“The horizon turns blue. The Atlantic hoves into sight…”

“This is dangerous water for swimmer or mariner and best viewed from shore.”

River Bay, Barbados

A small brackish river flows very slowly a few hundred yards inland. Shaded benches under casuarina pine trees – an ideal spot for a picnic. But the sea in Barbados is never far away.

And while you swim here at your peril, it’s still a magnificent sight. The sea splits the rock in two and the river is topped up at high tide. The sargassum seaweed has multi-coloured man-made flotsam scattered within it. This detrtitus has probably travelled thousands of miles to litter the banks of the river. On the weekend, Bajans hang out, picnicking on macaroni pie and flying fish, fried chicken and sweet potato mash. But during the week, even at high season, River Bay, Barbados is empty.
The calm waters of River Bay, but the frenzied Atlantic is not far away .
Photographs by secretbarbados.com
The isolated hamlet of River Bay.
River Bay, Barbados

Soft pine needles underfoot…

Ford the river and walk up the gentle slope, soft underfoot with pine needles, towards the increasing roar of the sea.

Suddenly the horizon turns deep blue and the Atlantic in all its furious frenzy hoves into sight. Continue along the cliff top and marvel at the huge breakers as they smash against the cliffs, throwing tall spires of white spume high into the air.

Behind you, palm trees circle the small, sleepy settlement of River Bay where residents surely either acclimatise to the constant sound of waves… or go mad.

“Tiny butterflies flitter around despite a wind which threatens to knock the sturdiest of humans off their feet…”
Shady casuarinas… ideal picnic spot.
Below the cliffs, spires of spume reach high into the air.
River Bay, Barbados

A few hundred yards to seaward, outcrops of rock poke from the ocean. Waves break remorselessly over them. This is dangerous water for swimmer or mariner, best viewed from shore.

Marvel at the beauty and power

As elsewhere in the harsh east coast, tiny orange butterflies and grasshoppers flitter around the sharp, inhospitable coral rock despite the wind which threatens to knock the sturdiest human off their feet.

The view of River Bay from the cliff top perch is spectacular. It’s suddenly easy to see why swimming in that water, whatever the state of the tide, merits the warning sign. Strong currents it says, a danger which increases during the tourist season as the sea flows more powerfully from the north at this time of year. Don’t mess with it. Just marvel at the waves – this wonderful force of nature – and the power generated by a three thousand mile journey.

Getting to River Bay, Barbados: regular bus from Bridgetown for the intrepid and the bay is easy to find by car with a combination of map and irregular sign posts.

Cool in the Pool - click for story.

slave burial ground

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