So this is (was) my first time here and I was super excited. Even though I had never been here before, I knew that one thing that Barbados is known for is turtles. We seen turtles for the first time in Bermuda last year and we were so excited. However, as soon as they seen you, they were "outta here". They would never let us get close. I've tried going several places before where they say you're sure to see some, but with no luck. So I knew for sure I wanted to see me some turtles!
I searched the boards and a lot of people suggested The Boatyard. I did find other places that looked appealing as well...and I only looked elsewhere because I know that the Boatyard is close to the port and figured it would be crowded because that's where most would head.
However, what sealed the deal for me was when The Boatyard emailed me back saying that it was $20 to get in and INCLUDED a free drink for everyone, 2 chairs and 1 umbrella AND MOST OF ALL....IT INCLUDED A BOAT TRIP TO SWIM WITH THE TURTLES!!! At no added cost! Yep, that did it for me! We were going to The boatyard! Others had said that you can find vendors along the beaches that would take you out to the turtles for $20pp. I'm paying $20 pp and I get everything else too.
It's only about a 10 minute drive to the Boatyard and a lot of people actually walk there. I'm not that adventurous so we cabbed it.
We checked in and paid our fee's of $20 pp. They put wrist bands on us and ask us about the boat trip out to the turtles. They said their first one would probably be around 9am and they would have them throughout the day. I told him we wanted to be first on the list. He added our names and said when it was time, we'd hear them call for us.
About that time we heard a noise...it was a familiar noise. It was a noise I had hoped we wouldn't hear the entire cruise. It was POURING! The sky turned dark and opened up. (Look closely at the pictures, you can see the rain drops in the blue sky part, which I thought was pretty cool).
So while it was raining on my parade, I figured I'd take a few pictures and have a look around.
I took a picture and posted it for all to see back home. Everyone was sad that we were not having good weather. However, look at the picture closely. You see the dark angry clouds, but if you look at the sand, the sun is shining on it. Yep, the sun was over us with 10 minutes and we would have the most beautiful sunny day there.
We headed out and to the left and picked a spot in the first row. I wanted to be able to see the munkin(s) from my chair if needed (well you know, with my FOMO disorder, I would only be in the chair no more than 10 minutes tops anyhow).
They put the umbrella up for us and they had the huge, thick cushions up at the building. The hubby went up and grabbed one (and by grabbed one, I meant came back dragging it because it was heavier than dragging an 8 year old mermaid kicking and screaming). Then he would do this x2 in order to put one in the chair I wouldn't be occupying during the day and all. Actually I would spend so little time there that I didn't even get a picture of it. LOL
The kids were the first to hit the water of course. I have to admit, this place was GORGEOUS! The sand was beautiful and soft and the color of it was amazing. The water was clear and blue and just so pretty. It was hot out and I hit the water too.
We decided to swim out to the water toys...I made it out there first. I may be 50, but I hauled my fat butt up that ladder like I was superwoman. I might have been huffing and puffing after I got up there, as I tucked away the big "S" on my chest, but hey, I wasn't about to let anyone else know that.
Kendra was struggling for some reason. She was way behind. She comes up and yells "mom, look what I found". I had no idea what it was. I had just put my "S" away and my x-ray vision was not working now. She made it! Now show me what you got! She placed this in my hand: a sand dollar. How cool!
Sakari made it too and up the ladder she came. Sakari was having a blast jumping. I could not get the hang of it though. When you jump, the trampoline moves with the water and it's really weird. I felt drunk without the drank. All of a sudden the hubby appears. Well I guess he wanted in on the fun.
A short video of some bouncing fun.
I was watching the kids having fun jumping off the trampoline and the hubby disappeared. Then he reappeared over by the ice bergs.
It was funny to watch because he was so heavy that once he got on the side, it started to tilt and lift up. The higher he went, the more it laid on its side. It wasn't doing him any good to try to climb it because he was now laying sideways.
Sakari decided she would prove to me that she could climb the trampoline ladder and still be a mermaid too.
Sakari and Brayden decided they would jump together into the water and was having a blast.
Kendra decided to prove a point (that she could make it to the top of the iceberg, since the hubby couldn't) ....and she made it!
Now I have to apologize for a lot of my pictures from today. I honestly have no idea what was going on. Some pictures turned out good under water and others were just so darn blue. I know with my 830 camera my finger has a habit of hitting the round turn knob and switching the settings. I think maybe that's what happened. I do it all the time. The 620 camera has a different way of turning the settings and that doesn't happen. Grrr
We started to swim back and B yells "mawmaw, look" and about 2 seconds later Sakari is diving down because she seen it too...a starfish. He was not happy she was the one that came up with it. We all took turns passing it around for pictures, then put it back and swam to shore.
We heard them calling our name and we headed out of the water and up to grab our things. It was time for our boat tour to the turtles.
After grabbing our things and heading up to the meeting area, they informed us that we would not be able to take our fins because they were afraid that we might hit the turtles. We could take our mask/snorkel tubes. They would provide the snorkel jackets. They gave us a briefing of the do's and donts and we headed out to the dock.
I managed to get some more pictures of the beach area from the dock.
When the boat arrived, we would have to climb down this ladder to get to it.
Then off we went...
