David picked me up early in the morning and took me out to a fabulous breakfast. Beautiful setting in a hotel not far from mine. After breakfast I suggested he come up as Athelstone was picking me up to take me out for the day. DaSo -vid hadn't seen Athelstone since he had left college. We once were all great friends - David, Athelstone, Carol and I, yet even though they lived on the same island, they all had completely separate lives now. I had managed to find David on Facebook a year before my trip, but neither Athelstone or Carol were on there.
So - when Athelstone arrived... a bit of a reunion, and some photos. It was hard to get me in the photo though as they are both so tall!
Afterwards, Athelstone took me to meet Carol. a small reunion outside her work. It was so lovely to see her again after all these years.
Next stop was to Athelstones home where I got to meet his lovely wife.
And his garden.
Then we hit the road. This is an amazing rock formation which has had lovely bright artwork painted on it.
Then Athelstone dropped me back to Huntes Garden for half an hour as I wanted to get some more Hummingbird shots seeing we don't have hummingbirds in New Zealand.
He picked me up afterwards and took me to the abandoned church at Horse Hill. Apparently there had been some excavations on the road to fix the road, then some heavy rain, and the hill started slipping..
Sugar cane... When I was there the island was covered with sugar cane, these days there isn't as much and therefore some mills have ben abandoned.
St Johns Church, which I visited when I was in Barbados in 1979. It really hadn't changed at all.
The church back in 1979...
I got to photograph more chattel houses dotted around the island...
And met up with another school friend whom I had forgotten, but slowly remembered.
We drove through the city.. Bridgetown
And sadly got dropped back at the hotel. I had a very early start in the morning so after saying my sad goodbyes to Athelstone, headed up to pack. I had such a great day, really enjoyed the company, and seeing so much of Barbados. I still think I saw more of Barbados in the week I was here, than in all the time I lived there in 1979.
I would still love to go back and spend longer. I feel I didn't get enough beach time, or time to explore Bridgetown. There were other gardens I wanted to visit but ran out of time. Barbados will be forever with me. It seeped into psyche when I was 17 and has never really left. I'm grateful for the great friendships I made and hope that my friends will visit me one day here in New Zealand. They'll have to come in summer - they will never survive the winter temperatures!
Wednesday was a quieter day. I headed to Accra beach again in the morning for another swim and sunbathe, then headed to my friend David's for lunch. He has a lovely house in St Michael. He showed me around his place and we sat down over lunch and had a great time and caught up properly with each others lives. After being dropped back at the hotel, I went for another swim at the beach then headed up and joined a friend at the pub in the Hilton. Learnt all the gossip of the island and realised that nothing had changed. Barbados is a small place and everyone knows everyone else's business, who's having affairs, who's swindling who, and realised that it was the same old stories from 1979!!
Thursday I had arranged to meet up with a member of the Photographic Society who was taking me birding all day. He picked me up quite early in the morning, and I still was feeling very unwell. He took me to a pharmacy and I was able to get some cold/flu tablets that got me through the day. And the day was great - I took so many photos of the wildlife in Barbados. I didn't realise that there were so many species - back in 1979, I was busy taking photos of parties and people, but come 2018, as a photographer, I'm far more interested in nature than of people.et
Meet Julian Moore - who took me out for the day with my camera. He knew all the best places to find the birds, and at the end of the day, I had seen more of Barbados in a day, than I had in the whole year I had lived there in 1979. It was an incredible day.
The Carib Grackle
Sandpiper and Plover
Snail - I remember seeing these in 1979 - these are an invasive species called the Giant African Snail (GAS). Didn't think they were that giant though!
Cattle Egret - it had started to rain, and it doesn't look very happy getting wet!
Then it poured - a tropical downpour. Actually it wasn't that warm!
And got Squally too.
Moorhen and Chick sheltering from the storm!
Green Heron - and the first time I had seen one of these.
Yellow Warbler - beautiful songster..
And no visit to any Carribean Island is complete without a frangipani iage!
Black Bellied Whistling Ducks.. - Another first for me.
Green Bajan Monkey. I saw these often in 1979, but never did manage to get a photo back then!
Green Heron - note the skull behind it. Hope it's a monkey skull and not human. Also the shell in front as well is interesting.
Scarlet Dragonfly... This is a male, the females were yellow and were much harder to photograph. Like all females - much busier - they don't stop as often to rest as the males!!
Red Billed Tropic Bird - also a first...
Julian then brought me to this amazing wetland area. I had visited it in Barbados in 1979, but I can't remember who took me there or when - it has a sort of dream like memory of it. To see it again I was so excited, as the place had made an impression on me for beauty and wildlife back when I was 17. I was still impressed in 2018.
We walked through to the gorgeous beach. Deserted. Beautiful.
Great White Egrets having a bad hair day...
Yellow Greater Legs. I have previously seen this bird but only in captivity (in the Montreal Biodome). It gave a warning call to others when it flew off that two photographers were in the vicinity!
The wetands were rife with fish, just on the surface...
And lots of crabs in the sand...
Making it perfect fishing spot for all species.
After we left the wetland area, we headed to Oistins, where we got Roti's and sat on the beach enjoying the sunshine and seeing yet more birdlife. The Ruddy Turnstone, which I've now seen in NZ, Galveston Island, and in Barbados.
I love the fishing boats.
Laughing Gull, which I've now seen in Netherlands, Galveston Island, and Barbardos.
One very dirty Cattle Egret.
And a sandpiper.
Oistins looked quite different now that the crowds of the festival had gone...
Also while we were out birding, we passed some more interesting chattel houses...
And an old windmill. There used to be lots of these scattered around in 1979, but most of them have apparently been pulled down.
This is the new social housing development. Reminds of that song.... Little Boxes, On the hillside, etc.. For those that don't know it - you can listen to it below the image.
I also photographed the sugar cane harvest. It reminded me of the grape harvest in Marlborough. But it showed me how far Barbados had come since 1979. When I was there they were still cutting the cane with scythes, and people were still walking around with one arms or no hands where there had been accidents! Glad it has been modernised!
All in all it was a fabulous day. Thank you so much Julian for the opportunity - it was greatly appreciated and I will remember it forever.
After I got dropped back to the hotel, I got dressed up and went to dinner with some friends at a lovely restaurant on the water. It was lovely.