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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Final Christmas aboard S/V BeBe

Sunset viewed from Francis Bay
Christmas day was an ultra-quiet celebration for us this year.  Ten years ago we spent Christmas day anchored in nearby Christmas Cove on the eastern side of Great St. James Island.  There, we enjoyed watching boats come and go all day as Christmas Cove is sort of the traditional place to spend Christmas day in the USVI.  This year neither of us felt the urge to go the short distance there -- and then have to deal with coming straight back into the wind to return to Francis Bay.  And we have come to really enjoy being in Francis Bay on St. John.  



Foxy and Judy


For a change of scenery a few days past we sailed up to Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke. The first day there weather was lovely.  On Christmas Eve day we went ashore for lunch at Foxy's -- a 'must do' anytime one stops at Jost.  Foxy chatted with us and bought us a drink on the house to honor our having sailed around the world since last seeing him.  Foxy told us that when his youngest daughter graduated from university that he wanted to give her a trip around the world in 80 days -- as the classic Jules Verne book was entitled.  But he found that this was not possible.  Instead, his daughter and her mom enjoyed a trip around the world in 90 days.  A fabulous graduation gift!  






A charter boat moored next to us.  The guy
would lay in that swan & drink beer.
By the way, years ago we chatted with Foxy's wife one day while Foxy was singing and joking with the band.  She told us Foxy had no idea how much money he has; money means very little to him.  That sure appeared to be the case as we watched him and saw how much he enjoyed telling stories to the audience and singing with the band while sipping rum in his world-famous beach bar and restaurant.  Mama was the money person.  Thanks mostly to her, each of their children has graduated from Ivy League universities in the USA.  We did not see her this time and I was hesitant to inquire because feared she might have passed away.  After all, they are getting up in years!  I hope she is well and that we just missed seeing her that particular day.  Foxy remains as always, full of life and joy, and completely unpretentious, while being one of the wealthiest (if not THE wealthiest) person in the British Virgin Islands.


A house called Steele Point.  My favorite house
in the BVI.  Looks like they have added onto it.
It is located on NW tip of Soper's Hole and is
available to rent for a nice relaxing vacation.
Within minutes of returning to the boat after lunch Bill decided it was just too rough to remain in Great Harbour.  He went back ashore to clear out, but found the officials were out to lunch and about 20 people waiting in the office to clear out.  We upped anchor and motor-sailed over to Soper's Hole and cleared out there.  That was faster than waiting for the officials to return in Jost and then waiting our turn in queue.  Winds were solid over 20 knots and forecast to go higher and remain high for days.  Francis Bay on St. John was looking better and better by the minute.  That bay provides the best shelter from NE winds and swell.  We were back on 'our' mooring before 4 pm.  Next to us was S/V Allegro with Lee and Sharon aboard; this was the boat moored next to BeBe for the final 2 or 3 weeks in Trinidad. 


Christmas carolers
Just before dark several dinghies arrived at the stern of BeBe singing Christmas carols.  These folks were Salty Dawgs.  I do not know if they arrived in the Virgins with the Salty Dawg rally from mainland USA or if they arrived with the Salty Dawg North rally which sailed up from Bequia.  
Christmas carolers
That rally was in Bequia when we stopped there on our way north, but we moved on and did not attend their party.  This was the first time we had heard of the northbound Salty Dawgs. I do not know if this is an annual organized event or if people who had participated in the southbound Salty Dawg rally the previous year got together and sailed north in an unofficial group.  The Christmas carolers visited all the boats moored in Francis Bay on this Christmas Eve; then they gathered on one of the boats to party.  They invited us to join them but I did not want to intrude on their party since we knew none of the folks except Lee and Sharon.
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The wind instrument which we thought again was working properly has continued to give us grief.  Intermittently the readings go very low, indicating like 2 knots of wind when we know it is more like 20 knots.  Most of the time it appears to be accurate but every once and awhile it indicates low readings.  Bill has been to the top of the mast to work on this 6 or 7 times already.  We now have 2 complete masthead units and each exhibits this identical intermittent low reading problem.  We have a new mount with attached cable and want to have that installed.  Since this is installed with 4 stainless steel bolts into the aluminum mast, we are positive that the 14-year-old bolts up there are seized.  So it is time for a professional to do this replacement!   Both BVI riggers we have contacted are booked solid until after 1 January, as is the B&G distributor.  We are on the 'call list' for all of them and will give the job to whomever can get to it first.  I find it difficult to understand that hiring someone for this job is so hard!!  We would like to have the wind instrument in proper working order before the new owners arrive 11 January, but it looks like that will not happen.  The rigger we spoke with in St. Thomas said he cannot get to this job until 26 January!

Today we went into American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook bay on St. Thomas to have batteries delivered and installed.  It was that time again!  Only 3 batteries actually tested bad; the other 9 house bank batteries still tested fine.  We were going to replace the 6 batteries that we bought in Montenegro since 3 of those are bad, and we were going to leave the 6 purchased in Turkey because all those are still fine.  But the purchasers of BeBe wanted us to replace all of them (including the starting battery, which also still tests fine) and they will split the cost with us.  We ordered the 13 batteries a couple of weeks ago and the shipment arrived in St. Thomas yesterday.  Each battery weighs nearly 100 pounds.  That would be 1300 pounds lifted up out of the battery compartment; moved up the companionway steps into the cockpit; moved up over the cockpit seats to the deck level; lifted up over the life rail and then down onto the dock.  And then another 1300 pounds reversing all those steps!  Bill and I have done this job ourselves in the past but decided we are too old to do such physical work anymore.  Don't get me wrong -- we could do it -- but we would ache for days afterward!  Time to pay someone else with stronger backs and more flexible legs for this heavy work.  Batteries were delivered right on schedule and all tested fine.  All installed and are charging as I type this blog posting.

We are spending the night at this marina.  Not sure where going tomorrow.  What you want to bet we end up right back in Francis Bay again?




A bright rainbow very close to our boat in Francis Bay on St. John, USVI.




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Martinique to USVI

 Sailing up the island chain is now somewhat of a blur in memory; so much so that I must refer to our log book to remember where and when.

We arrived at Marina du Marin in Martinique on Thursday, 10 November 2016, and took a mooring, hoping to be there only 1 day so we could pick up a new propane gas solenoid from the Amel service center located in Le Marin.  The solenoid had failed on our final day in St. Lucia while I was baking muffins.  Gas supply shut down when the solenoid failed.  Bill found a union fixture at a local chandlery and installed that as a temporary fix.  The only solenoids available locally and online were the cheap kind and we wanted to replace it with exactly the same kind as original.  This is a German produced solenoid and costs about 6 times the price of the typical cheap versions used in most boats.  Bill telephoned Amel in Le Marin and learned they had 1 in stock, so we sailed up there. 

