At the fifth attempt I finally managed to go on the P&O excursion ‘Barbados in focus photography tour’. Not enough P&O passengers had booked the tour on my earlier visits to Barbados. Ronnie Carrington hosted the tour. Ronnie is a leading photographer in the Caribbean.
From P&O – the tour description:
Head across the island to the spectacular Scotland District. an area of undulating landscapes overlooking the very scenic east coast. Your route passes acres of waving sugar cane and takes you through quaint rural villages with brightly painted rum shops and chattel houses. The beautiful rugged landscape. intriguing architecture and good-natured country folk, combine to make this a unique experience.
Enjoy the sights of Bathsheba. on the east coast. the most photographed area on the island. Watch the Atlantic breakers pound relentlessly against giant coral boulders and create
whirlpools of foaming surf. A photographer’s delight.
Essential information. This tour has some walking over flat surfaces and includes some steps.
Ronnie’s website is currently unavailable. But do try this link
Start of tour
Joining the tour was a little fraught for me as I had forgotten that the mid-ships gangway was not available (the non-delivery of P&O’s Horizon the night before was my only excuse). This meant going up and down stairs and running forward to get off the ship and then following the signs through the cruise terminal to finally get to where the excursions were leaving. Thankfully I was not the last to make it to the coach.
On our seats was a short guide from Ronnie that included some of his B&W images. On the back page was a set of pointers for the members of the tour to help improve their images.
There were 20 of us on the tour and we were on the first tour of the season!
Ronnie set the tone for the next four hours by telling us about the history of Barbados, what we were passing in the coach and about himself and his photography. The tour may have been billed as a photography tour but the presentation from Ronnie as we travelled around the island and the facts and stories he told us were fascinating and insightful. P&O should really add that his talks are some of the best I have ever heard about Barbados in all my visits over the last 25 years!
As we passed the island’s only power plant we heard about the efforts to reduce the dependence on imported oil to generate electricity. Homeowners were encouraged to have sun powered water heaters and increasingly to have solar panels for their electricity. The power company had set up its first solar farm in the North. The cost of all the oil was the largest costs for the island even beating the cost of importing food.
We left the cruise terminal and went up the Spring Garden Highway past Mount Gay Rum before turning into the centre of the island on Highway 3A.
We came to the gates of one of the island’s plantation houses, Strong Hope, that is now a centre for addiction recovery – a wellness centre. The costs of staying there could be as high as $240k and it does attract public figures as guests. Ronnie has been asked not to stop and take pictures and instead we drove past the gates very slowly.
One of the gullies on the island
Our coach paused on a bridge over one of the gullies. We all did a dance around the open windows to grab a shot into the gully. From my memory Ronnie told us that there were over 350 miles of gullies on the island.