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Freya of Clyde
Follow Anne and Alan as they sail through the beautiful Caribbean
06/Oct/2011, Trinidad

Finally, I've got something to blog about. We took a trip with Jesse round the island of Trinidad last week, and here's a wee video of the photos (apologies to Bob Marley!!)


Oh well, I seem to have got kind of lost recently. Not a lot has been happening or I would have posted it on this blog long ago.

We're back in Trinidad, and doesn't Freya love being anchored real close to the shore!!!


We arrived a few days ago in Bequia - beautiful island! Gorgeous sandy beaches and really pretty villages. For those of haven't been here, I hope to put some photos on my gallery for you to have a look at soon. I'm putting some photos on the gallery of other places. Can anyone recognise their location, especially the one above????


We finally managed to leave Trinidad and arrived in Grenada a couple of weeks ago. We anchored in Hogg Island and it was lovely and peaceful after a manic six months in Trinidad. However, only problem with Hogg is - NO INTERNET!!!

We left Hogg and sailed (for "sailed" read "motor") to Carriacou and spent a night or two in Tyrell Bay. Oh help, we forgot it was Carnival!! The noise coming from the beach was AWFUL!! There was at least 2 sets of "music" and the boat hull was vibrating from the noise! (I must be getting old, I cannot understand this boom boom boom stuff at all). So, up anchor and we toddled off to Petite Martinique and Petite St Vincent (about 10 miles in all) where we had a couple of very peaceful nights, which was lovely.

This morning we decided to buy fuel ... maybe not the brightest thing we ever decided to do. Petitie Martinique has a population of about 1,000 and it's biggest claim to fame is its "cheap" fuel. Yes, it's probably cheaper than elsewhere, but OMG - the dock is horrible in a northerly swell - and what did we have this morning - a northerly swell!! Did we think about that before we decided to fuel up - Nup!! We had to wait for about an hour before the dock was free, then a fishing boat tried to jump the queue, but we got in before them, and because of all the hassle we bumped the dock - not once but TWICE!! AAAArgh!! We lost a fairlead off the bow because of the swell (not because we bumped the dock) and altogether it was a horrible experience, with the anchor getting caught under the dock twice. Never, never again.

However, we're back in Tyrell Bay, rockin' and rollin' in the northerly along with about 50 other boats! I'm feeling decidely seasick ....

Rain, rain and mud, mud and more mud
31/Jan/2011, TRINIDAD

So, off to the Bat caves. We felt like Batman and Robin as we trooped down the boatyard to Jesse James' taxi - yes, another trip with Jesse. This time, though, a bit different and a first for Jesse and certainly a first for the rest of us. We (about 11 yachties) were to be Jesse's guinea pigs for this trip, who along with Snake (a Trini rainforest guide) were to be our hosts for the day. "Just a couple of hours and we'll be there" - famous words from Jesse. First, there was a huge traffic jam in Port of Spain, and then Snake got stuck in traffic somewhere else, so we had to spend some time wandering around a huge hardware store (just what Alan wanted anyway). Finally, we got going, with Snake leading the way in his car - past the airport, and miles and miles later - towards Sangre Grande -we turned off along a skinny road towards the bat caves which are situated somewhere just east of the Caroni Swamp, ie in the middle of nowhere. The road got skinnier and skinnier and the bumps got bigger and bigger, and some of the road had been washed away during the recent floods. Jesse managed to drive over most of the bumps, but a horrible loud bang and screech at one point meant that the bottom of the van had hit the road - ouch! However, we eventually got to where we were supposed to be going.

It was raining. It had been raining off and on all day. Rain comes in all forms - wet, very wet, pouring, torrential and just plain deluge. This was deluge. The rainforest is not called "rainforest" for nothing! So, rain can only get you wet and we're hardy sailors after all. It's not as if it's cold wet, it's just plain wet! Now, the road to the bat caves took us up a track - so far so good, and then onto a path - not so good. I can honestly say I've never seen as much mud in my life. (Reminisces of the West Highland Way in Scotland, but much worse.) The guide book says; "As you hike to the Tamana caves you'll pass through abandoned coffee estates, beneath towering silk-cotton trees, and occasionally witness some of Trinidad's most spectacular views" - well we've still to see all that.

So, upwards and onwards we went - slipping and sliding. Oh - did I mention that it was now dark? We were supposed to be at the bat caves in time for the bats coming out at dusk. Well because of all the holdups it was now past dusk, and ... dark! Torches on (for my American friends, that's flashlights)! After about half an hour we finally reached the bat caves where hundreds of bats were streaming out to meet us. Really cool. If you stand still the bats incredibly sophisticated sonar keep them from contacting you directly. Cameras out, but it's still raining!! My photos show the reality of trying to see through the rain! By the way the Tamana bat cave is prime vampire bats habitat. In fact the caves are home to dozens of bat species, including fruit bats, insect-eating bats, nectar-feeding bats, and of course vampire bats. Vampire bats do not live in Transylvania, so if Count Dracula did turn himself into a bat, it definitely was not in Europe. Vampire bats are small and sparrow-sized and live mainly in the Caribbean and Central America.