Rigger in Martinique replacing forward port shroud
That was quickly completed and we were ready to head off again when received an email from the buyers of BeBe stating that they would like to have a rigging inspection performed while we were there at the Amel service center.  There is a rigger nearby who is recommended by Amel.  The following day was a holiday but the rigger agreed to do the inspection then rather than make us hang around until the following week.  Next morning 2 riggers arrived shortly after 09:00 and 1 of them quickly was up the mast.  Inspection took less than half-hour.  The port side forward baby shroud had 2 tiny spots of discoloration near the upper swage.  The rigger said these 2 tiny discolorations could be an indication that 2 of the 19 twisted wires might be broken inside the shroud.  The rigger looked shocked when Bill immediately told him to replace the shroud.  Bill figured might as well replace it now while at a place recommended by Amel – why take a chance;  if there is any possibility of a problem with a piece of the rigging, then replace it immediately.  We moved the boat over next to the rigger’s office and work facility and within 2 hours the shroud was replaced and we were motoring out of Le Marin.

It was too late in the day to go anywhere so we anchored at St. Anne’s once again.  Ended up staying there a few days before sailing 26.5 NM up to St. Pierre, where we anchored only overnight (rolly!!  & tight spaces!!).  At 05:30 the next morning anchor was up and we were motoring out of St. Pierre in the dark.  This turned into a very lively day of sailing.  Forecast was for 12-15 knots wind from 110 degrees but we never saw that.  Actual experience was solid 25 knots minimum, mostly 30, with gusts to40 knots – from 40 degrees to 80 degrees!  Forget that downwind sailing we were expecting.  Wind was on beam or slightly forward of the beam all day.

Strange clouds at sea
As we sailed well westward in the lee of Dominica the wind dropped to comfortable levels, but jumped right back up to ‘a bit too strong’ as we crossed the channel to Ile des Saintes.  About half-way across that channel is when the top half of our wind instrument blew away.  We still had apparent wind speed, but no wind direction.  No more TWS, TWA, AWA; just apparent speed.  Bill tied 2 long plastic strips on the aft mainmast shrouds on port and starboard and those little tell-tails acted as our means of telling apparent wind direction.  Back to the basics!



More strange clouds at sea


We entered via the southwest cut into Ile des Saintes – and would never do that again!!  We had motored through this cut years ago with no problems, but today both the southwest and southeast cuts are filled with literally hundreds of fish traps.  This could be a real mess if attempted during darkness or during rain when could not see the floats to maneuver around and between all those fish traps.  I was very glad to put those behind us!



Where we used to anchor near the town of Terre Haut is now all filled with moorings, so we picked up a mooring.  Ended up staying there exactly 1 week.  This is by far our favorite island in all of the Caribbean.  We first visited Ile des Saintes way back in 1984 when took a Windjammer cruise aboard the Mandalay from Antiqua to Grenada.  It was like a tiny piece of Brittany placed on a Caribbean island.  We were impressed by the women outside washing their stoops and doorways in the mornings. The structures might be meager but the owners took pride in their homes and kept everything very clean.  Those days are gone; the next generation living there today no longer go to the trouble of washing their stoops and steps and doorways each morning.   A little sad to see this change.
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Bill went up the mast to assess the damage to our wind instrument.  He ended up going up that mast 3 times and it still was not repaired.  That would happen later.

Bill posted on the Amel Yacht Owners Group and on the Amel Owners FB Group about the parts we needed.  Lo and behold, several people who have upgraded to newer electronics offered up their old units for spare parts.  Pat and Diane on S/V Shenanigans shipped exactly what we needed to Connections in St. John, USVI.  We are very grateful to them!  Connections is a mailing and shipping service in Cruz Bay which we used when we moved aboard BeBe in 2006.  Great service and reasonably priced.

Also while in Ile des Saintes there was a chance meeting with another Amel owner.  Derrick Gates on S/V Brava, along with crew members Doug, Roger and Gracie, arrived and moored nearby for a couple of days.  It was a pleasure meeting them.  Derrick treated us to delicious dinner at a lovely little garden restaurant; the French do know how to cook!  Derrick has followed our blog and conversation was fun because he already knew so many of the places and experiences that Bill and I have enjoyed over the years.  This was a very enjoyable evening for many reasons – companionship, conversation, food, discussion with fellow Amel owners.  One of Derrick’s crew members also owns an Amel; I believe he said in Maine; and Gracie is his chef.  We enjoyed drinks and snacks aboard Brava before going ashore for dinner and I can attest to Gracie’s skills as a chef.  She produced some small fish cakes accompanied by a pickled lettuce garnish which tasted fabulous.  Thank you again for a lovely evening, Derrick!

Deshaies, Guadeloupe
Next leg of our island-hopping north was 35 NM up to Deshaies, Guadeloupe.  Once again, there were many fish traps encountered going out the northwest cut from Ile des Saintes.  If we were entering or exiting Terre Haut again, we would opt to go the extra distance and use only the northeast cut.  That is where all the ferries to and from Guadeloupe enter and exit and there appeared to be no fish traps hampering that route.  We arrived at Deshaies at 15:30 and the anchorage was pretty filled.  All the moorings were taken, plus there were 18 boats anchored outside the moorings.  And boats were pointed in every direction because the wind swirls through this bay due to the surrounding high mountains on 3 sides.  We dropped anchor pretty much in the middle of the bay in 9.9 meters depth and could let out only 46 meters of chain.  The bay was too congested to allow more scope.  Turned out not to be a problem; holding was excellent.

Montserrat.  The light areas are the ash flow that covered the major
town of Plymouth when the volcano erupted not so many years ago.
Not a single person died as they were evacuated to the northern tip
of the island.  The volcano remains active.
At 05:15 anchor was up and we were motoring out of the bay.  An ‘Oh-Dark-Thirty’ beginning once again.  It was a black pre-dawn exit with no problems.  This day would be 78 NM to St. Kitts.  We motor-sailed or sailed 75% and motored 25% of the distance.  Our course was basically 320 degrees and wind 20 knots at 120-150 degrees apparent and 2.5 meter seas, which meant jib poled to port and plenty of rolling all day long.  This time we skipped Montserrat, going up the western side well off shore to avoid any volcanic ash in the breeze.  We have seen boats really messed up by that volcanic ash.  It is so acidic and destroys gel coat on boats.  Normally we have gone on the eastern windward side of this island but this time we decided to chance the western leeward side as that was better direction for our desired route.  Thankfully, the volcano was not burping that day and we slipped past with no ash landing on BeBe.

