Beach and Beer

Woke up early this morning as we were still on British time.  So we leapt out of bed around 6.45am and happily made our way up to the Grampian restaurant for breakfast.  As tonight would see the first of three Formal nights, we knew that there would be free Buck’s Fizz or prosecco/cava on offer along with the breakfast juices; this is a nice little touch that Fred Olsen do on all of their ships.  🙂

I enjoyed a breakfast of smoked salmon and ham, along with fresh fruits and hot strong coffee, all washed down with a couple of glasses of the (free!) cava, which was fizzy and well-chilled and a great way to start the day.  We got talking to another guy on our table, a gentleman who was probably in his 80s, who coincidentally was also from Durham.  He and Trevor nearly talked themselves related!  🙂

After breakfast we returned to our cabin and gathered together towels and cossies for our walk along to Carlisle Bay beach in Bridgetown, about a mile away.  The sun was already very hot as we walked along the very familiar streets and arrived at the entrance to Pirates’ Cove which took us straight onto the soft white sand.

Kicking off my flip-flops, I revelled in the feel of the sand between my toes.  We walked along the shore line, allowing the wavelets in the azure sea to lap and wash around our ankles, as the sun shone down from a blue sky and fluffy white clouds drifted lazily along.  This is the life!  🙂

Changing under my towel into my tankini, I ran down into the sea.  The waves were quite strong (Barbados is popular with surfers) and I just allowed myself to go with the flow.  I swam a short way out to a buoy before making my way back; as I did so, a large unexpected wave crashed against  my back, nearly causing me to lose the bottom half of my tankini!  😉

We spent some time enjoying the Caribbean sea before allowing ourselves to dry off in the tropical sunshine.  Awkwardly changing back into my clothes, we then took a slow stroll into town, heading for a bar we knew from previous visits, a little ramshackle place frequented by locals and off-duty drivers from the bus station across the road, but where the beer is cold and the company is cool!  🙂

We arrived and ordered some ice-cold Banks’s beer, and sat down to enjoy it.  The bar consisted of lots of mis-matched tables and chairs under a makeshift corrugated tin roof, the beer being sold from caravans with a serving hatch at the front.  Usually loud soca and reggae music would issue forth from massive speakers, but today all that could be heard, above the chatter of the locals, was a radio commentary of the West Indies v England cricket match, which was currently being played in Antigua.  🙂

A heavy tropical rain shower made its sudden appearance, the rain thundering down on the tin roof.  In the Caribbean it never rains; it is what is known as “liquid sunshine”, and within minutes the skies had cleared and the sun peeped out from the billowing white clouds once more.  🙂

We stayed in the bar for quite a while, chatting with the locals (mainly about the cricket!) and partaking of four bottles of the chilled Banks’s beer.  Then it was time for us to take a slow stroll back to the ship to enjoy a spot of lunch.

Walking along the uneven, potholed ground I suddenly tripped and went sprawling on the stony ground, bruising both of my knees quite badly.  Although painful, nothing appeared to be broken, so  we continued on our way back to the Braemar.

At the duty-free shops in the port we bought a couple of 1.75 litre bottles of the famous Mount Gay rum; one for ourselves and one for a friend who is also a rum connoisseur.

Back on board we went along to the Palms Café for lunch, and ate it sitting out in the sunshine on the aft decks.  Then we had an afternoon lie-down (as we were still a little jet-lagged) before I went along to the beauty salon at 3.30pm for my pedicure and eyebrow wax.  At five o’clock the Braemar slipped her moorings and slowly made her way out of Bridgetown harbour, heralding the start of our voyage.

It was then time to start primping and preening in time for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party at 5.30pm.  I dressed in a long black velvet dress with long evening gloves and a black lace choker, and killer heels.  Trevor wore his dinner suit with a dark blue cummerbund and bow tie, and along we went to the Neptune Lounge.  Several people complimented me on my lovely dress, including the master of the Braemar himself, Captain Jozo Glavic.  🙂

We enjoyed a couple of (free!) glasses of chilled cava and some tasty canapés while listening to the ship’s orchestra playing a selection of tasteful tunes.  Then the Captain was clapped his way to the stage to the strains of Anchors Aweigh! and did a very amusing speech, before introducing his senior officers.

Afterwards we went along to the dining room to our allocated table, number 101.  We usually ask for a table for six if possible, but table 101 was massive, designed to seat 10.  Another two couple were already there, and our waiter told us we would be having a “special guest” dining with us tonight.

We had the pleasure of the company of the First Officer, a Norwegian called Steffan Ravneng.  We talked about ships and ports and cruises past and present while enjoying a delicious meal washed down with complimentary white wine.  It was a little difficult hearing the others on our table; we practically all had to shout to be heard scross the vast expanse of white tablecloth.

After our dinner we made our way to the Neptune Lounge once again for the evening’s entertainment.  Tonight it was a production by the Braemar Show Company called “A Night at the Musicals” and featured singing and dancing from some of the well-known and well-loved films such as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and South Pacific.  We enjoyed the performance a lot.
We then went along to take part in the quiz in the Coral Club; once again the team consisted of just me and Trevor.  We scored 13/15 and thought we’d done pretty well, but another two teams also scored 13, so it went to the tie-breaker.  We correctly wrote that the height of Mt. Everest in feet was approximately 29,000, so we won!  Yes! A free bottle of the ubiquitous Cava.  🙂  We decided we’d keep it and exchange it for a cold bottle tomorrow night, as it was a bit late to open it now.

The evening finished with a karaoke; there were not many singers but those who did get up (including me) sang more than one song and the average standard was very high.  I sang Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U, The Cranberries’ Zombie and Amy Winehouse’s You Know I’m No Good.

It was late when we returned to cabin # 3074 after an excellent day.  We were due to arrive in Castries, St. Lucia tomorrow morning.  We slept well.

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