Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands and for this reason, it becomes often the first stop after the ocean crossing East to West.
This little island of great natural beauty is yet another fragile paradise in the Caribbean belt: due to the high demographic pressure and the important tourist affluence, the environmental issues the island has to face are many, from the bleaching of the imponent coral reef which surrounds the island (the many container and cruise ships which regularly visit the port of Bridgetown are surely not helping) to the scarcity of water resources caused by several elements like the changing rainfall patterns, the depletion of freshwater aquifers, saltwater intrusion, groundwater pollution, sea-level rise. All of these above mentioned, and more, make Barbados exceptionally vulnerable to water scarcity. Growers struggle with more and more frequent drought and the population has less and less access to drinking water. A scenario we witness in many more countries around the globe, but that will not be depicted in the tourist postcards: you have to push yourself more inland, behind the hotels, private villas and beaches alongside the coast.
Despite the situation, resilient communities and projects are growing to protect Nature and secure the resources for the upcoming generations. The locals are lovely people, extremely welcoming and generous, very humble and firmly rooted in their land and soils. Our Eddie down below will give you a glimpse of it too!
Meeting and hanging out with a local in Barbados can be a pure treat. When walking with a local farmer in the forest, you might hear them whispering: “Can you listen? This is the sound of the Creation”. With Creation, they mean the Forest. There is so much to hear, so much to learn.
Finally, on fun but due note, do not miss the real deal street experience on the island: riding their public buses, a real reggae festival squeezed into a bus that looks and feels like a Rasta temple!
I met Bryn, a long-term friend of the ship, at the cruising club.
He was excited to get involved with the provisioning this year and had the idea to go to the farms and buy plants by ‘the rod’. We were able to dig them up ourselves. This is a fairly common practice and lots of small market stallholders apparently do this. A rod consists of five plants.
There is an element of a lucky dip regarding how much veg is on each plant.
Bryn was kind enough to organize all this, as we spent the day driving around in his pickup truck going to different farms. We dug for Yams and red and yellow sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes came up easily. The yams were a bit more of an operation. They had a tendency to snap that’s why we would have to dig very deep around them. We didn’t get to weigh them but we got a lot, 2 big sacks of sweet potatoes and two and a half of yams. I’m hoping that some of these root vegs will last all the way back. I can’t describe how satisfying it was to dig up our own veg for the galley – you can’t get it fresher than that.