Peering into the huge hole into the bat cave, we saw hundreds of bats flying out and about and we thought we had reached the entrance, but Snake took us a bit higher up the path to where the entrance to the bat cave really was. We had to climb down a muddy slope that was about 30 feet deep. After climbing down the 30 odd feet Alan and I just sheltered under the entrance to the bat cave and watched the bats, while some of the rest of the party made their way down into the depths of the cave, about another 30 feet. The bats are pretty noisy and the cave smelly. Eventually, we climbed back out of the entrance and slid our way back to the rest of the party who were still watching the bats flying out of the exit.

We decided we had to go back to the bus as the night was getting late. Rain was still falling. To say the trail was muddy is putting it simply! Many of us fell. Some tripped over roots and rocks. Even trying to stand still was hard. At one point I slipped, fell and kept sliding and couldn't get back up. Luckily Snake was behind me and helped me. (See the photo above - taken by Mike on El-Lobo). I think I would still have been sitting on the ground otherwise!

We finally made it back to the bus. Luckily we all had a change of clothes with us. Everything was wet, so a complete strip-off was necessary and the wet clothes put in black bin bags for carrying back to the boatyard. We clambered back onto the bus, and headed off, this time via Sangre Grande to avoid the huge potholes in the road. We had an on-off discussion on the bus as to whether to stop for Doubles or Roti or Bake and Shark on the way back. The Roti won the day, but because we were so late Jesse reckoned that St James would be far too busy with traffic, and maybe we could find some Doubles in Port of Spain. Well we hunted around the middle of town for a while, but no Doubles. So, Jesse, as always on the look-out for food, stopped at the local KFC for a tub of chicken. I can't remember tasting such good chicken before, possibly because I was so hungry!! Thank you Jesse.

We returned to the boatyard around 11.00 pm tired and damp. We opened the boat and OMG, the hatch over our bed had been leaking (it's got an air-conditioner on it at the moment) and all our bedding was soaked (well Alan's bit anyway)! I had to change everything before we could get to bed. The whole day turned out really as a huge adventure. Not quite what Jesse or us had anticipated or expected, but really good fun anyway. notwithstanding the bruises on my bum!

So, now that the guinea pigs have found out the hard way what to do for the bat caves trip, the next batch of yachties should find the trip easier - maybe??

This is what we saw:




This is what we were supposed to see:



Vini and Paul came out to see us for Christmas, so we upped and left the boatyard for the gorgeous island of Tobago. We travelled by the fast ferry, which was an interesting experience - cheap but cheerful is my thoughts on that mode of transport!! Tobago is a beautiful island with lovely people. It's much more laid back than Trinidad and we had a fabulous four nights and five days. We simply drove round the island exploring, ate lots of food, relaxed in the hot sun and had fun on the beaches.

02/Nov/2010, U.S.A.

It was a good idea - we were going to fly back to Miami from Peru, so why not visit the boatshow in Annapolis on the return journey. Annapolis at this time of the year should be gorgeous and so it was, just not as many Autumn (Fall) colours (or is it colors?) as we would expect! We were tired after our journey and probably didn't enjoy the boatshow experience just as much as we should have.

We met up with Paul and Denise from s/v "Vixen" which was really, really great. We spent some time with them and it was good to catch up on what's been happening. Hopefully, we'll see them soon back in North Carolina, but who knows when!! We spent 2 days at the boatshow, but thankfully didn't spend too much money and we spent another day just wandering around Elliot City which was just the next town to where we were staying. Elliot City is full of antique shops and we spent the afternoon simply strolling around "window shopping"!

We had intentionally booked somewhere outside Annapolis so we could see a bit of the countryside, and it was lovely. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast called "The Wilderness" - a historic home built in the 1800's and sitting in the middle of the woods near Catonsville, Maryland - about 10 minutes drive from Baltimore Airport. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a lovely old house and Ellen, our Landlady, looked after us very well and fed us with homemade, but unusual, breakfasts! The usual 'fry-up" didn't happen, but we did get homemade breads etc. which made it very unusual and certainly memorable.



We finally flew home - well back to Trinidad - on the 11th of October. It's took us nearly 2 weeks to get back to normal - whatever "normal" is, but what an experience.

Now, back to the boatyard ....

28/Oct/2010, PERU

From the Nazca Lines, we travelled back to Lima where we did some sightseeing in Lima. We then travelled up to Huaraz which is in the middle of the la Cordillera Blanca in the Andes. The views from the mountains both from the hotel in Huaraz and the Way Inn up in the hills were spectacular.

The Way Inn was just what we needed after an exhausting 4 and a half weeks travelling round Peru. Situated in the mountains this mountain lodge sits at 3700 metres (12,139 feet) and overlooks Huaraz and Cordillera Negra on one side, while being being overlooked by 5000 metre plus snow capped peaks of the Andes on the other. Quiet, stunning and very warm during the day and freezing cold at night, we snuggled into our little rooms with a woodfire burning in the grate.