Sometimes what you see is not what is real.  This
is called Long Point and it does look like a long
point protruding from the SW tip of Nevis.
As we approached Nevis and St. Kitts squalls were building.  I checked our log book and noted where we had anchored when last here in 2006.  We headed toward that waypoint in Ballast Bay  as a squall rolled through.  I was very thankful to have that waypoint; knew if we safely went there 10 ½ years ago then we should be safe returning there today – even though we could see nothing past 25-feet around our boat.  We dropped anchor and put up the yellow Q flag.  








And do you see any Long Point protrusion from the
SW tip of this island?  Nevis is basically a round
island.  But the topography is such that the SW
tip does appear to be a long point jutting out
into the sea.  An optical illusion. 
The following morning we motored out of Ballast Bay just before 10:00 and almost instantly a large rib zoomed up beside us filled with Dutch marines and a guy who worked for St. Kitts (coast guard?).  We slowed and several of them boarded BeBe.  They did not even do a cursory inspection; 3 of the Dutch marines stood on the deck while the St. Kitts guy sat in the cockpit and filled out a form, just the basic information and basic safety equipment verification.  He asked to see 2 lifejackets and the flares and confirmed we had VHF and HF radios.  Everyone was very friendly and within 10 minutes they departed and we continued motoring away from St. Kitts.  In all our years of boating this was the 2nd time we have been boarded.  Coincidentally, the only other time BeBe has been boarded also was by the Dutch – in Curacao in August or September 2007.  That time they searched the entire boat; this time was just questions.  Each time everyone was very professional.

St. Kitts.  A fort on top of the small hill by the sea
The sail from St. Kitts to St. John was 146 NM and was very fast!  Course once again was basically 320 degrees with wind 20 knots from 80 degrees.  This placed jib poled to port and mizzen to port with preventer.  The mizzen acts to reduce twist and roll in the 2.5 meter confused seas; large swell from southwest and wind waves from northeast.  When in the lee of St. Kitts, again in lee of Statia and again in lee of tiny Saba, the seas calmed and sailing was very pleasant.  Other than in the lee of those 3 islands, seas were confused and uncomfortable.  When Bill glanced down and saw we were doing 10 knots SOG he decided to reef that jib!  We continued under single reef until sometime during the night when boat speed again crept up to over 9 knots SOG and I put a second reef in the jib.  Still our boat speed was faster than I prefer.  We sailed 146 NM is 20 hours – averaging 7.3 knots SOG.  And that includes the time for the Dutch marines boarding and the time motoring through the channel at St. John and finding a mooring at Caneel Bay.  So the sailing average SOG probably was greater than 8 knots.  I prefer 6.5 knots sailing speed.  I do not like fast sailing.

S/V Eos.  We last saw this mega yacht in Ponce, Italy.  A friend
worked as crew on this special yacht back then but now works on
another mega-motoryacht.  Eos anchored near us in St. Kitts.
This final overnight sail was bittersweet.  It marks the ‘last time’ and in some ways I am happy about that and in other ways quite sad about it.  The ‘last time’ for watching the bio-luminescence flow down the side of the boat at night.  The ‘last time’ for my enjoyable solitude at sea at night.  The ‘last time’ to see the sky laden with hundreds of thousands of stars, as only can be seen from sea with no ambient lighting from nearby lands.  The ‘last time’ watching other vessels pass in the darkness.  I will so very much miss these things and am very grateful to have had these experiences.



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We picked up a park mooring in Caneel Bay, St. John, before 07:00 on Thanksgiving Day.  We rested a bit and then went into Customs and Immigration in Cruz Bay to handle inbound clearance.  While clearing in we learned that our LBO (Local Boaters Option) cards which we had obtained in November 2006 are still valid!!!  The official said these LBO cards are “pure gold” because these are much better than the current SVRS program.  With the SVRS program vessels are supposed to file float plans.  With the LBO cards, we merely need to telephone when we arrive in USVI or Spanish Virgins or Puerto Rico.  As long as we own this boat then these LBO cards remain valid, although these are not available anymore.

Update:  Effective 31 December 2016 all LBO information was purged from the systems.  The only option today is the SVRS scheme.  Biggest difference between the old LBO system and the SVRS system is that SVRS requires filing float plans online.  Which can be difficult since cruising boats are not connected to the internet 24/7/365.
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That afternoon I roasted the small piece of turkey which was purchased at Ile des Saintes.  Our Thanksgiving feast was comprised of roast turkey, peas, mashed potatoes and gravy and followed by pecan pie.  The worst pecan pie I have ever baked, but appreciated by both of us regardless.  This was an impromptu Thanksgiving meal as we had thought we would be at sea all day. 

The following morning we loaded 7 of the 10 boxes of books which I had packed back in Trinidad and took these to the US Post Office in Cruz Bay.  There we learned that for whatever reason this particular post office location will not allow any shipments in boxes which have names of liquor or beer or wine printed on the outside.  The clerk said those alcohol boxes are the strongest boxes but she is not allowed to accept these for shipment.  She loaned me a black marker and I crossed out those offending words on some of the boxes, but the Heineken boxes had the word Heineken all over them.  We took these boxes down the street to Connections, where we purchased heavy brown paper and packing tape and wrapped the boxes.  Then back to the post office and shipped them.  We returned to the boat for the remaining 3 boxes and got those posted also.  Got to love the US Post Office right now!  They consider USVI as domestic postal rates and also allow media rate from here to the mainland.  We shipped 200 pounds of books in 10 boxes for total cost of around $130.  That is a deal!

While at Connections we picked up the package of wind instrument parts shipped from Pat and Diane on S/V Shenanigans.  They were life savers!  These parts are exactly what we needed.  Bill has already tested everything and between what we had and what Shennigans gave us, it all works perfectly.  If it works down here at deck level then it should work when mounted at the top of the mast.

All the shipping taken care of that could be handled this day, we slipped the mooring line and motored over to Francis Bay at the northeastern side of St. John.  This bay brings back many memories of our charter days with friends back in the 1980s and very early 1990s.  The following day friends Pam and Larry Shelton on S/V Southern Girl arrived from the BVI.  It was great finally catching up with them while on our respective boats.  Pam is one of those friends with whom we chartered back in the 80s and 90s.  They headed off towards Puerto Rico the following morning, while Bill and I remained on this mooring for several more days. 

