A sailors wedding in Tobago!

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

There’s nothing like a sailors wedding… Take one happy couple, one mad Frenchman to play Poseidon, a little aluminium foil…, add water…. and voila!

Romain (you might of recognised him from the last rally), and Karen tied the knot this August.

Congratulations!

So glad I was invited… I so like weddings…. for the following reasons:

The following reasons....

The following reasons…. Bridesmaids!

 

 

How much does it cost?

How much to feed myself for a day in Tobago?

How much to feed myself for a day in Tobago?

Given that at least one sailor I’ve met has resorted to begging for his meals, it makes me wonder about the price of food here in Tobago. How much do I need to budget each day to feed myself if I’m not want to follow in his footsteps?

As it turns out, very little.

These came free! ;)

These came free! ;)

To pedantically belabour the point, (and because I’m growing increasingly pompus with age), I decided to have a day of local fast food (for the sake of furthering biological science naturally), and tally up the expenditure.

As you can probably tell by now, I’ve not had much to keep my mind occupied of late… :)

Click the link below to find the recipie.

Click the link below to find the recipe.

I start with exhibit A the humble double. I’m told it’s called a double because some fellow thought one piece of bake (that’s the bread part) wasn’t enough and so he insisted on double. Perhaps it should now be called a “double double” because they are so small (as is my thumb in the photo), that two are required to satisfy this sailors modest breakfast appetite. So 2x4TT dollars plus a can of orange juice for 5TT and my fast food vegetarian breakfast comes to 13TT (about 1.5 Euro).

Why does this suspicious looking tourist want a photo of me?

Why does this suspicious looking tourist want a photo of me?

For lunch I wandered over to the local Syrian fast food offering. Yes there are local Syrians in Tobago, (I didn’t know either)! What did I order? A Gyros with a can of coke, to wipe out any good karma I might have gained with my morning stint at vegetarianism.

Yes I know the photo is blurry but I’ve included it anyway because I like the look of the owner making his dash for the sidelines to avoid being in the picture.

Ha… Too late mate!

30 TT for the beef Gyros and another 5TT for the cola. Approximately 4 Euro

Luxury open burger at Coco Cafe, Tobago

Luxury open burger at Coco Cafe, Tobago

Now I probably should have eaten KFC for dinner (the staple diet here), but instead opted for number 2 in the hierarchy of fast foods, the burger, albeit, the luxury version with fries at a posh restaurant. Voila!

All that for 35TT plus another 14TT for my beer. (5.5 Euro).

I could also have paid significantly less (or more for that matter), if I went to the supermarket. But at least it’s clear that for less than 100TT a day I’m able to easily maintain my expanding waistline without taking lessons from the local mendicant.

Long may that remain so…

 

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of Eileen of Avoca in the Caribbean, where I find out why sailing to Aruba over Christmas is considered a no no.

The 2013 Nereid’s Rally

Here be dragons!

Here be dragons!

OK, it’s official.

The web site is up and yachtsmen can now register for this years Nereid’s Rally, sailing from both Trinidad and Tobago on to Guyana and French Guiana.

Why is it called the Nereid Rally?

Because what better way to dispel the myths of sailing south from the Caribbean than to host a mythical themed event?

And Dave’s Rally was given the thumbs down… ;)

 

Pizza break….

Genuine Italian pizza at "La Cantina" in Tobago

Genuine Italian pizza at “La Cantina” in Tobago

Just taking a quick two day break in Tobago waiting for a decent weather window… Or it could be that I’m here because I couldn’t resist one last “wood-fired oven” pizza… or… or…  OK, I’ll be honest… (no raised eyebrows please)…

The real reason I’ve stopped is that there are some very minor repairs to be made on Eileen…The loops in her lazy-jacks have come loose and they are inevitably getting tangled up in everything… So while the real reason is that I need to sew new lazy jack loops, understandably I’ll be maintaining the more macho sounding weather excuse for anybody that asks.

I also have to do some tiding up in the boat… I spent an irritating day and a night having all manner of accoutrements make poltergeist impersonations in the boisterous seas. Now I know what it must feel like to be locked in a tumble drier… (so sorry Felix, I was only six… just kidding Mr animal welfare representative)…

If I wasn’t in such a rush to get out of Chaguaramas, I might have made Eileen ship shape. No matter, I like stopping in Tobago. It’s more fun than Grenada and gives me a better angle for sailing further north.

