Phil Pascoe
Sat 24 Jan 2009 01:43

11:09.5N 60:50.4W
18 Jan: Store Bay, Tobago
As mentioned previously, we had a very good passage from Barbados to Tobago, 132 miles in 24h.  A nice reach with 10 to 18 kn of Easterly wind. The last bit was lumpy, with big swells and even some rain as we approached Charlotteville near the North end of the island.  As soon as we rounded the headland it all became more peaceful, but there were still a few showers and the sky looked pretty grey. A five masted cruise ship was in the Bay and about 10 yachts at anchor. Amid the flurry of activity Paula sighted dolphins (about 10). Breakfast.

Although the Twines said Charlotteville was OK (better than Scarborough) we were not impressed at first. Gina, you’re in trouble!  The locals seemed a surly bunch, reluctantly helpful, and the place just looked a tip.  Clearance through immigration and customs was relatively smooth, but did cost us extra as it was Saturday, a total of about $TT 400 (£50). Again, this bureaucracy and expense is both tedious and irritating – how much longer will they get away with it? Everything requires so many pieces of paper all saying the same thing, all in triplicate or quadruplicate(all quaintly using carbon paper – remember that?), and the officials are generally a grumpy lot.
We found a place that would do our laundry (see pic) and a nice restaurant to have evening meal. But apart from that the village didn’t seem to have much to offer.  The local fishermen seemed friendly enough, but food shopping was grim and it was too hot and sticky to make hiking a pleasure.  We decided to move down to the South the next day, partly to be nearer the airport for our transfers and to check out the area.
We anchored off Pigeon Point first and tried a snorkel, OK but windy and not as clear as Barbados.  Then we moved down to Store Bay which was quite a nice anchorage, close to shore, not too deep, and the nearby beach was fairly sheltered – no wet bums.  We managed to get Rob to the airport in time and Paddy & Wendy arrived safely and in good spirits (mainly Gin).  We had a meal at the beach bar (Rotis) and a few beers, all to the sounds of Bob Marley and the Tobagan equivalent of not so Strictly Come Dancing.  PAULA speaking now: actually it was more like Menopausal Ladies Meet the Tobagan Rastafarian ‘Bump’n’Grind’ middle-aged-men-available-here Club. Safely to the boat without getting wet and a peaceful night.
The next day we grabbed a hire car and ventured into Scarborough – what a dump!  Immigration & Customs was a dead loss – we were 20th in the queue (approx) and nothing moved in the hour we spent there so we cleared out and headed North in the car.  A good day – we tried clearing out of Charlotteville but that was fruitless, had lunch there and then headed back down the west coast.  Almost ran out of petrol, missed Plymouth (road signs not good), shopped in Penny Savers supermarket – another misnomer, and back to the boat, knackered as usual.
Next Day Wendy and I went to Immigration to clear out at 7.30h – complete farce, took two hours, could have been all day if we hadn’t pleaded, why are these people so miserable?  They obviously have something against Yachties – bastards.  Then we had to visit Customs for more paperwork, this time not so difficult – Wendy lied diplomatically when asked whether we had enjoyed Tobago.  If we’d told the truth we may have been locked up.  Eventually we succeeded, Wendy felt like Nelson Mandela – FREEDOM.  Back to drop hire car, walk to boat, collect water from nearby Dive shop, then lunch before setting off for Grenada at about 14.30h.  Phew, it shouldn’t be this difficult.  Farewell Tobago, we won’t be coming back soon!
Pics: The laundry and WM in Man of War Bay; 2 old men in a boat; Charlotteville and fishing boat, negotiating Pigeon Peas (HM?), we didn't buy any.