Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Our final day in Trinidad

We've been in the water for 5 weeks now after a total exterior repaint and are heading to Grenada tomorrow.

We had the good fortune to be introduced to a lovely NZ family who had bought a yacht in Trinidad.
Over the weeks preceding their arrival we communicated by email giving them some info about Trinidad, the boating scene in Chaguaramas and a first hand overview of their boat.( Fondly known as “The purple pirate ship” Now registered as “Ula”) We were able to get things prepared onboard to make their arrival from a cold NZ winter to a hot, steamy and humid Trinidad wet season more comfortable.

Since they arrived we have thoroughly enjoyed helping out with their boat work and have had a lot of fun sharing outings together.
Scotland Bay is a lovely area to “chill out” known as “liming” in The West Indies. We enjoyed sharing 2 of the 3 boys birthdays there all aboard “Erica”

Birthday celebrations
Baiting the hooks

Out of the sea, into the pan and on the plate....Yummmmmmm

Enjoying Scotland Bay
On the way home

Eric and I spent a weekend there also to get away from a particularly rolly period in the harbour.
We saw monkeys and Turkey buzzards from the upper deck as we ate breakfast and could hear the haunting sounds of the howler monkeys at daybreak.

Turkey buzzards rule the air during the day making use of the thermals, then roost here for the night

During the day many “party boats” came for several hrs. The Trinidad and Tobago music is very appealing but awfully loud! These also come through the Chaguaramas anchorage over the weekends and holidays at 2-3 in the morning!

It has been interesting watching the ships coming in to the port. There are oil rigs close by and the survey and service boats are many.

This ship is Triangular shaped..A very wide stern for laying out cables

Eric, the keen fisherman has had some interesting catches. He has caught lots of eels and stingray which he has had to cut off and loose his line The picture on the lower left is a wolf herring. Good eating but lots of very fine bones. The one on the right is a long tom 

 wolf herring                                                                                   Long Tom
He has put some delicious catches on the plate as well

During our time on the hardstand we enjoyed a day out on the water to watch some power boat racing on a friends launch, seeing also the islands close by

Another break from the painting was a hike to Macquaripe, where we enjoyed the coolness of the bamboo forest and views from the top of the ridge.

Bamboo cathedral

During our stay here we have done a lot of maintenance and improvements aboard. Our cockpit now sports a new set of side curtains and sail cover thanks to the exceptional work of “Alpha canvas and Upholstery”

Eric transporting the men ashore

Today we went ashore to watch our friends yacht “Ula” being moved in the IMS yard. An exciting time for the family as they get nearer to launching her.

We have been waiting for a dive compressor from Australia which arrived this afternoon so we can clear Immigration and Customs tomorrow. We are excited to be moving on to new sights and to catch up with friends ahead of us.
In the cruising world we don't say goodbye just see you again somewhere.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Taste of Trini tour, August 2014, Trinidad, West Indies

Jesse James from “Members only” maxi  taxi service and tour operator lived up to his name and entertained and fed us for 12 hrs as we travelled across the island of Trinidad to enjoy the local cuisine and countryside. Jesse took us to the places where no cruise ship passengers go!

We sampled 76 different foods and drink. The record to break was 95 but we had an excuse not to blast that record out of existence. I’ll tell you why later……
We started eating soon after we got in the van. Jesse would pull over at a roadside vendor and purchase food, bring it back inside and serve out the portions onto plates which were passed around to us. As we passed by historical venues he would inform us with passion about the history and heritage.
The cuisine of Trinidad is influenced from early African slave labour and also indentured labourers from India and other parts of the world.
The tour started at 0900hrs and we were getting pretty hungry as normal breakfast time for us is usually 2 hrs before this so when Jesse pulled over at the first roadside stall our taste buds were fired up

The first  taste was  (1) Roastbake which is a very tasty baked bread and our choice of fillings were (2) salt fish and (3) smoked herring. We really enjoyed these spicy fish appertisers
 (4) Potato pie was next on the list…pies in Trinidad are not like our pies in NZ. They are oblong shaped, made with a dough rather than a pastry with a spicy/peppery flavour -delicious
(5) Fry bake with (6) spicy bok choy filling. This is like the roast bake but fried

The next stop was at Frankies in Alberto street where we tasted (7) coconut bake and (8) Roti with 4 side dishes, (9) Fried okra, (10) eggplant choka, (11) tomato choka and (12) fried bodi beans. Choka is a blend of mashed up roasted veges and garlic… These had our taste buds dancing…gorgeous flavours

Now to come to Trinidad and not to have (13) cow heel soup would be a crime
The soup was a mixture of beef stock, vegetables and dumplings with the glutinous cow heel pieces throughout. It was really tasty and the cow heel is supposed to be good for hangovers. Some of our fellow yachties couldn’t bring themselves to eat the cow heel!