But there are times….

 

On Passage to Tobago: NOT Suspiciously Pursued off Suriname – 2012

Rebel Lady comes to say hello!

I want to talk about pirates… It’s bound to find me a willing audience and no sailor worth his salt (in yarn telling) is without a repertoire of at least three life threatening pirate encounters.

I am admittedly somewhat inspired by a relatively recent report I’d read on noonsite.

Riveting stuff, but I can’t help making comparisons with what I’ve encountered on a regular basis, both within and well outside the area indicated by the report.

Fishing vessels have a habit of intercepting sailing yachts at sea. Sometimes its intentional, sometimes it’s not. Often it’s curiosity, but if you’ve ever seen how fishing vessels zigzag at sea, it’s really no surprise that they appear (at some stage or another), to be on a collision course.

So when a sailor says “This guy altered course as well … bearing and track to meet ours … I altered a bit more … he adjusted to intercept our line of travel … very odd!

In fact, this isn’t odd at all…

Then there is the “I saw a strange light” phenomenon”… Analogous to a UFO close encounter of the 1st kind…

Momentarily I glanced back … swore I saw a light on the horizon … on and then off …

and

There it was again … a light behind us … on and off … just once …

So on the basis of a fishing vessel seen on an intercept course and lights that flash at night, we have gone from “odd” to

I felt something was not right here …

Off Suriname fishermen use flashing lights to mark their nets. Frustrating because you have no idea which way to pass them, but it’s certainly not peculiar. In these waters, vessels will momentarily shine a light (sometimes just a torch, sometimes their mobile phone) if they see another vessel close by. It’s how they let you know they are there… Their boats are not equipped with navigation lights or radar reflectors for that matter.

But behold… further proof that something was amiss…

at which point I turned on the engines, swung around and headed straight out to sea …

In the distance we could see the boats meet up … now with all their lights on and there was a bit of a flurry of movement between them… of course we were not there …

Could they now be busy bringing in their nets?

Of course all rational thought goes out the window, especially when you’re physically and mentally exhausted…

I didn’t sleep a wink that night … “ and “During the early hours of the morning … there it was .. a light on a boat approaching our stern …he was gaining speed on us … @#$%&* !!!

I went downstairs and fetched the flare gun …

Is it just me or do others suspect that there has been a sudden quantum leap in irrational behavior here?

Did you say pirates???

Let me digress now and tell the story of my latest 6 day trip to Tobago.

On day five (the rest isn’t worth recounting), at 4am in the morning, I found myself in surprisingly similar circumstances.

I’d seen the lights of several fishing vessels the previous evening and 100NM out from Venezuela, I found a vessel rapidly closing in on Eileen’s stern.

After unsuccessfully hailing the crew on VHF 16, I sat watching it’s approach. I did not however fetch the flare gun…

I don’t own one…

When the boat was within a few cables it abruptly veered to port to… to… to….

overtake…

No pirate paraphernalia such as grappling hooks or waving Kalashnikov’s materialized, all I got was a good look at their fishing gear…

That they did not respond to my calls on VHF is not so unusual. Even fellow yachtsmen with fancy HF and VHF equipment entertain the bizarre habit of keeping them switch off.

Which takes us back to….

vessel approaching, we have to assume your intention is to do harm … we will have to take action against you … please alter course now … they did not … I took aim with my flare gun and fired

Go figure!

Their engines roared as they turned to port and disappeared like a bat out of hell!

Wouldn’t you?

On my last day out from Tobago another fishing vessel approached Eileen on an “intercept” course. This time it was during daylight hours, so I was able to take a nice snapshot for the blog. When the boat was within a few cables, my VHF radio came to life (Note that I leave mine on despite the drain on the batteries).

Fisherman: “Little boat, this is Rebel Lady, are you alright?”

Eileen: “Yes everything is fine thank you.”

Fisherman: “Just came over to check. That’s one small boat you have there. Where are you headed?

