| GENERAL INFO (Jump to Diary)|
Barbados is a single island, covering an area of 432 km2. It was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century and claimed for the Spanish Crown. It first appeared in a Spanish map in 1511. The Portuguese visited the island in 1536, but they left it unclaimed. An English ship, the Olive Blossom, arrived in Barbados in 1625; its men took possession of it in the name of King James I. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony. On 30 November 1966, Barbados became an independent state.
It is the home of close to 300.000 citizens of which 92.4% are Black, 3.1% Multiracial, 2.7% White and 1.3% East Indian. Their religion is mainly Christianity with 75.6% Christian, 2.5% other and 20.6% having none.
The subduction of the South American plate beneath the Caribbean plate scrapes sediment from the South American plate and deposits it above the subduction zone, forming an accretionary prism. The rate of this depositing of material allows Barbados to rise at a rate of about 25 mm per 1,000 years. This subduction means geologically the island is composed of coral roughly 90 metres thick, where reefs formed above the sediment.
Barbados is regarded as a tropical monsoon climate with a rainy season from June to November.
Mammals are a poorly represented group on the island, composed almost entirely of introduced species and the only remaining native mammals are a number of bat species.
Among the reptiles are the Green Iguana; Iguana iguana, an Anole; Anolis extremus, Underwood's spectacled tegu; Gymnophthalmus underwoodi, Kentropyx lizard; Kentropyx borckiana, a snake species, Mastigodryas bruesi and the world's smallest snake, Leptotyphlops carlae, have been recorded from the island, and I would love to see it. A single amphibian: Johnstone's whistling frog; Eleutherodactylus johnstonei is also found here. The avifauna of Barbados include a total of 272 species, and of cause, the surounding sea is rich in animals.
Here are around 700 different native plants and probably more invasive!
All that leaves me to arrival on Barbados after dusk. The in-flight is in the fantastic sunset, the immigration rather smooth, and while I'm in the airport, I get the American Airways office to print out my boarding cards for the flights in the morning. It is dark but 24C, and I walk the 1,5 kilometres to my room in a fantastic villa. The hosts are real nice, and beside from making me supper and tea, I get a glass of rum, and we have a way too long but interesting chat. I set the clock to six, as I want to have time for the offered breakfast, before I walk back to the airport. Not room for much adventure on this short stay.
27. I wake up at three and start working at five. My lovely hosts have prepared a massive and delicious breakfast for me, and I manages to walk to the airport in-between the showers. They have started boarding when I get to the gate, and despite this was not really a planned stop-over, it have been pleasant. Next stop Miami and them Nassau on New Provenance, Bahamas. I will be back!
20/4 2019. A short flight from Granada bring me to the island around noon. I try to find my rented car at Ecomony Car Rentals, as my voter say, and when I finally find their man outside the airport, he have no records of me. He refers me to Eurocar, who actually have my name, but refers me to Drive-A-Matic, which is the only office with customers - and a lot!
I finally get a car and a new driving licence - the sixth
in two month, I think. I head straight to Brighton Farmers Market, although
it is a bit late. It is hard to say if anyone have been here today, but it
sure is dead by now.
All the way from the airport to here, the landscape have been so incredible Danish! Rolling flat hills, plenty of farmland, black-and-white dairy cattle and small villages. One just have to abstract from the nice weather, palm trees and cane on the fields. And the small wooden sheets some call home.
After quite some fumbling around, I get a big and well equipment apartment, drop the bag and find a supermarket. I stock for the week - I think, and try their ATMs. They both claims my bank won't pay out that much money on both cards. They ought to pay out at least five times that much. Easter service? Not accordantly to their internet site, but sending them a message don't work either.
I head out to Crane Beach, and if it wasn't for the
seaweed, it would be awesome. It is still nice, and the limestone cliffs are
real special. The sea have dug itself in underneath them on
places, and made caves in other.
I follow the coast a bit north, but the sun hides behind
some dark clouds, and I head home. So far, I have not seen much nature, but
a lot of farmed fields. This island is nothing like the previous. They were
volcanic, this one is on limestone and flat and quite well cultivated.
My host have several dogs, each in its one square meter small box with slatted floor. I am glad we can't do that to dogs in Denmark - and sad we can do it to other animals. Crane Beach, Farmland and East Coast
21. It stats out a bit dark, but then the sun takes over, and I head for Welchman Hall Gully, a "Tropical forest cave". I have read it should hold 200 different plants, and that sound interesting. It is a good way up north, and it is through farmland, looking so much like Denmark. Well, except from the palms and some people are living in chicken sheets.
