Friday, 14 March 2014

We have now arrived in Barbados, and we have arrived by boat! In Martinique we discussed the possibilities of flying to Barbados and staying at a hotel instead of sailing the 100 nautical miles against the wind, current, and waves.

However, the US Embassy had told us that it could take from 3 days to 6 weeks to get our visa after completing the interview, and if the latter was the case. We decided that it was both easier and cheaper to have the boat in Barbados.

Luckily, the sail went really well, and it only took us around 24 hours during which I read or slept most of the time. It couldn't have been much easier!

A small marina for big boats
In Barbados, there is only one sheltered anchorage, and there are no marinas besides small private marinas for local boats and one marina in Port St. Charles, which can hold 5-6 superyachts.

When we arrived in Port St. Charles, the marina wasn't full, and even though Capibara hardly can be considered a super yacht, we asked for a berth and were lucky. Since we arrived in Barbados, we’ve been berthed in the marina next to the big boats with tenders bigger than Capibara!

The pontoon walkways isn't built for small boats like ours, so getting on and off the boat can be quite tricky!

A visit to the American Embassy
When we were in Martinique, we completed our visa application on the Internet and booked an appointment for an interview at the American Embassy in Barbados. Luckily, our interview was scheduled already the following week, so we didn't have to wait for months.

At the embassy we had to leave all our electronic equipment at the entrance, and we had to go through a security check like in the airport. Everybody was very serious! After handing in our passports and application and getting our fingerprints taken, we waited for the interview.

The interviews took place by counters in the room, so everybody could listen in on each other’s interviews, and hear whether or not they got their visa.

Luckily, we got ours, so now we can sail to USA!

Wisdom of hindsight
With the wisdom of hindsight, we should of course just have applied for a visa back home or as soon as we arrived in the Caribbean. We have without doubt spent more time talking about how to get the visa, looking for loopholes, and discussing the fact that we haven’t applied earlier, than the time we've actually spend on applying and waiting for a visa!

We can collect our visas in the beginning of next week, so until then we will explore Barbados, which we already now consider as our favourite Caribbean island so far!

Signe Storr, freelance marine journalist and friend of Boatshed