Sadly we had to leave Tobago and are now back in Trinidad to have various jobs completed on the boat.
We stayed long enough to play the cricket match against the school, which was good fun

The Motley Crew! Average age 61!

The Motley Crew! Average age 61!

Our opposition.......average age = 11

Our opposition…….average age = 11

……. needless to say we won. Not really a fair match when you total up the age and experience. The whole school….70 students and 2 staff, turned out to spectate.

The spectators.

The spectators.

After the match, Keith presented the bat he had brought out from England to the captain of the school team.

Proud recipients of the bat.

Proud recipients of the bat.

I don’t know if it was because they lost, or because it’s ‘cool’ not to smile, but we couldn’t force a grin out of them? There were a few smiles after we passed the hat round for the Christmas charity.

Hugh passing around the hat.

Hugh passing around the hat.

After the match we all repaired to Noel’s bar for post match celebrations and Marcus arrived with a young Dutch couple who had been on the fishing boat that sold us fish that morning. They turned out to be on a week’s holiday in Tobago, after she had done year’s internship at a hospital in Suriname and he had joined her a month ago. They were intrigued by the fact we were living on the boat and sailing around the world. They both have sailing experience and were delighted when we asked them back on the boat to share our fish supper.

Our two visitors who came for a fish supper.

Our two visitors who came for a fish supper.

I think we may have kindled another dream for the future!

On Tuesday we said a fond farewell to Charlotteville, checked out at Imigration and Customs and set off for Store Bay to meet up with Martyn and our mended motor for the water maker. We stayed until 2200hrs and then set off for Trinidad in the company of Elke and Werner on ‘Na Ja’. We had a good sail for most of the way and the current swept us along faster than we wanted.
At about 0300hrs, we were forced to slow down when we got a call from Werner to say that they had got caught in a fishing net which had jammed their rudder and that he was going to dive in and cut the line. We turned around and shadowed them for moral support and help if things went wrong. After four attempts he managed to cut the line away, only inflicting one cut to his thumb, bumping his head and scraping his nose on the hull. It could have been much worse if the seas had been rougher. I think I may invest in a canoe helmet, just incase I have to go over our stern in the future!!

Na Ja on her way again.

Na Ja on her way again.

Since arriving back in Trinidad, we have been hard at work. We have finally solved our ongoing refrigeration problem…… the hoses on the galley fridge pump were connected the wrong way around!! After a quick refit the fridge is no longer switching itself off due to over heating. We have also installed the compressor and pump that we got from ‘Islands Coyote’ and the freezer is now in full working order, awaiting the glut of fish that we are always hopeful of catching! Marcus has also been busy fitting the water maker engine back in place

Water maker motor refitted and working!

Water maker motor refitted and working!

As with every job on the boat, everything has to be turned upside down to get to the bit your trying to work on.

We have also had to empty the wardrobe in the aft cabin and unscrew all the wood paneling, ready for the arch to be fitted through the deck.

Wardrobe moved into the lower saloon.

Wardrobe moved into the lower saloon.

We have also had to empty the entire contents of both aft cockpit lockers and stow it all on the fore deck, under a tarpaulin. It looks like we’re having a garage sale! The arch is now in place and the aft cabin restored to normal,

'First fit' of the long awaited arch.

‘First fit’ of the long awaited arch.

……..but the clobber on the deck will have to stay there until we get all the cables from the aerials, gps leads and solar panel wiring run down through the arch and through the aft lockers into the boat. It’s an upheaval at the moment, but it will be well worth the hassle if it means we can count on our batteries being charged without having to run the engine.

Today being Sunday is our day off. I am catching up with the blog here on the boat and Marcus has been out and about in the dinghy. Needless to say he returned having helped save a 40′ sailing boat ‘Moonfleet’ from being crushed by the resident 70′ Viking ship that had drifted free of its mooring and was being swept down against her on the tide.
All in a days work for ‘Super Marcus’!

On Sunday, after a slight delay for negotiations with our French friends on ‘Island Coyote’ concerning a compressor and pump that they no longer use and that we need to get our freezer working, we headed north from Store Bay to a fantastic little fishing village called Castara. We were greeted by a local fisherman/tour guide, who welcomed us to the village and told us where to land the dinghy. He had just come from his boat and was paddling home………..on a surf board with a home made paddle.

Our welcoming committee making for home.

Our welcoming committee making for home.

Castara village is divided in two by a steep rocky outcrop into Little Bay and Big Bay. We landed the dinghy at Little Bay, just after sunset, and set off in search of dinner. After scaling the footpath between the bays we stumbled on the Clay Kitchen, a quirky little restaurant perched on the hillside.

