... And then there were four!.....
Hi all, there is now four of us as Jackson has now joined us for the foreseeable future. We're in a very rainy, but beautiful bay of Tobago called Castara. It's been raining ever since we got here.. apparently it's the end of the rainy season! Weather seems to be improving slowly though...
We stayed in Buccoo for 5 days with a shifty guy called Brandon and his cheeky Swedish girlfriend. He was apparently an awesome fisherman, but our rainy deep sea fishing trip with him proved otherwise, and only left us $300 dollars out of pocket and a with a wounded Jackson who was the only one of us who failed to catch a fish the entire day. As for me, I did catch a small fish on a finger line (we weren't allowed to touch the rods!) but felt increasingly sea sick, so left the boys to it after our morning fishing session in the hopes of catching themselves a tuna or baracuda, but unfortunatley came back empty handed. Rhys and Matt also caught some small Bonito's, and we also caught 2 small lobsters and a conch, which I cooked up a treat! All in all, it wasn't too bad, we got some nice fish out of it, and the lobster was sexual!
Matt, Jackson and I went diving in Speyside, rumoured to be one of the best diving spots in the world. We met crazy German lady number 2 who was our diving guide, who kicked matt in the face several times during the dive almost knocking his regulator out of his mouth, whilst remaining completely oblivious. She also didn't seem to know anything about diving ettiquette or any of the places we were diving. Jackson took a particular disliking to her and had an argument at the end of the dive. We now refer to her as the scuba witch. Aside from that, we did see our first shark! It was a nurse shark sleeping under some coral, plus some beautiful coral formations, and a very big moray eel. We later went diving with a local guy called Redman who was reccommended to us by some divers we met in Barbados. It was much more fun, and he took us to see the biggest brain coral in the world! Jackson had a underwater camera, so I'll put some picks up soon.
Before leaving Buccoo we went to 'Sunday School' which was a weekly street party, in which they had a fantastic steel band, some cool reggae bars, local food stalls, and betting games. They were very amusing home made betting games, which looked like a cross between the wheel of fortune, roulette, and dice. We did get to see some more local dancing between the curvy girls in 'poom poom' shorts shaking their asses so fast they were vibrating against men, who didn't seem to do much but stand there and hang on. Of course Rhys tried to get a set in one of the bars again, but to no avail... we hope he'll get a set soon! Good fun,but too many tourists for our liking!
We then moved to Castara, a smll fishing village half way up the north side of the island, set in a beautiful bay. We stayed in an apartment on stilts built into the hillside, with a balcony overlooking the dramatic coastline. Jackson took the opportunity to test out his jungle hammock out on the balcony under the stars. If anyone ever goes to Tobego, this is definately the place to be. Under the apartments they had a bar/restaurant on the beach front, with live drumming/music and excellent home made food courtesy of Sharon, a ex PE teacher from the UK who came here on holiday one year, fell in love with a strapping local Tobegan man called Brenton, and never looked back... a story we have heard many times now... (the local men must have an appeal of sorts - our local fisherman was nick named Anaconda!) Anyway Brenton liked to make lobster cages and home made rum made from bananas and sugar cane which the locals called moon shine. We bought a bottle which we took with us on one of our jungle camping trips, which officially turned Jackson into the 'anti jack'.
One day we hired a couple of sea kayaks from some local guys and headed off into ocean determined to find a beautiful secluded beach. Pretty soon the waves and the current were massive and we started to wonder what an earth we were doing. We persevereved, and thought we spied a quiet landing spot in the distance. Little did we know this was not the case, and when we got there, we were swept out of our boat by a giangantic wave, and washed up on the beach, with our stuff strewn across the beach and sea like driftwood. Once we came to, we realised that we had a massive rip in our kayak, and the prospect of returning to the sea through the onslaught of waves was looking pretty tricky. We picked our moment and ran for it, nearly became capsized again, but made it through, and back to the main shore, adrenaline pumping! Unfortunately the guys who rented us the kayaks were not happy about the large rip in the side of our kayak and tried to charge us $400 USD for the damage! After a bit of negotiation we managed to decrease the fee by a substantial amount, but it still stung the pockets.
We decided not to end the day on a bad note so Matt and I went on a mountain bike tour in the afternoon with a very cool guy called Eamon, who was very knowledgeable about the island and it's politics. He took us on an amazing tour thorugh a mangrove forest, and the local towns. The ride was beautiful, and the sun was shining, and we finished off the day watching surfers in the sunset at a local surfing beach. As a reward for our hard days kayaking and cycling, we treated ourselves to a loster dinner at the famous Fish Pot restaurant in Pleasant Prospect... it was the best lobster we have ever had.... total sex in the mouth!!
During the next few days the rain seemed to have subsided, so we decided to take our first of two camping trips into the jungle! Matt had arranged to hire some hammocks from a local guy, but unfortunately he had left town on this particular day so we set off empty handed except for our mosquito nets and sleeping bags (thanks Charlie!) Jackson of course had his luxury hammock with mosquito net attatched... this later proved to be a sore subject... literally! We found our way through the jungle to a beautiful waterfall nearby and set up camp for the night. Rhys, Matt and I built our beds out of the surrounding foliage. Rhys being bug-phobic decided not to use any leaves and just slept on some knobbly logs which he had carefully balanced over some stagnant water and coated them in an entire bottle of deet. We know refer to his creation as 'the bed of pain'. Look out for the pictures. Mine and Matts attempt was a little more ambitious, starting with some logs, filled out with leafy brances, and topped with lots of banana leaves. I can't say it was the most comfortable nights sleep, but I think Ray Mears would have been proud of our effort! The night was full of stars and fireflies, and we had the pleasure of enjoying an early morning swim in our own private waterfall pool!
Our next jungle encounter was far more comfortable, and we located the hammocks that escaped us the first time. This time we (minus Rhys who was too scarred from his last campng experience to join us) hired a car and visited 3 waterfalls in one day. One was aptly called Rainbow Waterfall as it revealed several rainbows within the cascade of it's water where the sun shone through. We camped at the higest and biggest waterfall on the island called Agar Waterfall, which was actually a network of about 30 sequential falls. We hiked to the fifth level, and found a steep hill with lots of bamboo to anchor our hammocks from, and a dried up stream to build a fire. We then had the best jungle meal ever!.... It took three hours to cook up some jungle rice, flame grilled corn on the cob, and banana leaf wrapped steak of mahi mahi freshly caught by our fisherman friend Anaconda! It tasted immense! Topped off with a bottle of local moonshine, you couldn't get a much better jungle camping experience!
The rain returned to see us off on our last day in Tobego. Thankfully we made it to the airport despite the threat of regular mudslides blocking the roads. Next stop - Guayaquil, Ecuador! xxx