Saturday, April 24, 2010

Back in the Water!

After nearly six weeks of hard work "on the hard", we are finally back in the water, and doing sea trials. We are thrilled with our new white non skid deck, which is so much cooler, and all our new equipment which is up and running, including ( I think) the SSB radio ! Mary kept reminding me, when I moaned about the dust, the heat, the sweat etc, that we did not come to Trinidad for a holiday! We came for the boating infrastructure, and to make sure everything on our checklist was done ..... until we start the new checklist!

It was certainly the right call to come to Trinidad, and we saw enough to want to spend more time here during the hurricane season, and perhaps seeing a bit more of the Island. Our visit to Caroni swamps was interesting and worthwhile, although it certainly made us appreciate once again, the rich and wide biodiversity we have in RSA.

We saw the Spotted Caymen, one only......, and were lucky to see a little silky anteater, curled up in the fork of a tree ( all 500gms of it). The flocks of Scarlet Ibis were impressive, and their vivid colouring is such a bright contrast in the mangrove swamps, where the carotene in their staple diet of crabs , produce the bright red feathers. We also saw a number of Blue herons, and little four eyed fish ! Actually, four retinas.... two for below the sutface, and two for above the surface! But that was it, really! We could not help but think about what we would have seen in a four hour boat trip through the mangrove swamps of Mapelane, or the St Lucia Estuary. We really have been lucky to have done and seen so much in Africa, but it takes a trip into other Ramsar Heritage sites, like Caroni Swamps, to appreciate it all over again!

On our first day of sea trials, we discovered the alternator pully was incorrect, and chewed up the belt in an hour, and the water pump which was rebuilt in Brasil, sprung another leak... But we did manage to spend a day up in lovely Scotland Bay. We went back to Chaguaramus, where all the problems were tackled, and while there, we witnessed a real Pelican Pig out . There is a huge resident population of Brown pelicans, who spend all day fishing around the anchored yachts, and sitting on every available post. There is also a big live bait netting industry, for the fisherman going out in search of game fish and Tarpon. When the net keepers turn their backs, or retire for the day, the Pelicans think its Christmas!! Hundreds of greedy Pellies squabbling and bickering in twenty square metres of keep nets!

We are now back in the quiet, calm, and beautiful Scotland Bay, with about 6 other yachts. Here the water is clean , and inviting . The only sad thing is to see all the litter around the shore line, and its not from the Yachties , but the locals, who just dont seem to care. There is a tempory fishing camp on the shore, about 100mts away, and we watched in fascination and horror, as one fellow just raked the rubbish from the clearing , into the surrounding bush. There is a big green notice around the corner on a little beach, which says NO LITTERING, punishable by XYZ, but the rubbish just piles up around it, and the locals just keep going there and doing zipo Sad!! Today we head back to Chaguaramus, for dinner with friends, and to stock up prior to clearing out with Customs and Immigration on Monday/Tuesday for our sail to Grenada, where we are looking forward to being joined by Kate, who will be flying over to be with us. More from Grenada!

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