I’ll spare you the rest of the small talk but I’ll have you note that at no point did he have me walk the plank or hand over my treasures…

I’m now safely at anchor in Tobago telling pirate tales to anyone who buys me a drink… ;)

Tobago, French Guiana, Guyana Rally?

How about an annual rally during the hurricane season?

Killing time feeding the local strays obviously has its propitious side (look at all my new best friends), but I’m getting itchy feet. No I haven’t contracted canine Tinea Pedis, I’m talking about the wanderlust kind of itch.

If I have a sailing boat… shouldn’t I be sailing?….

Mad dogs or a new rally?

The trouble is we’re still in the middle of the hurricane season and sailing options become somewhat limited in the Caribbean during a hurricane… Key word here being hurricane.. ;)

It is however an opportune time to visit Guyana, Tobago and French Guiana. So where is everyone?

What do you think of this exciting idea?

Apart from hiding from hurricanes, I suspect they are working hard doing boat maintenance in Trinidad.

Guess I’ll have to go fetch them…

Hear ye hear ye!

Register now for the new annual Tobago,  Guyana, Saint Laurent rally! I’m so keen on this idea, I’m sailing north to tell everyone about it.

Destination Tobago…

ETA one week…

I’m evil and inferior… What’s new, I’m male aren’t I?

Anchorage at Crown Point, Store Bay, Tobago

So this is what life for the wandering sailor is like in Tobago…. Crystal clear waters, sandy white beaches, a protected anchorage with local “watering hole” (aka Bago’s Bar) within swimming distance.

A cruisers paradise?

Unwittingly breaking the law by wearing camo pants!

——————————————————————————————————–

WARNING!

The following article contains adult themes

and may be detrimental to relationships!

If your wife or girlfriend visits Tobago regularly on “business”,

read no further…

———————————————————————————————————

 Where were we… ah, yes, a cruisers paradise?

Not quite… Unless I rapidly age 20 years and swap my Y for an extra X chromosome. Apparently I’ve stumbled across one of the Caribbeans more discrete “sex tourist” destinations, and last time I checked, I’m not biologically equipped to take advantage of it.

Collecting the garbage?

Never fear, plane loads of prospective clients arrive from Europe and the USA on a weekly basis. All seeking a taste of Caribbean surf, sea and sun.

These “garbage trucks” are greeted with open arms!

But what, do I hear you wonder, on earth is a “garbage truck”?

It’s the local term for sugar mummy… Ouch! Do I detect a touch of animosity here?

Evidently Tobago is the place where middle aged women come to find themselves a young play thing to call their own for a week or two. The process is colloquially known as “collecting the garbage” (I live and learn…).

Armed with this inside information, I’ve placed myself at all potential collection points… “Sunday School at Buccoo”, various bars, restaurants and beaches in Crown Point and Pigeon Point, nearby nightclubs and casinos, but despite my eagerness to find a sponsor to pay for “a lifestyle I wish to become accustomed to”, I’ve failed miserably at having myself collected!

Apparently it’s because I’m blighted with skin pigment deficiency… I’m melanin challenged…. or to put it bluntly, just too darn white. Everybody here knows that the discerning sugar mummy prefers her men in black…

Are you being served?

No problem… I’ll just go hang out with the Rasta types instead….

Aren’t Rastafarian’s supposed to be laid-back marijuana smoking, long haired hippie types? Wouldn’t a sailing bum be warmly welcomed as an honorary well-traveled spiritual brother? Apparently not!

According to the Britannica… [ source of all wisdom :p ]

  • Rastafarian’s worship Haile Selassie I, former emperor of Ethiopia, under his precoronation name, Ras (Prince) Tafari. They consider the Ethiopian emperor to have been a divine being, the Messiah, and the champion of the black race. “

So far so good… worship whatever divine being you wish to as far as I’m concerned… but…

  • According to the Rastafarians, blacks are the Israelites reincarnated and have been subjected to the evil and inferior white race in divine punishment for their sins; they will eventually be redeemed by repatriation to Africa, their true home and heaven on earth, and will compel the whites to serve them.”

Wow, heavy stuff man… Not wanting to disappoint I’ve since been doing my best to live up to my evil reputation by subjecting all and sundry (in Tobago) to my degenerate and “inferior” ways.

Don't touch it.... It's evil....