We finally got delivery of our solar panel and Mitchell was able to fit it on the Saturday morning, before he went home for Christmas!

Half the canopy up and looking good!

Half the canopy up and looking good!

Everything is now delivered and fitted and we were happy to be able to cast off for Tobago, ready for Christmas.
The trip across to Tobago that took us 11 hours last time, took 19 hours this. The tides are very strong between the islands and with much stronger winds against us and choppy seas, we were happy to pull up in Store Bay at 1530 hrs in the shelter of the reef.
All the guides say you must check in in Scarborough, which is about 6 miles away, as soon as you arrive, but by the time we had anchored and tidied lines etc. it would have meant traveling back in the dark, so Marcus phoned Customs and they said ‘No worries, check in tomorrow’. Soooooo laid back compared to Trinidad!

Tuesday saw us checked in, an appointment made to extend our visas and back to Store Bay to decorate the boat and meet up with Keith and James, who flew in on the Monarch Christmas flight. That evening we dinghied ashore and met the crew for drinks in Keith’s room, followed by a lot more drinks in the local night spot, Jade Monkey.

Christmas Eve saw a slow start. By the afternoon most of the crew were still recovering from the flight and the night, so it was just the Byrons and Haywards who set out for a sail.

The Happy Crew.

The Happy Crew.

On the way back there was a monsoon like downpour. The good thing about the rain here is that it usually passes within 20 minutes and the sun soon dries everything.

It is amazing how different Tobago seems, now that they are in ‘the season’. Before, the streets were quiet and very few of the shops and roadside stalls were open. Now the place is buzzing and businesses are spruced up and raring to go.

On Christmas Day, we got ‘Day Passes’ to the Coco Reef hotel, with all you could eat and drink as well as  full use of the facilities.

Christmas Day. It's a hard life!

Christmas Day. It’s a hard life!

In the afternoon we took a couple of the cabin crew over to the boat to take a look and managed to acquire 5 Norwegians on the way!

Impromptu gathering on Christmas Day.

Impromptu gathering on Christmas Day.

Marcus, needless to say drank his full share and more than he can remember!, but we had a good time in good company AND we had decent wifi to skype the family and spend some virtual time in the midst of them all……the rendition of Good King Wenceslas on pitched whistles saw the family at their best! and the new ‘prescription’ bottle lens glasses suited them all so well!!

Having waved off the Monarch crew, Boxing Day was spent very quietly.
There is a ‘Caribbean Swell’ that has been forecast for the next couple of days and some of the boats in the north of the island have moved down to the shelter of Store Bay. ‘Ash’ and ‘Resolute’ have arrived. We first met Jill and Colin in Portosin in Spain and Sven and Kirsten, on Ash, have been all the way up to Martinique and back in the time we’ve been waiting for our solar panels!

Last night we had a cockpit full of 11 of us for ‘sundowners’ and we lit the barbecue for the first time since the Canaries. It’s lovely meeting up with old friends, introducing them to one another and catching up with all their exploits.

Sundowners. Everyone gathered and.......

Sundowners. Everyone gathered and…….

...........dinghies tethered off the stern.

………..dinghies tethered off the stern.

We will be staying here for New Year…….we have our visa extension interview on the 30th and have arranged to go on a snorkelling trip with Durita and Stamen on Old Years Day, as they call it here. The plan is to sail back to Trinnie on the 3rd, ready for the US Embassy and my eyes……..then we WILL leave for Grenada!

We hope you all had a lovely time over Christmas and have a happy and healthy New Year.

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