Thursday 17 November – Monday 12 December
Warning this is a long update with a lot of pictures :)
We SLOWLY leave Prickly Bay at 8 PM Wednesday night. Even though we knew where the boats between us and the “exit” were after checking it out in the daylight, once it was DARK it sure looked different ! I am on the bow with flashlights to light up the few boats we need to pass, holding on as we start to ride the swells coming in. Get the anchor secured and back into the cockpit to set the sails. Wind is blowing 20 + knots so the genoa (head sail) is triple reefed and double reefed in the main sail, and still making 8 + knots of speed with 6 ft. waves on the beam. We have a great ride down to Trinidad hitting a top speed of 14 knots riding down a wave. We are docked at Crews Inn Marina in Chaguaramas Bay (sha-ger-rah-mus) by 9 Thursday morning. Checking into customs & immigration, located right next to the marina, takes a while. NO problems just slow, duplicate info. on different forms that have several copies with carbon paper to use so you have to be sure to press hard to go through to all the copies. Then it has to be looked over, separated, and stamped so about 2 hours later we are cleared in. Lunch on board, free water here so boat gets a good scrubbing. They have a cruisers net on the VHF radio here also, but we could not hear all of it as we were approaching the bay with the hills between us. But we see another boat we know (Fox Sea) in the marina so we get caught up from them. Tonight happens to be a cruisers pot luck here at our marina, so after a look around to see what is nearby, and a swim in the pool we get ready to see what we can do for dinner. Just as it time to go out we have a huge downpour, so we dine on board and call it an early night. Friday we hear on the cruisers net about a recovered lost dinghy MINUS the 15 hp engine out in the nearby anchorage. This is a huge problem here if you do not raise your dinghy up out of the water at night the chance of it getting stolen is very good. They do not really want the dinghy just the outboard motor (15 HP +), so if they don't sink the dinghy someone might find it. This owner does not have the means to raise the hard bottom dinghy so is looking to trade for a soft / inflatable dinghy that he can lift onto his boat. Steve thinks this might be an opportunity for us as we are in the market for a hard bottom dink. So he calls the guy to set up a meeting time, he is on the hard in one of the yards so comes by to look at our dinghy and is working on a way to get out to the boat that recovered his so we can look at it. (He had lent his dinghy to a friend out in the anchorage the night it was stolen). Friday afternoon we visit a couple of the boat yards to get info. on getting hauled out in a weeks time, visiting the chandleries and shops & restaurants along the way to see what is available. Chaguaramas Bay is part of a national park in the far northeast corner of the island. No real development EXCEPT the boat yards and related facilities, with a few restaurants scattered amongst the boat yards and a couple of small grocery stores. A great place for boat work but pretty isolated from town. Once back at our boat we talk to our neighbor who is also getting hauled out and has the same boat as ours. He informs us that Peaks travel lift is big enough so you do not need to remove the backstay or forestay, which is a big hassle, so easy decision now, we will go to Peaks to get hauled out. Saturday we put the dinghy in the water to go back over to finalize the dates and contract with the boatyard. Then go by another boatyard to pick up Alex, the guy with the hard bottom dinghy to trade. In Trinidad boaters are NOT allowed to sell things to each other, but we are allowed to barter or trade, that is why we are thinking about trading our dinghy for this other one. Pick up Alex then go out into the anchorage looking for the boat that found his dinghy. Tow it back to the boatyard dinghy dock, where we transfer our motor to it so we can take it for a spin to see how it does. The dinghy is not in as good a shape as we had hoped and it is smaller then ours so we are thinking that now it might not be such a good trade. With our small 5 hp engine this heavier dinghy goes even slower then ours. Back to the dinghy dock and Steve talks to another boater that has an 8 hp outboard motor to trade but his is much older then ours so again not such a good deal for us. So after all that we decide to keep our dinghy & motor for now until we get back up to duty-free St. Marten where the price is much lower. Saturday afternoon as we get ready for Sean's visit we have a huge thunderstorm. By the time Sean's plane lands at 10 the rain has long stopped but many streets remain flooded and or blocked by rocks & mud from landslides but the taxi driver gets Sean to the marina. We stay up late talking, catching up and feeding Sean. Steve going through all the things he had ordered and had Sean carry down with him.
