In Tune at Sea

The adventures and misadventures of Philip & Geraldine aboard In Tune

02 August 2019 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
17 June 2019 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
11 June 2019 | St George's, Grenada
10 June 2019 | Dragon Bay
09 June 2019 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
02 June 2019 | Hog Island, Grenada
02 June 2019 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
28 May 2019 | Clarks Court, Grenada
25 May 2019 | St Davids, Grenada
18 May 2019 | Tyrell Bay, Carriacou
16 May 2019 | Clifton, Union Island
15 May 2019 | Saline Bay, Mayreau
13 May 2019 | Canouan, Grenadines
06 May 2019 | Blue Lagoon, St Vincent
03 May 2019 | Port Elizabeth, Bequia
30 April 2019 | Wallilabou Bay
29 April 2019 | Soufriere
27 April 2019 | Rodney Bay
24 April 2019 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia

The last post - Leaving Trinidad

02 August 2019 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
Philip Greetham | Hot
Since hauling In Tune out of the water, we have mainly been occupied with boat maintenance work. So rather than write about that boring stuff, in this last post for the season, I thought I would write about a few lesser known facts about Trinidad.

Angostura Bitters
The supermarket shelves are full of it here. Though it was developed by a German, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert in 1830, who was a surgeon in Simon Bolivar's army, and named after the Venezualan town he was living in, there is only one place in the world where Angostura Bitters is produced - right here in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The "factory" is in a very run-down part of Port of Spain, and from there it is shipped all over the world.

Rum and Coca Cola
Rum and Coca Cola was popularised here. Chaguaramas, where we are staying, was a mangrove wilderness that was leased from the British by the US during WW2, on which they built a base to protect the oil shipments, presumably from Venezuela. It must have been a good gig for the US GI's based here during the war. There are still many of the buildings and hangers leftover today from the US base, mainly used by the defence forces, coast guard etc. It is still a narrow road into Port of Spain (POS) that the GI's would have used. As we travel that road by bus to POS we pass through a small strip of bars at Point Cumana, which would have been the first local place outside of the base that the GI's could go when off duty. The song "Rum and Coca-Cola" was recorded by The Andrews Sisters, and became a huge hit in 1945, written by a local Trinidadian musician. (It became the subject of copyright infringement, but I won't go into that here.) By their own admission, the Andrew Sisters just threw the song in at the last minute at the recording session and gave little thought to the lyrics. It doesn't take much imagination to picture the scene in those days:

You can hear the song as recorded on YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FMdPjklEosY
Lyrics:
If you ever go down Trinidad
They make you feel so very glad
Calypso sing and make up rhyme
Guarantee you one real good fine time

Drinkin' rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter

Workin' for the Yankee dollar

Oh, beat it man, beat it

Since the Yankee come to Trinidad

They got the young girls all goin' mad
Young girls say they treat 'em nice
Make Trinidad like paradise

Drinkin' rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin' for the Yankee dollar

Oh, you vex me, you vex me

From Chicachicaree to Mona's Isle
Native girls all dance and smile
Help soldier celebrate his leave
Make every day like New Year's Eve

Drinkin' rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin' for the Yankee dollar

It's a fact, man, it's a fact

In old Trinidad, I also fear
The situation is mighty queer
Like the Yankee girl, the native swoon
When she hear der Bingle croon

Drinkin' rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koomahnah
Both mother and daughter
Workin' for the Yankee dollar

Out on Manzanella Beach

G.I. romance with native peach
All night long, make tropic love

Next day, sit in hot sun and cool off

Drinkin' rum and Coca-Cola

Go down Point Koomahnah

Both mother and daughter

Workin' for the Yankee dollar

It's a fact, man, it's a fact

Rum and Coca-Cola
Rum and Coca-Cola
Workin' for the Yankee dollar

(Note the wrong spellings of the place names in the lyrics.) Other places mentioned in the song - we went by bus one day to Manzanilla beach, which is over on the E (windward side) of the island; this is the main pic used in this post. Chicachicaree does not exist, but I think the song refers to Chacachacare, which like Mona's Isle also mentioned, is just off the coast here at Chaguaramas. (One of the other islands in this 5 island group is Carrera island, which is the Trinidad version of Alcatraz, and is still used as a gaol.)

