Armadillo for lunch and the water pump impeller
21 October 2016
I hope that got someone's attention. Part of the adventure of cruising is tracking down supplies or for even more adventure, boat parts. Uproar ate my last, new water pump impeller and I was running on a used one. The rapid impeller wear was most likely caused by bits of the old one clogging the system. This put extra strain on the rubber blades of the impeller and its early demise.
Trinidad is a boating mecca with large boatyards, catering to those hiding from hurricanes. But we are on Tobago, Trinidad's little and more beautiful sister. There are no marine supply stores here. I googled Yanmar diesel, Trinidad and found a supplier, Trintrac, who had the part. I asked if they knew a way to get it to Tobago.
Ronald told me there was the 2016 World Food Fair in Tobago the following week and Trintrac had a booth there showing agricultural equipment. Yes, they would bring the impeller there and I could pay for it then.
We had sailed to Anse Bateau, one of the furthest points from Scarborough where the fair was located. No problem, Tobago has a great transportation system, even though the bus drivers were on strike. There are hundreds of private taxis operating on the island. All you need to do is stick your hand out and someone will stop.
You must sit up front if that seat is empty, and talk with the driver. They are very friendly. But they pack the car so often you are crammed in back with two other passengers. There are standard fees which range from $.80 to $2.50. Everyone seems to know how much the ride costs but I always ask. Some drivers who are not in the taxi business will pick you up and not accept any money.
We are anchored just off the posh, Blue Water Inn. I dinghied ashore, ready for another island adventure. Lisa stayed behind and hung out with our cruiser friends in the bay. I asked a local gentleman in the parking lot about how to get to Scarborough. He knocked on the window of a car idling in the lot and asked them to drive me to the junction where I could flag down a private taxi (PT).
Turns out they were heading toward Scarborough and hitting a bank. Great, I needed cash for the impeller. Craig and Zoey were on holiday from the UK. We had a nice chat, mostly about Craig's motorcycle customizing business! They decided to visit a beach further down the island and drove me all the way to Scarborough. Thanks Craig and Zoey, that was sure easy!
The fair was a big deal. Produce was displayed from the small villages on the island for judging. And they would sell you some right out of their displays. Prices were low and the items were picture perfect. I spotted a guy with a Trintrac shirt and he pointed to where the booth was.
Zach in the booth said the guy I spotted had the keys to the truck and yes, my impeller was in the truck. I said, "No problem, I'll wander around, have lunch and come back."
There were classes of school children, dressed in spotless uniforms and holding hands so they wouldn't get lost. The displays were fun, like a small county fair. I stopped at a lunch vendor and learned they had "wild meat" in addition to chicken and pork. We had heard about the delicacies from the forest, Armadillo, Iguana, 'possum and Agouti (large rat). I looked over the options and decided on Armadillo, called Tatoo by the locals.
It did not taste like chicken. It was like a rich beef or goat. The meat was stewed in a dark brown sauce which was ladled over the peas and rice. It was hacked into little pieces so the only thing that resembled armadillo was the segmented shell I had to peal off some of the meat. I ate it all but will probably rate it one-and-done.
Back at Trintrac I got the impeller ($125 usd, OUCH!). I wandered around the fair some more and had a delicious dish of ice cream.
"You're back!" I turned to see the cutest 10 year old girl smiling up at me. "Where are your friends?" I smiled, "I remember you on the bus from Store Bay." Avrila told me she was working the fair, helping her aunt in a booth. She brought me to the booth and I bought some almonds, telling her aunti what a great salesperson Avrila was. Her aunti told me, "She never forgets anyone." It was so nice to be greeted unexpectedly like that.
It took me three PT rides to get back to Anse Bateau. One of them was a car with two giggling ladies in back, bantering with the driver and me about how bad and dangerous men are. It was fun taking their good natured abuse. The end of the journey was a walk from the road back to the bay. The guard at the resort gate asked me how my day was and promised not to fire the old cannon down at Uproar.
These adventures never disappoint. I love the feeling that we are completely on our own and comfortable in our joyous surroundings. The people of Tobago sure make this possible.