Green Trinidad and green Grenada    Click for the chartlet
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WE SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS YEARS AGO!!!
We mean the new furling system. But, if our budget would have permitted this purchase in the old days, we now would not have an advanced type as we own now: with free turn and many other secrets that experienced furling people recognise immediately as important features, but are probably not valued enough by us novices in furling land.

We were extremely lucky having only 15 kts of wind during the crossing from Trinidad to Grenada, instead of the more usual 25 kts. The passage means 80 nm to windward in a confused sea. And the stronger the wind, the more uncomfortable the trip. Anyway, after a relatively pleasant sail with for the first time in our lives no sail changes, we arrived on Grenada. But first we want to tell you more about Trinidad and its beauty, because this was a little bit overlooked in the previous story.
Trinidad is the main island of the republic of Trinidad & Tobago, 50 miles from north to south and 30 miles across the middle (though nearly twice that at its northern and southern peninsula's). So with its 1.3 mio inhabitants it is rather crowded. Trinidad's main activities are oil industry and drugs trade. The drugs we saw with our own eyes in port, because what else is carried by all those little fishing boats plying back and forth; surely no fish. The oil industry and related products we didn't see as well, as this is concentrated in the middle of the island and easy to stay away from.
The climate is tropical but not similar to the climate in Surinam, as on Trinidad they have only one dry and one wet season each year. We now have the dry season although it rained cats and dogs in the first week of our holiday, which is correct according to our local informer as it is obviously a leap year. The wind is also stronger then. That we didn't know that!

So not only the botanical garden in Port of Spain is pretty at the moment, but the whole island is lush green and we wanted to see that through our own eyes. We dared to go a second time by rush-bus to Port of Spain to catch another bus to the northwestcoast. You can't visit Trinidad without having tried Bake ’n Shark, Maracas Bay's speciality. But unfortunately we just missed the bus so instead we had a tuna and lettuce sandwich on the boat.

The following day we tried again by worn-out rented car, which we borrowed for one day from Peter, our tuna-fishing Swedish neighbour from Surinam. We drove straight across the tropical rainforest where it rained as it ought to in a rainforest, and continued on a winding coastal road past splendid bays. Maracas Bay is a huge attraction for the locals and on Sundays it is a real mad-house, but thank god it was a Saturday and furthermore on arrival in Maracas Bay the clouds were not yet dissolved so there were no people at all. But the Bake ’n Shark stalls were open so this shark sandwich could not slip through our fingers. It is a kind of deepfried pita bun; cut open and filled with fried shark, garlic, coriander and an unknown brownish sauce, lettuce, tomato and cucumber and thus we were ready for the second part of the ride. More desolate bays, another unknown tree, sleepy villages and 40 miles of winding road through the rainforest. Extremely pretty and not to be missed by anyone sailing into Chaguaramas; all those sailors who claim that Trinidad is “nothing much”, are crazy or short-sighted.

Grenada. We checked in at Prickly Bay and after P repaired a jammed winch and JW adjusted the height of the rudder's quadrant, we moved one bay further up to Hog Island. Last year we met Renée and Tom from Seattle (Semper Fi) and they were waiting for us there. They were excited about our arrival and the oranges we brought from our own garden, and they invited us to cold drinks and nice food and they provided us with lots of useful information. This bay is much nicer than Prickly, which is filled with expensive villa’s. It is not on the route and it is also not a place you call in at unplanned, as the approach is surrounded by reefs. There are a few marker buoys but eyeballing is the most important navigation instrument.
The shores seem to be undeveloped and completely green. There are some small beaches where goats and sheep walk and if you are lucky you see wild horses (so they say). Hog Island beach has an attractive hang-out where you can lime. Until the big round-trip catamaran arrives. Every other day it brings thirty or so pink tourists who within minutes click several gigabytes of snapshots.

A climb to the top of Hog Island is disappointing as the construction of a 5-stars resort is planned. On the principle: Down with nature! bulldozers flattened out the site and poison was used generously to kill all the trees that are now still in the way, so later they can be cleared easily. Obviously tourists prefer to sit in a neatly layed out garden rather than among the trees and cactusses that inhabited Hog Island originally.

The bay is crowded with regulars from all over the world: US, Canada, Sweden, even an Icelander and our neighbours were from New-Zealand; we were the only Dutch boat. Outwardly there was nothing doing around there, but Americans are crazy about organised activities so every Sunday afternoon Roger's Beach Bar has music and BBQ and on Wednesdays there is a “burger nite” with steel pan music in the marina one bay up. The hamburgers and fries were perfect but we hated the music (American oldies).
With Tom and Renée we attended “Fish Friday” in Gouyave on the westcoast; a true attraction for the locals, so also for us. In many food stalls a variety of fish is served. The locals chose mainly fried fish with a bun, the passengers of the ten stories high cruiseship scrambled around the lobster stalls. It was a pity that Grenada's national dish “Oil down” was not on the menu. This is a mixture of salt fish, beef, pork, smoked herring, callaloo (kind of spinach), saffron, breadfruit and dumplings, simmered in coconut milk until the oil comes to the surface.

We wanted to “test” our American friends and organised a film show on board, playing the Dutch movie “Simon”. This movie is for American people pretty controversial with its theme of euthanasia. The weight of it all is relativated through a special kind of humour, in particularly ridiculing homosexuality. Renée and Tom were surprised that active euthanasia – be it under certain conditions - is allowed in Holland  but their reaction was very positive. So they passed the test, although of course we knew in advance they are not as narrow minded as we believe Americans are (or may be we are narrow minded when it comes to a view of Americans). To quote our ex-American, Norwegian naturalised neighbour Mike in Las Palmas: “Don’t think all Americans are irrational.”

     

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