Month: September 2013

Tobago to Trinidad…..

September 2, 2013

Tobago to Trinidad…..  To see the Photo Gallery for this post, click here

August 1st, 2013  Time: -3 on GMT

We got up early as we did not want to get into Coral Cove Marina in Chaguaramas too late in the day. I always like to leave a window for “issues” when arriving in a new place.

This would sadly be Nikki’s last sail on “Beach House”, now having sailed aboard her for the better part of 20 months, 16,000 miles and almost 2/3rds of the way around the world.  It was a great sail.  The winds came up in the pass between the islands within an hour of our departure and we were flying across the waves. We hit 12 knots several times and again, once saw over 15.

There was a lot of local boat traffic including high speed catamaran ferry’s between the islands.  These boats were going up to 35 knots!  When we got close to the pass to head into Chaguaramas, a small thunderstorm showed up, but didn’t stay very long.  It’s hot and humid down here, so it certainly was to be expected.

We furled the genoa and mainsail, dropped the spinnaker pole and motored the last 6 miles into the Marina. Gave each other a big hug and reflected on our time together. A glass of wine was duly opened and we drank a toast to us, Cindy and Beach House……

It turns out, it was a local holiday, so we had to guess where we were supposed to dock.  It was a good guess!  We had some help in the tight quarters, but with Beach House’s twin engines, we can pretty much turn in place.  Fortunately, we had dock power to run the little air conditioner and within a few days, had some modifications done to get the whole boat A/C system up and running.

The nice thing about this area is that we can get a LOT of boat projects done quickly and reasonably.  We’ll be mooring the boat here in the water till the end of October when Beach House will have her bi-annual haul out and lots of little projects will be attended to. A few that are not so little too….:-)

Will have a wrap up blog or two, but this one is the end of the actual sailing season.  The boat will be here till around November 1st and then most likely finish our circumnavigation next season.

For now, KIT,

Scott and Nikki

Englishman’s Cove & Castarma Bay…..

September 2, 2013

Englishman’s Cove & Castarma Bay…..

July 30th – August 1st, 2013   Time: -3 on GMT

We checked out with customs and immigration as this country requires us to do so every time you change an area.  It’s a make work project, but hey, it’s their country.  We went by two rock groups The Brothers and The Sisters.  The Sisters is supposed to be a nice dive spot. Down deep they have schooling hammerheads.

Our plan was to go into Englishman’s Bay for the night and just relax.  When we arrived, there was no other boat inside, so we anchored about 200 feet off the beach near the center of the cove.  We were just anchored for about 20 minutes when out came a local who was angry at us.  We were blocking where he’d planned on casting his nets to catch fish.  Now, the Customs people designate this as an anchorage for visiting yachts, so we knew we weren’t violating some local law.

Much of the Bay was deep, making anchoring in other spots problematic. As such, we decided not to get into any kind of an explanation or confrontation session with our upset fisherman and moved on toward Castarama Bay.  Along the way, we stopped at another bay, but it was just too shallow where we could anchor as the fishing boats had essentially choked off the cove to any other boats.  No worries, it was Castarama….we hoped!

When we arrived in Castarama Bay, there was a British monohull and a French cat already anchored.  We found a cozy spot between some moorings and dropped the hook.  Shortly thereafter, we saw a fisherman go out the French boat and asked him to move.  We weren’t completely sure why as he wasn’t going to be fishing there.  The bay was really lovely, better than Englishman’s and clear.  We went for a walk on the beach and then we took a kayak to a cove around the corner called, “Heavenly Beach”.  It was very tropical, lush, private and quiet.  We paddled ashore and had a great afternoon exploring. It was one of the highlights of Tobago.

Tomorrow, we’ll be off to Trinidad….stand by!

Scott & Nikki

Arrival at Tobago…..

September 2, 2013

Arrival at Tobago…..

July 26th – 30th,  2013   Time: -3 on GMT

We arrived at first light after a nice easy night of calm seas and lightening winds.  The island was easily spotted at about 20 miles offshore. There are some tricky currents and outlying reef systems, so we wanted to arrive at first light, rather than in the dark.  Approaching from the southeast side of the island, we actually could not see the Harbor of Charlottesville till we were almost inside.  We noticed that most of the cruising boats were anchored just outside the beach fishing area off  Pirates Cove.  The water is a bit deep here, but the hold was good and we never experienced any strong conditions.  It was a nice spot, calm and though deep; clear warm water.

After we had a bit of a rest, I took the dinghy over to our neighbor cat and asked the lay of the land about checking in, fuel, groceries, internet, etc.  He gave me a great tip right off the bat.  We arrived at about 6 a.m., but he told us whatever we said would be our time of actual arrival is whether they charge overtime fees or not.  It has nothing to do with reality, just that’s the way it is.  So as there office was supposed to open at 9 a.m., I arrived at 10:30 and told them I got there at 9:45 . This saved me about 50-70 USD in overtime fees.  So for those of you out there who think because when you go to check in, “that’s the time”; it’s not!

The town was small, very Caribbean “mon”, lots of very handsome guys with big Rastafarian hairdos…  We found the shopping wasn’t so great, but the internet OK.  Fuel was pretty easy to get via jerry can and overall the people were friendly and helpful.  We ran into two American ex-pats, who had been coming to the same residence in Pirates Cove for 10 years; one month a summer.

We fast learned from our new friends that one of the biggest industries on Tobago is the young guys, rasta hair a-flowing, depart all over the place at around 8 in the morning with one client.  (Sometimes 2!).  The client(s) are always middle aged women from North America or Europe.  Seems that a nice picnic is arranged in a secluded cove and the clients come back looking very happy after lunch.  Part of the appeal is clearly that these guys are often big time eye candy.  No body fat, muscular and not wearing much.  As such, it’s a booming business.  We even heard about a love triangle with a local guy and his two clients who were not supposed to meet each other….:-)

The next day, we invited our new cat friends over from their boat for a bit of breakfast and a tour and shortly after our new US ex-pat friends were on the beach and I went out to pick them up in the dinghy. They said in 10 years, we were the first cruising boat they’d been aboard.

The next day, Nikki and I rented a car and drove around the island.  It takes about 3-4 hours if you move.  There are indeed some very picturesque coves on Tobago, especially on the north side of the island.  We made some mental notes of where we might like to go, did a quick visit in Scarborough (the main town) and back to the boat.  Everywhere we went, we kept seeing the local trade being plied in cove after cove…  One of the downsides of this industry is that the local women really frown upon North American and European female tourists.  They don’t like them taking their man!  The ladies are not as genetically blessed as the men seem to be, so gals….Tobago may be for you!…:-)))

Every once in awhile, Nikki would wander off on her own at a beach and would quickly be approached about a boat ride.  We both got quite a kick out of it.  Handsome guys!  It was nice and quiet here, especially as it’s off season for everything it seemed except the local boat ride/picnic industry was very quiet….:-)

We enjoyed hiking around the area, took some photos, which I hope to put in this blog and or the photo gallery upon returning to Los Angeles.

Tomorrow, we’ll be off to a lovely cove on the north side en-route to Trinidad, this seasons final destination.

KIT,

Scott and Nikki