Saturday, September 19, 2009

Going West: A Brief Note

We leave Grenada at midnight. We begin our trip west. It is hard to say goodbye to all our good friends and the comfort and conveniences of this island. We are sailing west through the out islands of Venezuela: Los Testigos, Blanquilla, Los Roques, Los Aves then on to Bonaire and Curacao.
But it is adventure we are after. And adventure we find. Since we have found internet in a small restaurant on the island of Grand Roque, we will give you a glimpse of our journey. But stay tuned for the entire story once we reach Bonaire in mid-October.

Find out if Captain Clean can stay on this wild bucking rhinoceros???

Who is chasing Anne and why?

Is this a greeting committee or has Hugo sent the navy after us?

See you in Bonaire.

Anne and Steve
S/V Fine Line

Thursday, September 03, 2009

A Detour South

Grenada is home-away-from-home for us. We spent 4 months here last year during hurricane season. We know how to ride the bus, we have lots of friends here, the water is great for swimming, and there is no shortage of restaurants and bars. We drop our anchor in our favorite bay and plan to stay for awhile.

That is until our battery charger stops working....oh no! We live on 6 deep cycle marine batteries. Gotta be able to charge them. Fortunately there are lots of smart electrical people around but to our dismay we find out the part we need is not made anymore. Seriously?!! It is only 4 years old and the part is no where to be found. We are told to buy a new charger and we can get one in Trinidad. Great.

Trinidad lies 85 miles south of Grenada. We had no plans to go there...ever, but now we find ourselves planning the trip. We will leave Grenada at 9pm at night and arrive in Trinidad at sunrise. We are traveling alone and even though we are not scared easily, we know there are occasional pirates that prey on cruisers in these waters. We go over how to use the flare gun as a weapon and other tactical manuvers we know will make boarding our boat difficult.

It turns out to be a great trip. No worries no problems except the 2 knot current we fight the entire trip. We are now very close to South America. This is the furthest south we have ever been.

Trinidad is a very lush and tropical island. Parts of the island are very beautiful. Parts of the island are very urban and industrial. Oil and natural gas are king here.

Many years ago Trinidad was part of South America. Even though the closest point is now 7 miles away, the island still has many beautiful South American species of animals and plants not seen in the rest of the Caribbean.

Close to the island we encounter some traffic. Big tankers move oil and gas from offshore drilling platforms. Good morning!

There is a go-fast ferry between the island of Tobago and Trinidad. It moves along around 30 knots. Very fast. Leaves a nice wake...where is the wake board when you need it!

Soon we arrive at Bocademonos.
It takes us a few days to figure out where the best anchorage is. It is at the Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association. Sail boats only, no powerboats are welcome here. And, be prepared to pay for you stay. Unlike other islands, this island charges boats to anchor.

We also learn that our battery charger is not broken and does not need a new part. We just need a new breaker on our generator. So, yes, we came all this way for naught. But we have some unspent "fix-it $$$" on hand so we decide to stay and explore for awhile.

The island has some great nature preserves. One of the most talked about is a bird sanctuary up in the mountains. We rent a car, fill it up with .75 cents/gallon fuel and head towards the Asa Wright Nature Center.

It is green and it is beautiful. It is hot, we are in our rental car and we have air conditioning. We are smiling.
The roads are narrow but we are getting away from the mayhem of the city. There are very few signs and we begin to worry we may be lost. We stop to ask directions and as quick as you can say "no hitchhikers" we have a passenger in the backseat holding a 30 foot bamboo pole out the window. Our newly acquired friend is a delight. He is an ancestor of the earliest inhabitants, the Carib Indians. He is a Shaman from his village and assures us we are on the right road and we can drop him off at the next turn. Out he jumps and waves goodby. He disappears into the lush growth.

A few more miles and we arrive.
This place delights the senses

From the balcony you can watch shimmery hummingbirds at the feeders

Birds appear in a variety of colors

Down below is a curious Gold Tegu

Up above is a curious Steve

And down below again is a Paca also known locally as a Lappe.

We are overnight guests here so we enjoy the traditional afternoon tea served at 4pm sharp. They are so very civilized here they even serve locally grown coffee. Ahhhhh!

The day visitors have all left and we have the place to ourselves.

Afternoon tea bisquits for the birds

Strolling around the grounds we meet all sorts of creatures

A Pigmy Owl

The next morning we get a rare opportunity to hike down into a gorge to see the rare OilBird. These birds are closely guarded by the nature center. Too many visitors and the flock will leave and relocate itself.

The hike down is beautiful

The birds are tucked back, deep inside a cave. These birds are very shy, no flash allowed. We enter the cave two at a time to get a good view.

The young OilBirds become very fat before they reach adulthood. They can weigh up to 50% more than the adult. They were a great source of oil for the early inhabitants and were frequently used as torches. The backdoor to the cave is open

It rains alot in the mountains and there is no shortage of waterfalls

During the night you meet totally different creatures

We leave Asa Wright and head down the mountain towards the north coast. It has rained over 3 inches in the last few hours so it is a wild wet ride down the narrow one lane road. Once down we celebrate with a Trinidad favorite...Bake and Shark. Fried bun, fried fish, lots of condiments. Delicious.

We have been in Trinidad for 10 days. It was fun but we are ready to return to Grenada. We leave at 4:30 am. The sunrise is worth getting up early for.

It is going to be a good sailing day. The current is nudging us from behind, the wind is on our beam, the coffee smells good. Perfect.

See you back in Grenada

Anne and Steve

S/V Fine Line