Sunday we are up at 6 AM as Steve & Sean will be meeting up with Island Hikers to explore the Yarra River. Make them lunch & snacks to bring with them, back packs with a change of clothes and a dry bag and they are off the boat by 6:30 to catch a taxi / bus into downtown Port of Spain to meet up with Island Hikers to head north to Maracas Bay and the river. This is a non-profit club where members organize and lead trips through the jungle, and invite non-members to participate. Most people travel up by private car, but they've arranged a minivan for people without transportation. The trip up is uneventful for Steve, but Sean gets a little excited at the sheer drop offs to the rocks below on the coast road, and the casual way of driving. After a brief stop at Maracas bay to rendezvous with the other vehicles, they travel another 10 miles or so to the head of the “trail”, which is really not marked at all. The leaders have machetes, and hack their way through the jungle, marking the trail with broken branches pointing the way for those following. Occasionally Steve & Sean get off the trail and have to search around to find it again. About an hour into the hike, it starts raining hard. But the rain forest canopy is so dense it stays dry on the ground for a long time. Eventually it trickles down, and then the path turns to very slippery mud that makes going up or down steep slopes very treacherous, so they start grabbing anything they can to help keep their footing. Unfortunately one of the things Sean grabs has small splinter like thorns that break off and imbed themselves in his hand. Eventually they come to the river and begin wading down it, quickly discovering that its much easier to float than wade since the bottom is a mix of loose gravel, large rocks and sunken tree limbs that are invisible in the brown muddy water and make unsure footing. They said they looked like two drunks stumbling down the shallows. The highlight of the river was supposed to be a gorge that you float through, but when the group got there several went ahead to reconnoiter, and decided the risk of a sudden water rise with all the rain that had fallen was too great, and led the group on a detour around through the jungle. Steve & Sean were disappointed, but still had a good time and were glad they did it. I was glad I did not go, as the footing along the trail and river would not have been good for my bad knee. Meanwhile back at the marina I had a massage, manicure & pedicure. After the hike, Steve & Sean had a long wait in the minivan while the rest of the passengers finished the hike and cleaned up. The driver kept them entertained with a monster sound system he installed in the van, one of those where you can hear and feel the base a quarter mile away. When everyone got loaded up, the driver asked if everyone had all there gear, but with the music Steve though he said something about beer, and replied that he'd kill for one about now. The driver's eyes lit up, and he promised that would be the first stop of three on the way back. After 20 minutes of driving, he pulled over at a roadside grocery, and Steve got out to get a couple of beers for himself and Sean. To his surprise, the driver followed him in and got one for himself. Then they discussed the subject of drink/drive laws in various countries as the driver cradled his beer between his legs and guided the van through the hairpin turns along the coast road. They pulled into Maracas beach for the second stop, to get food at the numerous roadside stands there. Steve & Sean decide to try “Shark & Bake”, a Trini specialty. It consists of a piece of deep fried dough in a flat elliptical shape that they put a piece of breaded deep fried shark on. The rest is up to you – there's a long salad bar style table of toppings like lettuce, tomato, onions, cole slaw, and about a dozen sauces – garlic, cilantro, habanero etc. While they much on the sandwiches with another beer, they enjoy the beach scenery of young girls in bikinis. One outrageously dressed one in fishnet stockings, boots and hot pants turns out to be a guy, that Sean promptly names the “Trini Tranny”. It is 7 pm before they get back, quick showers and dinner at the restaurant here at our marina. It has been 2 long days especially for Sean, I think we manage to get to bed before midnight.
Monday we let Sean sleep in as Steve & I go visit Jesse with Members Only to arrange some tours during Sean's visit. Jesse and his company Members Only provide many wonderful services to the cruising community. From airport runs, scheduled market trips, to assorted day trips around the island. He and his wife Sharon Rose do a fabulous job coordinating group and individual requests to get you around the island to see whatever it is you want to see. We spend the rest of the day doing a few boat things, hauled dinghy on deck to clean & dry out to re-patch our little leak, cloudy day so Steve installed the new controller box for the solar panels that Sean brought down with him.