We have made a couple more trips to the post office to ship more boxes, each time returning to the same mooring in Francis Bay.  Bill has installed the repaired wind instrument on top of the mast and all works perfectly once again.  I am very glad this is so.  It was more difficult than I imagined picking up a mooring pennant without knowing the exact direction of the wind.  Once we had to make 3 attempts to pick up a mooring.  That is shameful!  We normally get it accomplished effortlessly on the first attempt.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Trinidad north to Martinique




On Tuesday, 2 November, we were up at 04:00 to begin the process of leaving the dock at Crews Inn Marina in Trinidad.  This marina does not simply pro-rate the electricity for the final night docked as is common; they want an actual meter reading when that power cord is unplugged.  We, of course, wanted air-conditioning for our final night at dock; hence, the extra early wake-up time.  What’s an extra hour of sleep!  Plus this provided the advantage of enjoying our morning cups of coffee before the last-minute rush to depart. The hotel desk is staffed 24/7.  Bill had to awaken the dock master so he could read our electric meter; the front desk clerk prepared our final invoice; and at 05:00 we were finally ready to depart the dock.  We waited around for another 15 minutes until sky was light enough to see well in this crowded narrow bay. 

BeBe went around the moored yachts rather than go through the middle of the mooring field in the still somewhat darkness, then headed straight for the Bocas channel.

We were sailing this day in company with 7 other northbound yachts.  We all had filed float plans with Trinidad officials with destination of Grenada.  No Venezuelan pirate worries this day.

Weather was great for the initial part of this passage.  Cloudy skies, but plenty of bright clear blue patches, about 15 knots wind from SE on our starboard aft quarter, and positive current assisting us with an extra 2 knots of SOG.  BeBe sailed and/or motor sailed for about 6 hours at over 8 knots SOG.  We dropped a fishing line to trail once we had passed the Hibiscus gas platform.  A couple of hours later that line sped out extremely fast!  We had a bite and it must have been big!  Within seconds the line snapped.  Whatever it was had taken our newest and best lure -- what I call a treble treble.  One that swims 10 to 15 feet below the surface and had 3 treble hooks.  I prefer this type lure because, after all, the more hook barbs increases the likelihood of keeping the fish on the line until it gets gaffed and aboard BeBe.  Goodbye best lure.  No more fishing for us this day.

And then our pleasant passage all changed.

We had been watching the sky over Venezuela off to our SW all morning.  The sky looked very strange – an odd cloudless solid dark steel gray-blue.  Around mid-day the wind died to nothing; to pick up soon thereafter coming from the SW!  That is really weird!  The wind just never comes from the west in the Caribbean except during storms with circular motion like hurricanes.  (Except for 1 day in February; almost every year for 1 day in February west winds usually surprise sailors at some point in the Eastern Caribbean.)  In all our years of sailing in the Caribbean we have never experienced westerly winds or southwesterly winds during November.  That weird inversion over northern Venezuela caused some strange weather.  The SW winds stayed up for hours.  As we approached the SW tip of Grenada the winds switched to come from the NE at 18 knots.


Another sunset
This was one strange day of Caribbean sailing.  We changed sail configuration more frequently than ever has been needed in the Caribbean on one day.  We started off with jib to port; then jib poled to port; then jib poled to starboard; then to starboard without pole; then back to port as we beat into 18-knot headwinds and 2-knot adverse current for the final few hours.  We sailed 91 nautical miles, arriving in the St. George’s anchorage at 19:00 in pitch blackness -- no moon and no stars, with many strikes of lightning off to the west.  It was impossible to see some of the boats as we slowly crept into the anchorage.  Boat owners who use those garden lights have no idea how poorly lit their boat appears as someone approaches an anchorage in pitch-black darkness with the shore lights in background.  When I suddenly saw a boat to our starboard because it swung a bit and the shore lights displayed the motion of that dark boat, I pleaded with Bill not to attempt to go any further.  We dropped anchor at that point in 8 meters depth and put out 55 meters chain.  Ended up being the boat farthest out in the anchorage and that was fine with me.  The next day I saw that the boat which we could not see at all in the darkness was painted a bright orange on port side and dark blue on the starboard side.  We could see neither color at night and this boat did not display any form of anchor light.  It was pure luck that we did not have a collision.

This was not a fun day of sailing.  It was very tiring and hot.  Downwind sailing always is hot because the boat is moving with the wind and you do not feel much, if any, breeze.  We were beat and too tired to care about dinner.  We each grabbed a shower and felt good enough to share the last can of chili on the boat.  (We are slowly eating our way through my over-filled food lockers since will be selling the boat in a couple of months.)

A special gift from very special friends.  We will
think of Hassan and Zeyhra (and little Carlos
Santana) every time we look at it.
The following day we met up with Turkish friends Hasan and Zehrya on S/V KANDIBA.  They had returned from a summer in Turkey only the previous day and it was great catching up with them.  They presented us with a small silver dish for our home in Galveston.  It is stamped with the symbol of the Ottoman Empire as a remembrance.  Hasan and Zehrya plan to head to the South Pacific early next spring and it is very unlikely we will see one another again.  They hosted us for a delicious dinner at a restaurant in the Port Louis Marina.  I enjoyed sautéed shrimp and leeks and it was cooked to perfection.  The next morning we upped anchor and sailed to Carricou.
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This time we sailed about 1 ½ miles off the western coast of Grenada.  This allowed us to catch more wind than if hugged the coastline.  We went west of the exclusion zone for Kick’em Jenny, the active underwater volcano situated slightly NW of Grenada; then angled to beat into Tyrrel Bay, Carricou, arriving just in time to launch the dinghy for Bill to zoom in to handle departure clearance from Grenada and Carricou before closing hour.
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That evening we enjoyed a special treat of a lobster dinner ashore.  On the way to the restaurant we noticed S/V FROST and stopped to chat a moment with Mike and Rebecca.  We last saw them in Martinique last spring.  The lobster dinner was unusual, cooked differently than the typical boiling or grilling; these were pan seared tails.  It was good but did not compare to fresh cooked on our boat.  The highlight of the meal was dessert of homemade buttered almond ice cream.  THAT was delicious!  Roasted almonds cooked into a butter brickle and then broken into homemade ice cream.  Whoever invented this recipe has a winner.

