Store Bay, still on Tobago
Sun 27 Jan 2008 16:11
Ooh dear, sorry folks, I see we haven't written a diary entry for over a week ! Ah well, we've been busy as usual....
We enjoyed swimming etc at Charlotteville until last Monday, when we decided to set off in the direction of Trinidad. Went into the village to clear customs in the morning, but the immigration guy wouldn't be there until after 1pm (it was then 11am) so we decided to go for a stroll up the hill at the back of the village - very steep hill through the houses, grass road a times, turned into a nice grass track into the forest up the hill....which we followed for 1.5 hours !! The first bit seemed quite well used with landrover tracks and footprints in the mud and we enjoyed views back down to Charlotteville bay far below and spotted one or two interesting birds. Then the landrover tracks stopped suddenly and there was a bit of litter around as if this was the end of the trail for most people, but we carried on down a slightly overgrown track to find a large fallen tree blocking the way for even landrovers. Undaunted, we carried on (Syd still carrying his 'briefcase' and neither of us with any water, but it was mostly shady so we were quite comfortable), following one set of cow hoofprints and the occasional human footprint, still on an open track, round the hill, with views of the sea and rocks down below, now on the other side of the hill to Charlotteville; we thought we might end up down in Speyside and get a taxi or bus back. We came to a junction in the tracks and decided to go uphill back towards Charlotteville and were soon rewarded with more cows, tethered (a good sign of being near or in civilization) and came out beside a fantastic house right on the top of the hill above the village, with a tarmac road leading to the aerial masts that we'd been aiming for. We walked up the road a bit, Syd keeping well away from the edge which had often partially collapsed, in spite of it appearing quite a new road, but decided it was just going up to the masts and turned round and back down to the first point where Syd had waited for Annabel at the top of a hill on the main road between Charlotteville and Speyside on the bike ride. Then walked back down the road, fortunately only the occasional car, to arrive back at the immigration office about 2pm then waited whilst the officer was woken in his car and found the keys to his desk, worked out which forms we had to fill in etc etc.
So then it was a quick lunch, dinghy engine aboard and sail off - we'd planned to visit one or two bays in Tobago and one in Trinidad on our way to Chaguaramas by the end of the week. We had an interesting sail along the coast trying to see the road we'd cycled on Thursday, but could only identify the mast at the top of the mountain. We were going to anchor in Parlatuvier but the sea was quite lively and the bay was full of fishing boats so we pushed on to Englishman's bay, where there was only one other yacht, unoccupied and apparantly on a permenant mooring. We anchored quite close to the rocks where it was slightly sheltered from the largish waves blowing in and enjoyed views of this empty and unpopulated bay. Unfortunately it was really rolly and worries about hitting the rocks kept us awake most of the night.
Tuesday we sailed on to Plymouth, a big wide bay which we hoped would be less rolly (but it wasn't). The sailing, as the day before, was good, with the wind averaging 20kts mostly astern, so we just put the Genoa up, sometimes not all of it. We nearly lost the dinghy because it was bouncing around so much in the waves, so it was tied down accross the transom - fine for short passages but we have been hoping to get a gantry and davits to hoist it up off the stern to keep locker and swimming access. Plymouth was also very quiet, with only one hotel on the very long beach, which was very steep with waves breaking on it quite violently. Wanting to explore, we dinghey'd over to the very high, falling apart concrete jetty and scrambled up, but the village didn't seem very interesting and we had run out of local money. We identified a bit of beach where the breakers weren't quite so violent and managed to land the dinghy and walked along the beach. All very quiet and again we were the only yacht anchored. Unfortunately we weren't so successful launching the dinghy and suffered a major capsize with water and sand getting into the outboard, so Syd dried out as much as he could when we got back to the boat, but spent the next 2 days changing oil, petrol and cleaning the carbouretta - as always the engineer succeeded in fixing the problem ! Another rolly night struggling to sleep so we looked hard at the charts and read between the lines in the crusing guide and decided to try Crown Point, although we thought it might be really busy with hotels etc and Tobago airport is just behind the beaches there.
Wednesday another good little sail with slightly stronger winds to Store Bay on the Northen side of Crown Point at the end of Tobago nearest Trinidad, arriving late afternoon. There were quite a few yachts here - a good sign, we are learning! One lively-looking hotel facing this beach, with a sea wall 'fencing' off it's own lagoon and coconut studded beach. We spotted other dinghys landing at a small beach to one side and although there were breakers around, that beach looked pretty calm and the anchorage was hardly rolly, so we enjoyed a proper night's sleep at last ! The next day when Syd had finally got the outboard going again, we went ashore and found the much needed launderette-cum-internet cafe, cashpoints and several hotels and restaurants. We treated ourselves to a proper meal out that night, even though Syd still isn't getting his required quantity and quality of red meat ! Luckily we dont' suffer from airport noise here, just watch the range of aeroplanes from small twin-props to holiday jumbos landing occasionally.
We also got round to ringing the marinas on Trinidad near Port of Spain, the capital and centre of Carnival activities but, as expected really at this late stage, they were all full and as we didn't really fancy anchoring there, which would also be busy and were concerned about security issues, we decideed not to go to Trinidad for carnival. This also means we won't get all the jobs and purchases done for the boat that we were expecting to be good and cheap there, but we think we can manage without them.
On Friday 25th Jan we set off to get the bus to Scarborough, the capital of Tobago, but joined up with a couple of English/Tobagoain girls to accept a lift from a passing car (normal practice apparantly - you just need to agree a fare). We were hoping to be able to buy fresh fish and/or meat in the market there, but arrived too late so nosey'd round a few shops and gave up. We also looked at the anchorage there, because we'd read that we could get our water tanks filled on the town dock, but that was all too high and inaccessible for us, being set up for ferries and cruise ships, so we were glad we hadn't sailed there. We may do so anyway next week to clear customs, which we need to do, but water for washing is now on short rations ! We think we'll probably go straight into a marina on Grenada as our next stop, but there's a regatta there this weekend until next Tuesday, so they'll be full too ! There are a few carnival activities here next weekend, but we've been here long enough now, and there isn't a suitable jetty for landing the bikes at this end of the island. There's a great little bar on the beach here, which is advertising live music tonight so we'll enjoy that over a few beers. The Carib local beer is pretty tasteless, but the only slightly stronger Stag, brewed for men, is much better - so much so we got a crate at the supermarket yesterday ! Of course Annabel's not too embarrassed to ask for it in the bars, although she does get some strage looks - what's new?!?
Oh yes, Fish. Well Syd went out with the fisherman in Charlotteville last Sunday and bumped around in his little boat with a large outboard powering it; the first fish they caught was a large kingfish and landed so slickly that Syd hardly saw it. Then the man said he'd done enough and they came back to Gaviota because petrol was short in the village. So Syd only really learnt about the length of the line required and that pink lures work well here. We haven't tried again ourselves yet, mainly because on short sails we''re towing the dinghy which would interfere with the line. Having failed to buy fish in the market the other day, we walked along the road here to a part of the beach where the fisherboats land and found a few people gutting and filletting huge and small fish. Eventually found one which would sell us some(most of it is pre-ordered for hotels etc) and Syd watched the chap scaling and cutting up a large fish, of which we got a couple of pounds - a grouper apparantly - tasty and good n meaty ! Next step: catch our own, hopefully not too big as we're not sure we could deal with it - trying to cut through the backbone would be too dangerous on a moving boat ! We bought a huge plastic storage box which will fit in the stern locker so we can keep it until we get somewhere stable if we catch one whilst sailing.
Hope all this text isn't too dry - I've put a film into a shop for developing, so hope to be able to add some photos next week !