Still a bit behind I’m afraid, so this week is about the second week of our holiday. Last week I told you about the first part of our cruise up to our visit to St.Maartan. Week 2 was less hectic and there were more ‘sea days’. We spent Saturday in Tortola, which is the largest of the British Virgin Islands. Together with the people we were sharing a dinner table with, we took a large taxi/bus to Cane Garden Bay. The beach there is like the tropical paradise we all dream of when faced with the realities of the British winter. H found a friend his own age to play with on the beach. They made sandcastles with drinks cups. His friend was a local boy who lived in one of the beach side bars and who seemed to be able to swim like a fish.
After a run of islands, a sea day provided a welcome change of pace and forced us to relax. Then we found ourselves on the island of Curaçao. Curaçao feels rather odd (but it’s lovely too). To conjour up its capital Willemstad, think of Dutch town with warm Caribbean sun and blowy trade winds. Here’s a view of the town of Willemstad through the amazing pontoon bridge known as the Queen Emma Bridge or the ‘Swinging Old Lady’. A pontoon bridge is one where the bridge rests on barges and it floats on the water. When we arrived the bridge was ‘open’ to allow ships through and then it closed to let pedestrians walk across. Next up was a visit to the Maritime Museum to learn about pirates, wrecks and the slave trade.
Bonaire was our next stop. It’s the close neighbour of Curaçao, but is classed as a city of the Netherlands. So this day, it didn’t just feel like we were in Holland sometimes, we were in the Netherlands despite the beautiful January weather. We went on a boat tour of a mangrove swamp which was really interesting. All the vegetation you can see in the picture is growing in the water and not on land. H loved our boat trip through the swamp and he was often the first to spot crabs scuttling across the branches.
As far as H was concerned, a day wasn’t complete without a trip to the pool. Much fun was had giving Daddy swimming lessons (he needs them) and playing a version of water polo. H loves the idea of scuba diving when he’s a bit older, so we did some practising with snorkels on this trip. Sadly though, the masks didn’t fit H that well and that made things rather difficult. In the evening we’d go to the bar at the stern of the ship and watch the sea (and the islands) go by with a cocktail or mocktail. It quickly became a tradition that we look out each day for that day’s flashing light (and we saw one every day except when we were far from land).
On our last full day, we docked in Bridgetown, Barbados. Having spent a lot of time on the water, we were now going to go under the water. We spent about an hour in a submarine looking at all sorts of marine life including shoals of fish and even a turtle. There was a wreck too, which was perfect for our would be diver. We had done a submarine trip previously on our honeymoon and loved it, so it was great to be able to take H along with us this time, particularly because he is so knowledgable about sea creatures (I think this is due to Octonauts). It was a little sad reaching Bridgetown and knowing that it was the end of our cruise. We’d kind of got used to the rhythms of cruise life and it seemed strange that we wouldn’t be visiting any more islands.