At last we are on our way south. We intended to visit the Dutch ABC Islands which were about 400 Nautical miles SE, however, there was a hurricane forming in the Atlantic near Cape Verde Island. We had heard about the pirate history of Trinidad and Tobago, so we decide to go on the shorter journey of 90 miles south, to Tobago.
We left Grenada at 4am with a moderate sea and light winds. We arrived at the beautiful large 'Man Of War Bay', anchoring in the north part know as 'Pirate Bay'. The bay is surrounded by high mountains with lush tropical forests. It is situated in the NE end of Tobago, which is 27 kilometers long with high mountains in the North, and low plains in the South. It is 11 degrees North of the equator.
In the bay is the small fishing village of Charlottesville. At anchor there are many fishing dory's each with handmade wooden outriggers. We cannot go ashore until we clear customs and immigration. They prove to be over bureaucratic and officious.
We are able to take the tender to look around the bay. We snorkel, but as it has been raining quiet hard the water is quiet murky. We troll and catch a Snapper also we sight what looks like a possible surf break.
The next morning we revisit the surf to find a few other surfers. It is a fun wave and we are advised it will be even better in the South.
After we finally clear immigration and customs, we organise a tour with a local guide/taxi driver, Dick. He is a nice friendly guy, who loved to talk about Tobago. We visit Flagstaff Hill, an old American WW2 observation lookout. It is very high up overlooking the Caribbean Sea. We drive to the East coast through Speyside, another fishing village not large but is the main accommodation town for tourists in the North.
Tobago has 54,000 people with only about 4000 living in this Northern end. They now rely on eco-tourism after the 1963 hurricane wiped out most of their agriculture. The lush tropical forests have many birds and waterfalls. The beaches were average in our opinion. We visit the beautiful 'Argyle Waterfall'. d*** tells us about the trees and plants used for local medical purposes. He suggests a recipe for high blood pressure and high cholesterol which is a mixture of pineapple juice, 4 celery sticks and 1 clove of garlic, juiced together.
We obtain approval to move South to 'Mt. Irvine Bay', intending to stop on the way at 'English Harbour'. When we get there there is a lot of swell and wind, so we continue on and anchor in Irvine bay. Again, we are forced to revisit customs and immigration. The swell is rising and there is a great wave on the point, with about 20 surfers.
Paul, Scott and MB have a late surf.
The next morning we are up at first light. We are the only ones in the surf and it is 1.5-2 meters, very long rides.
Christie has joined us and Sam photographs our 3 hour session. Fantastic, best surf we have had in the Caribbean.We then go to mass in the capital city Scarborough.
We then took off to visit 'Bloody Bay', on the West coast 1.5 hours West of Scarborough to enjoy the 'Blue Food Festival'.
This is a once a year event where the locals go to the small fishing village to enjoy food and music, in particular the blue root vegetable, Dashine. We enjoy the local dishes of stewed rabbit, goat, crab, and chicken. There are lots of people, great food, Calypso and Reggae music. Unfortunately, it rained heavily as it is close to the rainforest, the traffic congestion was chaotic, but we had great fun.
The next morning we are back in the surf for another great session. After breakfast we go to the 'Plantation Golf Club'. The course unfortunately, has not been well maintained. In fact, it was in very poor condition. Lots of balls were lost in long grass in the 2nd cut which was overgrown, and sometimes even on the fairways they would disappear. The greens were difficult, but the Buxton's managed to beat the Leeming's 3 up. Warick was not a happy chappie.
It is Monday night and we are leaving for a long 40 hour cruise West to 'Los Roques'. The hurricane that was forming in the Atlantic has dissipated. The following sea is fairly calm. We are enjoying the TV series of 'The Bridge', after JB has fixed the AV system. Paul has fixed the internet. We are all ago!
In Tobago we found the people very friendly, and trying to improve their tourism. However, at this stage they are quiet unsophisticated.
JB and Mick