Well, it was certainly worth the wait. Trinidad carnival is all that we had heard - and more! Mind you, by the end we were certainly ‘carnivalled out’ and were in dire need of a rest. Oh, to be young again!
We went to watch the Panorama finals at the Queens Park Savannah on the Saturday night and insisted to Jesse that we stay to the end. He was running two maxis back to Chaguaramas, one at 11 pm and one at 1 am, but one of the drivers, Derek, was willing to come back for us and anyone else afterwards. Well, the first lot of cruisers left at 11 pm, just as the medium bands were finishing, then at 1 am the second lot left, missing half of the large bands. The intrepid Hobos, along with American Ginny and Frenchman George, stayed to the bitter end, seeing the cream of the country's pan bands in action. Finally, the winners were announced, The Trinidad All Stars - a very popular win. There is a video of their winning performance, playing ‘It’s Showtime,’ here. Amazing! Derek duly returned for us and we left Port of Spain just after 4 am for the 20 minute journey back to Chaguaramas. At 5.20 am we finally reached the boat. There were two massive ‘fetes’ (parties) being held nearby - one finishing at 5.00 am and one just starting at the same time. The road was full of cars travelling in either direction!
After a morning’s sleep we went to our usual Mexican Train dominoes game after lunch then it was back to bed to be ready for our own foray into Carnival, Jouvert. This is ‘Dirty Mas’ (masquerade) as opposed to the spectacular parade of beautifully costumed bands through the streets on Carnival Monday and Tuesday. Jouvert (joovay) starts at 4 am on the Monday morning and each band parades around the streets the same as ‘pretty’ mas but one difference. Being daubed in mud, paint, oil etc. as you ‘chip’ along to the music! The ‘Soca’ music is provided by DJ’s in massive trucks with a myriad of speakers. You do get used to the noise eventually! The Hobos and our Dutch friends Hannekke and Nils from ‘Pelagie’ were picked up from Crews Inn at 2 am by our party friend Derek again and were transported to the mas camp of Trevor Wallace. After a breakfast of corn soup and tea or coffee the paint and music trucks arrived, closely followed by the drinks wagon - very important! We then proceeded on our march around the area, passing other bands on the way. Our band was called ‘Bail Out’ but we certainly didn’t and lasted the full 6 hours!
We finally got home just before lunch time after a breakfast of ‘bake and shark’, another Trini delicacy. It was great to be involved in Carnival, not just spectating, and most of the paint washed out of our T shirts!
We weren’t in any fit state to go back into town the rest of the day but were up bright and early on the Tuesday to go and watch the grand parade of bands in Port of Spain. We spent the day on Ariapita Avenue and watched a procession of bands come through, including the eventual winners, Brian MacFarlane’s ‘Humanity - Circle of Life.’ Many of the costumes are spectacular and cost many hundreds of dollars each year, but Trinis love Carnival and happily spend their money. We eventually got home at 5 pm, completely shattered but so pleased that we’d stayed in Trinidad till now. If ever you get the chance to visit during Carnival season do so. It’s worth it.
The next couple of days were spent preparing the boat for our journey north to Grenada and we left on the evening of Friday 11th March. We had a horrible journey (see Mike’s page for the details) and eventually arrived in St George’s at dawn on Sunday 13th. We booked into Port Louis marina for three days while we recovered from our journey then moved round to Clark’s Court bay on the south coast. We anchored off Whisper Cove marina where you can buy fresh French bread each morning made by the owner Gilles, a French Canadian from Quebec. Lovely.
After a couple of windless, dull days we found that the batteries were very low and that our engine was not charging them up as it should do, so it was back into a marina to plug into the electric again, this time Clark’s Court Bay marina on the opposite side of the bay. Mike had to take the alternator off the engine and sent it to be repaired very reasonably up island (details on his page). We got it back as good as new after just a couple of days so we left the marina and sailed round to Prickly Bay where we stayed last year. We have been here for a few days now and everything seems to be working OK now, touch wood!
On Saturday we attended our first hash in Grenada, held at Magazine beach just along from the airport. We were lucky enough to get a lift there from a local, Winston, and a return trip from two very nice Canadians here on holiday in their rental car. Aren’t people nice? The trail was very benign compared to Trini hashes and we completed the course in just over an hour and a half. It was a special hash held as a thank you to Carib brewery who is the club’s sponsor. There was extra merriment at the end with much laughter and spraying of beer over unfortunate ‘virgins’ and ‘poofters’. At least in Trini we drink the beer, not waste it!!
We are still in Grenada at the time of writing. We will sail up to Carriacou next month then on to the Tobago Keys which we missed out last year. They are supposed to be really beautiful, typical palm fringed islands, so we should have some more nice photos to show you.
There are more photos than usual this month. See below.
Cheers for now.