It was about a 8-10 minute ride along the coast/beach area and we were there. There were several other boats there (maybe 3?) and we immediately spotted a turtle. We all jumped in and "DUDE" they were everywhere.
We were actually swimming with turtles!! Finally! It was so amazing. We were withing feet and inches of them. So amazing and they are so graceful.
I don't know how Sakari thought she was able to dive down to touch them with a snorkeling vest on. But she was determined.
B was the first one back on the boat. I'm not sure why. The other lady didn't get in the water.
It was an amazing experience. You don't stay really long. It's not an excursion and they do this as an added extra. If you want to go out for a long time, you'd have to actually book an excursion or probably pay extra for someone to do it. The guy said it would only be for about 10 minutes but we were probably out there at least a good 30 minutes and that was more than enough. I shared a bunch of pictures and that's probably on 1/4 of what I took. I mean you can only take so many pictures from so many angles. I'm adding a short video of the turtles to the end of this review.
We headed out and back to The Boatdock.
When we got back and gathered our things, we decided to move to the other side for the rest of the day.
We were ready for a drink and of course we would find out that there is a limited amount of drinks to pick from.
Then here come Sakari with a new friend...geesh. The girl will touch or pick up anything!
Then off the kids went...only to find more new things.
Me and the kids headed over to the long dock area to explore. There were a lot of different kinds of fish hanging out there. We seen several juvenile angelfish, trunk fish, feather dusters, and the dock poles were loaded with plenty of things to see and there were PLENTY of crabs as well.
I really hate these pictures turned out like this. I really need to learn to keep my finger off the turn button. I feel like the old days when I use to get the disposable cameras for snorkeling and they would turn out green. Sigh
This area is pretty deep and gets deep quickly. So beware.
We headed back over to the sandy area in front of our chairs. We started finding these...and BUNCH of these. They were everywhere. I think we must have found at least 30-40 of them. I took pictures and then we put them back.
Sakari was busy covering them back up.
This is the area that people rent jet skis from. It's not part of The Boatyard. The Boatyard will tell you, and there's sign posted, that if you want to do any jet skis or water activities, you must do it before coming on their property.
The hubby went up and ordered food. Hamburgers and fries.
It was time for a few "fun" pictures before the day was over.
The popo was riding up and down the beach. We felt safe.
Then I see Kendra talking to someone. She falls for the guy with the monkey and pays him $5 to have Braydens picture taken with it.
Then we noticed some familiar faces. The cruise director, his assistant that was dancing at sailaway (Chris) and a bunch of the staff, including a lot of the girls from the kids club, was at the beach. The CD had a super small drone that he was controlling from his phone (?). I heard him talking to the staff there and they must come there a lot when in port. They all seem to know each other.
Now, I'm just going to stop here and mention...a little later after this, when we packed up to get ready to leave, they seem to be getting a little "tipsy" (some of the girls). Well, one of the girls from the kids club actually took her top off. While that might (or might not) be ok at some places (like I know it's ok and normal in St Maarten), I still do not think it's a good idea to do this at any public place when you are a kids club staff and there are potential kids that may be in your group back on the ship there. I was a little shocked. (We would later end up riding back to the port with some of them). Nudity does not bother me. I could care less myself. I guess that comes from being a nurse and I have seen more nude bodies than one can imagine. Nothing shocks me and nothing like that bothers me. Just saying because of "who" it was and "who" might have been there at the beach to see it...like our kids that go to the kids club.
When we decided it was time to get ready to go, we gathered our things and headed up to wash off. They had an outside shower and there were people lined up to use it. They had signs posted up that you must be clean of all sand and dry to get in a cab for the return trip to the dock.
That meant washing off and trying to sit in the blazing hot sun to dry off...which made you want to get back in the water.
We headed toward the "exit", which was a small building and it was a store. We told the lady in there that we were ready to leave. She called for a cab and we waited for about 10 minutes for it to arrive. Once it got there, we walked out and got in and then that's when a lot of the staff from the ship came running and piled in. All were able to get in but 1 person. So another got out and said she'd wait with her for another cab so she didn't have to wait alone. They tried to talk the cab driver into letting her sit on someone's lap or squeeze in and the cab driver was real strict with the amount of passengers she was allowed to carry.
My refrigerator magnet from Barbados:
A few picture from the dock area:
A short 2+ minute video of us swimming with the turtles. Shot with my snorkeling goggles.
Barbados is a gorgeous place! The Boatyard was beautiful and we had a great day. The sand is powder soft and so pretty and the water was crystal clear and amazing!
Although this is not a snorkeling place, we were able to find plenty of fish, corals and interesting things under the boat dock. Definitely worth checking out.
The turtle swim, included in the price, definitely makes this worth the price of getting in (don't forget you get free drinks as well with your admission and the chairs and umbrealla). You really can't beat the price.
I believe it's best to heat out to snorkel with the turtles first thing in the morning. You are there before the crowds and I felt like we had a good amount of time spent there (other people who have went at later times said it wasn't very long). However, you have to remember, this is not a full snorkeling tour that you paid extra for! It's a "FREE" part of your admission to The Boatyard. So, don't forget that.
The food was decent and so were the drinks.
If you want peace and quiet, down on the beach wasn't loud at all to us and real relaxing. If you want a party, head up to the dance areas and bar. The best of both worlds all in one.
I would definitely recommend this place to anyone wanting to visit Barbados.