We give Sean the good news that on Tuesday we will be picked up at 4:30 AM, Sean is less a morning person than I am so the “WTF I am on vacation” look he gives us is priceless. We get all our “stuff” ready Monday night and get a few hours sleep before getting up to meet the taxi to take us to the ferry dock to catch the 6 AM ferry over to Tobago for a days outing. We have opted for this way to see Tobago with Sean as it would be too long of a trip to take our boat for 2 days during Sean's week visit. You have to check in for the ferry an hour before, and much to Steve & my surprise we have to go through security scanners like at the airport. Steve has his backpack with his Leatherman in it and I have my fanny pack with a small 3” Swiss army knife, both considered knives and NOT allowed on board ! They do have a way to check Steve's backpack so he goes to do that, the guy did not want to since it is clearly a carry on piece so Steve had to explain our “knives” all over again. The first of many laughs we will have during the day. The ferry ride over is 2 ½ hours and we are in calm seas, many passengers going over to work (delivery trucks) so they quickly find a spot to sprawl out and go to sleep. A decent food service area and a bar (for return trip) the seats are in dire need of re- upholstery but for the most part pretty comfortable, some with tables. We arrive in the main port town of Scarborough, claim our checked backpack and meet up with Annie our “tour guide” for the day. Bless her heart, she was a substitute for the person Jesse usually uses. Very sweet but she has to be the worst tour guide any of us had ever dealt with. She was in her 60's and grew up on Tobago and spent most of her life there, but just about any question we would ask she would say “well I don't really know”. There were 2 waterfalls we read about in the guide books and were along our route. When we first asked she told us the waterfalls had dried up and were gone due to an earthquake. Well we just looked at each other trying not to laugh out loud, Sean looking at her in disbelief asking seriously ! We drove by a road that WE recognized as leading to one of the water falls so we asked her to pull over so we could ask. Yes the Rainbow waterfall was up that road, Annie had never heard of this one and she use to work up this way. The road was not paved and did have some potholes so Annie went up the road at a snails pace. Annie complained about the condition of the road, stopping to ask everyone she saw if the waterfall was up this road while eating some kind of mystery subway sandwich that she somehow managed not to hit Sean in the face with as she waved her arm around while talking. We should have let Sean out of the car to run ahead to see what was up there, would have been much faster, but we were committed to see it to the end. We did find the McKenna home and restaurant that is the entrance to the falls as it lies on his property BUT no one was home so no guide to take us up. PAINFULLY slow back down the road, this time asking Annie to turn the A/C on since we had NO air flowing through the windows going so slow. Glad to have shown Annie part of her island she did not know about. Next down the road a ways to Roxborough and the Argyle Waterfall. Annie was vaguely familiar with this place. WHY when we told her we were interested in seeing waterfalls she did not mention this one would be along the way and a good place to stop no one could guess. We get there and we go in, pay our small entrance fee and meet up with a guide, Annie stays behind to wait with the car. It is an easy path down to the falls and the guide points out some wildlife and different plants along the way. The trail up to the higher tiers of the falls are not so easy so I stay down below and Steve & Sean climb up. It is beautiful up above and they get to take a massaging shower under the waterfall. As they are climbing back down on the cliff right above the pool where the guide & I have been waiting, they decide to see about jumping down ! As they are looking down to see if it is possible I look at the guide and ask can they do that. He says yes BUT they have to be sure to jump out to miss the rocks sticking out !! I am not convinced as other locals are asking “are they going to jump” ? The guide shaking his head yes as he shrugs, I ask again are you SURE they can do this. We try to yell up to tell them where the better spot is and to tell the to jump OUT so they do not hit the rocks below. They jump and manage not to hit, though Steve comes close (see video). Back down and change into dry clothes, it is 1:30 in the afternoon and we are getting hungry. The park only has snacks so we ask Annie where is a good place to get some good local food. She tells us there is no place up here !!! Again we ask seriously !!! No place to eat up here, well none that she knows about. Looking at the map, she is talking about driving further to loop around the island with no clue as to where we could get food along the way. We are on a limited time schedule that she is aware of, we need to be back to the Ferry by 4- 4:30 to catch the 5 pm ferry back to Trinidad. The route she has in mind looks like it would take too long so we decide to head back the way we came and go down past Scarborough to the beaches by Pigeon Point to see if we can find something to eat before we have to leave. Taking the long way thru town we finally get to Pigeon Point and the 1st place we stop at does not have any curried crab & dumplings a reported best Tobago dish that Steve & Sean wanted to try. Drive a little further and find some small local kiosks set up along a beach. I find some baked chicken and Steve & Sean try the curried crab. They are NOT impressed and it is quite the sight watching them trying to dig out the crab meat with a little plastic spork after cracking the shell with their teeth. Who knew we were supposed to bring our own crab cracking utensils. If not for the messy curry we could have used Steve's leather-man or my Swiss army knife. Back to the ferry terminal say goodby to Annie and go check in, Steve asks where he can check his bag. The lady at the counter looks at him like he is crazy and just points us to the door, there is NO security line to go through on the way back to Trini. I guess people only get knifed on the way over not on the way back ???? We get better seats and buy a bottle of rum & mixers to share on the way back as we play cards and laugh about the events of the day. Sean can say he has been to Trinidad AND Tobago, with Tobago being a once in a lifetime experience we all hope.
