From Bequia to Tobago and Suriname   Click for the chartlet
Click the photo's in the film to enlarge them; or click the photo banners in the text

 

And YES, upon leaving Bequia the wind veered to the east. Bad luck for us, as Suriname is then almost completely to windward. Also a pity about the beam reach to Tobogo we hoped for, as it was 70 degrees to windward; a fast course for the boat, but with those many squalls quite tiresome. The Equatorial current was also quite strong, enabling us a long last view on the windward islands. But after the beautiful sunset we saw nothing at all, because there were heavy clouds and we seemed to sail right into a black hole. Fortunately thanks to our strong foredecker (the furling system) we did not have to change foresails in the middle of the night in 25 kts of wind. Furling the sail partly doesn't make a happy sail but it makes a very happy crew!

So we celebrated P's birthday on Tobago. The most relaxed island in the Eastern Caribbean, not too crowded with tourists. Laid back and easy going are keywords. The beaches on the west side are touristically exploited but in the middle of the crowd you can also sit on a bench underneath an almond tree with a lunch brought from home, and chicken pottering at your feet. Peace and quiet is also found when you take a little walk to Pigeon Point.
The restaurants vary from KFC-alikes to posh places. We always disregard the first category because we refuse to eat from foam trays, and in the higher classified places we didn't see a soul and (because?) the prices were skyhigh. So we took lunch in Bago’s Beach Bar, where the atmosphere is exactly as should be onTobago and with a view on the boat. 

Later we discovered a pizzeria (a real one, with a woodfire oven) annex deli and wine shop right next to the RBTT-bank's drive-through. The location quite practical with money within reach, because the wines were magnificent; but ofcourse not very cosy and particularly ridiculous that all those stinking old Nissan Sunny’s almost drive over your table while you are sitting behind a 450 euro Barolo. But the pizza's were fantástico.

We stayed on Tobago for a week to avoid the spring tide. In Scarborough we visited the botanical garden. Silk cotton trees have big roots and here the roots were visible in a circle of 100 m around the tree; imagine the rest of them under the ground. We went to the beach, read books, took a swim and found beautiful corals, so fragile that we now blessed our consumer society leaving all those foam trays all over the place: they make a great means of transport for such a fragile cauliflower from the sea.
And Bago’s Beach Bar as temporary centre of the universe. Great girls behind the bar and as regulars we could get as much fresh water as we needed. “As long as you support us, we’ll support you”, they said, and we couldn't do them a bigger favour than ordering lunch or dinner, which we often did.

Tobago distinguishes itself from the other Caribbean islands (as far as visited by us) in the fact that leaving the island especially means: leaving new found friends. This is not our merit but it characterises the Bago’s, who excel in friendliness, hospitality and interest in other people.

They are very accessible and like to have a chat, acquaintances react enthousiastically when you meet them somewhere else, on the street everybody says hello and when you wait for the bus (and this can be a prolonged activity) they offer you a ride, etc. We noticed this last year and again this time. This island is supercool and although tourism is growing, we can't imagine that Tobago will ever be “spoiled” because the Bago’s are not the kind of people who make that happen.

On Wednesday 9th of April the springtide (maximum countercurrent) had eased a bit, so we left. The sailing started fantastic, the boat went very fast as we sailed 60 degrees to windward. But on the second day the shit hit the fan: not enough wind so we had to start the engine. We were happy when the wind returned in the evening but the following night it was a bit too much: squalls of 25 to 30 kts of wind. And rain. And at sundawn... again no wind! Night #4 brought more squalls, and these things seem to prefer P's watch who by then didn't have one dry T-shirt left! The furling system worked fine and saved us from many nightly excercises on the foredeck changing foresails. On the fifth day we had no wind again untill well in the afternoon. But all's well that ends well and we could sail the whole night (although we had to tack six times) and no squalls bothering us. Plodding over the sand banks because we didn't want to miss the flood, we sailed on Monday morning after five days into the Suriname River estuary, so in the end we won a day compared to our trip last year. That there are also people who enjoy these kinds of trips... incomprehensible. Our silverbearded captain was relieved to sail on the Surinam River again; with a rum/lime/pineapplecocktail in his hand; flat water, sheets not too tight, favourable current… sailing is fun!

Tobago 1 en Tobago 2 /reisverhalen 2007       Vorige      Volgende