Sunday 17 February, 2019

WATCH: Sargassum seaweed not scaring away tourists to Barbados

(center) Owner of The Whisky Exchange with (left) Dean MacGregor and (right) Sunny Sangha in Barbados as part of their 10-day Caribbean tour.

(center) Owner of The Whisky Exchange with (left) Dean MacGregor and (right) Sunny Sangha in Barbados as part of their 10-day Caribbean tour.

Tourists to the island of Barbados are not running away from Barbados, nor are they giving the island a bad review because of the Sargassum seaweed washing ashore along the East coast.

In fact, when Loop visited the popular Crane Beach which won Best Caribbean Beach in USA TODAY 10 Best's Readers Choice Awards in 2015, tourists were walking along the beach, tanning on beach chairs, reading under the shade of umbrellas, enjoying drinks and even frolicking in the water.

 

Sunny Sangha said, "Barbados is beautiful, a little seaweed makes no difference." But he said he was forewarned by a Barbadian friend who resides in the UK. He was lounging and bibbing with his mates Dean MacGregor and Sukhinder Singh. Smiling with a drink in his hand, Singh said, "As long as you're drinking, the seaweed matters not."

Singh owns Whisky Exchange and distributes Caribbean rums. Barbados was but one stop on their 10-day tour around the Caribbean. Besides visiting Barbados and checking out Crane Beach, they also went to Foursquare Distillery and Mount Gay Distillery, and in the region they also stopped at Jamaica, Haiti, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

MacGregor said that they also saw the seaweed in Martinique. He said as the plane was approaching Barbados, when they looked out the window, they thought the seaweed was mounds of sand or shallower areas where the sand was more visible.

With two of the three setting aside their cups after the interview, all three gentlemen took to the waves, to enjoy their last day before returning to London's cold.

Visitors and Sargassum seaweed at Crane Beach in Barbados

Steve from Ontario Canada shared, "It [the seaweed] makes the beach less appealing, so it's a negative impact, so you don't have as many people at the beach now, but it won't stop me from coming back."

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Breathing an audible sigh of relief at his last comment, which made Steve chuckle, Loop asked how many times he has visited the island so far. "Oh, we own here. This is about our eighth year." Turns out that despite the seaweed, Steve and his wife have fractional ownership at The Crane Resort," he revealed.

Mike and Shelley from Ontario as well, said that the seaweed is not discouraging them. Mike said, "It's nature. You can't do anything about it." Shelley agreed, "It's better that it's natural than it being a problem like floating plastic. It's natural and seasonal, so what!" Mike added, "It smells a bit but you can ignore it; it's nature and we understand. We don't mind at all." Shelley said that she had to get accustomed to walking on it, adjusting to the feel, "it's squishy" but afterwards even that was okay.

Speaking to a mother and daughter pair from North America, the mother said that they were on a tour which brought them to Crane Beach, but she actually chose accommodation on the North-West coast because she expected the seaweed. She said they didn't go into the water because "the seaweed is a little off-putting, plus this water is a bit rough on this [East] side," however, she admitted that when she visited Mexico last year the seaweed was there as well, so it's not her first encounter with it. At Crane Beach, they just sunbathed and walked the shore, but the two made plans instead to venture into the water at Accra Beach, Pebbles Beach and Browne's Beach along the South coast during their stay. 

Even children were playing in the waves when Loop visited the St. Philip beach. There was also a tractor working to remove some of the seaweed from the shore. 

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