For all you blog followers………….apologies for the delay in writing, but other than mundane everyday life, nothing much has been going on.

With American visas granted and an almost ‘all clear’ on my eyes, we spent the last week in Trinidad doing all the things we’ve been meaning to do since we arrived, doing the regular things for the last time and servicing the engine.
On Saturday, we got up at 5.30 to catch the weekly bus to the market in Port of Spain. Marcus was a little fuzzy headed, but made the gallant effort to get up and go. The market was a vibrant collection of meat, fish and fowl stalls with stall upon stall of traders and local farmers selling fresh produce. Well worth the early start!

The mornings catch.

The mornings catch.

Tee Pees of spring onions.

Tee Pees of spring onions.and limes. Limes here are yellow and lemons are green!

Someone else suffering from an early start!

Someone else suffering from an early start!

Really fresh vegetables for a change.

Really fresh vegetables for a change.

Sunday was almost a day off and after a few small jobs we set off for our new lunchtime activity…….
Who would have thought that we would become dominoes players?!! Twelve spot Mexican Train dominoes is apparently very popular with Yotties all the way up the chain, so we thought we’d have a go a couple of Sundays ago and got hooked!

On Monday evenings there is a jam session where all the talented (and not so talented) cruisers get together. This last Monday was a great evening. There was a new face, Tom, who insisted on playing unplugged so everyone else had to abandon their volume controls and were able to listen to each other as they played. Tom brought along some aluminium pipes/whistles so I joined in too!

Tom resting himself and his guitar between songs.

Tom resting himself and his guitar between songs.

On Tuesday we hired a car for a day to go and pick up our visas from the DHL depot on the other side of Port of Spain and to go for my last eye appointment, but when we went to pick the car up at 9.00 the office was closed. There was a message to say that we could go to the other branch 4 miles away!! By the time we had walked up to the main road, waited for a taxi and negotiated the traffic, it was midday, so Captain Disgusted managed to negotiate an extra day’s hire, free of charge.
We decided to take a trip down to San Fernando, which is towards the south of the island. We took a detour along the rural roads and were amazed to find that we never traveled through the countryside. The roads have created a ribbon development of houses and small businesses that line the kerbs. Behind the buildings there are glimpses of the wild vegetation that threatens to encroach.

One of the shops along the way.

One of the prettier  shops along the way.

The buildings down south are more affluent with a definite Indian influence to them. When slavery was abolished in the 19th century, the British brought thousands of indentured workers from India to fill the huge gap left by the slaves, who no longer wanted to work the land. The main port of entry, at that time, was San Fernando. The Indian influence is seen in the hot and spicy food Trinidadians eat, the Hindu and Buddhist temples and festivals, the successful ‘open all hours’ small businesses and the bungalow style architecture with wide verandas. Even the prime minister is of Asian decent and, like Indira Ghandi, is a woman!

The last main jobs we had to get done on the boat included getting our newly repaired stay sail re hoisted, checking the rigging, doing an oil change on the engine, cleaning the Racor filters and replacing the main fuel filter………all in a day’s work…….well 2 days actually!!

Hauling Marcus all the way to the top of the mast is no mean feat and I was relieved when Richard arrived and offered to help. We use two halyards to hoist anyone up the mast, one halyard attached to the bosons chair and a safety halyard attached to the climbing harness, so managing both, especially on the way down, is difficult to synchronise on my own and very uncomfortable for Marcus if the safety line goes tight!!

Look no hands!! The view from the top.

Look no hands!! The view from the top.

Having checked out and said our farewells, we set off for Grenada at 1400 with Stamen and Durita on Gaia. It’s always comforting to sail in company although we are at least half a mile from each other. We arrived at 0900 after an overnight sail

Arriving in Grenada.

Arriving in Grenada.

and we anchored in a quiet part of Woburn Bay called Benjy Bay. Gaia arrived soon after and dropped anchor next door.

Our mooring with Gaia about to drop anchor.

Our mooring with Gaia about to drop anchor.

Having spent 4 months here last year, Durita and Stamen are our personal guides to Grenada, so settling in and doing the necessary formalities for checking in has been easy.
So far we have been to check in at Le Phare Bleu marina with some relaxed and friendly officials

Le Phare Bleu marina beach. Quite a difference to the customs and immigration venue in Trinidad!

