Relaxing on Tobago    Click for the chartlet of our first Caribbean trip
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A new sailing area! Before we reached it, we had to sweat it out as the passage from Surinam to Tobago was not very easy. The wind direction was okay (beam reach) but the sea was rough and the waves were high and steep. As a result of the wind direction they came in on our beam, so we had tons of massive water on deck. Water that passes horizontally tends to find the narrowest ways into the boat. In short: it was not only wet outside, but also inside. A slippery floor in a boat that rides the waves like a pingpong ball doesn't add much to comfort. Even going to 30+ knots, JW didn't even dare to cook. Later he made it all up again by serving two delicious meals and when we woke up the morning after arrival in Pirate's Bay, all misery was completely forgotten. This is paradise, man!
We knew 3 of the 5 anchored yachts so it was a great welcome. Customs and Immigration weren't as bad as predicted, as long as you tell them that you arrived during offcie hours. Fortunately the Netherlands is also a cricket playing country and we are among the lucky ones who don't have to bother to order visa (100 USD pp) personally and pick it up 2 days later in Scarborough on the other side of the island. It appears that the ICC are played this month in the West-Indies and the costs that are made for security will be paid by all tourists from non-cricket-countries who contribute through visa.

Trinidad and Tobago form together a state within the British Commonwealth. Industry is concentrated on Trinidad, while Tobago depends solely on tourism. Nature is unspoilt as there is no industry as a result of the hurricane which destroyed in 1963 almost everything on the island.
The climate is pleasant (two degrees colder than in Surinam and what's more: strong winds) and much dryer. The people are extremely kind and relaxed (or say: slow).

Their faces are open: eyes wide apart, high forehead, straight nose and powerful jaws; a beautiful combination of negroe and indian. They speak a funny drawling English dialect.
The island is filled with painted signs and posters and sometimes this is necessary as some products one would never expect for instance in a vegetables market stall... The people are very religious and of the extreme kind: 7th Day Adventists and Jehova’s Whitnesses all around. Special religious meetings are advertised with the promise of some “good preaching”. If you don't hear reggae, you hear gospel music. But it is not bothersome as it is played on a normal volume. Quite a relief for our in Surinam tortured ears.

Pirate’s Bay is a small bay in Man O’War Bay, so called because it was a favourite stopping place for British ships in the West Indian fleet before World War II. From the beach you can do great snorkelling among magnificent coloured fish and many types of coral; they say the braincoral is the best in the whole Caribbean. And it is a nice place to hang out with the local rasta’s. We were immediately offered a coconut and papaya's and hot peppers to take home. It is “liming” all around the clock, the Caribbean equivalent of chilling, and we are naturals. But what else do you expect, we are already “yachties” for 3 years.
Liming can also be done extensively deeper in the fishing village Charlotteville, situated on Man O'War Bay. This is a sleepy village with many small restaurants along the beach. The kingfish – something like tuna but white meat and much better - is the big catch and they fish for it in small boats with on either side an outrig of long bamboo fishing poles. The anchored fishing boats are crowded by various types of birds, a.o. pelicans and herons. Tobago is a paradise for bird watchers, as there are more species to be found than on any other island in the Eastern part of the Caribbean.

This is because Tobago was never plagued by poisonous snakes and thus escaped mongoose infestation. Mongooses were imported to the other islands to eliminate the snakes, but when they finished the assignment, they started on the birds, hence the relatively low bird population in most of the Caribbean islands.

Going to Scarborough by bus is a true adventure. It already starts with the question whether there will be a bus at all that day. There are also taxibuses, but without a time schedule and more expensive. For the local bus you buy tickets in advance, but as soon as you see any type of bus you jump in, even if it is a taxibus because you never know if there will be a local bus. But the ride is fantastic! The bus follows the southern coastal road along splendid bays, an awful zigzag road as Tobago is as vulcanic as for example the Canary islands, which have a similar structure. But Tobago's nature is more similar to Surinam, the trees and plants are only smaller and with smaller leaves.
Scarborough itself is not a beautiful town but it is lively and there are many small restaurants and pubs where you can have a drink or a bite ; and the biggest attraction is that you can get money from the ATM. The ATM in Charlotteville refused all our cards (4)!

With the beach rasta’s we have become good friends. They all have funny nicknames: Rush, Rasta and Jungleman. Rush (who is of course in no hurry at all) took us on a long walk to the top of the mountain. Straight up through the jungle for more than 3 hours. We enjoyed the flora which is also here sometimes overwhelming and after the climb we were rewarded with superb views over Man O’War Bay and the rocks of St.Giles Island which we avoided on our sail into the bay. And Rush showed us many birds, in short: the Tobago experience was complete.
Film beach rasta weirdo's (6.64 Mb)

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