. It was also a good source of light in a dark cabin when you were trying to get around after waking up.

I woke up at roughly 630 as the sun was beginning to slowly rise. I could see on the TV we weren’t too far off from port, along the side of the island of Barbados. I threw on some clothes and took my med. I wanted to enjoy some good food and a Banks beer or two in this port. I headed up to lido deck to wait for Blue Iguana Cantina to open for breakfast at 7. God, I love their breakfast burritos. Not many were out on deck at this hour, and it was nice and quiet. A short time later, the big screen fired-up and started showing news from a local Miami channel. Not CNN or Fox News, thankfully. It only seemed natural that Liberty would have a Miami-based station on as it was in Miami for so long, and I believe it should return as it seems to me to be the ships rightful home… but I digress, again. I’ll just have to try a Western Caribbean on it when arrives in Galveston.

Heading back into the cabin, I put on my swim trunks and made sure my ION cam was charged and ready for use. Today I was going to The Boatyard with many others. It looked like a pretty great place to be from what I had seen online. After I got ready, I headed back out on deck to watch us sail into port. It was sunny and seemed a beautiful day was ahead of us. Perfect for the boatyard. Liberty stopped and began to spin for a reverse into port. As it did, I could see the MSC Divina approaching, then begin its turn as well. It was repositioning from Europe to Miami and we’d see it here next to us in Bridgetown today. As we begin to reverse, I headed back into the cabin to get my stuff ready so I could be ready once the ship was cleared.

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Before too long Liberty got it’s clearance from the port and we were off. I noticed some buses sitting outside the ship when I stepped off and didn’t really think much of them. It turned out, they were shuttles that run back and forth from the ship to the terminal and vise-versa. I didn’t really pay attention, but it turned out ok anyways as it gave me opportunities to enjoy a nice walk from the ship to the terminal.

I wonder how that railing got bent.
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Once at the terminal, I ran into Gerri and her group who were headed to The Boatyard as well. We didn’t pause long as we made our way through. We wanted to grab a cab there and be among the first so we could get some good seats. We met with a cab driver but wound-up waiting for some more people to fill the seats. A couple from the MSC ship joined us before we were also joined by my roommates, Amberly & Stacy, and Marsha who was with us in St. John. Taxi filled, we set off. Traffic was actually pretty heavy in Bridgetown as our driver said it was rush-hour… makes sense. Downtown, we dropped off the MSC couple before continuing on. It was, to me a nice, short, and even somewhat enjoyable rush hour. I had good company and the views, while commercialized, were still better than I had back home.

You can see here the bridge in which Bridgetown got it’s name
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It didn’t take very long to get to The Boatyard as it was just beyond Bridgetown proper. When we stepped off the taxi, we were greeted with a very colorful and festive looking facade that led into a bar, stage area, and dining area. Beyond which, you could see loungers, beach, and beautiful turquoise water. For $20, we were given a wristband and access to pretty much all the amenities of the place. You are also given one free “welcome drink” and complimentary return taxi to the cruise terminal when you were done. They strongly advise doing a water-based or motorized tour first as if your wrist band were to come off, you’d be denied access unless you paid for another $20 for a new band. Makes sense I suppose. Once inside, we found we were the first ones there and had our choice of umbrellas and loungers to choose from. They were all nice and inviting. I took a pair in the front row, roughly halfway down. I had a nice view of the water and of the pier where they had the rope swing.

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Before we headed beyond the bar, the staff told us generally where to go to see the turtles for “free.” Seemed tempting and I definitely wanted to see the turtles. When I claimed my lounger, a man on the beach approached me, offering to take me to the turtles and shipwrecks. SHIPWRECKS TOO?!.. At first I was unsure but told him I would think about it and come back. I set off with some of the others, walking down the beach to the location where the turtles supposedly were. About halfway there, I got cold feet because I wanted to see the shipwrecks too. I knew that if I lost my wristband it would be another $20 to regain entrance, but I felt it was worth the risk. PLUS, the man selling the tour with the turtles and wrecks told me he would only charge me $20 for the tour itself. Nice! I met him again and told him I was interested. Happy, he asked if I could wait for some more people to join as it was only myself at the moment. While he walked along the beach looking for patrons, I logged onto Facebook. I wanted to make a post on the wall of Carnival’s social media “ambassador,” John Heald. I made a post, thanking him & his colleagues for their assistance with my dining arrangements and providing information to me for the diet need options. I also mentioned that I despite my issues, I was still having an excellent vacation on Liberty.

I didn’t have to wait too long before the man came back to me to tell me he found more people and they were ready. The boat that the man worked for was actually a pretty nice one. It had two double-paned glass bottoms. They were a little leaky but you could still see a good amount under the boat. I introduced myself to the French couple and learned pretty quickly that they could not really speak much english at all. I tried to improvise as much as they did to have conversation. We all found some humor in it and laughed. I found out they were from Marseille, where I will be next year. They were happy for me and if I knew French, I’d have mentioned that I’d like to meet them there at some point. Oh well, c’est la vie. Too bad too, because they were really cool people. I hope they had a good stay in Barbados.

Our boat headed off the beach and headed to a location with a lot of other boats. At first, our crew seemed to maneuvering looking for a good spot or for the turtles. After a couple of minutes, they moved on. Not far along, they mentioned that we would be going over the shipwrecks. When I looked through the glass bottom, it was so cool to see them. Our crew said we would start with the wrecks first. Fine by me! They handed out foam life vests instead of the more common inflatable ones and nice sets of goggles/snorkels. The vests and equipment seemed pretty nice, nicer than I had really used on most excursions. The only downside is that I was not provided flippers (there is reason for this though as you’re not to wear them around the turtles). Especially the vest as it didn’t leak or stink. we entered the water at the back of the boat. As soon as I put my goggles on, I looked in the water and right in front of me was the first wreck. SO COOL!.. and SO MANY FISH! The first wreck I swam along was actually a former large tug, converted into a party boat. It was named Bahan Queen and after it’s life on the water was done, it was sent to the bottom to provide a reef habitat. There were so many cool fish swimming along the boat. If I sat still fish would circle around me. I was never fast enough to reach out and touch one, but there were so many within inches of me. It was amazing. After having my fill of Bahan Queen, I swam over to the next wreck. This one was formerly a small freighter named Eillon. It was a little deeper in the water, and harder to see the marine life that it was teeming with. It’s massive hold was open and unlike the Bahan Queen, Eillon’s bridge was still intact making it that more eerie. This was the first time I had seen such things and I was truly thankful for the experience. It was so cool to see everything.

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Too beautiful

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Bahan Queen