Early Sunday morning we upped anchor and enjoyed a day of sailing perfection up to Bequia.  We went west of Union Island, skipping Mayreau and Canouan and Mustique.  We talked about going to Mustique once again because the wind was of good enough direction to allow us to sail that far eastward; but decided that we will cherish our memories of that special island.  We have visited Mustique 4 times.  Why chance a 5th visit and possibly destroy our good memories there if it has changed, which inevitably is the case.  We continued onward to Bequia where we anchored for only 1 night.  Good memories of that island many times too.  Thirty years ago there were maybe 5 cruising boats anchored in Bequia; today there were about 200.  Sigh….is this better for the local people?  I fear the island rapidly is becoming too dependent on tourism and they are losing their traditional ways of life.  I am not certain this is a good thing in the long run.

On Monday, 7 November, we departed Bequia at first light in company with several other boats headed north.  The Salty Dawg Rally BVI had a rum punch party scheduled for Tuesday night and everyone was invited, not just the rally participants.  But the wind was right to sail this day and would not be right if we waited to attend that party, so off we went.  Since this would be a long day (70 miles) we opted to motor-sail until lost all wind in the shelter of beautiful St. Vincent; then we motored until just past the northern side of this very high island.  There we again caught the wind and were able to sail to St. Lucia.  The topography of the island of St. Vincent is gorgeous.  It might be the most beautiful of all the Caribbean islands --  but we have not once stopped there because of the high violent crime against cruisers.  This is well-known and has gone on for decades.  Too many sailors have been attacked by men wielding machetes and guns for us to consider stopping there.  Such a shame.

Anchor was down at Rodney Bay, St. Lucia at 16:15 so this was an excellent day!  Motor-sailed or motored 56% and sailed 44% of the 70 NM trip.  We were happy with that.  This time we anchored closer to the beach than ever before.  We cleared in and out, saying we plan to depart early the next day; then we hit the supermarket.  That supermarket was the primary reason for coming here.  I found 1,000 EC currency in a purse a few months ago.  That currency is good only on certain islands of the Eastern Caribbean.  We blew some of that EC cash on those lobster dinners at Carriacou and would spend the rest of it here in St. Lucia buying whatever.  That has now been accomplished and it is time to move on to Martinique.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016 – We stayed put for at least 1 more day even though we had already cleared out of St. Lucia.  Our propane solenoid failed and the only replacements available in St. Lucia were the standard cheap models; we wanted the German produced original part (which costs about 6 times the price of the common solenoids sold in marine chandleries).  We contacted Amel in Le Marin and learned they did have this part in stock; so, to Le Marin it would be – even though we had not planned to go there. There was a LO system which passed through on Wednesday and it would have been a miserable day at sea.  When this weather system passed we sailed up to Martinique.    

But more nasty weather followed for yet another day.  On Thursday we enjoyed a beautiful sail towards Martinique until the final 45 minutes.  Off to the east the sky was black as far as we could see.  We quickly took in all sails and turned on the engine and motored straight for St. Anne’s; no way we would attempt the long jagged narrow entrance channel into Le Marin during nasty weather.  We arrived in St. Anne’s in a 40-knot squall, dropping anchor near the stern of the first anchored boat we could see through the water-filled air.  We each grabbed something for a quick lunch while waiting for the squall to pass, then motored into Le Marin where we had arranged for a mooring for 1 night so we could pick up the solenoid from Amel.  Mission accomplished.


When we checked email we learned that the buyers of BeBe would like to have a rigging inspection performed by a rigger who was recommended by the Amel Service office here in Le Marin.  Today is Veterans Day (called something else in France) and the rigger said he could not do this inspection until Monday.  We talked to him yesterday afternoon and he said he would make an exception and come out to inspect the rigging this morning, even though it is a holiday.  As I type this blog posting it is now after 09:00 and we have heard nothing from the rigger this morning.  Maybe we are leaving today and maybe not until Monday or Tuesday.  There are far worse places to be ‘stuck’ than here.  We enjoy Le Marin very much. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Time to begin heading north

BeBe will be on passage north to Grenada when this post is published.  We are sailing in a little informal flotilla of 7 boats.  Hurricane season will not be over until the end of November but the Atlantic is calm at this time and all 7 boats are sailing up to Grenada.  We hope to meet up with friends there for a few days for the final time; they then will be sailing west to the South Pacific and we will continue north to the Virgin Islands.

We had planned to sail non-stop from Grenada to the British Virgin Islands, but now have had second thoughts.  There is no reason for us to hurry as the new owners do not arrive in the Virgin Islands until 11 January -- except that the wind traditionally begins to switch predominant direction during November from SE of the summer to NE of the winter and we do NOT want to be forced into headwinds because we dallied too long down-island.  Careful eye to the weather, as always.


Things I will miss about Trinidad:  the friendly people and flavorful ethnic foods.

Things I will not miss about Trinidad:  the heat, humidity and biting noseeums.  I swear Trinidad is as bad as Houston or New Orleans for heat and humidity.  Of course, this is no surprise as we are on the same latitude as Cochin, India.  I am holding out high hopes for cooler weather at 18N than it is here at 10N.  As we leave here I feel as though I have been eaten alive by noseeums.  Not a single other person around me has been bitten.  I have been covered with the strongest insect repellents available, yet I am the one who has dozens of very itchy bites.  PLEASE let there be no more of these noseeums at any of the places we stop going north!


After catching up with friends in Grenada we now favor island hopping north rather than sailing non-stop to the BVI.  Both Bill and I would enjoy visiting Ile des Saintes one final time, indisputably our single favorite island in the entire Caribbean.  If the wind changes direction while we are still island hopping north, we should be able to turn NW at any point and get on over to the Virgins without difficulty (or headwinds!).


Forward cabin is now a storage space.  Port side leeboard in place
and ready to set sail northward.  Should be a starboard tack for the
entire trip to the Virgin Islands; these boxes should ride fine.
And our destination has been changed from the BVI to St. John in the USVI. I have taken advantage of being berthed in Trinidad with no busy social schedule and have packed up boxes of things to be mailed back to Texas.  I have 9 boxes of media (books, CDs and DVDs) that will be mailed via the US Postal Service from St. John to Texas.  Love that domestic postal rate and especially that ultra-inexpensive media rate!  

According to the USPS website the post office in St. John should have stock of the flat-rate boxes in the sizes we need.  Rather than ship our things back to Texas we have decided to mail things home.  Bill is convinced that the post offices in the USVI will have stock of the flat-rate boxes which we need.  I am not convinced those boxes will be stocked in those locations.  So....in order to be prepared (as always; it is my neurotic weakness)...I have collected what boxes were available from the local supermarket.  The boxes were saturated with roach spray before being allowed on our boat.  These are reserved as our last resort in case the post office has no flat-rate boxes in stock and there are no small heavier moving boxes available for sale in the USVI.  Moving is stressful!!

