Thursday, 4 August 2016

Charlotteville, Tobago - Just Chillin

We arrived in beautiful Charlotteville just 12 days ago - and it's everything we wanted in a Carribbean anchorage. Very friendly people, very few tourists (excellent..) plus good supplies of fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood right on the waterfront.

The local customs and immigration team are wonderfully helpful, and clearance procedures are handled in a spirit of friendship. Most importantly, the water here is clean - we're anchored in 16 meters just a little west of the town, directly off Man Of War Bay.  We can swim off the boat - if you like being chased by Remora fish - but each afternoon we meet with other cruisers on the beach for swimming, chatting and telling the usual friendly lies over a cold beer ...this is not a difficult place to just chill.

Crystal Blues Bottom Left, In Man Of War Anchorage

The locals are a big part of the happiness plot - this is one of those places where the local folk actually invite you stay longer and they really mean it - where the fisherman deliver live crayfish after breakfast in the morning, where everyone is friendly, no pressure at all mon. However, the singular gas station is always out of gas - both diesel and petrol. OK, that's a little unfair, as it is usually available at least one day a week, but hey, ain't that enough ? Of course they NEVER run short of beer or rum - or crayfish.

On average there have been 15 or 16 boats in here since we arrived. It seems the number of boats is increasing, and we're told there were 60 boats here this time last year. I'm sure the bay can handle them, though I'm not sure my French and German is up to scratch for that crowd - this is the first place we've been (since New Caledonia) where the majority of cruising folk do not speak English as a primary language.

Honestly, I almost daily curse the Australian education system that decided I didn't need to study any languages - though it graciously did give me a taste for music, something I've lately learned to cherish very dearly.

So, despite our Anglophile upbringing, we manage to share food, wine and opinions with those from other nations - principally because they all speak great English, of course. As do the Tobago locals, so we have no problems with market, transport or even buying rum. Perfect, except I still need diesel...if only I could chill a little more, mon, like the locals.

Warm Clear Water At Last
Yesterday we rented a car and drove to the other end of the island, which became a significant disappointment. Too many tourists, way too many sales folk, and no real local community spirit. If I see another T-shirt, T-spoon, sunhat or recycled coconut shell for sale I'll scream.

We were very glad to return to peaceful Charlotteville in the north, a one hour drive over winding mountainous roads. It seems that 90% of the tourism on this island is concentrated within 3 or 4 kilometers of the airport, where flights from Europe deliver white skinned Brits and many others. Long may they stay in the south - right now, Charlotteville is heaven.