Tobago and Trinidad with crew

     
Our departure from Suriname was a bit delayed because we exchanged our old Toyota Starlet (1994) for a new car. Well, new? Constructed in 1990, but this one is a sturdy Mitsubishi Pajero 4x4 GDI turbo injection intercooler wagon. For a good price and although not been driven by an elderly lady, it was the shared car of four SLM-pilots so probably well cared for. Luc and Nelly – the French we met in Brazil and who invited us there to stay on their catamaran for a couple of days, also came to Suriname and we thought it be nice to wait for them. And on top of it all we have a new boat for daysailing on the Surinam River when we are back. And after JW did his thing with her as a renovation project. But right now we are indeed sailing again. With our new crew (that too!): Rita en Roberta – named after the owners of the sailor's pub in Domburg where we found them. Or they found us. While Rita won JW's heart, Roberta hid in P's bag. So we really couldn't back out.

Although the trip to Tobago was relatively more quiet than before, we were plagued by several tropical squalls of 30 and sometimes 40 knots of wind. The cats had no problem with this; for them the short track to windward out of the estuary was much worse and the first motions of the sea made them already seasick. Fortunately they recovered quickly and now the boat is their home and they run and climb everywhere. The deck is their most important playground and especially at night they are quite active. Reason to train them in swimming and try-to-climb-out-on-your-own. And for the first lessons the clear waters of Tobago were perfect. The cats didn't like it so much and neither did we, but now we know that they can save themselves we can leave them also outside when we are away. And the litter box can sit outside too.
They meddle in everything and are fascinated by all those halyards and sheets (as one can clim into them); but the galley is top of the pops. Especially when it is their dinner time. You'll find a small summary of daily life on board in the film.
Sailing with crew (film 15.3 Mb)
 

Tobago is a marvellous island. The bays are superb and in Store Bay (where we were) they recently placed free moorings. But kafter five days or so we had to leave, as we had still not yet cleared with customs and immigration and they can be difficult about that. If you are in in Store Bay you have to go by bus to the capital for clearance, and there are not many buses. Also you have to check out before again checking in on Trinidad (same country?!). And arrive during office hours (and not at lunch time either), otherwise you pay overtime fee. So we tried to arrive before 1600 on Trinidad, but no. The wind direction was okay but the strength was 5 to 35 knots and generally something in the lower regions. Plus rain; the whole day grey and dull so apart from the temperature it was like sailing the Northsea or the Channel. Later we heard that this rain formed some kind of national disaster on Trinidad, and that many roads and trees were washed away resulting in a large quantity of empty PET botttles in Chaguaramas bay.
The good thing of the trip was that we arrived with a dolphin escort (the cats loved it!), but for customs we were due to the strange weather just too late. Fortunately we could hide alongside Tresno and Makmoor, the two tuna boats from Peter, a friend we know from Surinam. Hot coffee, a shower, and... dinner. Guess what was on our plates. We thanked Peter's (Indonesian) crew for their hospitality by giving them a couple of bags of bron bron – slices of dried and fried rice; a Javanese speciality from Surinam, so bull's eye!

On Trinidad we were busy visiting chandlers and electronics shops (as planned), but most of all with the many acquintances we re-met. The sailor's world is amazingly small; but it is very pleasant, a full cockpit and all those conversations in many languages.

Together with Luc and Nelly we rented a car for two days. Like in Srurinam, they drive left on Trinidad and as this is now the right side for P, she was the driver. Day 1 we drove to the northcoast. We were there before but then it rained cats and dogs; this time it rained only a bit so there were even people on Maracas beach. We had lunch with the bay's speciality, the inevitable Bake ’n Shark, and afterwards followed the road through the rainforest. Overpowered by green; ferns, paloeloes and gigantic bamboo bushes; the route's name “bamboo cathedral” fits perfectly well.

Day 2 we drove to the northeast. A surprisingly lovely area, charming villages and above all lovely people. During lunch in a pub in one of the remotest villages we met the owner's daughter, 6 years old and already a teacher. This week's lesson for the pub's customers was “Vocabulary”. She wrote six words on her blackboard and discussed the synonyms with everyone. And these were not just primary words, but... click the photo. Hopefully this smart kid gets the education she deserves.
Along the way we were also witnessing a Baptist offer ceremony. Religion is big in the Caribbean, with many “extreme” churches such as Jehova’s witnesses, 7th Day adventists, and also these Baptists. But they know how to make a party. Everyone was dressed in different shades of pink while launching calabash offer boats filled with flowers, incense, candles, some food and coins. In doing this they hope for happiness and prosperity. Of course music and dance were part of the ceremony and also our presence (we always feel intruders) was fine.

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