Do not look for more postings on this blog for weeks.  As we will be island hopping, we will not purchase data sims because each island has a different system.  Therefore, unless we just happen upon some open WiFi somewhere, I will not be updating this blog any time soon.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Taste of Trini tour


This photo really is for some Facebook
friends. We recently discussed odd
mailing addresses used in some areas.
I love this one.  In case it is too small
to read clearly, it is labeled:
Hector -- Light Pole193




Soon after arriving in Trinidad late June we heard about a 'do not miss' tour sometimes offered by Jesse James.  Not one person gave this tour a negative review.  But this tasting tour was not something we wanted to do with the grandchildren; kids would not enjoy this. Then we returned to Texas for a long visit, returning to Trinidad late last month. Last week there finally were enough new arrivals that Jesse was able to offer another tasting tour.  There were 7 cruisers in the small bus for this tour and Jesse himself was the driver and host.  Bill and I were the last 2 participants to board the bus so we were relegated to the rear seats.  Even though the bus was very nice, with his diminished hearing ability Bill was unable to understand much of what was said because of the wheel noise that always is present in the rear area of a bus or van.  But I had no trouble hearing and was able to relay or repeat most of what Jesse said so Bill could follow along with the rest of us.



As soon as everyone was in the bus Jesse passed out a plate and cutlery to each couple to share the day's tastings, with the solo guy in the front passenger seat getting his very own personal plate. Of course, since he had the premier seating he also was assigned to assist Jesse in serving the foods all day long.  Jesse had stopped and purchased a few breakfast items to get us started while slowly driving in the congested traffic on the only egress to/from Chaguaramas where all cruisers temporarily reside.  A bus had broken down in the southbound lane and traffic was horrendous this morning.  As we slowly made our way toward Port of Spain, Jesse served us several breakfast dishes and talked about the special foods particular to the islands country of Trinidad and Tobago.

Tobago has a national dish called Crab and Dumplings but Trinidad has no national dish. Tobago has mostly African/Creole foods; whereas, Trinidad has more Indian/Creole/Middle-Eastern foods.  We would be sampling a little of everything Trinidad has to offer in foods. Following is a list of the foods we tasted in the order in which these were presented.  I have included recipe links for a number of these dishes.

Breakfast foods:
clockwise from upper left: bhaji
herring, chicken gazette, bake



1. Coconut Bake -- 'bake' is a dough that usually is fried but could be baked.  Bill and I had previously eaten Bake 'n Shark and it was fried; sort of like a hamburger bun for which the risen dough has been deep fried rather than baked.  This Coconut Bake likewise had been fried.
2. Bhaji (spinach) 
3. Chicken Gazette (chicken liver)
4. Smoked herring/salt fish






5. Fried Bake
6. Fried Bake filled with curried channa (chickpeas)
7. Fried Bake filled with shark

Guess you could add just about anything you like to the bake.




Signs like this are in front of many
shops.  Easy food on the go.



8. Hot Pie - filled with white cheese and mashed potato
9. Hot Pie - filled with straight potato and onions, sweetened mango sauce and cucumber
It is easy to be strict vegetarian and eat breakfast street foods with no eggs, meat or milk.





pickled pommeceteye



10. Pommeceteye -- green fruit pickled with salt, peppers and shadow bene (culantro)
The pommeceteye fruit also is eaten raw with salt and black pepper.







L-R: Caralie, tomato choka, baigan
choka, pumpkin choka, sada roti
Typical Indian breakfast in Trinidad is 15 TT ($2.25 USD):
11. Roti - Sada Roti  http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/sada-roti-recipe/
12. Caralie (bitter green vegetable) http://caribbeanpot.com/a-classic-trinbagonian-caraili-recipe/
13. Tomato Choka (very good!) http://caribbeanpot.com/simple-but-very-tasy-tomato-choka-recipe/
14. Pumpkin Choka http://tastetheislandstv.com/trinidadian-pumpkin-choka-talkari/
15. Baigan Choka (roasted eggplant, also very good) h ttp://www.simplytrinicooking.com/sada-roti-and-baigan-eggplant-choka/

Cow Heel Soup



Hangover Cure:

16. Cow Heel Soup  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcyW6nPV93Y







Pastry Pies (baked rather than fried as are the Hot Pies listed above):
17. Pastry Pie filled with fish (did not like this one bit)
18. Pastry Pie filled with Spicy Beef 
19. Pastry Pie filled with Spicy Macaroni (surprisingly pretty good)

Around this time we passed the community of Laventille.  Today this community is the highest crime area on the island and is filled with ramshackle shacks where people live in poverty.  When one reads of the high crime in Trinidad, this is where most of it occurs.  There has been no crime against cruisers in Trinidad in several years; that type crime happens up in Grenada.  Here in Trinidad it is mostly local-on-local crime, and Laventille is the area hardest hit.  Also located in Laventille is the only factory in the world which produced Angostura Bitters.  Angostura Bitters sold all over the world come from this small factory situated in this shantytown high-crime neighborhood.  Who knew!


Accra


20. Coconut Roll -- pastry containing lots of ginger and is tasty


21. Accra -- like a hushpuppy mixed with fish and often served with tamarind sauce which can be spicy   http://www.trinigourmet.com/index.php/trinidad-saltfish-accra/





Portugal


22. Portugal -- a type of orange which remains green; more like a tangerine to me

23. Saheena -- unusual and good; we did not taste the dipping sauce that often is served with saheena  http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/saheena-i/

24. Pitchorie -- Jesse spelled this for me as *pitchorie* but I cannot find any recipe by that name.  The sample we ate reminded me of a type of fried corn bread served with chickpeas on top.  This is a vegetarian dish. 

No photos of the Saheena or Pitchorie because we ate these at a food truck and I forgot my camera in the bus.  Note that eating street food in Trinidad is quite safe, like Singapore. Each street food vendor is required to wear a food badge which means s/he is licensed and inspected.  The food preparation and serving areas must pass health inspections.  Good to know.

One unusual-to-us thing noted is that some men here carry birdcages around with them -- to work or to socialize or to shop or whatever -- they take their caged song birds with them. Jesse said his grandfather carried such a bird.  Bill and I had noticed the 2 men who operate the roadside doubles stand near the marinas bring their caged song bird to work with them each day. Which brings up that dish for which Trinidad likely is most famous -- doubles.  We did not stop for doubles during this Taste of Trini tour because everyone on the bus previously had eaten doubles and this tour was intended to introduce us to other Trinidadian treats.  But here is a recipe for those famous Trinidad Doubles, which usually are served with hot sauce.  Just be sure and watch that hot sauce!  It can be a killer!!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIjUxfZD9tQ

Macaroni Pie & BBQ Pig Tail



Lunch Foods:

First was a typical Creole lunch:
25. Macaroni Pie -- Neither Bill nor I cared much for this.  It was slightly sweet.
26. Barbeque Pig Tail -- a specialty of the town of Valencia.  Not much to eat on a pig tail but the sauce was good.






