Local Bajans will tell you that Barbados is 21 miles long and a ‘smile’ wide. Although the island is in fact somewhat wider, it is easy to see where the saying comes from. The population, some 270 000, always has a smile and a friendly greeting for visitors and neighbours alike. The island has a distinctly British influence about it which is reflected in structures like the defence force garrison buildings which oddly enough surround the island’s race course. The capital of Barbados is Bridgetown, a busy hub of activity where sports fishing boats and charter sailing vessels nestle alongside waterfront restaurants, and duty-free shops.