Wednesday we have a 9 AM pick up at the marina for a Taste of Trini Tour with Jesse James of Members Only and our group of 12, including Jesse. What a fabulous day this winds up to be, driving around the island stopping at many local places for a taste of some local dishes. This is the list of the different foods we tasted (I did not taste a few); #1 Saltfish buljol; #2 Smoke herring; #3 Coconut bake; #4 Doubles; #5 Buttered cassava; #6 Pelau; #7 Pommerac; #8 Portugals; #9 Chiquitos; #10 Saheena; #11 Aloo pie; #12 Baiganee; #13 Kachourie; #14 Dhal puri roti; #15 Sada roti; #16 Buss-up-shut (a.k.a. paratha roti); #17 Curry chicken; #18 Curry gizzard; #19 Curry goat; #20 Stew beef; #21 Curry mango; #22 Curry pumpkin. #23 Fried aloo; #24 Baigan chokha; #25 Pineapple chow; #26 Phulourie; #27 Pommecythere; #28 Sweet bread; #29 Cassava pone; #30 Red coconut tart; #31 Trini-style Chinese pork; #32 Curry duck; #33 Cocoa bean pulp straight from the pod; #34 Jelly coconut; # 35 Kurma; #36 Barfi; #37 Geera pork; #38 Grilled fish; #39 Green fig salad; #40 Fried sweet potato; #41 Pastelle; #42 Barbecued pigtail; #43 Peanut and other flavours of homemade ice cream; #44 Goolab jamoon. So we got to taste a lot of different foods as well see parts of the island that are off the typical tourist path, accompanied by Jesse’s lively informative commentary of Island history before being dropped back off at 8 PM.
Thursday is Thanksgiving and the cruisers have organized a Turkey pot luck dinner. Zanzibar the restaurant at Peaks boatyard as agreed to cook the turkeys and everyone brings a dish to share. Steve goes over early to help carve the turkeys. It turns out to be a lovely event with plenty of delicious food held under a huge mango tree in the picnic area of the boatyard.
Friday we get picked up by Jesse again as a group of 8 of us head off to see the Asa Wright Nature Center and the Caroni Swamp. Since Jesse is driving we get to stop for doubles for breakfast along the way. Taking some of the same roads and a few different ones we get quizzed on the island facts he talked about the other day and learn more about this part of the island. The nature center is on 200 acres up 1200 feet in the mountains. A beautiful estate from 1907 now housing a museum, and restaurant with a veranda overlooking the property where you can watch all kinds of birds flying around. They do have some overnight lodging for those wanting to explore more of the trails and night critters common to the area. We go on a short guided tour hearing about and seeing some birds, flowers and trees in this beautiful setting. Have a wonderful buffet lunch then are free to walk around a little and or just watch all the birds from the veranda before heading out to travel down the mountain to the Caroni Swamp. We arrive there by 4 to head out on a guided tour by boat into the swamp. We are here to see the national bird the scarlet ibis as they congregate for the night on one of the small mangrove islands out in the swamp. As we head out our guide stops several times to point out other birds as well as a snake, some tiny climbing crabs and a few other wildlife things living in the swamp. Once out there we see the birds flocking to the island, their bright red color standing out against the sky as the sun is setting. They all go to the same island filling the green branches so they now look like they have red flowers all over. An incredible sight to watch. The scarlet ibis fly high in V formation, next the white herons start flocking in flying just above the water, skimming the surface. As they land on the same island they disappear into the trees as they sleep inside. Back to the boat by 7 PM after a wonderful day.
