|CrystalblueoceanSailing and Diving Around the World|
sailing and diving around the world
Went into Scarborough to clear out and went back to the boat. While Seb and Obi squared the boat away for the night sail, I went below and prepared a Chinese-style chicken and broccoli dish. It was dark before we finished eating. We weighed anchor at 8pm and headed out to sea. We had the wind behind us again, so it was a very comfortable sail, all the way to Trinidad. Of course, from Tobago, you can see Trinidad very clearly. As you near Trinidad, you can also see Venezuela, to the west. We arrived in Chagauramas at 10am, but couldn't drop the hook til 11am, because the anchorage was packed. As we started to circle, looking for a spot, the blurry-eyed boat owners started to show up on their decks, calling out advice as to where a good spot would be for us to anchor. One or two of them told us where not to anchor, reminding us of tidal changes, etc. One crazy-looking guy, totally naked, was yelling at us to f..k off! Some boat owners become very apprehensive and stressed out when a new vessel arrives. Some people, without much experience, often make the mistake of anchoring too close to the other boats, or even making the serious mistake of anchoring right over another boat's anchor chain. Causes quite a mess and tempers really begin to flare because the boat whose anchor chain has been covered by another's anchor chain is trapped and can't leave until the intruding party actually weighs anchor. Anyway, we managed to find a spot where we weren't in conflict with any other boats. In fact, we are in a pretty good spot, fairly close to shore, so it doesn't take us too long to get to shore for cold beers and wifi.
The night sail was particularly important because it was Obi's first time standing a night watch by himself. Standing a night watch means exactly that.... you watch. In total darkness, you have to be able to identify the size of the other vessel, and which direction it's travelling, just by looking at its lights. A single green light means it's crossing your bow from left to right. A single red light means it's crossing your bow from right to left. A single white light means it's moving away from you. A red and a green, side by side, means think fast, because it's coming right at you! He did a great job. We did three-hour watches. One guy on, then he's off for six.
The progression of videos is my attempt to give you a feel for what it's like to stand a night watch, with daylight approaching, as you near your destination, in this case, Trinidad. The first video starts at around 5:30am, just as the sun is starting to peek over the horizon. The rest were taken every half hour or so, til we get to Chagauramas, Trinidad, and anchor. As you'll see, it started to pour as we were anchoring.
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Left Charlotteville at 6am, and dropped the hook in Store Bay at 5pm. Wind on our backs the whole way. Store Bay was a more exposed anchorage, but fairly calm the whole time we were there. Got the vessel squared away, the dingy in the water, and headed for shore. There is no dingy dock to speak of, in Store Bay, so you have to beach your dingy, something I love doing. Always reminds me of the hours I spent exploring the deserted beaches of the Pearl Islands, on the Pacific side of Panama. Has a very 'Robinson Crusoe' kind of feel to it. Anyway, we had to wait for a few of the swimmers to swim out of the way before we could get to the beach. As the last swimmer got well out of the way, a Tobagan woman came up beside our dingy and handed me her little boy, saying to the boy as she passed him to me, "going for a boat ride, Ezekiel." I quickly and carefully took the little boy in my hands and stood him up on the forward seat, and then I kneeled down on the floor of the dinghy to keep a good hold of him. Naturally, I looked up at Ezekiel from my kneeling position, to see how he was reacting to this strange man that was holding him, giving him a ride in a strange boat. He looked at me with a confident smile, and bounced up and down a couple of times, showing me that he was a happy passenger. This was one of the most beautiful things that I've ever experienced. By then, I had a chance to steal a quick glance back at Ezekiel's mother, and she was following behind us, wading through the water, as we closed in on the beach. She came over and I passed Ezekiel back to her. I wanted to talk to her, but I had to join in on the beaching of the dinghy, which entails getting out of the boat, each of us grabbing one of the handles on the side, and hauling it up the beach, away from the water. This is a hard-bottomed dingy, so it's pretty heavy. It takes at least two of us to pull it up. I then looked around for the lovely mother and her little boy, but they had become lost in the sea of bodies, splashing around in the water.
We went to the beach pub, which was only about fifty feet from where we had beached the dingy, and sat down. I was still thinking about Ezekiel and his mom, so I excused myself from the group and went back to the beach in search of them. I got fairly close to the where we beached the dingy when I spotted them. She was standing knee-deep in the sea, with Ezekiel in her arms. He was looking up at her as she was talking to him. Ezekiel is 5-years-old, by the way. It took about a minute before she looked up and noticed me waving to her. When she saw me she came over right away and I introduced myself. She said she was Emelia. I quickly told her that her gesture, giving me her own flesh and blood, as I passed by in a boat, was beautiful, generous, open, extremely trusting. I can only assume that she could tell that we were all excellent men and that was why she passed me her little boy, and that made me feel great. I don't mean to make a big deal out of it, but she is black, and I'm not, yet we connected. The fact that we connected through a little boy was particularly poignant. Anyway, I told her how moved I was by the whole thing and thanked her. I wish I had the presence of mind to take some pictures.
On to Store Bay.... Friendly people, fun place. Went to Scarborough, the Capital of Tobago, and cleared in at customs and immigration. Fun car ride, because the car we flagged down was falling apart. When I say falling apart, I'm talking holes in the floor, so you could see the pavement rushing by, and the doors wouldn't close properly, either. To get around, in many of the islands, you simply stand by the side of the road and flag cars down as they pass by. There is a set rate, that all of the people who pick up passengers abide by. So it was only a few TT dollars to get to Scarborough. One of the highlights of our stay in Store Bay was the late night bbq we had on the beach. We found a big flat rock which we used to put our coals on, and we pulled up an old skid to use as our table. We ended up pulling over some old driftwood which we used as benches. I did up some Asian-style kebabs, and Seb made a potato salad, German-style. We were joined by John, a gentleman whose boat was anchored very near to us. He was more experienced than us, so we learned a lot from him.