Our retirement on Island Time as liveaboards.
Hmm . . . It's getting rather dark out here we would really like to go home now !
Finally our boat operator does get the motor running, but it is getting hard to see where we are going. None of these swamp boats have running lights. Our driver wants to pick up the speed and make up some time, so most of us move towards the bow to add weight to keep it down so he can see over it.
Great, we can't see were we are going, but we are going to go faster. Finally, we can see car lights in the distance so we know we are almost back. Nearly bump into another boat that is also having engine problems, but fortunately for them they are not too far from the dock. Our cab driver has been waiting impatiently for us to take us back to the boat. We finally get "home" around 8:00PM, a long day.
Saturday main activity is eating. We hit the local Roti shack for lunch. For dinner we have Bake & Shark, another local culinary treat. Although we were initially disappointed, because we keep hearing about the Bacon and Shark. Anyways the shark is fried and is in a fried dough pocket with all sorts of fixings. No one could explain what the Bake was about, but it was very good.
During the day Linda and I talked with fellow Vermonter Dick Payne on a boat called "Mad River". Dick and his wife have been living on their sailboat for a number of years and have been back and forth over the Atlantic. Vermont was well represented, there was two other Vermont boats in the vicinity. They get back to Vermont occasionally for a visit with family.
Sunday we prep Island Time for leaving on Monday. Linda and Genie play in the Sunday boater Dominos game, Trinidad rules.
Monday Island Time's propane tank was suppose to be returned in the morning with a new valve, but does not show up. Weather forecast for the next two days is 10 foot seas, 20-25 knot winds on the nose. We decide to try leaving on Wednesday. Unfortunately Jay flies out on Wednesday. We had planned for him to fly back from Union Island. Went to the "Bight" for lunch and had a flying fish sandwich, hold the wings. Was very good. Scheduled another tour on the north side of the island along the rugged coast.
Tuesday. North coast.
We head for the popular Maracas Bay for swimming, but the Red Flags are up warning not to swim in the surf. Must be for tourists, some of the locals are swimming. We hang out at the beach for a couple hours and have lunch. Bake & Shark of course, still without the bacon.
We continued on after lunch heading further east along the north shore. Apparently our van driver had not been here either and did not know what to expect. He had to get on his cell phone a couple times to talk with the woman who arranged the tour.
Relaxing around the pool. I say relaxing round the pool because the pool is closed. It is empty and covered with a blue tarp to shade the workers, except that I have not seem any indication that anyone is actually working under the tarp. Supposedly Prince Charles' yacht is going to be at Chaguaramas sometime in the near future and the Crews Inn though they needed to clean the pool in his honor. Gee . . Thanks Prince
That evening we have dinner on the boat and watch the eclipse of the moon. Jay's cab takes him to the Airport at 10:00 PM for the Red Eye flight home.
Thursday and Friday
We have the <set to sarcasm on> "pleasure" <set to sarcasm off> of checking out through the Immigration and Customs Offices which are located at Crews Inn. I guess Linda and I should not complain, John and Genie have probably spent at least a total of a couple days in various Immigration and Customs Offices to get to Trinidad. Finally we are ready to leave. We stop by the duty free store to stock up on adult beverages and we are off around noontime.
We head west from Chaguaramas and then turn north. For the first 10 miles or so we are tracking due north heading right for Grenada. Then the 2 knot east-west current started pulling us west, just before sun down. By morning we were about 23 miles west of Grenada, not where we hoped to be. The seas were running 8 feet or so and increased to 10 by morning. Even with the dodger there was no staying dry. Overnight we had one squall and one short tack to keep us comfortably away from a large well lit tanker heading west across our path. By morning none of us had much sleep due to the pounding waves. John and I were both tossed off our seats to the floor of the cockpit during precipitous drops off the back sides of a couple waves. Fortunately for both of us the seat cushions fell off too, staying under our butts to cushion the landing. I decided to stay put were I landed on the cockpit floor, can't fall any farther.
Originally we had planned to bypass Grenada and head for Union Island, but since we had no chance of making Union before dark we tacked for Grenada and anchored a couple miles north of Saint George at Grand Mal Harbor, put up the quarantine flag, had lunch and then a long afternoon siesta.
That night before we went to sleep, Linda and I tally up our bruises, especially the backside ones each of us can't see, but only feel. Linda does have a pretty purple little toe on one foot.
We left early the next morning for Union Island. The winds and seas lessen somewhat, but not much. Saw lots of flying fish, but their glide paths kept getting shorten when they would run into the next rising wave. Arrive Union late afternoon. Were quite happy to have a boat vendor come out this late to try to rent us a mooring, we take it and he leads us in. Clifton Harbor is protected on the windward side by a reef and there is a smaller reef in the middle of the harbor, not a fun place to set anchor as it is getting dark.
For dinner we head in to Lambi's Restaurant on and over
the water. A very basic building with a corrugated metal roof and
cement floor with pieces of broken tile and pottery embedded in the
cement. Rustic, my kind of place. When the crowd is big
enough they have a buffet, but tonight with only 20 or so people we get
served. John and Linda have the "Fry Fish". We did not
expect the menu to be quite so literal. It was a whole fish fried,
eyeball still staring at you, but it was very good. Genie and I
had Conch. The dinner also came with about 10 plates of other
items we shared.
Sunday morning, we head over to the airport to clear Customs and Immigration and book a flight to our connecting flight in St Vincent back to Trinidad and home on Monday. I had not previously booked this flight since the inter small island flights usually are not full and there are many flights each day. WRONG . . . It turns out you can't plan for everything. The local ferry had been broken down and was out of business for the last couple weeks and the only way off the island, other than a private boat, was by airplane. Nothing was available for a couple days, except for standby.
We change our plans again. Instead of spending a day at Tobago Cays snorkeling a couple miles east of Union Island we decide to sail north to Bequia, which has lots of large ferries that go to St Vincent many times a day, about a 45 minute ride.
the winds and waves were in our favor. We did a close reach all the way
north to Bequia with moderate seas (meaning dry cockpit
We have dinner ashore in Bequia Saturday evening.
Monday morning the bakery boat came by with some very good home made bread. Linda and I finish packing our bags and we go ashore for lunch along the water front.
Looking over the paper work from when we entered St
Vincent and the Grenadines at Union Island Genie notices it says we have
firearms ! Of course we don't, but Genie nearly goes ballistic
until she sees the caliber of our firewater. The carbon copy was
offset from the original.
As we are waiting for our flight from St Vincent to Trinidad, I was watching the local news on the waiting room TV. They were talking about how poorly LIAT Air (our airline) was being run and how much money the Govt is losing supporting it. Our plane shows up 2-1/2 hours late. The plane is full and is just picking up about 6 passengers, I guess we are lucky they bothered to stop for us. As the plane takes off there is a loud vibration emanating from one of the overhead compartments that nearly drowns out the engine noise. None of the locals seems to be bothered by this. I'm thinking we should of worn our offshore life vests on to the plane, because the one, the steward just showed us is probably the only working one on the plane. As the vibration gets louder I'm thinking, the hell with the life vest, maybe we should of boarded wearing parachutes. Finally when we get near cruising altitude the vibration stops. We are going to live !
There goes dinner in Trinidad and our comfortable three hour layover before our 1:00 AM flight to JFK. By the time we clear through Customs, collect our bags, check our bags at Caribbean Air, check back through Airport security, we arrive at the boarding gate 5 minutes, before they start boarding the plane. We get in JFK at 5:30 AM and are back home in Vermont by 11:00 AM.
Three days later my desk finally stops moving, vacation is over.