Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

A Taste of Trinidad

06 December 2012 | Chaguaramas
Hot and sunny

Tuatara and crew are still in Trinidad although happily in the water now. The, to do list is a lot shorter and departure day has been decided, 4 days to go. We now have even more new batteries, starter ones this time, the pilot house and galley look better with new varnish, sails are on, Tuatara is looking like a sailing vessel again. We are nearly ready to head west via Grenada.

Our stay in Trinidad has not been all work we have found time for some socializing and have left the yard for shopping trips and some tours. Long before we sailed into Chaguaramas we had heard of Jesse James, “ the nicest and most helpful man in Trinidad” and we can add to that he is one of the nicest people, working with and for cruisers that we have met since leaving NZ. Jesse organises shopping trips, taxis to and from the airport, trips to the movies and tours around the island for the cruising community. With more than 1000 boats spread between yards and anchorages there is always someone wanting to go some place, to some event or shopping. Jesse likes to show off his island and all that Trinidad has to offer. One of his favourite tours is the Taste of Trinidad tour which is quickly becoming legendary among cruisers visiting Trini. A few weeks ago we took a day off from polishing and painting to eat our way around the island. Jesse picked us up at 9am and before we had got too far down the road he had stopped several times to get us local food to try. By 10.30 we had tried 14 different foods and were wondering how we would fit in any more. The previous week’s group had eaten their way through 67 different samples of Trini delights. The general agreement was we would try and beat that.

Jesse stopped at lots of different little road side food stalls as well as restaurants and fruit stalls to buy us the delights to try. We ate our way through 73 different foods some were familiar, water melon on a hot afternoon delicious, chickens feet and cow heel soup ....well a little different. The huge Brazil nut pod was a surprise, a large lumpy bell shaped pod full of brazil nuts. For a Trinidad breakfast we stopped for Doubles, they are made of 2 Roti filled with spicy chick peas and hot sauce. Doubles are messy to eat and delicious. Although if you forget to say “just a little hot sauce please” they can leave you gasping and reaching for the water bottle.

Jesse drove across the middle of the island and then south down the Atlantic coast back inland and back through teak and cocoa trees across to the west coast. All the while stopping for food and giving us the history and information about towns, people and food. We stopped at Manzanilla beach for lunch, curried goat, sorrel drink and mauby drink among other dishes. My favourite curried mango helped disguise the flavour of the sorrel and mauby drinks both of which seem to be popular here, I cannot understand why! While we walked along the beach trying to use up some of the mornings food fuelled energy, Jesse made his well known pineapple chow for one of our afternoon snacks. Pineapple chow has chillies and garlic among other things flavouring the chopped up fresh pineapple. It’s for eating while lime’n. Liming is Trini speak for sitting around and having a chat. It might be over a beer or on the beach liming away a Sunday afternoon eating pineapple chow. As we drove through the country areas we stopped at lots of places to buy Indian sweets, cakes and pickles. Just on dusk as the pink sky peaked through the cocoa trees we stopped to pick grapefruit and a cocoa pod. The cocoa beans are covered in a sweet white flesh which you suck off and spit out the beans. The pink grapefruit as always were juicy and sweet. We piled back into the van to head back to Port of Spain for the last set of tastings for dinner. 12 hours after leaving the Boat yard we rolled out of the van very full of Trini food and memories of a great day. Jesse had shown us his Trinidad through his favourite activity, eating local food. We had been sitting down most of the day but as soon as we got back on board we both lay down exhausted and full of food.

40% 0f the Trinidad and Tobago population is Indian, descendant from the East Indian indentured labour who came to Trinidad after the emancipation of the African slaves. Understandably once free most slaves did not want to work on the plantations so the East Indians came on the understanding that after a number of years they would either be free to return to India or stay and be given a piece of land of their own. So now many of the rural towns are mainly Indian. Divali the Hindu Festival of Light in November provided us with another outing into heartland Trinidad. Another Jesse James organised outing, 3 bus loads of cruisers went off for an evening of dinner and Divali lights . We arrived at a Hindu school where we had the festival explained to us and then were entertained by some dancers and drummers. Dinner was then served, a traditional Indian Divali meal on banana leaves. After dinner we then wandered around the town looking at all the lights lining the streets and decorating the houses. As we walked along the streets, we suddenly felt like we were in a familiar setting. Ah .. the Christmas lights at the Morman Temple and on the houses at Templeview at home in Hamilton. The long line of cars moving slowly around looking at the lights and houses dripping with lights was a familiar sight, just two differences, religion and the sparkling saris of the ladies celebrating the end of Divali.

Just recently we went to see the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, at the IMAX in Port of Spain. Great movie on the large screen. Luckily we had been warned to take a warm jacket as the theatre is freezing. It seems Trinis like to have the AC in public buildings, shops etc at near freezing level or so it seems as you step inside out of the 34 deg heat. Many shop assistants wear clothes that wouldn’t be out of place in an NZ winter and when I see them outside in these warm clothes I wonder how they cope going from very hot to very cold several times a day. Plus it seems such a waste of electricity to have the AC so cold. No wonder some world body decided lately that Trinidad and Tobago or TT for short is one of the least energy efficient countries in the world.

We also had a delightful afternoon out with Elizabeth (a contact given us by our friend Trev in NZ) one Saturday, to Maracas Bay on the north coast. It was a pity it rained a bit but the beach was beautiful and the Shark ‘n Bake for lunch was crunchy and delicious. Shark ‘n Bake is essentially a big fish burger. The Bake is the large bun which is generally deep fried dough then the fish is fried shark and you add salad and hot sauce as you wish. A good healthy cheap meal. A local pub here at Chaguaramas, The Wheelhouse, has a Shark ‘n Bake every Saturday night, $9NZ each and then with a couple of beers or so it is a cheap social night out. On the whole though I have found groceries are fairly similar or a little less than in NZ and the same with fruit and veg at the Fresh market in Port of Spain. Saturday morning is an early start, 6.30 am to go into the market, for some reason Alan has decided that marketing is really a pink job! He misses out on the interesting sights and smells as well as Doubles for breakfast.

So as you can see it hasn’t been all work, we have enjoyed our stay here , a few frustrations work wise but we can see why cruisers come back here year after year. We are heading to Grenada on Saturday afternoon, the weather looks ok, its only a 90 mile hop. Although an overnighter for our first outing in nearly 7 months will be a bit hard. The first of many to come in the next year.
Talking of long hops I have to give congratulations to our fellow Hamiltonians and Sailblogs bloggers, Kleiner Bar for recently completing their circumnavigation. In the last year Werner, Lucia, Nina and Lucas went the more challenging route, down South America around the bottom to Chile and across the Pacific back to Opua. I am sure the kids will have lots of adventures to think about if classroom lessons become a little boring back in Hamilton next year.

For those wanting to email us from now on it may be more reliable to send to our sailmail email as we will be away from constant internet connections. Our pactor modem is now back from its third visit to Germany to be fixed. I think the pactor has travelled further than we have. On its last return journey it went to Venezuela twice via Panama. So hopefully it continues to give us good service between here and NZ. It works best with continued use, only stops when it hasn’t been used for a few weeks or months. So send those emails!!!
Also I have put some photos of Trinidad on the gallery so take a look.
Cheers Jean
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