Bath and exercise
10 February 2021
Today completes one week of our local two-week lock down.
We dragged ourselves out of bed at 5.45am to ensure we left promptly at 6.00am to get to a new beach we haven’t visited before. We wanted to catch the sunrise and maximise our narrow three-hour window of allowable exercise time; 6.00 to 9.00am.
Bath beach is, apparently, one of the safest beaches on the east coast of the island and unlike several other bays on this coast, there are rarely strong currents. This is because there is a coral reef barrier some way offshore which creates a lagoon like effect.
There are also the remains of an old railway line that once ran from Bridgetown to Bellepaine, further up the coast, with a station at Bath Beach. The completed line to Belleplaine was officially inaugurated in 1883 and, initially, was a commercial success as the cars carried sugar, freight and passengers. But with declining levels of freight and passengers and a lack of proper, ongoing, re-investment the railway system deteriorated and was discontinued in 1937 with the rails lifted and scrapped the following year.
We arrived at the beach, parked up and wandered through the attractive Casuarina trees down onto the sand smelling the sea spray on the slight breeze. The sea was indeed calm and we plunged in up to our waists. The water felt delightfully warm to our touch.
Apparently, the sea temperature here is an average of 27 degrees in February. I thought back to my last swim in the sea off Eastbourne last summer when the temperature was 17 degrees. Today, it’s showing as 8 degrees!
We watched as two men with snorkels, and what appeared to be spear guns, waded right out to the edge of the reef and began snorkelling along its length.
‘Let’s walk further out,’ I said, very soon regretting my suggestion as our feet began to encounter a sharp, rocky sea bed. It was impossible to leave the immediate sandy underwater strip along the edge of the beach without damaging our feet. Plastic sandals or rubber beach shoes are what we need for this I thought.
So, we confined ourselves to the shore line, immersing ourselves in the sea before walking along the length of the beach.
The east coast beach areas are sparsely populated compared to the west but we saw some pretty looking wooden chalets tucked in amongst the trees just above the shoreline.
After a couple of hours, we left to drive home for a well-earned breakfast. The route back took us past an impressive, stately looking eighteenth century stone-built mansion with a palm tree lined drive. We turned in for a look. The estate we entered is the home of Codrington College, the oldest theological college in the western hemisphere and the oldest tertiary education institution in the region.
It was founded in 1745 after Christopher Codrington, a wealthy sugar cane planter and former Governor General, had bequeathed the estate and considerable money at his death in 1710.
The setting of the college is impressive with its lily pond, driveway lined with tall Cabbage Palm trees and its situation on a hilltop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
We made it back by 9.00am and the end of our exercise period with minutes to spare.