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Update:    February 16 to March 22nd, 2001 
Location: Trinidad & Tobago
A somewhat longer time than usual between the events and this update - as you will see, we have LOTS of material from Trinidad & Tobago, so the format of these pages will be slightly different. This page is the overview, giving a summary of our activities from leaving Grenada to leaving Tobago, and following this there are a number of pages where you will find more details as follows:
1: Carnival Overview
2: Pan & Calypso
3: Kings & Queens
4: Play Mas (Parade of Bands)
5: Play Mas (Graham's selections)
6: Tobago Anchorages
7: Graham's Rum Punch recipe
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in Trinidad, and are looking forward to returning later in the year, when hurricane season in the Caribbean forces us south again. 
Tobago was a delight, with it's quiet anchorages and friendly people and although it is a hard beat to windward from Trinidad it was well worth the effort.
Right: waiting for the catch to come in, Plymouth, Tobago
and here is just a taster of the colours and textures of carnival ...
After dispatching Max back to chilly England, it was time for us to start thinking about our next destination, Trinidad, where we would be meeting Arnold & Brenda (also preparing shopping lists of things for them to bring out for us!). We spent some time in Hog Island doing spring cleaning and boat maintenance, including repainting much of the woodwork with Cetol (last done in Lanzarote) and trying to locate a new impeller for our Kubota generator. 
Right: Roger's Bar on Hog Island
I know some people think we are just having a long holiday, but honestly there is lots of work to do to keep a sailing boat in good condition to be ready for all eventualities, and most days Graham seems to be busy from dawn to dusk (or at least from coffee until cocktails...). 

Here we said farewell to our friends Iain & Tammy on Dreamcatcher, as they set off for a new phase of their life, looking to buy a canal boat to cruise the waterways of France. We wish them well and hope that our paths will cross again one day. 

Left: Graham gets down to servicing the windlass (yes, the wedding present which so many people generously contributed to - it is absolutely wonderful!)

One of the great joys of the cruising life is the people that you meet, and firm friendships are forged in a short space of time - with the knowledge that our lifestyle makes a separation of the ways almost inevitable sooner or later, one tends to make the most of the opportunities while they exist, and we have found that our life is a lot more sociable than it used to be - sundowners and meals shared in various cockpits along with the swapping of sea stories, cruising recommendations and maintenance hints have filled many evenings. Graham now makes a superb rum punch
Right: Tammy on her birthday aboard Dreamcatcher
It is about 80 miles from southern Grenada to Trinidad, and in order to arrive early in the morning at Chaguaramas, we needed to leave at dusk, so we moved around to Prickly Bay in daylight so that we would not have to negotiate the reef in darkness. We left Prickly Bay on 15th February for our overnight passage, a delightful sail with the wind on our beam. 

As we arrived at the Boca del Dragon with the sun rising the following morning, the sea showed itself to be a dark greeny grey, and filled with myriads of jellyfish. At Chaguaramas we cleared into customs and immigration at the dock alongside Crews Inn, and then moved across the channel to our berth in Coral Cove Marina, where Arnold & Brenda were to join us later. 

After two energetic and exhilarating weeks we left Trinidad on the morning of 2nd March, for a beat to windward along the north coast before heading across Galleon's Passage and up to Scarborough, the capital of Tobago, where we cleared with local customs and immigration, before heading round to Store Bay, where Arnold & Brenda were waiting to join us onboard again. We spent the next week anchored off Pigeon Point, before going to explore the north west coast of Tobago. 
Right: Trinidad's north coast receding into the distance as we sail for Tobago

Chaguaramas is now the centre of Trinidad's yachting industry, with numerous marinas and boatyards along the coastline of this protected inlet. What a lot of boats! 

After a couple of months at anchor, it was quite a treat to have the ability to get ashore so easily, and have the convenience of hot showers, restaurants, shops and so on in walking distance. 

Right: Oasis at Coral Cove, drying out the drifter.  You can see the wooden posts which are used instead of a stern mooring line

But it's hot and humid without the sea breeze that we are used to, so one of our first activities was to hire an air conditioning unit to fit over the saloon hatch. The water here is not for swimming in, but Coral Cove Marina has a plunge pool which is great for cooling off in after a day's activity. 

Left: Air conditioning unit fitted over the saloon hatch

The cruising community here is well organised, and each morning at 8:00 we listened to the Cruisers' Net on VHF Ch.68. This includes a welcome for new arrivals, weather, events, help wanted, "treasures of the bilge" and so on. We happily caught up again with Beverley and Dick on Mistral whom we had met in Puerto de la Duquesa, who are now on the homeward stretch of a long circumnavigation. 

Right:In Chaguaramas B won a hamper full of goodies in the daily pre-Carnival draw at the Hi-Lo supermarket!

In the week before Arnold & Brenda arrived, we made the most of the fantastic facilities of Chaguaramas and went on something of a spending spree (all planned of course). Most importantly, we bought a new Caribe 9'0 light RIB dinghy and a Mercury SeaPro 15 hp outboard - now we won't get soaked every time we have to dinghy through the slightest choppy water, and only take half the time to get to and fro. Really, this takes the place of a car for us and is our daily workhorse for shopping and all off-boat activities. We have kept our old dinghy and outboard (his and hers?) for the time being. 

Left: Our new Caribe dinghy, here with the old outboard, on the beach at Englishman's Bay, Tobago

We took a bus into the city of Port of Spain for a quick visit to the amazing fabric shops, and bought some lovely materials for clothes and cushion covers. We had good advice from Dreamcatcher and Union Jock about where to go and what to do in Trinidad, but there just wasn't enough time this trip. We'll be back..... 

Right: Arnold & Brenda with B before a long night out on the evening of Dimanche Gras

You may wonder where we put everything, since we were already choc-a-block onboard. Hhmm, it has become something of a problem, particularly as each time we raise our anchor, Graham needs access to the chain locker, as the anchor chain tends to pile up and then needs to be manually distributed every 10 metres or so. This means keeping the forepeak fairly clear, which means moving a number of items on to our bunk every time. To reduce this, especially when we have visitors on board, we decided to take a lock up storage facility at Coral Cove, and have stored our spare sails and a number of other things which we don't need for island-hopping. 

Left: a view of Oasis from Pigeon Point Beach Resort, Tobago

Read about Carnival and Tobago on the following pages .....

Arnold & Brenda were ready for anything when it came to Carnival - here they are after being up all night, dancing  and getting splattered with mud and paint after revelling in the streets of Port of Spain during J'Ouvert!!!
 Above Left: Sunset on our passage south to Trinidad 
Above Right: Entering the Boca del Dragon (Dragon's Mouth) around the north west coast of Trinidad
A stunning display as one of the carnival queens makes her entrance on stage at the Queen's Park Savannah
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