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
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
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.