Dumpling topped with Callaloo
w/ Stewed Pork on 2nd dumpling

And another typical Creole lunch:

27. Dumpling  -- square and flat and heavy.  Very filling.
28. Callaloo  -- African Creole staple  http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/callaloo/
29. Stewed Pork -- The difference in Trini style stewed pork (or goat or beef) is that they add sugar to the hot oil in the pan to carmelize and create a dark color and coating on the chunks of meat first; then cook as regular for stewed meats.  http://caribbeanpot.com/tender-stew-pork-packed-with-a-unique-punch-of-flavor/
30. Sea Moss Punch 




L-R: Dasheen, Salt Fish, Cassava,
with Green Fig at bottom.
Cassava was best thing on plate.
And another typical Creole lunch:

31. Cassava -- typical 'provisions' throughout the Caribbean
32. Salt Fish (neither Bill nor I tasted this as we have tried it before and it is far too fishy)
33. Dasheen -- more provisions
34. Green Fig -- this is a tiny banana which normally is cooked.  It is exactly the same as we ate at Fatu Hiva in French Polynesia.  In Polynesia it is cooked in coconut milk and turns bright pink.  Here in Trinidad it is cooked numerous ways but stays banana colored.




Custard Apple



35. Custard Apple -- again, we passed on tasting this because have had it before and we were getting awfully full by this point in the tasting tour.


UFO Fruit on bottom










UFO Fruit



36. UFO fruit -- Okay, they might call this a fruit but Bill and I know better.  It is a pod of Brazil nuts which has not fully ripened.  Here in Trini they cut the pod from the tree before it is ripe enough to fall off on its own.  When we were in the Amazon jungle region of Peru we saw these Brazil nuts very high on the trees and were warned by our guide to stay well clear of them.  Because if they fall on your head you likely will be killed. The Brazil nuts which grow wild here in Trini are a different variety than those found in Peru.  
One of many nuts inside UFO





The typical Brazil nut is shaped somewhat triangular along its width; whereas, while these found on Trinidad also are triangular along the width there also are additional ridges along the width causing a somewhat fluted shape.  Plus, these are fresh and raw as opposed to the dried and often roasted nuts found in stores back home.






Chockie Toe
Silk Fig.  The best!!



37. Fig -- a very tiny chewy very yellow banana; locally called a Chockie Toe


38. Silk Fig - the best small banana; called Lady Fingers in other parts of the world.  This banana is rather delicate and cannot be exported.  It is my favorite type.





View to the north


View to the south.
Very nice beach side public park.














A typical Indian lunch beneath the palms at beachside on eastern side of island:
39. Pilau -- seasoned rice
40. Piratha Roti -- http://www.juniormagazine.co.uk/recipes/recipe-how-to-make-jamie-olivers-homemade-paratha-bread/18660.html
41. Dhal Puri Roti -- http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/recipe/dhal-puri-roti/
42. Curried Green Mango
43. Curried Chickpeas & Potatoes -- my favorite dish on the plate
44. Stewed Beef
45. Pumpkin
46. Curried Chicken
47. Curried Goat -- also pretty good
48. Peanut Punch (we both passed on this) 
Picnic lunch by the sea with our Taste of Trini co-horts


Peanut Punch

















L-R clockwise: Piratha Roti, Stewed Beef, Curried Chickpeas & Potatoes,
Curried Goat, Pumpkin, Curried Green Mango, Pilau.
We did not sample the Dhal Puri Roti or the Curried Chicken because we 
were simply too full.  All these bites were adding up over the day!

Jesse James cutting up watermelon for our group.
The man on the right is Dallas, the melon vendor.
There were thousands upon thousands of small Birds of Paradise plants blooming as we drove through the two savannahs between the mountain ranges.  There are 2 mountain ranges which traverse east/west across Trinidad, and 2 savannahs.  These savannahs are open to the Atlantic and go completely across this large island.  These are very worrisome in the event of a tsunami.  The local people practice evacuations in case of a tsunami.

49. Watermelon -- the man named Dallas who sold us the watermelon was quite the character.  He talked for 10 minutes straight about the health benefits of eating watermelon.


Roasted Corn



50. Roasted Corn-on-the-Cob -- very hard and chewy; nothing like corn in the USA.  It tasted like popcorn which had been popped over burning charcoal.  I nibbled a few kernels and Bill passed on this.  Corn is not allowed on his Crohn's diet.





Tulum



51. Tulum -- this is what is called an Old Time Treat.  Neither Bill nor I liked it in the least but the woman seated in front of us loved it and asked for a second helping.  Tulum is very hard and is chewy.  

It has a licorice flavor and is made from dried coconut and molasses.  

This was the thing I disliked most of everything we tried this day.
Yet the other woman loved it.  People do have different tastes.






Pickled Pineapple on left;
Kurma (sticks) on right.
52. Kurma -- another Old Time Treat but this one was delicious!  It is a ginger candy.  I plan to make this once we are living back on land.
http://caribbeanpot.com/how-to-make-kurma-known-as-mithai-in-guyana/ 

The road turned back northwards and we began to see teak trees growing all along the roadside as we moved to higher elevation.

53. Pineapple in salted brine pickling solution.  Okay but not something I would seek out.




Coconut Finger


54. Coconut Finger -- a layered pastry with food coloring added to the coconut.


Pone





55. Pone -- Cassava Cake made with coconut, ginger and condensed milk.  Pretty good.








Tamarind Balls -- SPICY!


56. Tamarind Balls -- sour and sweet and fairly spicy hot

57. Bread Pudding -- from the days of British control of Trinidad.  It contained lots of fruit was was not like any bread pudding with which I am familiar.  I prefer my own recipe.



