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Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

14th November, 2014

When we arrived at Bridgetown there was just one ‘slot’ left, so I was glad of light winds and a handy tug to nudge the stern onto ‘Sugar Berth’, so called because of the three sugar loaders at one end. They are still used on occasion during the season, but the growing of sugar cane is much diminished, in fact molasses is actually imported to feed the rum manufacturing industry and there was a small discharging tanker berthed just astern.

We joined a small group that was going to cross over the island and visit Hunte’s Gardens in the parish of St. Joseph. Upon arrival we met with the owner, Anthony Hunte, who is described as being a ‘legendary horticulturist with an unusual flair’. He is indeed quite a character, and one who made us feel most welcome as we descended into what was once a sink hole which apparently was being used as a dump when he acquired the site some years ago. Fortunately there were a number of magnificent tall palms already reaching up towards the sky, but what he has done is quite remarkable. Native plants plus tropical plants from around the world grown from seed have been set into the limestone ledges, small banks or large pots seemingly casually placed. The rich green leaves are accompanied by numerous and varied flowering species that give glimpses of colour almost wherever one cares to look. A large bull frog peered at us over the edge of a large iron urn that had been turned into a small lily filled pond.

After ascending we were invited into his equally characterful house where he continued to chat while serving homemade rum punch or lemonade. He came down with us back to the bus, shook everyone by the hand and waved as we drove off down the road to Bathsheba.

Back on board preparations were being made for a local steel band and a deck party, the rain God, however, had other plans and there was a short but tremendous down pour just after sunset. Everything was switched to inside, but then it just about stayed dry all the way through to departure time. We sailed late, heading west into a starry darkness, and by midnight the lights of Barbados were just a glimmer astern.

Captain Philip Rentell

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