Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Limin' in Charlotteville

Our last sunset swim at Pirates Beach Tobago, with Diane and Evan from Ceilydh                                   
Cruisers are well practiced in the Tobago/Trinidad tradition of "limin" - getting together, relaxing and having fun, mon. Don't come to Charlotteville if you want cool cocktail bars, fine dining, retail therapy and an air conditioned supermarket.  Charlotteville has none of these, but has so much more to offer - friendship with the locals and serenity being high on the list. Provisioning is adequate, with excellent fruit and vegetables available in the town, and fresh fish at the market every day.

We spent over 5 weeks in the anchorage with Ceilydh as our neighbour.  Other cruising boats came and went, and an average of 10 to 15 boats stayed in the safe, uncrowded anchorage inside Man of War Bay.

In this early part of the wet season the weather was very mild and dry. Cool breezes blew down over the mountains and through the open hatches all day and night.  We saw no mosquitoes during our stay in Charlotteville, and only 6 cases of Zika have been reported on the entire island of Tobago. The sandy beach provided a fantastic spot for sundowner swims late each afternoon.  We saw so many beautiful sunsets, even a few with "green flashes."

On the beach we enjoyed weekly beach barbeques.  Wood was collected, dinghies beached, cruisers gathered and many fish were cooked on our grill.  We also refined cooking breadfruit in the coals - cook till done (3/4 hour on hot coals), peel off the burnt skin, cut into small bits and serve with hot garlic butter. So delicious. Joe the fisherman and Mohamed from Customs regularly joined us, sharing in the history and local island gossip. How privileged we are as cruisers to welcomed into this community.

Attack remoras and friends under our hull
But all was not perfect in this relatively cyclone-free piece of paradise.  We still had attack remoras living under our boat.

Before departure Neil dived on the hull to clean the propeller and found two of them, the big one circling him, the other suctioned onto the starboard side of our keel.

There was minimum  growth on our 22 month-old antifoul paint, however the first 10 meters of anchor chain were covered in very fuzzy seaweed. Ley spent a hot hour on the foredeck pulling up a meter at a time, scrubbing and rinsing off most of the growth.

We departed Charlotteville on August 29 for an overnight sail to Grenada.  Mark came by in his boat Expect The Unexpected, and waved us off.  Joe the fisherman, his uncle, was working as a carpenter in town and Irwin, the fruit and vegie man, was at his stall.

Sad to be leaving, but happy to know that we will be back in late January.

 Mark and friends seeing us depart.  Image by Diane Selkirk

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