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Via St.Lucia back to Trinidad

   

Elaborating on “homewaters re-visited” St.Lucia offered a new find: Anse La Raye. A picturesque fishing village thick with local atmosphere. A mixture of wooden and (bigger) concrete homes, built by Lucians who returned from England to spend their old age in their native village. Many cheerful colours but also lots of paintless constructions, a cosy mess. By the end of the day, when the sun is blazing less, everyone sits on their doorstep or strolls about for a chat or a game, enjoying a beer or a joint.
Upon landing with our dinghy we fell into the arms of John, who immediately took us on a little tour; with a stop-over in a local bar. In a village such as Anse La Raye it is good to have some local company, otherwise you would easily feel an intruder. Anse La Raye is a snug village, everyone knows each other, but it is obvious that the people are quite poor.
Fortunately they have a good source of income through their weekly Fish Fry Day. Locals and especially tourists from all over the island come to Anse La Raye to enjoy a splendid bbq of abundant fresh fish. Marinated red snapper in foil is popular, but they served also crispy roasted little fish that can be eaten including heads and tails, shrimp, lobster and stuffed crab and to our horror especially for the tourists turtle and blackfish as well. An American guy sitting next to us was eating two (2!) bowls of turtle so we decided to move quickly again. On to Bequia.

We don't eat turtle anymore (by conviction) but we could not escape to the “mammals” for once, as it appeared when we again went by bus to Toko’s “Step Down”. During our absence the men caught a whale (only one, although their quotum is four; but it was a big one: 12 meters) and we definitely had to taste it, Toko said and before we could protest he fired up the bbq.

Because the best whale meat is prepared as a sirloin beef steak: pssjjj pssjjj on both sides (as Toko intended, but in the Caribbean in the end everything is over-cooked) and it is truly delicious.
Bequia was pleasurable and Sunday afternoon in Lower Bay - normally very busy -  was extremely quiet. Also snorkelling was a splendid as the water was very clear as a result of the calm weather.

And just when everything is nice and beautiful, one is presented with a nasty last track to Trinidad. In three hours time we were attacked by four squalls! (Squalls come rolling in as a big black cloud preceded by a gale 8 and horizontal showers, flattening the sea in seconds.) The first one was only small, 25 kts, but the second was a good hit: up to 40 kts of wind. Squalls 3 and 4 delivered 30-35 kts each. The film (2.50 Mb, click the icon below) whows squall 3 in the stage after the strongest winds, because then the camerawoman is too busy with other things.

On Trinidad a lot of work had to be done. Unrigging the boat and cleaning up, EVERYTHING had to be washed to prevent us arriving in a mildew mess next year, and many social contacts as Trinidad is one of those places where you meet “everyone”.
For example Petra and Dick of Sally Lightfoot, whom we met in Suriname and on the verge of our departure to Trinidad we arranged a complete tour for them with a guide etc. Apparently we did well as they rented a car here and asked us to accompany them. We went to the liferaft checking station, the gas supplier (saving 80%, equal to the cost of renting a car for one day), and on to the north to enjoy a bake ’n shark on Maracas Beach. Days 2 and 3 Macqueripe, Chaguaramas National Park with the overwhelming “bamboo cathedral” and a new goal: the famous Pitch Lake, Trinidad's natural wonder.

Nothing much, according to JW, and indeed it appears a bit overrated for an attraction that is presented with so much fuss. The Pitch Lake seems a living organism, bubbling with sulphur and liquid in places (so wandering about on your own can be tricky), but foremost it is a solidified asphalt lake. Every day they scrape one foot off the surface for the export, as Trinidadian “pitch” is an indispensable part of global asphalt. The lake's surface is falling as a result of the mining and this is reflected by the surrounding buildings: homes are leaning over or are displacedin the course of the years. But the area is attractive because of the fertile soil, so we explored the whole southwestern part of Trinidad and even set an eye on Venezuela. And as a special treat, in the swamps we were met by the scarlet ibis .

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