Journeys End and New Horizons

Kirsty and Lee's Excellent Adventure
Lee Matthews
Thu 23 May 2013 09:57
10:40.855N  61:38.208W
“A journey is best measured in friends…not miles” -  Tim Cahill
…..and I am currently sitting in Port of Spain airport googling other cheesey quotes, for this, our last blog …for a while.
It has been an emotional few weeks of reunions, new acquaintances, old acquaintances, family  some sublime sailing and a nice surprise in the tail.
We left Lou in Union island and flew South on a great wind to Grenada again to pick up Cara and Jaff (Kirsty’s sister and Carib drinking other half).  The plan was to sail to Tobago spend a few days there before heading for Trinidad to haul Jon Jon out.
Boat Lime!!
We had planned a reunion in Union Island funnily enough with Graham and Chrissie on Eowyn our good friends who we met in St Lucia , but then we also got an email finally from our  friends that we met in Gib, Rabat and Lanzarote and hadn’t seen since; Tim and Nancy on Larus. We have been missing each other all season and we were dying to see them as they were the last people we met in Europe it would have been fitting to see them at the end.  They were a mere 25 miles away in Bequia and they kindly agreed to head south to Union so off we shot with  Cara and Jaff to Union Island, for a rendezvous at "Happy Island - liquidation for the nation..etc"  the bar on the reef we love so much. It also would give us a better angle on Tobago and …well..the rum punch is legendary…
The wind was in the south and for once we had an easy sail up. On entering the harbour we spied Emma and  Stuart who had sailed a Sadler 25 !!! over the pond and who we had met in Bequia. We also saw another couple of boats we knew so a big evening was arranged at Happy Island. Fortunately no one took their camera, it was messy but great fun.
The next day (or was it two days…v bad heads all around) it was farewell to Amarosa, farewell to wonderful Tim and Nancy on Larus , hopefully our paths will cross again, and we headed off to the show Cara and Jaff the Tobago Cays, not before pulling half of the junk on the seabed up with our anchor!!! A fun hour was spent being the harbour entertainment !!!
We were reflecting on our time in Union as we left and saying one thing that would have made it perfect was if our other friends we haven’t seen since Lanzatote - Phil and Sara on ‘Lochmarin’ had turned up too. 1 hour later and we pulled into the Cays only to find….Lochmarin on their anchor. We were so excited. We had a great time in the Cays again, this really is paradise in every sense. We went turtle and iguana hunting, and Phil and Sara took me onto the Atlantic side of the reef to snorkel in their big rib tender. It was amazing snorkelling in the ocean, waves crashing on the reef around you. We had beach Barbeque with Eowyn and then sadly had to say good bye to Chrissie and Graham, they practically live here and so we will meet them again. On the second night we were treated to Phil and Sara’s amazing hospitality and sore heads once more were had by all.
We left Cays feeling like loose ends had been tied up, that we had come full circle in many ways and headed north to show Cara and Jaff  Bequia, our favourite place and also to get a better angle on Tobago as the wind was not playing ball. We sailed almost downwind to Bequia, really unusual and very welcome. We stayed  a few days to try and get the wind to come round to the East. Finally it did and we set off for the hard sail to Tobago but we were beaten back by the current which would not let us get a good enough angle. After a couple of hours we made the decision to scrap Tobago and head straight for Trini, where we could get a ferry to Tobago. It was a great beam reach 36 hours to the ‘Mouth of the Dragon” great starry skies kind seas and fast speeds. It was Cara and Jaffs first night sail and we couldn’t have asked for a better one.
Whilst passing through the Bocas del Dragon we picked up a passenger. A Trinidad racing pigeon decided it was all too tiring in the heat and landed on our bimini. We tried everything to get him off as we knew customs were strict and importing pigeons was definitely not allowed. We shouted …it just blinked. We pushed the bimini from below and it just walked around. I poked it and it just shat on the bimini…it wasn’t leaving. Then as we approached Chaguaramas Bay and it saw it was close enough to home, off it went…. It basically got a free ride…something we were about to find out is a way of life in Trini.  We arrived in Chaguaramas, which is a giant boat park. 7 boat yards all in a row all there for one purpose. Trinidad doesn’t get hurricanes, so boat owners like ourselves take their boats there to leave over hurricane season.
