South for summer. 2016
26 October 2016
Delinquent with the blog once again. Sorry about that.
I'm now in Trinidad but will try to recall where I've been for the last couple of months.
Looking back, I last posted while in Martinique! That was a while ago. Anyway, sailed out of Martinique, for Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia. Had a good sail down, in the company of Skabenga and Out of Africa. I think that Ocean Maiden had gone ahead. Overnight in Rodney then a long sail down to the island of Bequia. We spent a couple of weeks here, having beach bbqs and many dinners and cocktail evenings. I did my back in, again, so hung low for a while. From Bequia, I sailed to Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. It's my southern home here in the Caribbean. I enjoyed catching up with all my local friends, going to Luckys chicken shack, Lambi Queen and the like. I hung out here in great company. Partners, Ocean Maiden, Skabenga, Shavora, Aseka, Nautidog, Pyp me Bligh and many other friends were anchored here so there was always something going on. After a month or so it was down to Grenada. This heading south thing for the summer is for the hurricane season and to keep clear of the "hurricane box".
A week or two in Grenada is enough for me. I needed to renew my Australian passport and Trinidad was the closest consulate. And I wanted to get an American multiple entry visa. Embassy being in Trinidad too. Basically so that I can arrive in the USA or territories on a private vessel. Esta visa waiver no good!
I'd never been down to Trinidad so this was all the excuse I needed. From Grenada it's an overnight trip, leaving mid morning and arriving at the Bocas, a group of islands between Trinidad and Venezuela, early the following morning. Here comes the rub. Venezuela is known for its pirates! There have been a few attacks and boarding of sailboats in the last year or so, so planning is needed. These sob's hid in the lee of the oil rigs etc out here and are fast in their perogues. Open style fishing boat. So Skabenga and I sailed out of Clarkes Court Bay, Grenada, and headed for a waypoint 5 miles east of Poinsettia rig. Then altered course to arrive at the Trinidad coast, about 17 miles ENE of the Bocas. Slide down the coast, slingshot around the corner, scoot past Gasperilla island and arrive safely in Chaguaramas. And it all worked! Went according to plan! Wicked currents around the Bocas though.
We arrived at the Customs dock and my good friend Richard was waiting to help me tie up. We got the boats secured and were then given the tour, customs and immigration.
Here's a twist! I usually travel on my Australian passport. I hand it over and the dude wants $400 for a visa waiver! I say no! Then, thinking, does a South African passport holder pay this fee? No! was the answer. Sign me up I say. I speak Afrikaans too!
So now I'm in Trinidad. Safely tied up at a dock! What a treat! Shore power, wifi, water, garbage removal. Oh! Everything you dirt dwellers enjoy. At a price mind you.
I'll continue soon. Promise!