26/Oct/2010, PERU

The Nazca Lines are a mystery, but are believed to be the remnants of an ancient culture from around 500 BC and AD 500. In the middle of the desert, between Nazca and Palpa there is a collection of geoglyphs which comprise more than 70 figures and animals. These lines are huge and only really visible from the air. and were first noticed in 1927. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. But the debates of their origin still continue - some sort of astronomical calendar, an alien landing strip ... uhm, who knows! We took the flight over the site and these things are really weird, especially the spaceman??!! If they weren't so old, I would think that someone somewhere was pulling a fast one! There's more photos in the gallery.

and .. these are all my own photos taken from a wee plane ...

23/Oct/2010, PERU

Arequipa stands in the shadow of 3 snow capped volcanoes, and is built almost entirely from a white volcanic rock and therefore it's nicknamed "the white city". It has a very Spanish feel. It is Peru's second largest city after Lima and stands at 2350 metres or 7710 feet. This was where Anne got food poisoning - thank you very much Mr Restaurant!! So, I never got to the Colca Canyon to see the Condors. There you go, you can't have everything.

22/Oct/2010, PERU

Lake Titikaka (or Titicaca depending on which book you read) is the highest navigable lake in the World at 3800 metres or 12,500 feet and is also South America's largest lake. The photo of Lake Titikaka is taken from the road into Puno. We took a boat out on Lake Titikaka to see the floating islands of Uros. The residents of Uros use the local rushes which grow in the lake to make floating islands and then they build their houses on top. There are several thousand people living the way they did hundreds of years ago, and supplementing their income from all the tourists that make their way to Lake Titikaka every day. It's quite an amazing site! After we left Uros we were taken in the ferry to the Island of Taquile where we had lunch after an incredible hike up the mountainside. Lots of puff needed, especially at this height - now an incredible 13,000 feet!

21/Oct/2010, Peru

Cusco to Puno - a bus journey with a difference. We were told "bus ride to Puno across the scenic high Andes landscapes only dotted by small villages and herds of lamas and vicunas": 10 hour journey, pick up 0650 from hotel. Fine, okay, it's a long way. What we didn't know, it was a TOUR from Cusco to Puno, with about 5 stops along the way to see the sights and lunch was included in the price!

We had the most amazing seats on the bus for the tour however - upstairs and right at the front. A hostess plied us with coco tea, cola and drinking water. We stopped at a couple of really interesting places, took lots of photos, saw some very interesting skulls, and finally arrived in Puno about 5.00 pm just as it was getting dark.


One of the places we stopped was at Abra La Raya (or La Raya Pass) which is the highest point we have ever been at 14,232 feet or 4338 metres. There are more photos in the gallery.


So ... we had a day off from sightseeing. Thought we'd have a rest! Rest? Huh - I was completely knackered after this little jaunt down the river, and COLD!! Have a laugh at the video, and watch out for the frowning blonde with the interesting hairstyle and very serious hat!!

19/Oct/2010, PERU

Perugate organised a taxi to take us from Ollantaytambo to Pisaq, where we spent 2 wonderful nights at the Royal Inca Pisaq Hotel. The scenery in the Sacred Valley is fantastic, with more ruins and a fascinating trail behind the hotel where we strolled up the river valley. We visited the market in Pisaq which must have one of the biggest street markets in the country. We visited the market on a Thursday, but apparently the Sunday market is the best. However, this did not stop us from enjoying the chaotic market, with souvenir stalls and local vegetables for sale. Major bartering and hard bargaining in our very limited Spanish probably entitled us to buy our souvenirs at tourist rates!! Altogether we did have great fun.

Guinea Pig is the traditional dish on the menu in Peru, and we saw various "castles" where the guinea pigs are bred and chosen for eating. I just can't imagine eating what I used to own as a pet when I was a wee girl. However, it seems that this poor wee beastie is just waiting for the local Peruvian to sit down and consume him (or her)!! We saw one guy sitting down to guinea pig - it arrived laid out whole on a sizzling platter complete with its legs and head and surrounded by assorted vegetables. (There can't be much eating on a guinea pig.) Alan, Pepe and Bear did try to find one to eat at the end of our trip, but thankfully never quite managed to sit down to eat a sample - for which I'll be forever thankful!

The next photo is not for the "guinea pig" fainthearted!!!


18/Oct/2010, PERU

From Aguas Calientes, we took the train back down the track, but instead of sitting on the train all the way to Cusco, we got off at a wee town called Ollantaytambo. This wee town is like a living museum, with the residents still trying to hold on to ancient tranditions.

We didn't have the energy to go climb up into the ruins there, we had to leave that for another day, but they looked amazing. However, we did wander round the town, which had cobblestone streets and narrow alleys. The hotel we stayed at - the Pakaritampu Hotel - was lovely with gorgeous gardens which were growing roses!!

Have a look at the photos in the Gallery ....


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