Saturday we take a short day sail over to the island of Chacachacare (shak-a-shak-are-ee) up till the late 1970's this was a large Leper colony run by Dominican nuns. The island & it's buildings have all been abandoned but the ruins of the buildings can be carefully explored and an active manned light house is a short hike up a road. Steve & Sean hike up for the view, and find several mango trees with lots of fruit at the top. The mangoes aren't ripe yet, but Steve picks a few anyway to make a Thai Green Mango Salad. A lot of boats come over for day trips or to anchor for a few days of quiet. We head back by 4:30 and are tied up at the dock by 6, in time for showers, Sean to pack & to get dressed by 7:30 to get picked up for dinner downtown on the way for Sean to catch his overnight flight back to the states. We go to an Indian restaurant called Apsara, and have a great meal to end a great weeks visit with Sean.
Sunday we sleep late after staying up very late watching TV when we got home from dinner. Do Laundry and get the boat ready to get hauled out on Monday.
Monday we are across the way and into the lift slip ready to go by 8. Get hauled out and pressure washed then moved over to our spot and put on stands and the keel rested on blocks. Discuss that the keel needs to be heavily sanded down and primed before it gets painted, the rest of the bottom just a light sanding, and decide to have the sides waxed before they paint. As we checked the bottom Steve noticed that one of the bow thruster props was missing. We had an incident where a rope got caught in it, and Steve checked it shortly afterward, but sometime, somewhere after that it came loose and spun off. So he goes to visit several of the local shops that might have one to no avail. They tell him to check with another shop, so he comes back and calls. They do not have one in stock but can order it and should be able to get it to us before we go back in the water. Go down to the shop to pay for it so there is no delay in the order then we go to the hotel to check in and drop our things off. You can, and most people do, stay on their boats while on the hard in the boatyards. Down here in Trinidad if you are staying on board you also rent an air cooled AC unit to put in one of your hatches to keep things cool and the humidity down. They could not get us an A/C until Thursday and since we would only be there till Friday that was not going to be much good. So with the heat & humidity not to mention mosquito’s if you have to leave hatches open we (I) decided the hotel would be a better option. Not by much, the hotel had lovely grounds and a nice swimming pool and curbside appeal but the rooms were a bit run down. The first room we checked into was very basic, just a bed, no tables or chairs. Strike 1. But it did have an ironing board, so we borrowed a couple of melamine chairs from outside the room and made a makeshift table to put Steve's computer on. They did have WiFi service as advertised, but it was too weak to connect from the room. Strike 2. Then a couple of maintenance guys showed up at the door asking if they could do some testing of our bathroom because there was a leak in the ceiling of the room below. We left them pouring buckets of colored water into the bathtub to try to find the leak. When we came back about 8 that night, tired, hot and sweaty, Steve went in to take a shower, and discovered we had no way to turn the shower on, and no plug for the bathtub. Evidently it was the shower/tub diverter valve that was leaking, and their solution was to just remove it. Steve tried to call housekeeping or the front desk, and found the phone wasn't working. So hot sweaty and grumpy he redressed and went to the front desk to complain. The result was moving us into a suite that actually had a few sticks of furniture at the same price as the other room. We had plenty of hot water for showers and A/C so not too bad for just a few days. A nice little walk back & forth every day, with the boat yard fenced in, the entrance was down the road a little ways. Boat yards are interesting places a lot of coming and going and a lot of work being done, I am amazed at how many people spend weeks and months (some years) living on their boat in the boatyard. But if you need a lot of work done this would be the place to do it as this area has just about any yacht service you could need with knowledgeable people in the trade. They start work on our boat right away, start the polishing that afternoon. Tuesday they finish polishing and sanded and painted the bottom. Wednesday no work on the boat so we go to The Falls Mall in town walking around in the A/C looking at the beautiful Christmas decorations. No hardware store so Steve is disappointed. We know it is almost December but somehow when it is 90° with 100 % humidity it is easy to forget. Wednesday night is a cruisers pot luck dinner at Peaks boatyard that we attend. Thursday they finish the 2nd coat of paint and are done except the 2 spots where the keel is resting on blocks. We still do not have the prop for the bow thruster. Steve has been calling the guy several times to check on the status of where it is and if it has cleared customs but no definite answer as to when it will be here. Steve explains how much harder it will be to put on once we are in the water and Ian assures him he is “working it” to get it to us. We are scheduled to go in at 3 on Friday, and while we are away from the boat the neighbor tells us they came by to see if we could be ready to go earlier. We have still not received the bow thruster prop so the last thing we want to do is go earlier. They come and get