Friday 13th February 1998

Jeff’s log continues with the entry for Friday 13th February 1998

Friday 13th February 1998

Rene slept solidly through until well after 0700. Once she was about I cleared the week’s washing before we trundled ashore to catch the bus to anywhere. Arriving at the terminal we decided that we would go to Crown Point, on the southwest corner of the island. We were hoping to make contact with “Chancy”.

We did not have to wait long before the ancient, rattling bus that smelled strongly of raw diesel oil hurtled us through the lanes of Tobago at breakneck speed. Arriving at the airport we kept our seats only to find out that this was the end of the line, Crown Point. The sea was not far away and we strolled there first stopping at a derelict fortress that had been built by the British and added to by the Courlanders and French. Today the ruins are almost flat with only a few brick and coral ramparts standing. However the views, both to the north and south, were magnificent only marred by our own personal cloud that had followed us from Scarborough. It ran in a narrow band, overhead and out to sea. Blue skies to the right of us and to the left of us but always dark and louring above us.

I chatted to an Aussie who was ensconced on a stone seat. His accent was strongly Australian though he had been in the British army for thirty years. We passed the time of day before we strolled off trying to find a way to a beach that was not being pounded by huge breakers.

We found a pleasant beach but we had to pay to go on it so we instead, wandered off but only as far as a shark ‘n bake kiosk where we enjoyed the local delicacy. It was whilst we ate a voice shouted my name. Simon, Stella’s son was there with his girlfriend Anncilla. They were buying a lunch for a friend and said they would be back to take us up to “Chancy” in Mount Irvine Bay. I had taken my small handheld radio but was unable to make contact. Quite possibly because I was using the wrong VHF channel.

Simon collected us and took us the bay where “Chancy” had been rolling savagely yesterday. There was no sign of her there and again we were dropped to watch the scenery for a while before Simon again collected us. It was very interesting as there was a surfing competition in progress and we were able to watch accomplished surfers make standing on the boards look simple as they followed the huge curling breakers along their way, weaving back and forth to keep pace with the leading edge of the foaming crest. Some of the bathing beauties were a joy to behold clad in their sparse bathing outfits. Rene befriended a small timorous puppy whose ribs showed clearly through its ribcage. Larger dogs searched for food on the beach but beat a hasty retreat when stones were hurled their way by the lifeguards. Rene was sat comfortably on a washed up tree trunk on which someone had placed a driftwood plank resting it against a palm tree to form a convenient backrest.

Simon had been up to Plymouth but had not seen “Chancy” moored there. We piled into his rented car and headed back for Scarborough. As we drew into the parking bay, we could see “Chancy” moored very close to “First Light”. The crew were in the process of coming ashore and we had a friendly reunion with Stella and Gordon. Gordon’s niece, Donna, and her husband, Darren, accompanied them. It had been so bad at Mount Irvine Bay that the guests had stayed in a hotel. They left for a trip up the East Coast and we went back to our boat.

Shortly after we were on the move again with dinner in mind. I knew of an excellent restaurant run by the antediluvian Grita Sandy where she produced marvellous local food. Unfortunately, when we arrived, she told us that she was not currently cooking since the road works, outside her restaurant, were creating so much dust that it was not hygienic. We wandered off and called in at a Chinese restaurant where the food was rather mediocre but, Pat, the young lady who served us, was very attentive and pleasant. Les and Rene appeared to enjoy their meal. For a joke I suggested that we walk up to Fort King George to walk off the meal. The joke became a reality and we strode out through Scarborough town, which had most of its population out liming on the uneven sidewalks. Rene gamely marched along trying to keep ahead of me but the cigarettes told on her and she eventually had to take a breather on the way up. It was hard going after a heavy meal. I could feel my chest tightening as my blood had been diverted to help my digestive system cope with the food.

Finally we reached the summit and walked through the busy hospital grounds to reach the shadowy fortress. The view of the darkened town with the bright, colourful gala of lights sparkling below us was charming. It was the eve of St. Valentine’s Day and lovers occupied the seats under the massive spreading tree, which afforded shelter from the sun during the day and seclusion at night for courting couples.

Finally we descended in darkness to reach the harbour just as the ferry made its entrance. “First Light” was not in danger, this time, and the ferry docked safely. Les and Rene were tired out and quickly found their way to their bed.

End of Friday 13th February 1998

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