2013 - Travels in the Eastern Caribbean, Second Year
Guyana - October to December
A spectacular trip from start to finish. Departed Trinidad and sailed around the Northeast corner of the island and from there directly to the mouth of the Essequibo River. We anchored inside the mouth of the river that night and next day with the incoming tide motored up to Bartica to check in. From there we motored the four miles to the Baganara Island Resort where we anchored and were warmly welcomed by the rest of our friends and the staff of the resort. Spent nearly six weeks exploring the local area and taking several trips around the country.
At Bartica the Mazaruni River forks off the Essequibo to the west. We traveled by boat from the Baganara Resort up the Mazaruni some 20 miles to the Marshall Falls. The falls were reached after about an hour walk along a well marked jungle trail. Most everyone enjoyed a dip in the refreshing waters.
When we made our plans to visit Guyana, we expected to be able to explore the country. But, exploring proved to be a lot more difficult than we expected. In an attempt to get out and explore, we visited Rockstone, a fishing camp, some 35 miles up the Essequibo River from Baganara Resort. The trip was done in an open fishing boat and we camped in hammocks at the site.
The most visited site in Guyana is Kaieteur Falls. It is only accessible by air or by a long five day bus/hike/boat ride through the jungle. Most of us took the flight while three hearty souls did the long five day journey. However you reach the falls they are spectacular. Surrounded by hundreds of miles of rain forests the falls drop some 800 feet to a gorge.
Sadly we had to return to civilization. The trip back was exciting at times with a pleasant broad reach back to Trinidad.
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Trinidad - August to October
Spent the hurricane season in Trinidad. The usual boat work plus enjoying the many thing to do. Swamp, Turtle Watching, Rum Festival, Taste of Trini, and Asa Wright.
The leather back turtles come ashore in Trinidad from May through August. The females lay about 100 eggs at a time and may return more than 8 times during the two months they lay. The baby turtles emerge about 2 months later. Matura Beach in Northeaster Trinidad is the second largest nesting area in the Caribbean. We visited one evening in August and were fortunate to see both a female laying eggs and baby turtles emerging from their nest.
The Nariva Swamp is a nature reserve on the East coast of Trinidad. It is a large island surrounded by a swamp and marsh. On the island we saw a great variety of birds and red howler monkeys. We were also fortunate to be told of a sighting of a Jabiru Stork in a nearby field. Piling into the van we searched for the birds and were rewarded by seeing two of these birds rare to Trinidad.
Jesse's Taste of Trini tour is not to be missed. He starts in the morning from the marinas and proceeds east across Trinidad to the East coast then turns south and returns across the center of the island. He stops numerous time to allow us to sample some of the typical "Trini" foods. I think we tasted more than 70 different items. By the time we returned we were stuffed.
This was my third trip to the Asa Wright Nature Center. The bird photography here is amazing. With a dozen or more species of hummingbirds, toucans, oil birds and may other exotic species. The feeders near the porch of the lodge bring may of these species up close and personal.
Grenada - July
Anchored once again in Mount Hartman Bay on the south shore of Grenada. I took the island tour for the second year and enjoyed as much or more then the first time. We visited the rum distillery still making rum in the classic way using a water mill to crush the cane and pot stills to distill the rum from the cane juice.
Dominica - May, June
The typical island tour in Dominica can be hit or miss. This year we were fortunate to get a very knowable driver and enjoyed seeing many of the great sites the island provides. We also did the very interesting boat trip up the Indian River.
Guadeloupe - May
One of my favorite anchorages in the entire Caribbean. The food is worth the stop alone. Lots of short hikes of variating difficulty around the island to the various beaches.
In Dashaies, I made my first trip to the Jardin Botanical Gardens (site in French). Well worth the walk up the hill or getting them to pick you up. The gardens are well laid out and can be seen in a couple of hours. The restaurant there is also good.
Antigua - April, May
Antigua - April
Stopping just briefly in Ile Fourche just north of Saint Barts, I continued on to Antigua. Arrived in Falmouth too late for most of the festivities but managed to catch the last party. Spent some time in Jolly Harbor and a nice sail along the north coast to Jumby Bay off Long Island on the northeast coast.
Saint Martin - March
After a brief stop in the Virgin Islands, I continued on east to Saint Martin and anchored in the bay on the French side of the island.
Island Tour - Dick and Deb
We rented a car and drove around the island. Saw some nice place, but on the whole under impressed. The Dutch side tends to be overdeveloped and tourist focused, the French side seems poorer and very dry after the green of the lower Caribbean Islands.
Puerto Rico & The Virgin Islands - February
One major reason, i decided to visit Culebra was to catch up with some solar panels I had ordered to add to the boat. A group of us purchased a pallet of panels (say that quickly) and I had two. A ferry trip to the main island was necessary to get the parts to mount the panels. Carrying 10 foot lengths of stainless steel tubing back on the ferry was interesting. A two mile dingy ride with these same tubes was exciting. With the help of friends and some re-engineering, the panels were installed. I can't say enough about Outback solar panel controllers. The panels have been making about 200 amp hours each day (with good sunshine) ever since.
Oh yes, I also had a wonderful time with friends and enjoying the island.
The two day passage from Guadeloupe to Saint Croix was a very pleasant one. Broad reach, calm seas, and sailing at near hull speed at times. I took a mooring at Christiansted. Caught up with a friend from high school and spent a great week exploring the island.
Grenada - January
I had a quiet New Years and then enjoyed an Island tour before departing for a quick trip north to visit friends on Saint Croix.
The last time I visited Grenada was in the early 1980s when I chartered a boat from the Moorings in Secret Harbor. I was amazed at the changes. The damages done by hurricane Ivan in 2004 were still apparent. The nutmeg factory that was bustling in the 80s, was almost deserted. Most of the rest of the factories on the island were closed. The majority of the nutmeg trees were damaged or destroyed and had still not recovered. Otherwise it was nice to get out and see th island.