Friday, September 9, 2011

Suriname to Tobago

The wind was a steady 9-13 knots all the time, and we had a good sail for the first two days.  The swells were on the beam and we were slightly uncomfortable for the first day, and then we turned westward and the swells came from the back, much better!  As always the screecher was out, and billowing in the light wind!
I have to share with you the curry crab that we enjoyed during the sail!
 Day and night we had a steady sail. For the first night we had some fishing boats and big cargo ships along the way, but then only the odd big one passed us in the distance. The moon was dark, but since we left South-African waters in December 2010, this was the most beautiful starlit sky I ever saw!  It lit up the darkness of the night and reflected in the dark waters below, where the fluorescent spots were playing along.  I could even count the 7 stars of the Little Sisters, individually…remind me to tell you the Indian tale of these 7 stars, and how they were hanged up in the dark sky…  

The last evening the wind died down completely and stayed away for the whole night and the next day, and of course by now we were pressured for time.  We have to be in Tobago on Friday, today, before at least 14h00, because the Immigration and Custom offices close at 16h00! They will assist you after hours, but then we have to spend our money for the KFC, on a fine of R300. What a total waste that will be!  So we motored, and then our water pump packed up and we had to swop our sick engines` pump to the starboard engine!  The time was running out, but slowly we neared Scarborough. 

The usual flag hosting seremony for a new country
Tobago in background

The huge monstrous ferries between Tobago and Trinidad passed us with an amazing speed, and we slowly entered the harbour area.

Where to go now? With no other masts of yachts in sight, we motored to the Port area, but after radio-ing them, they told us to go back a little and anchor close to the Coast Guard.

 Easier said than done, Catlyn struggled to move her big butt with only one engine and our Skipper turned her around very slowly trying to use the wind and current to swing her.  At last we dropped anchor close to the Coast Guard, with them watching us. But just as soon as we were sure the anchor is good and settled, they waved us to lift up anchor again and move a little bit backwards.  Oh my word… and we have all the time in the world, still have to drop the dinghy, search for safe docking, then start searching in a total strange town for the right buildings for Immigration and Customs! But we took a deep breath, very deep indeed, lifted anchor, dropped again, secure it, got into the dinghy and definitely  don`t look in the Coast Guards direction….and then took a steady jog up the street, while asking people on the street corners for directions.  Just before 15h00 we started the process at the one building for Customs, only to find out we have to do Immigration first, but any way to make a long hot jog and prayer short..we made it! Exactly 15h59 the guy handed us our receipt for the U$9, we had to pay and we were stamped into a new country! And we walked over to the KFC for a well deserved reward…this family can move if there is a take away on the other end!

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