Where tropic surf idyll meets machete-wielding crackhead

Yadin Nicol, Soup Bowl. Photo by DJ Struntz

Heroes Don’t Wear Yellow

by Roland Cadeaux

I went to Barbados for the first time ten years ago with two mates from home.

It was the end of a miserable winter, and Barbados provided the perfect antidote… warm, blue water, great weather and waves… The dream trip, then.

We rented a bungalow in Bathsheba and surfed the clean conditions in the mornings, and even when the strong trades were up, Soup Bowl was still fun as shit.

Anyway, our bungalow was a wee bit sketch. It’s past the backpackers there which is real safe, by the break called Parlour’s. So I guess if you want security and peace of mind etc you stay at the backpackers, and if you’re feeling brave, rent your own cottage by Parlour’s.

Surf Consistency: 5 – Wave Variety: 5
Climate: 9 – Budget: 6 – Radness: 7

The boys would always cruise by the porch to say wassup/ask for a drink of water/case the joint. I remember falling asleep in the afternoon on the porch after a 3 surf morning and opening one eye to see a giant guy inside the house itself. He saw me wake up, came out on to the porch with a glass of water and said “You look a lil’ tired, man.” I was like, “Well yeah, that’s coz I’m asleep.”

Anyway, it was all very cordial, if slightly cheeky, but it was fairly obvious that at some point our belongings were destined to be removed from the premises and smoked in a crack pipe.

A few nights before leaving we went out to Bridgetown and had a massive night, drove back in our little doorless Moke in the small hours. As we pulled up outside the cottage we could see one window had been removed and a guy was coming out with three backpacks, and making off up the hill.

…It was fairly obvious that at some point our belongings were destined to be removed from the premises and smoked in a crack pipe.

One mate, Nick, immediately shouted after him and gave chase into the inky darkness. My other mate E went into the house to see if any others were still there. I just kinda stayed in the car, if I’m honest. I’m not a hero. If there were doors to lock I would have done but there weren’t so I just kinda closed my eyes.

What was funny was the way he’d kinda been through our stuff and picked what he wanted. He packed the backpacks with stuff he liked the look of, and left the rest. Apparently he wasn’t keen on any of my collection of early naughties bright yellow surf brand T-shirts, but liked the other colours. He basically liked the look of all of my clothes except the yellow t-shirts, and especially liked the look of my (hidden) passport.

Nick caught up with the perpetrator in some bushes up the hill, tackled him and grabbed one of the backpacks by the strap. The thief held the other in one hand, and thus a bizarre nocturnal tug of war ensued, until the thief pulled out a huge machete with the other hand. Nick let go.

E spent the rest of the night up rocking in the kitchen chair with a baseball bat on his lap ( I have no idea where he got a bat from at 4am), clenched teeth, flared nostrils, ‘In case the fuckers come back…’

I didn’t. I went to bed after being chastised for staying in the car and ‘not backing the boys up’. If I’m honest, I felt that maintaining the maximum possible distance between myself and the machete-wielding crackhead in the pitch black had been an excellent display of decision making, even in my drunken state.

The worst part of the whole thing was the authorities calling my mum in Cornwall to verify the missing passport. “Mrs Cadeaux? This the Bajan Embassy in Bridgetown, it’s about your son…” nearly gave her a heart attack.

I haven’t been back to Barbados but would love to go, it was a great trip.

If I do, in order to avoid missing any surf time through post-robbery embassy/police/insurance errands, I’ll probably take an all-yellow outfit, and keep my passport up my bum.


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