the neighbor and tell us we will be next. Steve tells them they still have to sand and prime the 2 spots on the keel, they say they will just paint those 2 spots when we are in the lift. Steve says NO WAY, if it is not sanded and primed it will just peel. So a few more heads are consulted and it is decided they will leave us in the travel lift overnight. Keel gets sanded and primed and Steve finishes the painting. In the meantime Steve is on the phone several times with Ian asking where is my prop PLEASE get it to me tonight. Having checked out of the hotel, we are staying on the boat floating in air on the slings of the travel lift. At 10 PM we get a call from Ian and he is entering the boat yard to deliver the prop! Steve gets 2 coats of paint on it and gets it installed very glad to be doing so on land and not underwater. Saturday morning we are back in the water by 9 and back across to Crews Inn marina. Even though we were only in the yard 5 days with limited open windows, dust & dirt still got inside and outside topside was dirty and full of little rust spots from metal floating around the yard and landing on the boat. We spend the rest of that day, and Sunday and part of Monday giving the boat a total scrub down inside & out.
They have several routine shopping trips that they do weekly for the cruisers, we have not been on any so we sign up for several this week. With $1 US = to $6 TT you can get some good deals on things here, and it is a good place to stock up. Not that we have a lot of room to put things to really stock up, it is always an adventure seeing what is available. Tuesday we go to True Value (supermarket) located at Long Circular Mall, so you get to go to both places. Then a stop at Malabar Meats a specialty shop, selling meats & cheeses and other hard to find items. Wednesday we go to Price Mart a big box store like Sams. Some good deals if you can buy huge packages of things. We manage to find a few more things. Thursday they have put together a trip down to Charlotte Street downtown Port of Spain. A very interesting place, all kinds of strange little shops selling anything you can think of with street vendors set up in front, on the street, selling more things you don't need. A bit overwhelming for our taste, I would rather pay 2X as much than have to rummage through all the clutter trying to find what it is you are looking for. But it is a scene to be seen. This is NOT a tourist area, so none of the hassle of vendors trying to sell you souvenirs. Shop keepers very nice asking if they can help you find something. Some GREAT fabric stores, a lot of cruisers come down here to buy fabric then make or have someone make what they need. IF we were going to be here longer OR had more time we could shop for material to redo our salon cushions which will be our next big project on our to-do list. Thursday evening we get to attend another pot luck dinner held here at our marina and we have a big group show up as the weather is beautiful. Friday evening is a charity event put on by YSATT (Yacht Services Association of Trinidad & Tobago). YSATT is a non-profit organization helping the yachting community, individuals and business, deal with the government and maintaining fair standards. A small entry fee gets you in and you buy chits to buy food the local business have donated, all going to help the poor have a little better Christmas. Another fun event where we get to meet more fellow cruisers and sample more Trini food. Saturday morning we are up bright and early to catch the 6:30 AM ride into town to go to the town market. Where they sell fruits, veggies, fish, and any & all parts of beef, pork, and poultry. Again NOT a tourist destination so no pressure to buy this or that. Just one of those places you have to see and experience as the locals do. Saturday evening we go to see the Silver Stars Steel Orchestra T&T's champion steel band. The steel pan being the only instrument invented in the 20th century and right here in Trinidad & Tobago. This band was started 60 years ago by a group of high school kids, and many of its members are high school kids today. They are truly a gifted group of young & old musicians and it is unbelievable all the different sounds they get from the different types of steel drums. All the different steel bands have their own “pan yards” where they practice and perform. We were told it is an outside venue so were thinking out in a field but it is an open partially covered courtyard with adjoining buildings. Towards the back (where we got a table) the acoustics were not the best but once you went up front to the dance floor no distortion and to watch them play was just fabulous. What we saw was just part of the band, maybe 25 pans or so. We're told for the competitions they field up to 140 pans! After their 2nd break a well known Trini singer Denyse Plummer got up to sing. She was great but VERY LOUD, and unfortunately since we came with a group it was time for us to leave before the grand finale. We have a great time experiencing one of Trini's legendary steel pan acts. Sunday we get to experience a different Trini holiday event. We go to see the Lydians Christmas in the Cocoa concert. This takes place at Queen's Hall a very nice preforming arts theater. The Lydian's are one of T&T's best musical organizations and this performance combines some traditional Christmas songs along with non traditional as well as Parang music from Argentina. Another great experience of Trini culture. We have only been here 3 ½ weeks and it is easy to see how this country can get into your blood, it is a very intoxicating culture and we will miss it.