As we drove around the Trinidad countryside and small villages we noticed mostly-faded flags on long poles standing in the yards of many homes.  Jesse explained that these were Jhandis -- Hindu Prayer Flags.  The Hindu holiday of Divali will be on 29 October 2016 and these prayer flags traditionally are displayed for a month prior to Divali.  The flags represent the gods prayed to by the family in each home.  Hinduism recognizes many gods and goddesses so the combination of colors of flags varied wildly.
https://tnthinduhistory.wordpress.com/chapters/jhandis/


Boy bussing bamboo.
This can be dangerous.
As we drove to higher elevation there was a village with a young boy 'bussing bamboo' in front of his home.  Jesse stopped the bus to allow us to watch this process.  Jesse said that when the bamboo is burned all the way through the center that it will sound like a gunshot.  I do not understand the attraction of doing this but it is something that has a long tradition in Trinidad.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgdshXsxgms
People can be, and have been, injured doing this.  Again, I do not see the attraction.  Here is a local newspaper article about an accident which happened a few years ago:
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/featured-news/Judah_needs_help-148466735.html


A few of the tiny pots being made
at the pottery shop for Divali.
These will be filled with oil for lights.

Also along this roadside we found a man making pottery.  He was very busy making items already ordered by locals for the upcoming celebration of Divali.  We disembarked and watched him throw a vase on his potters wheel.  Jesse said he was having to do all this work himself because he cannot find any workers; the workers he has tried to hire all want to be paid for the entire day but will work only 3 hours; so this shop owner is working 18 hours daily by himself to fill the orders before Divali.




Pholourie




58. Pholourie -- another hushpuppy type dish but made from flour rather than cornmeal. 
http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/pholourie/








Tiny Trini Plum


59. Tiny Trini Plum -- looks like a large green olive but is very tangy and spicy hot.

60. Mauby -- a brown beverage made from the bark of a tree and tastes somewhat like root beer; has a bit of a a sassafras flavor although made from a different type tree.  Mauby is common throughout the Caribbean and is known by various names.  The Mauby we sampled was not the fizzy variety, more like sassafras flavored iced tea.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauby




Sugar Cake. With bag of
Tiny Trini Plums




61. Sugar Cake -- Coconut and sugar and food colors; our sample was purple.



Pepper Roti.  One of my
favorites of the day.








62. Pepper Roti -- sort of like pizza (?); this was a stuffed flat roti and very spicy.  Good!






Chicken Fingers




63. Chicken Fingers -- boiled chicken feet.  These make a delicious broth as a base for soups; I have cooked chicken feet on the boat.  The woman seated in front of me on this tour could not get past how these looked.  

She squealed and dropped the foot onto her plate because she thought it had wiggled.  Thoroughly boiled and removed from the body of the chicken, so she knew it could not have moved; but it bothered her to see it.



Cutters -- Roast Pork



64. Cutters -- Cutters are snacks one eats before going out drinking, so the rum won't get you drunk as quickly.  Our tour was not going to drink any alcohol but Jesse treated us to a couple of cutters.  This first one was roast pork with hot sauce and it was delicious!







A Cocoa Pod.  The cocoa beans are
covered with that white slime.
65. Cocoa Pod -- 4 of us on this tour had previously tasted a fresh cocoa pod; 3 had not. This is the wrong season as the pods have not yet ripened enough to pick.  But Jesse drove slowly and eventually found a couple of pods that were yellow enough to warrant picking.  One of our tour participants was tall enough to pick one of the pods.  Trinidad grows the best cocoa in the world.  Grenada likes to boast that claim, but Trinidadian cocoa is the best.  Plus, a Trinidadian is credited for saving cocoa from extinction; unfortunately, I did not note his name and do not remember it.  But he found a way to stop the Witches Broom disease that was killing cocoa all over the world.  There is an entire department devoted to cocoa at the University of Trinidad still today.  Jesse told us a story about a very large yacht coming to Trinidad years ago and he was engaged to take the elderly male owner on a tour, and the man specifically wanted to visit cocoa plantations and the University of Trinidad to speak with the experts on cocoa.  Turned out this elderly man's surname was Mars -- of the Mars candy company, the 6th largest privately held corporation in the United States.  (Sorry, British friends; Mars is not a British candy company; it is an American company which has production facilities in the UK, as well as in The Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Australia.)  The white slime surrounding the cocoa beans inside the pod tastes like cocoa.


Cutters--BBQ Chicken


Gullar Jamoon on left.
Barfi on right.

66. Cutters -- barbequed chicken this time

67. Gullar Jamoon -- a commercially packaged sweet which is like a donut hole.
68. Barfi -- a commercially packaged candy; a type of white milk fudge with confetti sprinkles.




Dinner:

69. Cinnamon fried plantains
70. Cold Macaroni Salad
71. Grilled Kingfish -- very tasty!
72. Stewed Pidgeon Peas -- the best I have ever tasted
73. Festive Rice
74. Geera Pork -- Trini version of jerked pork 
 http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/geera-pork-ii/
75. Sorrel drink -- a canned or bottled drink made from sorrel, a flower.  Nice and refreshing.
76. Spicy dill pickles, cucumbers, peppers & tomatoes relish -- my favorite dish of the day.  This accompanied the grilled fish very nicely.  I do not know the local name of this relish and could not find a recipe for it.  But all ingredients were finely chopped and blended to compliment the  flavors extremely well (to my taste buds!).  This is something that I will attempt to duplicate in the future when grilling fish.  


L-R clockwise starting at top center: Grilled Kingfish, Geera Pork,
delicious dill pickle relish, Festive Rice, Cinnamon Fried Plaintains,
Cold Macaroni Salad, and Stewed Pidgeon Peas in center.

By the way, while attempting unsuccessfully to find a recipe for this relish, I came across the following local news article about cucumbers.  Cucumbers are not just served raw in salads here in Trinidad; they actually cook cucumbers in various dishes.  A few of the dishes we sampled this day had cooked cucumbers incorporated as a minor ingredient.  This linked news article provides a sample of some other recipes cooking cucumbers.  The Shrimp and Cucumber Stir Fry is one that I certainly will cook in the future.  http://www.newsday.co.tt/features/0,162049.html

We enjoyed this Taste of Trini Tour and thank Jesse James of Members Only Maxi Taxi for introducing us to the flavors of Trinidad.  This was a long driving tour covering the island from the northwest tip at Chaguaramas, completely across the island west to east, then south, again west, and back north to origination point -- about 150 miles. On island roads, not the highways of home.  It had to be tiring to drive this much as it was tiring for us simply riding.  Excellent job, Jesse!  The record number of foods sampled on a Taste of Trini Tour is 99.  Our group tasted only 76.  And not a single one of us could have tasted another bite of anything, regardless of how delicious it might have been.  We were full!!!
Anyone planning to visit Trinidad can contact Jesse; he can assist you in innumerable ways:

http://www.membersonlymaxitaxi.com/services/services.htm