Freedom - but for how long?

Mystic of Holyhead (successor to Lynn Rival)
Rachel and Paul Chandler
Wed 8 Apr 2020 18:43
We finished our quarantine on Saturday afternoon and ventured ashore finding the one-street town of Clifton very quiet.  The ATM was working and the supermarket well stocked so we returned to Mystic with a dinghy full of supplies and feeling reassured. 

The anchorage is now very quiet.  Just a few cruising yachts come and go for fresh water and supplies.  A coastguard boat comes regularly to check on who's here.  Almost all the boatmen who usually service the charter market both here and at the Tobago Cays have laid up their boats.  The ferries still come and go but we see few aircraft movements.  For the time being we're staying on Tiger's mooring close to the town - at a reduced rate as there's not much call for moorings these days! 

Looking over Clifton bay

Frigate Island, just south from Clifton

In the last few mornings we've been going ashore to catch up, including taking a large pile of washing to the laundry, getting fresh water for our tanks and spare diesel in jerries.  The main street has been busy with vendors and men (mostly) hanging around with nothing to do.  There is a good variety of
fresh fish available and we bought a yellow tail snapper which was delicious.   Everyone is friendly and keen for our business but quite a few are now wearing some form of face mask and occasionally people ask us where we are from, understandably wary of travellers.

The ocean still provides - and we still have three weeks of the lobster season ahead

Sheena's Green Garden - one of the market stalls selling produce brought from St Vincent on the daily ferry

Whilst the main street is quite lively, the seafront looks forlorn.  Most of the restaurants are now closed - due to lack of business, not official instruction.  To cap it all the spring tides have brought in a large quantity of sargassum weed which is building up in the areas between the jetties.  Hopefully it's just a passing problem.   

Plenty of room on the docks, and less incentive to clear away the sargassum

The health ministry has issued advice telling people to stock up in preparation for a two week "stay at home" order but there are few signs of panic buying.  Another govenment advisory asks people to refrain from the usual Easter activities of gatherings, including boat trips, goat cooks, beach parties, etc.  Elsewhere, Grenada and Trinidad are already in "house arrest" mode and have extended the end dates to 20th April for Grenada and the 30th for Trinidad.  It's hard to imagine how the local people will cope being cooped up for so long, especially in this climate and with their love of partying (and now without alcohol in Grenada!)