I think everyone’s highlight of our holiday was the day when we went out on a catamaran for a day of sailing and snorkelling. After a lot of researching all the different operators we went for Good Times cruises and I think we made the right choice. The crew were delightful, the large boat comfortably fitted a small group of sixteen on board, and we had a fantastic five hours at sea.
We got picked up from the beach right outside our villa bright and early in the morning.
And quickly settled into the best spot on the front of the boat, while the crew supplied beers and rum punches and pointed out which celebs owned all the beachfront properties we cruised past.
We beat the crowds from the other catamaran tours by going to see the turtles first.
One of the crew, Lester, is nicknamed the ‘turtle whisperer’ because he has a knack for finding the turtles and bringing them up to the surface so everyone could get pictures and meet them. They were huge, calm, beautiful creatures and it was amazing to swim alongside them.
After the turtles we headed south along the coast to the marine reserve, a protected area containing a coral reef and a shipwreck which is home to thousands of tropical fish. Since I don’t have an underwater camera there’s no pictures of this bit, but I don’t think they could possibly do the experience justice: it was like swimming through a hi-def underwater TV documentary, with dozens of exotically coloured fish streaming past us in every direction. You were literally swimming alongside the fish but you couldn’t touch them – they always wriggled just out of reach and never even brushed us as they flipped past! I was a bit nervous of snorkelling as I’m not a very strong swimmer, but found I got hold of the mask quickly and was able to relax and enjoy it easily. A fantastic experience that I won’t forget.
After the reef tour, we got back onto the boat and the crew cooked up a delicious lunch: macaroni pie, salads, coleslaw, and chicken and fish for the meat eaters. It was honestly one of my favourite meals of the trip, and washed down with more rum punch.
Then the sails were hoisted and we enjoyed a slow cruise back along the coast to our starting point, pausing for a little dip and swim to the beach on the way.
There’s a lot of competition for snorkelling cruises on Barbados, but I think Good Times was definitely the top choice. We felt pretty smug when seeing the much bigger catamarans on the water rammed with up to 85 people and barely any space to themselves, whereas we had loads and the chance to learn a lot from the crew as we went. It was $90 (US) per person for the five hour trip including the lovely lunch, truly unlimited drinks, and all the snorkelling kit. An absolute must if you’re visiting, I think.