I used to feel a little envious when my aunt would talk about the island hopping she and her friends did when they were at the University of the West Indies. Back then, the best way to travel among the islands was by boat. The trip she talks about often took place the year she graduated. She and some of her class mates decided to accompany those from different islands who were returning home. Whenever they reached the island home of a member of their group, they disembarked and did that until they arrived at their last stop, Port of Spain in Trinidad & Tobago.
My aunt never revealed what they did while they were on board or after they disembarked, but from the smile on her face when she tells the story now, I know they had a blast.
Unfortunately, that service ceased operating in the 70s.
Now, a new service, announced by Trinidad & Tobago’s Transport Minister Devant Maharaj is set to launch later this year and will be based in Port of Spain. It will be operated by a Barbadian consortium, Fast Ferry Ltd.
The first phase would connect the islands of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados. Ferries would leave Port of Spain, at 6:00 a.m. and arrive in Bridgetown, Barbados, its last stop, at 6:00 p.m.
The proposed average price of tickets for Trinidadian citizens would be between US$25 and US$35, however, 100,000 seats, priced at $10, would be available annually.
The service will join already established ferry services that make travel within the US and British Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas possible. There is no ferry service connecting the larger islands – Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.