Monday what we thought would be an easy morning to get ready to head back north to Grenada, turns out to be hectic and unusual. First Steve has the VHF radio off as he is listening to Chris Parker's weather report verifying the weather still looks good for our passage. All of a sudden I hear a lot of voices on the boat next to us and look out and see (white) smoke billowing up from their deck. I yell to Steve that there is a fire on the boat next to us. We get up on deck prepared to move out of the slip, but see that the marina's crew already has the fire under control. It was a frayed wire in the 220 volt system supplying power to the air conditioning that shorted out and ignited foul weather gear stored in a deck locker. Very messy, but not too damaging to the boat. BUT another 10 minutes or so and it would have been terribly serious. A little while later I hear Steve talking to 2 people from the cockpit. Due to the accents of the people I thought it was another couple we had met and were getting ready to leave that day also. I was surprised when Steve called me up top to see a very young German couple Michael 19 years, and Stefanie 18 years old. They are desperately looking for a way out of Trinidad. They flew here a week ago to meet up with another German boater to be crew on his boat. Even though they met him a few times back in Germany things have gone really bad since they arrived and it is not working out. It sounds like an awful situation, so we agree to give them a ride to Grenada. This entails them going to collect all their belongings, then they and their captain meeting us in immigration to sign them off that boat and onto ours. It takes a while but finally gets done, we are away from the marina by 12:30 starting to head for Scotland Bay, realizing we forgot to fuel up so turn around quick stop at fuel dock then continue on to Scotland Bay.
Scotland Bay is a nice little anchorage around the corner from Chaguaramas where we will just anchor and rest a little while before heading out in the evening for our overnight passage to Grenada. We go say hi to 2 other boats we know that came in a little while after us with the same plan to stage there and rest up for the passage. We have dinner and get under way a little after 7. We have current pushing us out but not much wind and it is on the nose so motor sailing to start. The almost full moon starts to rise at 8 and by 8:30 we have plenty of light to see the calm seas. The wind has picked up and at a better angle so we turn the motor off and are sailing 8 + knots with 1-2 ft. seas. A sweet ride all the way to Grenada, except for the little bit we were asked to alter course to go behind a seismic vessel out doing surveys trailing 5 miles of cables. We had to turn west and go down wind, the change of direction causing a sloppy motion for the boat, waking Steve up a few minutes before his shift was to start. We watch the sun rise as we approach and enter Prickly Bay and are anchored by 7. We get a short rain shower to rinse the salt off the boat just in time to listen to the cruisers net and say Hi we are back in Grenada. Michael & Stefanie are still catching up on sleep after helping with watches, when they wake they go for a swim and then start to look online for a place to stay. We have no room or need for crew so they will be getting off Ocean Star here to try to find another boat to crew on. They are a very sweet young couple with a lot of enthusiasm towards their adventure and we wish them all the best. We will spend Christmas here in Grenada before moving on.
Happy Holidays to all, we miss and love you all very much.
link to pictures: https://picasaweb.google.com/103931849054358791487/Trinidad?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCPWP8cr0mbGx_QE&feat=directlink