For two years we prepared for and looked forward to this tour and finally the day had arrived; 25 girls met at school at 2am on Sunday morning. There was a mixture of emotions; everyone was excited for our journey but most of us hadn’t slept and were exhausted. After a long 18 hours of travelling and waiting around, we finally arrived in sunny Barbados.
At the airport we were met by our rep, Angela, who took us to our hotel, Coconut Court. Each room had an amazing view of the beach and pool and it wasn’t long before we were dressed in swimwear and making the most of the lovely weather. That night, an evening meal at the restaurant and early to bed meant we were up for breakfast bright and early the next morning.
We spent the morning familiarising ourselves with the hotel which was situated on the beach, so, after relaxing on the sun loungers we got ready for our first matches. Dressed in our playing gear, we were picked up by the buses and travelled inland to Springer School to play netball. It was a baptism of fire. We struggled in the heat and the players had a hard time keeping up with the Bajan netballers. Our journey had caught up with us. Afterwards we all travelled to the Usain Bolt Complex where each of our hockey squads was to play against a youth development squad. Again the heat proved to be a factor during the games although the later starting times for the hockey matches was a help.
Over the next two days we played both hockey squads played against the development squad again and a squad from Harrison College. These were much better matches as we had finally acclimatised. The netball squad had the opportunity to play against Queen College and Blackbirds Club. Netball was definitely the stronger sport in Barbados. We also got the chance to see an international hockey game, Trinidad & Tobago v Guyana.
During the downtime on tour we managed to fit in a few shopping trips to Bridgetown and followed the boardwalk from our hotel to more shops nearby. The pizzeria across the road from the hotel became a favourite destination in the evenings. The local reggae buses were an education in themselves – these provided a fast and furious journey in an overfilled minibus to anywhere on the island for the price of one Bajan dollar. By the end of our week we were well used to them.
The tour included some brilliant trips. On Thursday we went to the Boatyard which was a complex on the beach with lots of activities including a trampoline in the sea, rope swinging, pier jumping and snorkelling. There we spent the entire day having lots of fun. All of us went on a short boat ride to swim with the turtles at a small shipwreck not far off shore. It was an amazing experience to be so close to a turtle in its natural habitat.
The following morning, we woke up bright and early, to go on a jeep safari tour which lasted six hours. It was a very interesting tour which involved a range of stops, allowing us to see around the whole island including many attractions such as Rihanna’s childhood home, (the street is now named Rihanna Drive), her condo, the famous Lion on Gun Hill and the wonderful view from the cliff down onto the crashing Atlantic Ocean in the most northern part of St Lucy.
On Friday evening we were taken to Oistins’ Fish Fry where we sampled local seafood, along with market stalls, music and dancing. On our last full day, we had a catamaran trip. It was a great day; we stopped at various places along the west coast to snorkel and saw fish and turtles. During the lunch stop, some of us swam to the beach and collected coral while others sunbathed on the decks. The trip to Barbados was one I will remember for a long time and hopefully one day I will be able to go back to experience the relaxed culture and beautiful scenery again.
A big thank you to Mrs Mills, tour organiser, and to Mrs Mills, Mrs Greer and Mrs Gibson for taking us to Barbados. It would not have been possible without them.
Eve P & Shannon J (Year 12)