Trinadad for a Week

    We left Grenada one evening on a good wind for Trinidad. The plan was to come in, say hello to our friends Chris and Anne of Mr Mac, refuel, re-provision, and head back north. Maybe for Tobago, maybe Barbados, or maybe back to Grenada or Bequia, a week or maybe two at the most. Well here we are…still in Trinidad. Yes we have refueled and bought all the provisions the checkbook will stand….but there is just so much more.
Cathedral of Rum (aging)

    For starters, the country is beautiful. The topography, the people, the culture, the city, and the rainforest all are worth the visit. After all that the availability of resources here is clearly the top of the Caribbean. On a search of downtown Port of Spain Lynn and some friend found the textile district, blocks of stores with every type, color and weave of fabric one can imagine. So after an extensive list we have aboard one very large roll of Sunbrella canvas for making a set of dingy chaps and redoing some of our shade awnings. She also picked out new upholstery material for what will eventually become new cushions in the saloon. And one of the best finds was some inexpensive netting for bug screens on our opening side hatches. Oh and have I mentioned the food? Fabulous spicy mix of Indian, European, South American, and Island cultures. Doesn’t matter if it’s the street fare (Doubles at $3tt-4tt each, two of which make a meal) or a meal out (lunch today as much as we could eat was $72tt) it is done right. A bit adventurous at times, lots of eating sticky, juicy foods with fingers but nothing a bit of water and a couple napkins won’t take care of. By the way the exchange rate is $6.37tt to the US dollar so yes that was lunch for two at less than $11.50.   
Pan Under Construction

Pan Making Tools

 We have found time for a visit to the Pan (Steel Drum) factory, the Caroni Swamp, and toured the local rum distillery, but of course that IS a requirement for any Caribbean island.

Caroni Swamp

Mandatory post-tour Tasting
One From the Relic Collection
    One of our highlights was an overnight trip to the Asa Wright wildlife Sanctuary. After a trip up the mountain valley to the old plantation house, now sanctuary headquarters, we got cabin assignments, a great meal, and then a night hike to see the creatures of the evening. Morning dawned with us gathered on the balcony of the main building, looking over the rain forest, coffee  in hand watching as thousands of birds began feeding at sunrise within unaided view. Hummingbirds to Tucans, with many other birds we haven’t even seen in zoos.
Balcony at Asa Wright
The real birders were carefully making drawings, taking notes, squinting through binoculars, whipping through reference books, checking off their lists, and at the end of the day counting up the number of new “sightings” Me; I sat with my coffee while the Hummingbirds flashed over every single flower on the bush followed by another, then another right over the rail next my stool. I simply enjoyed their flight, their speed, their grace; wondered at the strength to weight ratio they must surely have and enjoyed the quiet of the sunrise. Took no notes, made no drawings, and carried no reference books. I did think about Dick and Edie (Lynn’s parents) and contemplated how much they would enjoy a trip to this sanctuary. After breakfast, sans bacon to Lynn’s chagrin, we were led on an extended walk where a local expert pointed out the various bird rituals and locations, even a few that sat camouflaged perfectly for their surroundings, would have been missed without a guide pointing the way.

Divali Meal
    Another highlight outing was the Divali Celebration. This Hindu tradition is a Festival of Lights celebrated on the darkest night between mid October and Mid November. As I understand it the festival is to ward off the evil in life while celebrating the good. With no moon the street was lined with racks made from split bamboo, then covered with lights made of small clay pots, rolled cotton wicks, and filled with coconut oil. We visited a Indian Temple, listened to traditional music, ate fabulous food…curries of pumpkin, mango, black eyed peas, and flat bread and much more, all off fresh banana leaves, no silverware, no meat, and no alcohol. 
Street Lighting with Bamboo and Coconut oil
We walked the streets after filling our stomachs to find another tradition to be gifts of sweets handed to passersby from local families. We had been warned to graciously accept as this is the tradition, no compensation, no return gifts. So we nibbled until we could no more, then subtly slid the small bundles into pockets, purses, hats as we enjoyed the beautiful Indian dress of men and women walking the streets, sitting in front of their homes taking in the festival.
   All that just to let you know we are still in Trinidad and have not really fallen off the edge of the earth. Yes a look at the dates between updates explains why we’ve received emails inquiring whether we had. There has simply been too much, time going too fast, both work and play, so we have been remiss. Besides, we have been heading out weekends to an Island not far from here called Chacachacare. Calm, quiet, peaceful anchorage, and unlike near the industrial centers… dark. Saturday night we lay on the deck with our “his” and “hers” binoculars looking at Saturn. With the night dark and the air clear after a long rain we could literally see the rings and count the moons with our 7X binos. Too cool. We’ll be heading out of here soon…probably…maybe.