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Date: 16 Feb 2007 20:08:17
Title: By Gad, Trinidad!

Position 10:40.8N 61:37.9W


And so to Trinidad! It’s just too far from Prickly Bay in Grenada to Chaguaramas in Trinidad to do it all in daylight, so a night crossing it was, setting off at 6.00pm and arriving, after a bit of a lumpy bumpy ride, in Trinidad at dawn. Actually we were sailing a bit faster than we’d expected, and were worried we’d arrive before it got light (we try not to enter strange harbours in darkness) but as it turned out the timing was just right – now that Adonde isn’t laden down with as much sausage etc, and we were light on water and diesel (full tanks add a tonne to our weight), suddenly we’re going much quicker, and generally more comfortably.


Anyway, after completing the customs and immigration formalities (and dinging a corner of the boat with my unusually inept parking) we moved into Coral Cove Marina, where we’ll be until the 25th or so. My old mate Simon turned up that afternoon and dragged us both off to a “hash”, which for the unfamiliar is where a load of drunks go for a cross country run for an hour or so, and then start drinking. We were driven to the site, which was a clearing in the middle of nowhere, and having declined the offer of joining in the sweaty bit sat in the shade drinking beer (from the accompanying beer truck – it’s very organised) until the runners returned to join in the fun. There were lots of bizarre rituals / drinking  games that followed, all of which started to make perfect sense in the end…having sailed all the previous night we were both a bit tired so the sun and the beer finished us off completely!


Simon picked me up from the boat the following morning as, diamond geezer that he is, he’d found a car for us to use and we had to pick it up. So now we have transport for the time we’re here which is great.


Of course it’s carnival time here so there’s plenty of stuff going on, building up to the carnival itself which kicks off with “J’ouvert” on Monday morning (4.00am!!) where everybody parties in the street and throws mud at one another, as far as I can gather, then there’s a carnival procession on Monday and the big mad full blown over-the-top carnival procession on Tuesday. Phew. We’ll be doing J’ouvert with Simon & Jacquie and the Malarkeys, and watching the madness on Tuesday. We’ve already been to a tour of the Mas’ camps (Mas’ = masquerade, and the camps are where the carnival costumes etc are sold and displayed)  - here’s Tracy in her new hat:



We’ve also seen some steel band practice sessions – let me tell you, if you’ve never experienced a full blown steel band, and if you’ve never been here it’s unlikely that you have, they are amazing. The bigger ones have maybe 120 people playing, with the bass players having ten pans (drums) each, and the sound they produce is utterly mind-blowingly fantastic. It’s just incredible, if you close your eyes you can hear what for all the world might be guitars, another time a complete violin section, and all this music is coming from just modified oil drums. Impossible to describe, and not the sort of thing that would mean much if you heard it on a CD, but live it’s just fabulous.


We’ve also been to the semi finals of the Carnival Kings and Queens competition, which is where all the particularly excessive costumes are paraded around and judged, ultimately one male and one female being crowned Carnival King and Carnival Queen. I’m simplifying it a bit but you get the picture – suffice to say it makes the Lord Mayor’s show look a bit tame. And the carnival hasn’t even started yet! We supposedly weren’t allowed to take pictures here so you’ll have to wait until after the carnival procession for pics of some of these.


 Yesterday Simon & Jacquie took us and the Malarkeys off to a resort on the east coast to a “Fete” (pronounced “fet”)– not your village green, tombola  and home made chutney type affair you understand, but an enormous party (2000 people) with live music, all types of fantastic food and every drink imaginable, and by Jove what fun that was! We arrived at 2.00pm and it finished at about 7.30pm, leaving us completely knackered after dancing and jumping about all afternoon. It was an all-inclusive affair, which meant that for TT$700 each (about £56) we could eat and drink all we wanted and enjoy the fantastic atmosphere and music. There are dozens of other Fetes going on, to suit all pockets, but this was a top-notch do, and difficult to better I would think. Note the two lushes in the picture on the right, them's the Malarkeys, and they've only got two glasses of champers each as they ran out of arms.



And now the news you’ve all been dreading – the ham is dead! Yes, after providing us with luvverly Serrano ham for two months, we decided that it had reached the end of the road and had to go, so we cut off as much of the remaining meat as we could, vacuum packed it and stuck it in the fridge, and consigned the rather sorry looking bone to an ignominious end in the bin, although not before we'd amused ourselves by articulating it's knee up and down a bit. Sad, it had served us well.



Finally, we've received an email from Chris & Elaine in England who are worried about our new style of titles for the blog, in particular they're concerned about what might happen should we reach Thailand (unlikely), and send a web diary update from Phuket...


Right, that’s it for now, I think I’d better try and update this a bit more frequently to keep it readable (not to mention writable). Watch this space!



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