I had actually expected pure nature, but after having paid a steep fee, I get to walk the 1500 meter concrete path - both ways. It follow a gully, cut into the old coral reef. I guess it have been an underground river, forming a long cave which later have collapsed.
I get a pamphlet with quite some information, referring to numbers along the route. It is a strange mix of native and protected plants, invasive monkeys that are fed along with a lot of hens, an orchard, colourful flowers and foreign trees. I would have preferred only the native plants and animals!
The first number is on a large Bearded Fig; Ficus citrifolia. It is the numerous roots, leading down from the upper branches, which have given it its name. And Barbados is actually named after this bearded tree! The next is a large Fiddle Wood; Citharexylum spinosum.
As I follow a set of stairs up to a viewing point, 270 metres above the sea. I see one of the green Anole; Anolis extremus. It is a bit more easy to sneak close to a native snail; Pleurodonte isabella. Some ants have made a coliseum on the viewing platform, but due to the mist, here is not that much to see. Another fig tree covers a huge area with its aerial roots.
Down on the path, I can't feel thinking about how many native insects and especially the worlds smallest snake; Leptotyphlops carlae/bilinaeta this chickens eat. Further more, they don't eat the invasive Giant African snails and the just as invasive, but less harmful big millipedes.
I try to make some pictures of the more wild areas, but it is a deep and overgrown gully, and here is not much light. I pass other members of the fig tree family, and they too have these characteristic aerial roots, than eventually form massive stems. These trees can't be blown over in a hurricane!
Some big boulders are lying on the ground, and they are
most likely the old roof. In longer stretches, the sides of the gully are
shallow caves. Here are even stalagmites and stalactites, some over half a
meter in diameter.
I find one of the almost white Pancake Slug; Veronicella sloanii, but in a dark place - and I don't shift animals around. And that was lucky: "They should not be handled with bare hands because they serve as intermediate hosts of the nematode Angiostrongylus costaricensis".
The trail end at a chain - and a bit further on by a gate, and I turn around. On the way back, I look for the Creeping Charley; Pilea nummulariifolia, a little native nettle. It use to be plentiful, but the invasive snails love them. I find the last little colony. I see some of the Barbados Bullfinches; Loxigilla barbadensis, but fail to get a picture. Welchman Hall Gully
From here, I head a bit north, out to the sea, and then down along it. My next target is Andromeda Botanic Garden, but also the area along the coast. The road down to the coast leads through a dense forest, but that change on the low plain along the sea. Some low hills are almost barren, and the grass is yellow.
I stop for lunch at the beach at the east coast, which is vide and long. Unfortunately, it have gotten its share of the seaweed too. Some areas have old coral reef, partly covered by the water, but I hardly see any animals here. I do a long walk, but fail to find anything interesting.
On the coastal cliffs, on the other hand, are some Agaves; Agave barbadensis and Cereus cacti; Pilosocereus royenii, but I can't talk myself into climbing these sharp rocks. A bit down the road, a grass covered slope have the same plants, and I do a long walk here. Here are actually quite some interesting plants like a wild vine, a Apocynaceae which both have flowers and ripe fruits. It is likely invasive though.
A bit further down the coast, I find some of the more or less mushroom shaped rocks. They look great from a distance, but lack some close by. The rocks in the surf have several animals like sea cucumber and sea urchins and even corals.
I reach yet another botanical garden; Andromeda, but don't have high hopes! It was started by the wife of a local doctor, and it is not only pretty, it actually have some collections and nametags! I get a short introduction and a long list of names and numbers.
Here are a succulent collection, which have several of my personal favourites; Caudiciforms. Here are big trees like the Shaving Brush Tree; Pseudobombax ellipticum and giant Bearded Fig; Ficus citrifolia. Flowering smaller plants like Bromeliads and Heliconias.
Number 16 on the list is not a plant, but: Queen Ingrid of Denmark Gazebo, made for her at the 1971 visit. Here are also two ponds, covered in plants. I do the entire garden, and see most of the plants. It is not huge or a university botanical garden, but real cosy and well maintained. Andromeda Botanic Garden
From here, I follow Highway 3 southwest, as it should be nice. Well, to get to it, I pass another beach with rocks on, and have to do a short stop. Then I head inland, and on the way up the hills, a dense forest closes in on the road. Unfortunately, the sun is not following me up here. I end up on the "high plateau", where the farmland look so much like Denmark.
pass some of the inland oil pumps, which look so odd in the farmland.
The cane harvester is so much more natural - all though an odd machine. Just
before Bridgetown, I find a little mall with an ATM. And this time, I
actually get money! I'm home a bit before five, and start working right
away. Welchman Hall Gully, East Coast, Andromeda