It amazes me that, after 70 years, people are still trying to "gentrify" the lyrics. If you do a Google search for the lyrics of the song, they have changed the lyrics to, "Both mother and daughter singin' for the Yankee dollar". :-)

By the time you read this, Geraldine will be back in the Philippines, and I will be visiting our friends Gary & Theresa in Fort Lauderdale Florida, before returning to Australia. I'll be in Australia for a few months so hope to see many of you then. Our plans for next sailing season are still undecided. Best wishes to all.

Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

17 June 2019 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
Philip Greetham
We had heard that it is risky sailing to Trinidad due to it's close proximity to Venezuela, and the risk of attack by pirates. Consequently I called the Granada Coast Guard and filed our travel plan with them, agreeing to notify the Trinidad Coast Guard on arrival. It being a 90 NM journey I didn't want to arrive at night so we left at 1700.

The first part of the passage was fabulous with 60% moon giving good visibility, good E wind on the beam and slight seas, allowing us to make good speed. But of course it never lasts. After midnight the wind dropped and moved more to the S (ahead); we went from 7 knots to 2 knots. Engines on. This passage is notorious for strong currents, so sure enough, we then had that against us. We motor-sailed arriving at noon, with no sign of pirates.

We didn't have any trouble contacting the Trinidad Coast Guard as they intercepted us bearing automatic weapons as we approached Chaguaramas! They took all our details and photographed the boat etc.

After clearing in with customs and immigration, and being abused by the security guard for turning up at lunch time, having been up all night, I slept and the others relaxed.

Chaguaramas is a large harbour (main pic) with a mixture of commercial vessels, including many tugs and cable layers (pic), as well as yards for sailing yachts, power boats for fishing (pic), and water taxis etc. Consequently, with the water traffic, the anchorage is a little rolly from the swell.

Once we were awake again, we sorted out the basic items like bus transport to town, supermarkets, wifi etc, and took the bus to Port of Spain (POS) for some of the local currency. We were warned to hang on to our bags very closely in POS.

Wanting to see some of the island before G&T left, we took a day tour to the S of the island to a "pitch lake". The lake made from pitch, or tar, is one of the few in the world. They mine it, process it, and then export it for road surfacing. It was spongy to walk on, and we had a guide because if you are not careful, you can end up sinking up to your armpits in tar! On the way back we called into a small Hindu temple, and passed though parts of Port of Spain. At the end of the day though, I can't say I'm impressed with Trinidad so far.

Having looked forward to Gary & Theresa's visit, it was over all too soon. We had a fabulous time with them, tons of laughs, (often at their expense seeing them getting in and out of the dinghy!) and will miss them. I'm sure they are looking forward to getting back to home luxuries, such as hot showers and air conditioning though!

Geri & I will be here for the wet season now and will haul out on to the land shortly to commence the annual maintenance work.

St George's, Grenada

11 June 2019 | St George's, Grenada
Philip Greetham
Having moved from Dragon Bay to St George's, we took a minibus tour of Grenada island. First stop was the French forts overlooking St George's. Like most of the Caribbean islands, Grenada "ownership" was wrestled between the English and the French. At the harbour entrance, the English Fort George (originally Fort Royal) was pointing to the sea but the French landed on the NE coast and attacked from overland. (You would think the British would have learned this lesson before Singapore fell in 1942.) Anyway the French built two forts on the hilltops, Fort Frederick (finished and named by the British) and Fort Matthew, both commanding 360 degree views. There is nothing much left of Fort Matthew, because though you won't read about it in the history, Fort Matthew, next door to Fort Frederick, had been converted to a mental institute, and in 1983 the Americans bombed it by mistake in their invasion of Grenada; apparently they only had tourist maps of the island. (Look up the US intervention in Grenada on the internet if you are interested.) There are nice views from Fort Frederick (pix).