Big Bay from our anchorage.

Big Bay from our anchorage.

Castara has a sustainable mix of tourist apartments and local fishing.

Tourism and fishing. Plenty of room for both.

Tourism and fishing. Plenty of room for both.

There are several Europeans who have married and settled in the village and there is a relaxed but purposeful feel to the place. The beach bar on Little Bay was open on Monday

Sharon's Beach Bar.

Sharon’s Beach Bar.

One of Sharon's customers.

One of Sharon’s customers.

……..and we stopped by for a drink and a chat with the owner, an English woman called Sharon. She has married a local man, who has handed the running of the bar over to her, and spends his time out on official business!

Sharon's husband's boat.......Great name!!

Sharon’s husband’s boat…….Great name!!

It turns out that Sharon was a PE teacher too in her previous life. She worked in Tottenham and had trained at Dartford. It was good to exchange a few shared experiences, but we both agreed that, although we loved the job, life now is so much better!

Looking down on the anchorage. Paradise!

Looking down on the anchorage. Paradise!

After a couple of nights we moved on to Charlotteville, hoping to catch up with Allan and Claire and others from Jacar√©. As we approached, we spotted tan sails leaving the anchorage. We’d just missed ‘Moonstone’ again!, but Gus and Sally on ‘Ingrid’ and Hugh on ‘Eagle Ray’ were in the bay at anchor.

Charlotteville from the anchorage.

Charlotteville from the anchorage.

Charlotteville is proving to be a delightful anchorage. It is well sheltered with good holding on sand in about 10 metres. There is a jetty with a pontoon for dinghies to tie up to and a water tap on the end of the jetty which means we can ferry water to the boat far more easily. There are a lot of small open fishing boats that operate from the beach and a fish stall that sells the daily catch. Marcus and Gus set off one morning to try their luck at trolling in the bay,

Two men in a boat. Empty handed on the way out (and on the wY back!)

Two men in a boat. Empty handed on the way out (and on the way back!)

……but needless to say, they came back empty handed.

After checking in at the immigration and customs, we explored the town……..it doesn’t take too long! We met quite a few other Yotties as we wandered around and got the lowdown on where to get fresh produce, who does the best deals, where to eat, where everyone congregates in the evenings and where to catch the bus to Scarborough……if it decides to run!

Noel’s bar up the hill at Top River Pearl is our favourite.

Noel's bar. Best internet in town too!

Noel’s bar. Best internet in town too!

It’s a bit of a hike up the hill, but he is a gentle and open hearted man, who spends his day carving wood, painting and weaving palm leaves. He also tends the bar and cooks as well as arranging cars for hire, trips and acting as a go between for the Yotties and the local community.

Carved calabashes.

Noel’s carved calabashes.

Noel carving a fish.

Noel carving a fish.

Hugh and his brother, Keith,who is staying with him for a couple of weeks, have arranged a cricket match on Monday between the cruisers and the local Middle School. We are a real motley crew! ¬†Only six of us know how to play…..Gus from SA, Hugh, Keith and me from England and a couple of local ‘ringers’!. The rest of the team is made up of English, French, American, Austrian and Danish who are keen and ready to learn. We are booked to play on the football pitch at 2.00pm on Monday and the notice is chalked up on the community board, so there’s no chickening out! We fully expect to be thrashed, but the aim is to raise some funds for the poorer children in the community so they can have a good Christmas.

This evening there is music and food at Noel’s. Two of the boats here have professional musicians aboard………a church organist from the far north of Norway and an Austrian violinist. It has inspired me to get my keyboard out and have a quick blow on my saxaphone, but I don’t think I’ll be subjecting anyone to my talents!

Later that same day………….

What a treat the evening was. Steman on piano and Florian on violin and piano are great musicians and Florian has a rich singing voice. They provided a varied program, ranging from Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to The Wild Rover and several Beatles numbers.

Steman and Florian playing blues.

Steman and Florian playing blues.

There is a marine biologist working here, who brought along his concertina and he was incorporated into the evening playing a couple of Morris Dancing numbers and I provided a little backing on the tenor recorder to a few songs.
Musical evenings like this get the whole cruising community together

Cruisers carousing.

Cruisers carousing.

and Noel provided some delicious food and got other locals (and Marcus) in to help out. By the end of the evening the ‘help’ had lost count of who had had what, so everyone had to own up and pay up.
A truly memorable evening.