Fri 7 Jun 2013 21:40
Friday, 7th June 2013
Position 11:19.5N 60:33.1W, Off Charlottville, Man of War Bay, Tobago.
Which, like its namesake, no 2, is utterly charming! It is a 'Port of Entry' to Tobago, and being located right at the eastern tip, I can now cruise westwards down the Coast of Tobago, and then Trinidad, to Chaguaramas (which turns out to be pronounced much as it is spelt! This is the 'megacentre' for sailing in the Caribbean, and where Fleck is to be laid up until next year).The village is lovely, typically Caribbean, and the houses, often on stilts, have quite violent paint schemes, but it all fits well into the luxuriant vegitation: which is everywhere, there is obviously plenty of rain. And the people here are lovely too, no hassles, no dark looks, seemingly genuine smiles everywhere.
The agony of 24 hours drifting with the wind and current was forgotten this morning as dawn brought up the first views of land for what seems like a very long time. It was pitch black last night, and as usual, I think that I did well to avoid the coast and entrance under those conditions. Plus the scenary this morning was magic: so many seabirds on and around the little rocky outcrops at the tip of Tobago. and a grand sail as the wind wrapped around the coast, and we ran into the appropriately named Man of War Bay under full sail and in grand style. A pity then that there was hardly anyone in the anchorage to greet us, but loads of room even for me to get the hook down: deep though, 35 metres of chain, 20 metres of warp.
There is only one official building here, called the Health Centre, Immigration was upstairs. The Immigration Officer and I watched an American day time TV show on his computer about buying and selling apartments in New York: similar format to day time TV in the UK, but a different World, millions of dollars; but the people are no happier. Capitalism gone bonkers. It was the immigration man's idea, not mine, by the way. When the programe had finished we did the paperwork. "Now," he said, "you must go to Customs, but the Customs man is not here". He said this in a rather mysterious way, looking out of the window as he did so. "Come back at 4o'clock", he said finally. Well, no problem, my appointments diary showed that I was free, and I sauntered down to the beach to have a look at the local fishing boats: pirogues with powerful outboards and huge bamboo fishing rods from which lines for trolling are suspended. I'll offer them some Russells Hall rubber glove lures tomorrow, they are using the usual squidie plastic things, and I never catch anything with those!
But I digress, three men were sitting in the shade under a drinks shack, empties strewn about. The one in the middle waves me over. Everyone looks in my direction: I cannot ignore the invitation. Hey man, where yo from? I wasn't sure whether they were going to sell me something, or whether it was simply the case that it was my round next, but to cut to the quick, it turned out that this was in fact the Customs Officer. When you have already seen the evidence, it is easy to jump to conclusions about a person's fitness to do their job, but that would be unfair, in the end the task was completed, the staple machine was mended, and my clearance form quadruple stamped; and I am now able to proceed, at least to the next bay. Then the whole procedure has to be repeated, so it should be an interesting trip! It is quiet because it is the end of the sailing season: "Hurricanes, you know", said the Immigration man, looking out of the window yet again, this time to check the weather.