Barbados to Tobago...and rest

Thu 17 Jan 2008 21:35
11.19N 60.33W
Had a good sail from Barbados to Tobago, leaving a day later on Tuesday rather than Monday night.  Managed to get the water tank filled up at the fish dock before we left, as expecting to be in quiet anchorages for next week or so.  Sailed with an Easterly wind almost behind us at an average of 7.5 knots, so made good time until we got pushed sideways quite a lot by the currents to the north of Tobago and arrived at 11am yesterday morning rather than the 9am we were expecting.  Annabel wasn't sick, having taken a couple of anti-sickness pills, and both of us managed to sleep at least on our second 3-hour 'off' watch. 
We anchored amongst 8-10 other yachts here at Charlotteville on Tobago and dinghy'd into the village in the afternoon to clear customs in a special office at the back of the police station.  The Indian immigration officer was particularly helpful and even changed some money for us, as we hadn't been able to get any TT $'s in Barbados and there are no banks or cashpoints at this end of the island; US$'s usually work, but only in the larger establishments.  Historically, the population of Trinidad and Tobago is 40% East Indian origin and 36% African, so we wish Nishi was with us again !  
It's a small fishing village with a few little shops which we haven't investigated yet, but we were tempted by the Wednesday night barbeque in one of the restuarants recommended by my Lonely Planet guidebook and the immigration officer.  It was really cheap, but the portions weren't big enough - next time we'll ask for 2 portions each !!  
Today, Thursday, we swam over to the beach beside our anchorage and walked up some smart but old concrete steps(wonder who built them and when?) through the rainforest to the 'road' - just a dirt track that petered out into footpaths.  We were going to get the bikes out, but ran out of energy and Annabel got her snorkel kit out and practised using it(for the first time) whilst Syd had (another) afternoon snooze.  Maybe the bikes tomorrow....  There are lots of colourful birds in the forest and fish in the sea, so we'll have plenty to interest us.
Some of the other yachts here are really small - under 20ft; we seem to be one of the biggest.  There's the usual mix of Americans, Germans etc and one Brazilian yacht - we keep referring to the country flags in my little atlas !  Some of them don't have outboards and row to the village, which takes them about half an hour - how lucky we are with our motor !
We don't know how long we'll stay here - if we can get the bikes ashore and explore the rest of the island then probably quite a while - until next week at least because we have to check in and out of customs even if we're only moving to another anchorage on this island or Trinidad, which is the same country, and customs only work 8-4 Monday till Friday unless you pay overtime!  One other interesting thing the immigration officer said was that they get moved around the different offices every few months - a good way to keep a civil service job interesting I suppose !
sunset, Thu 17 Jan 08