2020 - Travels in the Eastern Caribbean, Year 9
Trinidad - January and February
The new year found me still in Trinidad. Fourteen months into my long visit due to medical issues.
New Years Day Gam
The usual New Year's Day was hosted by Jesse James. It was a quiet one with cruisers getting together to share stories.
I joined some friends for a road trip to Maracas Beach. Maracas Beach is the most popular beach on the north coast of Trinidad — great food, good stretch of sand, on-site facilities. Famous for it's Bake and Shark. A long drive through very interesting scenery. We picked a quiet Friday in January to visit and mostly had the beach to ourselves. Undertow was rough, so confined our swiming to the surfline.
My plan this year was to concentrate on those events were I could get good photographs. Decided to skip the late night event that i have done in the past.
Old Time Carnival - Old Yard
Many say that the big parades downtown have lost the "real" carnival spirit. The Old Time Carnival on the campus of the University of the West Indies has brought the classic carnival and its typical characters back for everyone to see. They tell the story of how carnival has evolved to its current form and in great detail about each of the major characters.
The Children's Carnival
The Children's Carnival Parade is often on Carnival Saturday morning, but this year (2020) is was held on the stage at Queen's Park Savana. Children from babes in arms to teenagers participated. The level of skill and detail in the costumes was amazing.
Tuesday Parade of Bands
The highlight of the Carnival season is the spectacular parade of bands on Tuesday before Lent. This year was no exception. We had excellent seats on the "fifty yard line" for the parade. In the shade too, as it was going to be a long day. As often is the case, things start slowly and it was not till early afternoon that the major bands began to make their apperance.
Please click on an image to see a larger version or to see related pictures.
Trinidad - March, April and May
With the coming of spring to Trinidad, difficult times ahead.
Asa Wright Nature Center
As CoronaVirus loomed on the horizon, I make another trip to Asa Wright Nature Center. Lost count of the number of visits (likly 10+). The center had already begun to prepare for the virus. But, it was crowded none the less. But the trails were not, so stuck to the trails. Was fortunate to see several new birds and get better pictures of many that I had seen in the past. There were also Trinidad white-fronted capuchins about. Great to watch, but bad for bird watching as they chased the birds from the feeders and dumped the humingbird feeders to get the sugar water. After the visit to Asa Wright we went on to the Caroni Swamp. There I was furtunate to see a great number of Greater Flamingos in the wild. The population of these birds has been growning in the swamp.
The government of Trinidad and Tobago began to impose measures to stem the spread of the virus in late March. First closing its borders and then on the first of April, imposing a "stay at home order". Social Isolation is much easer on a sailboat that is single-handed and at anchor. I do need to go out from time to time to get groceries, but a small market is a short walk away. The current "stay at home order" is continuing to the end of April. After that we shall see.
The April Full Moon.
I got up early and realized that the full moon was just setting. Grabbed my camera and took a few shots.
Trinidad - June and July
In June, Trinidad began to relax the lockdown orders and business began to open. We could begin to travel around Trinidad once again. One of the first trips we though of was doing one of Jesse's famous Taste of Trini's.
Taste of Trini - Southbound
After a long dry spell due to Covid-19, Jesse conducted his famous "Taste of Trini Food & Exploration Tour". We went south this time rather than the usual east. Eight of us enjoyed a long day out exploring and tasting our way with Jesse's usual commentary. Our goal was to get out of the marine yards and not to set any records sampling foods.
We started out early in the morning and sampled our way east along the Western Main Road and into Port of Spain. We then turned south and left the main highway and took to the back roads. Our first stop was the "Temple by the Sea". This temple was build by one dedicated follower in thanks for a safe passage from India and a fruitful life. We also explored other Hindu temples in the area.
Continuing our travels south, we stopped for lunch near San Fernando, Trinidad's second largest city. Here we found some Pepper Roties, one of my favorite foods.
Our ultimate goal for the day was a Mud Volcano located along the south coast of Trindad. After a long winding narrow road we arrived at the site. A muddy slog by foot took us there. The volcano was not very active. It only managed a few "burps" while we were there.
Turning north again we passed the Pitch Lake before darkness fell. The last stop was for Ice Cream in Port of Spain.
A Beach Trip to Las Cuevas
The beach trip took us along the north coast road as far east as Blanchisseuse. This is as far as the north coast road goes before it turns south. We then backtracked to Las Cuevas to swim and enjoy the beach. Then hunger drove us back west to the beach a Maracas, famous for its Bake and Shark, where we had lunch. Then returned to the marinas around 4pm. On the trip were Peter and Robbie on the boat PR2, John on Swagman, and Shirley on Latitude Adjustment and of course Jesse. The morning food stop was for doubles and lunch was Bake and Shark. Bake and Shark is often not make with Shark as the supply is getting low due to over fishing both of Shark and of other fish that shark is a bi-catch of the fishing, like sword fish.
August to October - On The Hard at Powerboats
After two great years at anchor off Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association and Six years since my last haulout, it was time to bite the bullet and haul Wild Matilda. Her bottom paint was getting a bit thin, the "To Do List" was getting way too long, and it was "time".
Also my haul out occured at a time where the Government of Trinidad was facing a resurgence of Covid-19 and things were begining to close once again. Fortunatly, for the moment, the marine businesses are still open.
Haulout and Getting Settled
The short "Sail" around the former island (now attached to Trinidad) took about 3/4 of an hour. I arrived at the haulout slip at Powerboats right on time and to a waiting army of help. The haulout is always stressful. Never fun to see your home dangling from a few cables. The skilled people here a Powerboats made the process effortless and I was soon tucked into my spot in the yard. Plan to be here for some weeks. Great to be in the same neighborhood as my friends.
Middle of October to December
Return to TTSA Mooring
After the better part of two months on the hard getting my bottom painted, new anchor chain, and my generator repaired, I was more then ready to retun to the relative quiet of the moorings at TTSA. John gave me a hand bring Wild Matilda back around and picking up the fore and aft mooring lines. My dingy was rescued from it isolation on the dingy rack and pressed back into service.