Le Phare Bleu marina beach. Quite a difference to the customs and immigration venue in Trinidad!

Our first evening we were told about a regular Sunday gathering at Roger’s Beach Bar. We got directions and headed of for Hog Island to find the bar. There was no way of missing it…..pulled up on the beach were about fifty dinghies and the hum of people talking drifted over the water.

Dinghies galore.

Dinghies galore.

We met up with a few old friends that night and made a lot of new ones. They say this is one of the last true beach bars left in the Caribbean. Everything is made of driftwood and is very low tech……..unlike the rather swanky Phare Bleu beach bar!!

Roger's beach bar.

Roger’s beach bar.

Le Phare Bleu beach bar.

Le Phare Bleu beach bar.

Once again we have landed on our feet and fallen in with great people. Another perfect day in paradise.

Our first sunset  in Grenada. Mmmmmm.

Our first sunset in Grenada. Mmmmmm.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR to One and All!

Happy New Year from us both xxx

Happy New Year from us both xxx

………well here we are back in Trinidad again. It feels so familiar now, that we decided to sail during the day and arrive here in the dark…..not something that a Newbie should contemplate!

After a lovely Christmas with Keith and James we set about trying to extend our T&T visas, which ran out on Boxing Day.
Needless to say things didn’t go exactly to plan.
We arrived for our interview on the 30th, to find that our papers had gone missing, so after checking his desk numerous times, the perplexed official eventually set off to find them. Relieved to see him return clutching said papers, we presented all my Dr’s appointment cards as evidence of our needing to extend our visas.
Once he had a full picture of our situation, he wrote a short essay on each of our forms and said we would be granted the extensions……. Phew!! …….. BUT we couldn’t get our passports stamped there and then because the cashier had ‘stayed home’ !! So we were told to return on the 2nd and he would hopefully be in by then.
It seems incredible that a government department cannot function if the cashier decides to take a day off! Thwarted by being unable to pay anyone our £20, we were sent away with instructions to get photocopies made of our passports and all the Dr’s evidence…… apparently they don’t have a photocopier in the Imigration office……… and return on Friday.

Our New Year celebrations were tame in comparison to other years. Despite toasting the New Year in with a Bulgarian friend at 6 o’clock, a Dane at 7 and four Faroese and us at 8 and then the Tobagoan at 12, Marcus can surprisingly remember the whole evening!

Bago's Bar.

Bago’s Bar.

We all went to the Bago’s Beach Bar for a buffet dinner, music, bonfire on the beach and fireworks.

Our Bulgarian representative, Stamen and a merry Marcus.

Our Bulgarian representative, Stamen and a merry Marcus.

Tripping the light fantastic!

Tripping the light fantastic!

Malan and Durita. Two of our Faroe Isles contingent.

Malan and Durita. Two of our Faroe Isles contingent.

The dinner was one course, the music was Christmas Carols whilst we were eating, followed by loud Socca, the bonfire was lit at 11.45 and we all went out on the beach ready for the fireworks, which were actually the fireworks of the 4 star hotel next door!
We had a good evening with good friends, but the bar’s owners are ‘scammers’ and although we accept that things are done differently, we don’t like feeling that we’ve been ripped off…….. At £20 a head we didn’t expect a lot, but not ……..not enough plates for all the people who had paid for tickets, not enough chairs…..some people had to sit on beer crates, no dessert or coffee and fireworks at the expense of the neighbouring hotel!! A nice little earner!
Tomorrow sees us heading into Port of Spain early to attend our visa application interviews. Let’s hope we both get them! On Wednesday I have my follow up appointment with the eye doctor, which will hopefully show nothing untoward and then we will finally be free to leave Trinidad and Tobago and head north up the islands. We have met some great people during our stay here and hopefully we will bump into a lot of them again on our way up The Chain.
We are delighted with the work we had done on the arch, by Mitchell at West Coast Fabricators and the canopy we had made by Socca Sails. We are now able to use the strength of the sun whilst protecting ourselves from it! ……….Luxury!!