Sarah Grace goes to sea
Chris Yerbury and Sophy White
Mon 20 Feb 2006 02:18
Trinidad, Chagaramus Harbour 17th February 2006
We had a good overnight sail from Grenada, with only a few brief squalls near dawn. Making landfall as the light filled the sky was beautiful. We sailed into the Golfo de Paria, through the Dragon's mouth, a narrow channel between Trinidad and Venezuela, crammed with islands, where a strong tidal current with standing waves and swirling sea rips through. Once you have gone through between the 'teeth', high jungle covered cliffs on either side, you leave the crashing Atlantic sea behind, and it is like another world, with flat calm sea and trailing groups of pelicans. The sea changes instantly and dramatically from Atlantic blue to browny green, and you can actually see a sharp dividing line. The smell of the jungle fills the air. We think this is because we are very close to the Orinoco estuary, which drains out of a huge area of South America.
Trinidad coming up at dawn.
Coming upto the cliffs by the Dragon's Mouth.
We arrived here at ten o'clock yesterday morning, and have been in 'How to try and not melt into a puddle' mode since. Is is boiling here. From the moment we arrived we have been boiling.
We rowed ashore and took a bus to Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad. It is a big, modern city, full of life and colour. We spent two hours watching the children's carnival display competition in the Savannah park, and it was completely amazing. My mind is buzzing with colours and music. It is such a community social event, which people work and plan for all year. The results are truly spectacular, and I have never seen anything remotely like it, ever.
In our first day here we have tried 'cookup'. In a small local chop-house you ask for the menu, and get told that you can have 'cookup'. This turns out interestingly to be a plate of rice, kidney beans and beef, with salad, all for little over a pound. We then tried 'mango-chow'. This was bought from a street vendor, and is a gustatory explosion of bits of fresh green mango in garlic and cumin. Definately worth trying if you want to be woken up with a jolt, and do not care who you breath garlic all over. Next on the list was mauby drink/tea. Our advice is to avoid this. It is purple and really disgusting in a liquorice cream soda kind of way. Gunga beans, which are otherwise known as pigeon peas, are great. You could live off gunga beans and rice here for very little indeed. Chris even had a Caribbean breakfast, made of dried fish curry this morning, and seemed to like it.
We have also been visited by Curtis Sealy, my dentist friend from university days. It was really great to see him again with his lovely daughter. I will be visiting what sounds like a state of the art practice later on in the week.
Chris's friend, Gerad, picked us up in his air-conditioned BMW today, and we went for lunch in his riverside house. It was magical, with palm trees and ferns all through his garden, and pelicans, egrets, hummingbirds, and bananaquits all zooming around. We were looking out for scarlet ibis, who return from fishing in Venezuela every evening, but didn't see them.
Otti says: 'We have been visiting Gerad, Dad's doctor friend. He has a big house that is so cool. He has one pool, and a jacuzzi, and a cute little fluffy dog called Bandit who is really shy. We went there for lunch, and had roast pork, and I am very, very tired, as I slept on the roof last night. It was cold in the night, so I didn't get much sleep.(NB. Mum says: Night time temperatures
drop to about 28'C, this does not bode well for a return to the artic north of the planet, later this year....)
Mimi says: 'I slept on the roof last night. Otti woke me up in the morning, and we had a fun game of 'I spy'. I feel a bit sorry for Mum and Dad because we woke them up. From Mimi'.