Soup Bowls and Coconuts

As the wet and cold of winter begins to bite, our minds are turning to warmer climes and tropical barrels. Plotting our escape, replacing work, booties and rubber for winter sun and idle hours has begun to preoccupy our waking thoughts.

But where to go? With the ease of travel these days the world is your oyster, which can make settling on just one of the plenty surf destinations hard to do – all are wonderful and exciting in their own ways. Do we venture to the new? Maybe try India or Bangladesh, or instead seek comfort in the easiness of old friends, such as Barbados?

Bajaan surf life is tempting. On the untamed east coast of the island of Barbados the Atlantic pounds the ragged cliffs, while the sugar cane plantations mingle with tropical forest to paint the landscape an emerald green. Within this exotic Caribbean mix, in a rambling valley lined by the wild blue, lies the untouched town of Bathsheba.

Bathsheba is just 30 minutes drive across the island from the calm western shores of Barbados’ glittering golden west coast. But when we lasted visited six years ago we found that philosophically, the town was an ocean away from the exclusive Bajan luxury hotels and concrete condominium developments. By the time we’d traversed the isolated pot-holed island roads Bathsheba felt like an alternate world.

Home to the well-known surf break, Soup Bowls, which is famed for its steep breaking barrels, the town is off the tourist road. For many years there were only two hotels in Bathsheba, one with just a handful of rooms. Meanwhile, The Roundhouse and Adina’s were the only places open in the evenings for a meal.

Adina’s was a small family restaurant serving home-cooked Bajan foods in a lively atmosphere. Locals travelled from the west coast for her home cooking and the restaurant’s infamous after dark singing and dancing. The vivacious matriarch held court, at the cooker and the mike; supported by her daughters and husband. Travelling and surfing Bajan style is all about family and fun; making a return to the sun there this year a seriously tempting option!

But then again…maybe we could brave the cold and explore our own backyard. Or perhaps, just spin the globe and see where we end up?

Words & Photographs of Barbados by Sandra Tinari

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