Our nomadic lifestyle continues on. With three potential storms brewing, one of which was headed on a track towards Barbados, we decided after checking the weather reports one morning that it would be too close for comfort.
Even if the storm didn’t hit Barbados it would cause an uncomfortable sea state and most definitely another wind reversal. So we checked out with Customs and Immigration at Port St Charles and caught the bus to Bridgetown for some last minute shopping, then set sail for Tobago just 130 miles south hoping that would give us more protection. We had a great start with wind on the beam, 8 knots through the water and a good sea state. Overnight the wind gradually weakened, just enough to sail until Tobago was in sight 25 miles away, then it died completely so the motor went on. This wasn’t forecast so we guessed that our storm had developed a little sooner and perhaps a little further south as it sucked up all our wind. Tropical Storm Harvey had indeed taken shape, tracking straight across Bridgetown with sustained winds of 40mph and higher gusts, the airport recorded 115mm of rain during the night. Harvey continued to move westwards across the Caribbean Sea and 8 days later hit the coast of Texas as a strong Cat4 Hurricane.
Arriving into Man o’ War Bay, north Tobago, late the following day reminded us of why we had loved this place so much when we last visited three years ago. Lush green rainforest rises dramatically from the emerald sea, the splashing of big fish feeding on little fish, parrots squawking in the forest, pelicans, boobies and terns dive to catch their supper and magnificent frigate birds swoop in to steal any left overs. We had also managed to catch a beautiful Mahi Mahi fish that morning, thanks to the new fishing rod and gaff.
The sleepy fishing town of Charlotteville lies at the head of the bay, although only a small town (actually more of a village) it is a Port of Entry with Customs and Immigration. They were closed when we arrived so we popped in to the Police station and they kindly phoned the customs officer for us. They also walked us to the only ATM in the town to help us draw out some cash, not for security but because the machine doesn’t always work! Sure enough it was having an off day, but with some jiggling they got it to work for us (good job as credit and debit cards aren’t accepted in this town).
Within a couple of days of arriving we had made friends with a few of the locals – especially the fisherman. They are happy to have a chat – and very often need a lift to and from their boats out on moorings. Yesterday one of our new friends, Dave, arrived alongside Joy in his fishing boat ‘Never Too Late’ with some goodies from his garden for us. 4 huge avocados, 4 star fruit, 7 mangoes and an enormous papaya. We’re certainly getting our five-a-day. To work off all that avocado we have had many great walks from Charlotteville, my favourite and our longest was yesterday which took us up the steep and winding road out of town towards Speyside on the east coast, then along the ridge of Flagstaff Hill to a set of towers with a pretty lookout at the summit, with stunning views back across the bay.
We were told that certain things can only be found in the capital, Scarborough, such as a Digicel SIM card for our internet (although Charlotteville has free wifi in the town we can’t get it onboard as our antenna has broken). So remembering that the bus system was good, we caught a local ‘maxi-taxi’ to the capital shared with anyone else going that way. The route is beautiful as it heads over the hills to the east coast and then along the coast to Scarborough in the south. Just over an hour and just TT$13 each (that’s £1.50) in an air-conditioned van we arrived in the capital. What we didn’t realise was that Digicel are no longer in town, they have relocated to a shopping mall near Crown Point on the west coast a few miles away so our journey continued and we hopped in a street car, packed with other passengers and shared the cost, and eventually got our SIM card. It made an interesting day out especially with the breathtaking views from the bus.