2019 - Travels in the Eastern Caribbean, Year 8
Arrived in Trinidad for the 8th season. Nice to be back and to see old friends.
New Years Day Gam
Jesse James hosted his usual New Years Day GAM for the Trini. Cruisers at the Wheelhouse Pub. It is the seasons first GAM for the Seven Sea's Cruising Association (SSCA) and Ocean Cruising Club (OCC). This years speaker talked about the many snakes of Trinidad. He brought a number along to show us.
The New Years day celebration came to an end with a 4am wakeup with chest pains. A short dingy ride to shore followed by a taxi arranged by Jesse brought me to medical help.
The medical help in Trinidad is excellent. After some immediate attention, I was taken by ambulance to the caridiac care unit in the San Fernando General Hospital. There I spent five days recovering. Many thanks to the Cruisers who visited and brought necessary clothing and supplies.
Finally, back to the boat and starting the process of recovery. Proper diet and physical therapy being high on the list. My continuing care, included my local doctor, a visit to the hospital to have a follow up check up, and begining treatment with the VA.
Some observations, that apply to medical care many places that cruisers travel:
- Make plans to get yourself to the doctor or hospital - public transport often takes too long.
- Cash or Credit Card is often needed to pay for the initial treatment.
- Medical Care is usually good to excellent, but often the physical conditions are not what we are used to.
- In many countries the family takes up the slack where the hospital does not provide. Gowns, pillows, towels, washup items are provided by the family not the hospital.
- Visiting hours are flexable and expect whole families to come to visit.
I enjoyed some of this years carnival. The old time carnival was fun as always. The fancy Carnival parade downtown was spectacular. The routes traveled by the bands varied this year, so we did not see the whole parade by any means. But, what we saw was great. Whats is more we had front row seats in the shade. Note to self: build a time machine and go back in time to have a talk with the person that included cameras in cellphone.
From March to September (and sometimes as early as January) each year the giant leatherbacked turtles come ashore on Trinidad's beachs to lay their eggs. Trinidad takes on a very important role: the second largest leatherback turtle nesting site in the world is at Grande Rivière. Some weeks later their young hatch and make their journey to the sea. We joined a trip to take the long drive to the turtle nesting beach on the east coast of Trinidad. The turtles usually nest in the dark, so we waited until one had been sighted to treck downt the beach to watch.
Pan Making and Rum Brewing
We had the treat of two trips for one this time. First stop was the workshop of a traditional pan maker and tuner. He demonstrated how pan were made and some of the history behind the process. He also demonstrated how pans were tuned.
The second stop on the tour was to the Angostura rum distillery. We were given a tour of the distillery, its museum, and the small factory where all of the angostura bitters are made. After the tour we got to sample some of their products.
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