On the final day of the holiday we had a memorable trip on board a Rastafarian-crewed catamaran to go swimming with turtles. Quite what the turtles thought of having us swimming around with them is not recorded, but we had a wonderful experience. Within eighteen hours of swimming in the warm waters off Barbados we were making our way through the snowfields of Yorkshire. Such are the wonders of modern travel.
Monday, 29 March 2010
Sunday, 28 March 2010
Saturday, 27 March 2010
I know that many people think that modern cruise ships are large, impersonal, and ugly, but I think that they are rather beautiful. When we stopped at St John's in Antigua, our ship - the Oceana on the left - was moored next to her sister ship, the Oriana. It is nice to think of the two sisters catching up on old times. Whilst such thoughts may be fanciful, it was certainly true of the legions of waiters and stewards who crowded the decks and shouted messages to old friends on the ship across the way.
Friday, 26 March 2010
Thursday, 25 March 2010
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
With just a few days remaining before the self-imposed deadline for holiday photographs let's say goodbye to the island of Caracao with this fairly simple street scene - the colours and shapes of which just seemed to sum the island up to me. Tomorrow we say hello to St Lucia.
Thursday, 18 March 2010
A visit to Curaçao is complete without a visit to the spectacular Hato Caves which seem to sum up much of the history of the island. 1500 years ago they were used by Amerindian Arawaks for shelter, 200 years ago they were used by escaped slaves for hiding and today they are an important stop on the tourist trail.
I am a firm believing in the old adage "if you are going to go on an excursion, make it one to a brewery or a distillery". And if you are going to Curaçao you need to stop off at the Curaçao Liqueur Distillery. It's not about all those free samples you get, its about learning something about the socio-economic importance of the industry to the island (if you believe that you will believe anything).
And what of the fine ship that took us to all these wonderful places. Here is a picture of the Oceana in the harbour at Willemstad, the island's capital. The magnificent Queen Juliana Bridge can be seen in the background.
Readers of a perceptive nature will have noticed that this post differs from the normal photo-a-day post in that there are three photos! There are two reasons for this. I have realised that unless I get a move on I will never get through even a selection of the pictures from my holiday by my self-imposed deadline of the end of the month. And secondly during April I will start the process of amalgamating the Photo-A-Day blog into my main News From Nowhere blog - part of a process of rationalisation which I will say more about later.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Whilst today Curaçao looks like a picturesque corner of paradise, it would be a mistake to imagine that it has always been so. In the seventeenth century the island was a centre for the Atlantic slave trade and hundreds of thousands of slaves were sold at the island's markets and shipped to other islands and to the South American mainland. Some of the slaves never left the island and worked in the plantations of Curaçao. This picture was taken inside the excellent Curaçao Museum. The description states "Bronze bell used at Plantation Santa Cruz to start and stop the working day".
Friday, 12 March 2010
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
If I am to get through these photographs before the end of the month it is time to leave Panama and its canal behind. I took this photograph as we were leaving the last of the Gatun locks (the massive lock gate can be seen near the top of the picture) and heading into the Caribbean Sea. Heading east from here we had a full day and a half at sea before arriving at our next port of call, the island of Curaçao.
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Now where was I ....? Ah yes, halfway up the Panama Canal. Here our ship is passing under the new Centenario Bridge : I like the contrast between the soft rounded shapes of the people and the sharp lines of the bridge. And here is a good Pub Quiz question : if you are travelling along the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean towards the Caribbean Sea, in which direction are you travelling?
Monday, 1 March 2010
I am making every effort to get a move on. So I have moved on to the Panama Canal. I must have taken hundreds of shots throughout the day of the transit, but I will be mercifully selective in my choice. This picture seems to sum up the whole Panama Canal experience : it is very much a man-made environment, a triumph of concrete, steel and guts over raw nature. Here one of the locomotives is seen gently guiding our ship into the locks, with inches to spare at either side.