We visited the very quaint Grenada chocolate factory, which looked like to was built in someone's house,(pix) and chatted for a while with the ex-prime minister of Grenada, who lived opposite the chocolate factory. (pic) Also nearby was the ruins of an old plantation house, which in the grounds, still had remains of the "pens" used to keep the slaves. (pic) We were not welcome there though, and they chased us out.

Highlight for me was the River Antoine rum factory, which looked very much like the ruins of 18th century buildings that we had seen in the islands, except that it was still working! It is still driven by water wheel and boilers heated by wood. (pix) We called into the Grand Etang lake, where the monkeys were so well-trained that they came running for a feed to the sound of the car horn. (main pic) The old airport, which was being extended by the Cubans at the time of the US intervention, still has an old Cuban plane there. Towards the end of the day I (Phil) was the only one brave (or silly!) enough to swim under the Annandale falls. (pic)

A busy day, dinner aboard In Tune and an early night.

Dragon Bay

10 June 2019 | Dragon Bay
Philip Greetham
We left Prickly Bay in the morning for a sail around to the leeward side of Grenada to Dragon Bay, introducing G&T to the finer points of sailing. (main pic)

Dragon Bay (pic) is home to a marine park which contains two things other than fish - corals and sculptures. We snorkelled in several areas of the "park" viewing colourful stag horn, elephant ears, cushion corals and many more. The life-size sculptures are by a Frenchman, Jason Decaires Taylor, and include a woman at a desk on the phone, a mermaid relaxing, a circle of people, Jesus Christ and others. There was beautiful clear water and lots of fish, but unfortunately no pix as the iPhone doesn't like swimming.

Prickly Bay, Grenada - Part Two

09 June 2019 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
Philip Greetham
We came back to Prickly Bay because we had a few other appointments in the man town of St George's, plus we were waiting for US friends, Gary & Theresa to arrive from Miami on Friday. That being the case, we thought we would take a mooring for one week so they had a bit of "luxury" on their arrival. (pic)

We had been looking forward to Gary & Theresa arriving from Miami for several weeks, and the day arrived. After readying the boat in the morning we met them at the airport, which looked resplendent with all the flame trees (main pic). We spent the rest of the afternoon settling G&T in, a few drinks and catch up. We had a welcome dinner at Prickly Bay Marina where there was a steel band playing, which was great except that it was a bit loud for dinner.

Next day we took a local bus ride and gave G&T a chance to stock up on food they liked, that we did not have. In the evening we had a very nice welcome dinner at the Sails restaurant, which is part of Spice Island Marina. (pic)

Time to move again.

Hog Island, Grenada

02 June 2019 | Hog Island, Grenada
Philip Greetham
We heard on the radio net that there was an open mic. night at a beach bar called Rogers at the Hog Island anchorage. So we decided to move In Tune over there for a few days.

Hog Island is a very nice well-sheltered anchorage, however, it had the disadvantage that we had no wifi signal and it was a long way to get ashore to go anywhere.

Many boats tie up here is the mangroves to ride out hurricane season free of charge. This is only partly successful as you can see from the pictures.

We had a bit of confusion at first trying to find Roger's Barefoot Beach Bar. The only building we could see was just an open shed, which had several cattle lying in it's shade (with the accompanying cow pats of course). (Pix) It turned out that this was the bar! Anyway, I took my guitar and we had a great night of music and drinks, well I did anyway. 😀

We took the dinghy across to Whisper Cove Marina the following Sunday for lunch - they have a Sunday lunch special, and treated ourselves to a steak and salad. I really love this cute little marina.

Hog Island and surrounding waters are a nature reserve, with no other "buildings" other than Roger's Bar. We had a walk along the beach and island, but with nothing else on offer there, we decided to go back to Prickly Bay.
Vessel Name: In Tune
Vessel Make/Model: Fountaine Pajot
Hailing Port: Australia
Crew: Philip Greetham, Geraldine Pamo
About:
Philip Greetham: Retired from the corporate world, having had careers in teaching, customer service, training and consulting. Born in the UK, my parents emigrated to Australia as "£10 poms" settling in Melbourne. [...]
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