We had heard so many bad reports on Trini that we were ready to jump off and head for Tobago for a couple of days. But there is really something intoxicating about this place and we decided to stay put. Yes the heat and humidity were something else and the water was filthy and crime is an issue here but Trini has heart and soul. I feel, much more than the rest of the Carribean. And most of all Trini has Liming….. Lots of it. Trinis love to party, liming is a national past time. We hired the infamous Jesse James to do a tour for us and the driver we got, Derek, explained to us in no less than a million words what Trini was all about…..Liming…. The art of 3 or more people to get together drink masses of alcohol and talk nonsense for hours. This all sounded very familiar to us and we liked the idea. You can have a street lime, a river lime, a work lime (during working hours),  a mans lime (no women allowed)  a family lime.. but most of all you must have a good time, if you do it’s a sweet lime!! And if someone is being miserable they are “souring the lime”  so to speak and they get told so in no uncertain terms. Derek explained that drinking plays a major part in Trini life. But they only drink heavily during the world famous carnival and during Christmas. Question “when do these happen Derek?” “Well Christmas starts usually at the end of October to December 25th and Carnival starts really happening Jan 1st to March….. that’s a lot of heavy drinking!!!
And Trini also due to its multi cultural nature has the most holidays of any country in the world. Muslims have a holiday, the whole country has a day off. Hindus have a holiday the same, Christians…. everyone has a holiday. They have solved the multi cultural problem here with holidays. (someone needs to send Norman Tebbit down here for a week). How can you be angry or intolerant of another culture when they are responsible for you getting 2 extra days off a year!!! Interracial marriages are common and encouraged, and of course the more weddings you have the more liming you have.
As for  the food, Trini has many types of food. Most of them contain hot pepper sauce but the best by far is the Doubles. Doubles are Trini breakfast. Basically 2 Indian fried puris with chick pea curry served very hot with slight on the pepper. That and the rotis for lunch  I have been in heaven food wise here!!!
And the nature here is second to none. We took a trip into the rainforest to see birds including large numbers of humming birds flying around our head; the swamp to see more birds including the National Birds the Red Ibis; and finally to a beach where we watched giant Leatherback turtles come ashore to lay eggs after travelling 3000 miles from the North Atlantic to the beach of their birth. We watched in awe as a gentle giant crawled right up to us and dug her hole and layed her eggs. We watched over 15 turtles come ashore in the dark to do this it was magical and a priviledge to see.
The guide said this was the biggest turtle he’d ever seen.
Washing Trini style
Cara and Jaff regrettably flew home and we got Jon jon ready to come out of the water. We rdv'd with Lochmarin again who were doing the same and bid them one last farewell. Finally, and sadly, we said goodbye to Jon Jon
and headed for the airport only to find Stuart and Emma off Amarosa in the seats next to us on the flight home.
So thats it for now, what a year it has been. We have totalled 6500 nautical miles on our fabulous boat since leaving the UK almost a year ago. I still have to pinch myself when I think of what we did. It was always a dream of mind to cross the Atlantic, to do it in my own boat with Kirsty was amazing. When I look back, I wonder how we made it through those squalls and storms, I guess sometimes you have to just take stuff on the chin, keep calm and carry on!! I still maintain the hardest part was casting off the lines in Lanzarote, that was the cliff edge. After that you cant go back anyway. And we are carrying on...just not on Jon Jon. We really need a boat thats more comfortable down wind to do a circumnavigation...which is obviously the next step! But on Jon Jon we have had a blast in the Carribean. She is such a great boat to wind and has kept us safe for so many miles.
We would like to say thanks to all the amazing people we have met and their hospitality, thanks to the wonderful people of the Caribbean who have made us welcome wherever we have gone, thanks to folks back home keeping our lives going, and thank to those who came to visit. There is much more to come. We are going to home to do some work during the hurricane season (I am off to teach sailing in Gib) and then its back out for another winter in the Caribbean.
At the end of that Jon Jon goes home and we go back to the real world!!! ........for now.....we are planning the big trip around the world as we speak.
So I'm signing off for a bit, thanks for reading and watch out for series 2 - Lee and Kirsty's Bonus Journey!!!
photo (2)
Night Night Jon Jon