Wednesday 11th February 1998

Jeff’s log continues with the entry for Wednesday 11th February 1998

Wednesday 11th February 1998

Surprisingly, I slept through until 0400 before waking in the rolly anchorage. I doubted if I would regain my slumbers but it could only have been minutes before I was sound asleep again, to awake just before 0600.

There was little to do to get away and by 0700 we were under way again. This morning was beautiful with a few thick clouds densely covering the higher of the mountains. The sea was benevolent with a lethargic swell rolling in from the north.

Progress was rapid and after an hour we made it to Toco and shortly afterwards turned our bows Northeast, out into the Atlantic Sea. There is a powerful current that runs between Tobago and Trinidad and we had to make allowance for it. However, today it was not as fierce as normal and our course made too much easting but rather that than too much westing. A light breeze sprang up and we were able to run out the genoa to give additional speed. Les and Rene were in their element enjoying every moment of the journey. We spied a huge turtle that eyed us dubiously from a relatively close distance and also saw a large silver fish, possibly a Wahoo of about six feet in length, jumping clear out of the sea. Seabirds too were studied closely.

As the hours rolled by, so the clouds became denser over Tobago. Eventually they spread out covering all the visible sky. Rain. Rain. Rain. It was not the real heavy tropical stuff but it shut down visibility to about one nautical mile. Just where we would have been without the GPS that Peter loaned me, I really don’t know. Fortunately the chart of the island proved to be very accurate and we edged along like a blind man with his stick covering an unknown pavement. Rene stoically kept watch with the rain running in rivulets down her Cagoule and soaking her shorts as it dripped off the hem. Les too was wet but I needed him below to check the echo sounder once we had found and identified a fairway buoy that led to the harbour. It was not until we were within a few yards of the port that we could actually see the breakwater. To port there was a line of Cimmerian jagged rocks breaking the surface of the calm waters. That was the only sign that the whole area was a maze of reefs that lay menacingly just beneath, what appeared to be a pacific friendly surface.

There is no way that I would have ventured into this labyrinth of coral had I not studied it closely at a previous time.

There was no sign of “Chancy” as we circled the small anchorage and dropped our hook. We then went below out of the persistently falling rain. Les and Rene spent an hour or so playing computer Scrabble whilst I took a siesta. On waking, the rain had all but stopped and I got the dinghy over the side and Les helped me to set it up. Shortly after we were all headed shoreward. The town of Scarborough is no prettier than it was on my last visit, if anything, a little more tired and worn. It is untidy in its municipal planning, sprawling in a very disorganised manner over the available building land that was relatively level. However, the people are a consolation. Almost everyone has a smile for us and a friendly word. It was rush hour and the roads were congested.

We walked almost to the edge of the straggling town and looked out to sea. We could now see clearly down as far as Trinidad, thirty miles away. The buoys that were hidden by the mist of rain, as we entered the bay, were now easily seen standing vertically at their station. We could see “First Light” resting peaceably to her anchor among the other yachts close by the breakwater.

We strolled back through the town taking a beer at a restaurant that I used to frequent two years ago. It was aesthetically pleasing with tropical plants growing all round the perimeter of the covered area. A local parrot caught our eye and Rene had a word with it and a small puppy, with broken toes, that was tethered to a table. By now dusk was falling and we walked back to the ferry and KFC where Les and Rene kindly treated to dinner. We finished up with a large strawberry ice cream each and replete, tottered back to the dinghy dock.

Once back home we settled down with a cup of Hershey’s Amaretto Hot Chocolate drink, suitably laced. The skies were slowly clearing as we relaxed and chattered. An occasional star was uncovered and twinkled merrily.

Our peace was disturbed and damned near destroyed by the Trinidad/Tobago ferry entering the harbour. It came close enough to worry us and close enough to cause panic on a French yacht moored between the ferry and us. It was certainly a close call.

End of Wednesday 11th February 1998

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