Monday, 28 January 2013

Wednesday, 23rd January
Slept right through until 0616and got up half an hour later. Tea and usual breakfast then off to immigration and customs to let them know we would be sailing from Trinidad to Tobago. Motored off mooring and out of Chagauramas Bay. Once clear we raised the mainsail and motor sailed through the sound into the Caribbean Sea then we let out the no.2 genoa and switched the engine off. Tacked eastward along Trinidad’s north coast to an anchorage in Maracas Bay, about half way along. We saw two large pods of dolphins on passage.

Maracus Bay

Cheese, tomato and onion sarnies for lunch at 1500hrs. Swam ashore after lunch but visibility through water was only about three to four feet. Returned to boat and spent rest of the afternoon reading.
Chris cooked roast lamb, potatoes and beans for dinner. Having an earlyish night as we plan an early departure in the morning.

Thursday, 24th January
Slept badly, thanks to a slight swell that kept the boom swinging noisily. We were up at 0615 and away just before 0700. Very cloudy over the hills. We motor-sailed along the coast for about 15-20 miles and then sailed north towards Tobago, with wind and tide against us all the way and heavy rain or drizzle most of the day. By about 1500 we were approximately 15 miles NW of the southern end of Tobago and Chris put the motor on. At 1630 I got my first sight of Tobago through the rain and cloud – it was still about 12 miles away.

At 1730 it started getting dark and by 1830 it was completely black. We motored slowly into Store Bay and put down anchor at 1930 without hitting any of the numerous yachts at anchor without lights.

No photos today because the weather was so grim - poor visibility and wet (but still warm).

 I’m writing this while Chris cooks pork stew for dinner.

Friday, 25th January
Good night’s sleep but woken at 0515 by torrential rain. Went and got my washing off the guard rails then went back to bed for an hour before getting up at 0730 for the usual breakfast and tea. We set off under motor in NE direction up the coast of Tobago,  heading for Charlottesville. There was only about 10knots of wind coming from the NE so no point putting up any sail. We saw lots of pelicans feeding on fish near the surface and lots of flying fish. The weather this morning is much better, slightly cooler but no rain.

Motoring up the north coast of Tobago
We arrived in Pirate Bay, Charlottesville and put down 50m of chain and 20m of rope in 20m of water. It’s a beautiful sheltered bay with fine sandy beaches. We went ashore to get a roti for lunch but everywhere was sold out or shut by 1330.

Pirate Bay, Charlottesville

Next we went to the customs and immigration office to notify them of our arrival. As we walked back to the jetty a couple stopped to ask if we knew anywhere they could get something to eat. The guy looked vaguely familiar (a bit like Mark Ward but obviously not Mark). He eventually turned to me and said I looked familiar to him, and asked my name. I told him and he said he was Phil Nash. We were in the same sixth form class at Wymondham College. He and his wife Barbara are on a two week holiday in Tobago. Small world!

Old school chums: Mike with Phil and Barbara Nash

Simon and I walked up the road to ‘Lookout’, from where there were panoramic views down into Charlottesville and to London Bridge and St Giles on the northern tip of the island. The road up to ‘Lookout’ is very steep (1 in 4 in places) and the verge is a mass of wonderful vegetation. We found a cow tethered on the verge two-thirds of the way up. Then when we were three-quarters of the way up it started to pour with rain, which was very refreshing. Back at sea level we treated ourselves to an ice cream and cold drink. The ice cream was coconut and cherry flavour and was delicious (my first ice cream of the holiday).
Roadside cow

Examples of roadside flora 
We walked back along a track leading to a beach at Pirate Bay from where we were to wave at Chris on the boat so he could come and get us in the dinghy. Needless to say he didn't see us so I stripped to my underwear, swam back to the boat and returned with the dinghy to collect Simon.

Must close now as we are going back to the boat for dinner. Chris is cooking beef stew.

Saturday, 26th January
Chris's birthday. We breakfasted at a leisurely pace and enjoyed toast and marmalade then swam ashore and back. A local fisherman came by trying to sell fish. Simon and I arranged to go out fishing with him tomorrow morning at 0600hrs.

At 1000hrs Simon and I set off for a two hour walk round the other side of bay. Again, there were very steep hills out to Campbeltown Point and the old fort, with spectacular views across the bay. Returned to main road and continued round the coast till the hour was up and then headed back. Bananas, cocoa, coconuts, mangoes and some other fruits grow wild along the roadside.
View of bay from Campbeltown Fort

Mike and canon at Campbeltown Fort

Back in Charlottesville the cafe Chris had arranged for us to go to for his birthday lunch was closed because the woman ‘not feeling too good to cook’. The only other place open was only doing soup – pig tail and cow heel. We didn't fancy that! so it was back to the boat for cheese, tomato and cucumber sandwiches instead. We prepared the sandwiches then went for another swim around the boat to cool down and freshen up before eating them.

Spent the afternoon on the boat reading and then went ashore to try and get an Internet connection. Successful! Sent Thursday’s and Friday’s notes to Jackie for the blog, plus 17 photos and a quick email to her too. Returned to the boat with a crate of lager and a freshly baked loaf of bread. We had braised beef and veg for dinner then set up a preventer to stop the boom swinging about and making loud squeaking noises all night.

Tobago is a beautiful island but very laid back. The weather is still good but showers come down quite frequently.

Laid back: Simon with Store Bay, Tobago in the background
Sunday, 27th January
Woke up a couple of times during the night, to the sound of pouring rain but otherwise slept well and the boom preventer worked. We got up at 0530, had a cup of tea and were ready to go fishing as arranged at 0600. Fisherman turned up at 0700! Still raining and very cloudy but off we went, trolling four brightly coloured lures behind us. Caught one skipjack tuna fairly quickly but nothing else in the two hours we were out. Came back in early as torrential rain clouds came over and we got soaked. Back on board for breakfast of cereal and banana then barbecued tuna for lunch on the beach.
Spent most of the afternoon on boat.
Roast pork for evening meal.


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