On Saturday, we took things easy and took the dinghy ashore for our first Roti lunch. This a local speciality of chipati type flatbread, filled with cut up curried chicken (bones in) and potatoes and served in a paper bag. It was very tasty, but almost impossible to eat without making a mess.

We returned for a little siesta before joining the Monarch crew for a meal at a local restaurant, but the best laid plans are bound to go wrong. Marcus decided to take another look at the water cooling system for the fridge. It keeps getting blocked and the compressor overheats and shuts down, leaving us with a defrosted fridge and food that has to be eaten. He had the boards up on the saloon floor and was leaning into the bilge to take a look at the hoses, when an extra large wave unbalanced the board and it fell down hard on Marcus’ elbow. After arnica, ibuprofen, ice, TLC and a lie down he was feeling well enough to direct me to finish the job off! I hope I reattached all the hoses?? We’ve been too long ashore and forgot that the boat moves at anchor!

Time and tide and dinner appointments wait for no man, so we were changed and back in the dinghy and back over to the hotel to meet up with everyone for dinner at an old watermill.

The swell at the moment is unusually big. The locals say it’s due to the hurricane activity to the north of the Caribbean. Getting into the hotel lagoon means surfing in through the gap between the wall and the artificial reef over some rocks that have been put there to deter the feint hearted. Quite a hairy feat in the dark, remembering where the submerged rocks are that have to be dodged. We arrived slightly wet, but in one piece to get the taxi to the restaurant.

Non alcoholic cocktail at the Water Mill.

Non alcoholic cocktail at the Water Mill.

A good evening; good food, good service in very good company. There was only one hiccup, when it started to teem with rain and we had to shift the tables away from the open edge………we were more concerned about the hatches we had left open in the aft cabin!!! As it turned out there was only a bit of drying to be done and everything dries in no time at all out here.

On Sunday, Keith had arranged to hire a car and take Alex and us around the island. Although the island measures about 20 miles from tip to toe, the few roads there are have to follow the contours of the hillsides and ravines, so we took all day, with only a couple of stops and wrong turns, to drive around the island. In the south, where we are moored, the terrain is fairly flat. As we travelled north we drove into hairpin bend country with rainforest and waterfalls. We stopped at the Argyle falls and ‘Michael’ appeared at the car window, offering to take us up the track to one of the falls lower plunge pools in his trusty Land Rover……..

The trusty 'Betsy' and her crew.

The trusty ‘Betsy’ and her crew.

The waterfall.

The waterfall.

If he ever was thinking of a carreer move, he could definitely become a Land Rover ambassador! He waxed lyrical all the way up to, at, and down from, the falls about the merits of his 30 year old ‘Betsy’. Apparently we could have parked in the car park and made our way on foot, but the 5 minute walk in the midday humidity proved enough for us!
The scenery in Tobago is unspoilt and very green. The north end of the island gets more rainfall than the south, and ravines have been eroded where the water has cut it’s way down to the sea. All along the west coast, there are small sandy bays bounded by sheer cliffs.

One of the bays we stopped at.

One of the bays we stopped at.

We stopped off at a couple just to take a look, ready for bay hopping next week up to Charlotteville. This is the low point of the low season for tourism, so there aren’t many tourists around. Apart from the locals, who were out enjoying their Sunday afternoon, we saw one other group of visitors at ‘Gemma’s Kitchen’ where we stopped for lunch.

The view from our table at Gemma's Kitchen.

The view from our table at Gemma’s Kitchen.

We had heard a lot about this ‘tree house’ restaurant, and it lived up to expectations. We had another great meal, served by the very best waitress we have come across so far!

A veritable feast.

A veritable feast.

After lunch we continued our route around the island and came across the Blue Food Festival at Bloody Bay.

The Blue Food Festival.

The Blue Food Festival.

The whole of Tobago seemed to have turned out to listen to music and sample the various Blue Foods produced from the dasheen root vegetable. Apparently the leaves of the plant are the spinach like callalooh that we have already tasted. The root is used to make bread, mash, wine chips and when it is cut open the flesh is blue………..hence the Blue Food festival.
Onward and upward, we set off towards Charlotteville. This where we will be heading next week to anchor until our stainless steel work is ready for us in Trinidad. It looks idilllic!

Charlotteville.

Charlotteville.

Monday we discovered that our battery charger that’s linked to the generator has stopped working. This is a nuisance as, until we get solar panels, we need to run the main engine to top up the batteries that the fridges and lights work from. The engine uses twice as much fuel as the generator, so we had to take our 30ltr can and collapsible trolley ashore to go and fill up at the local petrol station. We waited at the bus stop, hoping for an unofficial taxi to stop and pick us up. Our luck was in! We got not only a lift to the petrol station, but also two more 30ltr cans which he had a short drive away at his boat shed. When we had filled up, he took us back to the beach, where we had left the dinghy, and got one of the local lads to help carry the cans and load them into the dinghy. Just as we were loading, Keith and Alex arrived on a jet ski and came out with us and helped with the transfer of the cans onto the boat and into the tank. Another trip to the garage to repeat the whole process and we had 200ltrs of fuel for £30!! After giving our new friend, Terry, £20 for his kindness and time, we still reckon it’s the cheapest refuelling we have done. We had been worried about how we were going to manage without the convenience of a fuel dock, but it was relatively easy launching into small breakers, winching the cans aboard with the aft halyard and using our new shake and syphon pump to transfer the diesel with minimum mess.

After a quick spell ashore to hunt down wifi and post the first part of the blog, we were just leaving the bar when we heard a man talking about a Mastervolt that ran off the generator! Our luck was in again! We had inadvertently stumbled on perhaps the only person with electronic expertise on the island. We are going to meet him tomorrow afternoon and get him to take a look at our non functioning charger. Hopefully the solution is simple (and cheap!)
Last night, Monday, we went with crew for a meal at the Pasta Gallery, run by an Italian Swiss man and his wife. His Tobago-an / Italian accent was great to listen to and the food was delicious. After the meal we somehow managed to spend the rest of the evening in the Jade Monkey drinking far too much, but enjoying every minute of it.

High on life at the Jade Monkey!

High on life at the Jade Monkey!

Good fun with the Monarch Crew.

Good fun with the Monarch Crew.

Getting the dinghy launched and Marcus safely back onboard was a challenge, but we managed with the help of Keith, Richard and Andy, who waded out to steady the dinghy while I got the engine started. I’m used to being the designated driver, but it’s a bit trickier on the water!!

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