Ivo and Mel have been running in the mornings 2-3 times a week since we started cruising together with S/V Passages in Guadeloupe in August 2014. Keeping in shape is harder when living on a boat, as movement is restricted and one needs to be very determined and disciplined in order to remain active and healthy. But Ivo and Mel have not been jogging merely to keep in shape. They have been training. You see, Mel is an experienced marathon runner participating in 50 to 90 km marathons in African deserts and all over the world and he gave Ivo a great incentive for more serious running. So here we are sailing together from island to island, Ivo and Mel running up and down the hills everywhere.
One morning in Grenada, after a few weeks of this intensive training, Ivo had the most terrible dream, a horrible nightmare.
– We were running Mel and I, in a 25 kilometer marathon in Barbados and I was almost dead from exhaustion, but Mel was pulling me and dragging me by the hand, telling me: ”Come on Ivo, you can do it!” Then I woke up.
We laughed at the absurdity of the nightmare.
After Grenada we sail to Trinidad and spend there a couple of weeks, then on to Tobago. In Tobago we wait for favorable winds to cross north to Barbados, an island Ivo has been dreaming to visit since he was a kid, even though the weather hasn’t allow us to do so for a while. But the wind finally turns slightly from east-southeast and the two boats set sail for Barbados.
After one night and one day of joyful sailing, close to wind but at least not tacking, we arrive in Bridgetown, the main port of the island that stands alone on the edge of the Atlantic.
Barbados is an island 12 by 14 miles formed by the collision of two geological plates and volcanic eruptions, which makes it a unique land formation isolated from the rest of the Caribbean islands 90 NM to the east from St Vincent.
Once populated by Arawak and Carib Indians, who sailed the dangerous sea currents around Trinidad in their small dug-out canoes, Barbados remained unnoticed by Columbus and for a while was spared the great euphoria of the New World, until Portuguese sailors discovered the island en route to Brazil. They named it Barbados- “The Bearded Ones” after the bushy fig trees that grew on the island.
But the first ones to claim it were the English in 1625, when Captain John Powell landed on its shores. In 1639 the colonists established a House of Assembly in Jamestown making Barbados the third Parliamentary Democracy in the world. Followed the plantation period, as everywhere else in the Caribbean and the Americas. Three hundred years later slavery was abolished and in 1966 Barbados became an independent country, member of the Commonwealth with strong British tradition and heritage.
In Bridgetown port we are greeted by the customs and immigration officials who seem very nice, very welcoming and very relaxed people. The checking in procedures take some time as we have to wait for the customs people to show up, then we listen to the immigration officer’s many interesting stories, and then we have to fill by hand a bunch of documents, crew lists, and declarations. Which is what we cruisers do best. I’m not complaining.
Next, we sail from Bridgetown Port to the anchorage in front of Pebbles Beach- our new home for the next few days. It’s a rolly anchorage, even for us on the catamaran.
The next day we walk around the town with Caryn and Mel admiring the canal surrounded by old colonial buildings, checking out some impressive duty-free shopping centers, and the guys sign up for an epic run. Ivo’s dream is about to come true!
There is an organized marathon event every year in Barbados and we have arrived just in time for the Saturday 10-kilometer run. It’s all a very peculiar coincidence.
Run Barbados started in 1983 and since then has hosted world rated runners including runners form Africa, England, United States, the Caribbean every year. The event spans over three days with various distance runs: the POWERade Fun Mile and International Friendship Run on Friday, POWERade 10k and 3k runs on Saturday, half marathon (22.5km) and Run Barbados 5k on Sunday.
Our guys sign up for the Saturday 10k run. The organization of the event is beyond belief impeccable and the turnout is fantastic- hundreds of participants from around the world. Streets are blocked, police cars are stationed, reporters are awaiting, cameras are rolling. The signal is given and the herd of over three hundred runners charge Bay Street heading all the way to Spring Gardens Hwy and back.
After only about half an hour the first runner crosses the finish line. Mel arrives after about 40 minutes, and Ivo is 10 minutes behind him. A truly proud moment.
Ivo has just become “the fastest Bulgarian in Barbados”. We celebrate with free fruits and Powerrade drinks on the beach.
The next days in Barbados we spend visiting some of the tourist attractions this unique island has to offer: the famous and very popular Harrison’s cave, the not-so-famous full with cockroaches, spiders and centipedes Cole’s cave, and beautiful Bathsheeba- a fishermen village on the east side with stunning rocky shoreline and beaches, famous among surfers.Share