2018 - Travels in the Eastern Caribbean, Year 7
Trinidad and Tobago
New Years Day GAM
Jesse James hosted his usual New Years Day GAM for the Trinidad Cruisers. It is a popular event and the season's first GAM for the Seven Sea's Cruising Association (SSCA) and Ocean Cruising Club (OCC). This years speaker was from North Post Radio. He talked about the services they can provide to the cruiser.
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I departed Trinidad heading north in January, stopping in Bequia for a few days to enjoy the Jazz Festival there. I then continued on to Sainte-Anne Martinique. I had planned to continue further north, but dingy engine and camera problems kept me in Sainte-Anne. Not a bad place to be stuck.
Hikes and Cruisers Pot Luck
Saint Anne is a wonderful place to hike. There are a number of excellent hiking trails that are well maintained. The trails extend out to the beaches at the Southwest end of the island as well as around the local area. The distances vary from short to many kilometers. There are also a number of nearby hills to tackle. My favorite was the 3 km or so hike to the end of the island. There are several salt ponds that attract a variety of wading birds along the way so usually take my camera.
There is also a shaded beach that is excellent for a picnic. John and Jo on the boat Out of Africa organized a number of cruisers pot lucks there.
We rented a car one day and did a circuit of the eastern side of Martinique. Took the main road to the capitol, Fort-de-France, and then up into the mountains. Stopped at the Botanical Gardens just north of the capitol. Great gardens and a view of the ocean. Continued north and then east to the northeast coast. Stopped at a restored Chateau and then at a rum plant and the Banana Museum before returning home.
Grande Yole Championship
The Grande Yole Championship prix de la Ville de Sainte Anne was held. The course wound through the anchorage and gave us a ring side view of the race. These are local wooden boats without keels. They use hiking poles instead - leading to a large crew hanging out at the end of the poles and getting wet.
The Yole was originally a fishing craft which is characterised by its long canoe-like hull and square sail. In Creole we talk of “Denie rive ka payé la goutte” (last home supplies the drinks). These races are probably of a more commercial origin like the term regatta, whose earliest recorded usage was in 1769 in a Venezian text meaning “rivalling,” from the common Latin usage “competition to complete the catch”.
First sight little has changed in twenty two years of racing. But when you realise that the annual budget of the leading Yoles is over US $200,000, then it is obvious that this is no longer an amateur affair. Firstly, a number of the crew are semi-professional, they have a strict Gym program, and each major Yole has a qualified psychologist as part of the mental preparation.
I sailed to Trinidad in early August. As usual one of the last cruisers to head south. I find the weather in late June, July, and early August some of the best sailing of the year. You do need to keep an eye out to the east, but a small price to pay.
After spending a few weeks at Coral Cove, I moved the boat around to the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association (TTSA) and dropped anchor.
20/20 Cricket at Queens Park Oval, Trinidad. Trinidad verses Guyana. Trinidad won.
Five Pan Bands Festival
Saturday night we attended the International Steelband Foundation's, Big Five Steel Orchestra Concert. The music was awesome, the energy was over the top, and everyone enjoyed the evening.
Taste of Trini
On Thursday we did a great Taste of Trini Tour with Jesse. I have lost count on the number of ones that I have done. Each one is different - all great. We finished the trip with ice cream.
Annual Pan Parang and Pork Fundraiser
Each year the Shell Invaders Steel Orchestra hosts thier "Pan, Parang, and Pork" Fundraiser. This year (2018) it was held on 11 November. The event featured: The Shell Invaders, The Shell Invaders youth Orchestra, Los Alumnos de San Juan, Edwin "Crazy" Ayoung, and Marcia Miranda. The Youth Steel Orchestra was very good and played two sets. The Los Alumnos de San Juan provided traditional Parang music. Marcia Miranda sang and came out to dance with many of the yachties. The Pork BBQ was excellent and filled eveyone up between dances.
YSATT Cookout and Christmas Party
YSATT held its Annual cookout at powerboats on the 16 of November. Members of YSATT cooked up their specialty dishes for the cruisers. Music was provided by a DJ and a Pan Orchestra the "Oval Teens". Everyone had a great time. There was even a snowball fight when some of the younger (in age or heart) people discovered the excess ice from the drinks made excellent snowballs.
ASA Wright Nature Center
ASA Wright Nature Center, high up in the northern mountains of Trinidad, is one of my favorite place in all of the Caribbean. In a quiet setting of a 100+ year old coffee plantation, one can watch the many birds feed from the wide porch or take a walk through the rain forest. This year was my ninth or higher visit (lost count). As usual, I saw some birds that I had not seen or photographed before.