December 25th 06 to 1st February 07
Our time in Tobago was a great introduction to the Caribbean, with the hustle, bustle, and reggae/calypso beat in the busy capital town of Scarborough, to the deserted, clear water anchorages surrounded by thick jungle along the NW coast. Bridget and Grum had arrived in Tobago on our previous Atlantic crossing 19 years ago (yes! 19 years!), and we were keen to see what had changed, and what we could remember.
Following Christmas we quickly recovered from the Atlantic crossing, catching up on sleep and enjoying some fresh fruit and veg. Double Waters made the transition from ocean going sail boat to our floating home, there was maintenance to be done including scraping barnacles off the hull (the most effective tool being an old credit card).
For our entire stay in Tobago we were at anchor as there is no marina or quay facilities for yachts…..this is possibly one of the great attractions of the island. And being at anchor is fine, although occasionally when the swell builds, and DW starts rolling it can mean clinging to your mattress so you don’t fall out of bed. The routine of collecting water and diesel fuel is made interesting whilst at anchor. Water we collected from the local beach bar, Bagos’ in plastic jerry cans, about 70 litres at a time. Diesel necessitated hitchhiking down the road to the petrol station, and hitchhiking back with 80 litres of fuel, interesting, but at 15p a litre we tried to get as much as we could.
At anchorage you should have the benefit of being distant from biting insects. Not so! The mosquitoes seemed to sniff us out and although these mozzies were of the small variety they really gave you a bad bite. We all suffered from serious nocturnal itching despite trying to use every repellent locally available. Jack received a mozzi attack which combined with some scratches caused by coral, led to an infected foot. We can report that the Tobagan health services are excellent, with prompt consultation, good treatment, and following a course of antibiotics Jacks’ foot returned from football shape to foot shape.
We had a great week with our French friends on S/Y Boreal. George, Jack, and Jed had great times on the beach with Gabrielle and Quintin, playing in the surf and just hanging out. Bridget and I enjoyed Cecille and Pauls’ company of an evening; lively conversation and plenty of Pauls’ boatbrewed beer! A highlight was anchoring a few nights in Englishmans Bay, with nothing but the palm fringed beach, clear waters over coral, and at night the sounds of the jungle and the sparkling light show provided by the fireflies. Fishing was successful again with more tuna and our first lobster in the pot!
Roni and Mike ( Bridgets’ Mum and Dad) arrived from the UK and stayed in a local guest house, it was amazing to see Mikes’ progress following his hip replacement, and difficult to stop him leaping around. We enjoyed some terrific tasty meals ashore together, the exception being when Mike ordered crab dumplings, these bouncy items weren’t to his taste (or anyone elses!).
One day, our local guide, Peter took us on an island tour; isolated bays, humid jungle walks, a cooling swim in waterfall plunge pools, tasting cocoa pods, a trip to the old British forts of the 19th Century (you should have seen Mike climb the ladder up to the light room in the lighthouse!); viewing the catch as the seine net was recovered on Castarra beach. We enjoyed a pretty good insight into the rural Tobago.
Roni and Mike then departed to the USA with plans to catch up with us in Grenada, and we headed underwater.
Diving was a great highlight, and we are all now PADI qualified open water scuba divers. Read Jeds’ report for all the details.
On the evening of Jan 31st we weighed anchor and set sail for Grenada. Our time in Tobago was brilliant, finding friendly people, beautiful countryside, and unspoilt sailing, but it was time to move along.
Under a glorious full moon we made short work of the 70 miles to Prickly Bay in Grenada, arriving at dawn, and with a 3Kg yellow fin tuna freshly hauled aboard we navigated into the sheltered bay and so begins further adventure.
Oh, and those doubles, well they are a type of pancake with a corn and veg puree, sold by the street vendors, delicious, but watch out for the pepper sauce, wow, tongue tingling.