As we left the centre of the Port of Spain Jesse pointed out the museum which houses the first Trinidad yacht to circumnavigate the world.

As we passed a truck dripping molasses Jesse told us about the rum industry and sugar cane history and that Trinidad is the only place in the world that produces the notorious “Bitters” enjoyed in our lemon and lime drinks.

The next roadside stall before we headed inland had (14) fried plantains.. these were very ripe and almost caramelised with frying. They were really nice

(15) Carrilie  this is a small oblong melon which looks like a knobbly cucumber. It’s fried with onions and garlic, salt and pepper. Not our favourite. It left a sharp bitter taste in the mouth and our taste buds retracted down our throats!
(16) Doubles… these are very popular and sold everywhere. It’s a very light stretchy pancake type dough and filled with chickpeas and hot spice if requested

(17) Saheena –This is an indian dish made with callaloo leaves  We enjoyed this split pea flour fried and spinach filled fritter
(18) kitchorie - split peas, channa and cornmeal
(19) Bighainee – bread dough eggplant

We had arrived in Valencia, partway across the north of the island and it was still breakfast!!!

Eric was not too sure about the (20) fried Joshua fish but was pleasantly suprised

We sampled (21) BBQ pigtail (22) Cassava which was butter fried and quenched our thirst with (23) Mauby drink. This is made from the bark of a tree and has a bitter after taste  We continued on with (24) Macaroni pie (25) dumpling stew with chicken sauce then (26) pilau rice

We now drove sth and arrived in Cumuto purchasing
(27)Dasheen (28) sweet potato (29) Curried duck (30) Carlaloo soup made with the leaves of the carlaloo bush, okra coconut milk and pumpkin. This was really nice
We were getting pretty full now and wondered how we could possibly break the record of 95 foods and drinks! We drove on to Cunaripa where Jesse pulled over at a fruit stall and we had (31) silk figs (tiny tiny very sweet bananas (32) star fruit  (33) chiquito fig and (34)Sapodilla fruits. ..A refreshing change for the pallet

On the way to Manzanilla Beach for official lunch we had (35) dumplings (36) Akra (37) Parata (38) dhal pouri (39) curried chicken gizzard (40) curried mango (41) curried pumpkin (42) goat curry (43) stew beef

The drinks were (44) soursop punch (45) peanut punch (46) beetroot and seamoss punch

Jesse brought out a pinnepple to make a (47) pineapple chow. This was HOT!
As we left the beach we pulled in to a little stall where he bought his favourite sweets
(48) Toollum- coconut molasses (49) Tamarind ball
We followed the coast road beside the Nariva swamp and stopped as we crossed the estuary for photos

It was very overcast and threatening to rain when we stopped for (50) watermelon

The world cup soccer was on and the stall owner closed up after us to watch the match
At stalls beside the road we sampled (51) Chennet-fruit at Mayaro (52) sugar cake (53) candied cherries (54) pickled pommeceyete (55) papaya chow

At Rio Claro we had Afternoon tea (56) coconut turnover (57) bread pudding (58) sweet bread fruit slice (59) cassava cake (60) barfi- milk powder slice (61) Gulup gullam
(62) kurma sticks (63) passionfruit and orange drink

We stopped at a small reservoir on a river and enjoyed a carrib beer at a restaurant/bar. Eric was amused at this sign

Now it was time for appertisers!!! (64) Cutturs roast pork and (65) sorrel drink
We drove through a very lush agricultural area winding down into a valley on the way to Tabaquite

Air plants over the power lines

There was a family that made the hot sauces notorious in Trinidad so we stopped to purchase some

Cocoa was also grown here. We stopped at the San Antonio estate at Montserrat but they were closed for tours…
Jesse asked if anyone had tasted a (66) cocoa bean and as not many had he pulled over on the side of the road where there was a hole under a fence. He suggested we go and get some cocoa beans. Now this felt a bit strange…….. He reassured us that this was ok

We walked up through the property where there were (67)mangoes growing and he suggested we pick some!.... By now I felt most suspicious and as it turned out it was his Uncle and Aunts place!
As the world cup soccer was on -Argentina playing Holland we agreed to watch the end of the match and forfeit the breaking of the food sampling record. We had an Argentinian woman aboard which made it more exciting and we were generously welcomed into Jesse’s family’s home.  Argentina won so there was much applauding

The sun had gone down so it was officially dinner time!
Dinner was bought outside Spanish harbour and we tasted (68) Geera pork (69) BBQ chicken (70) BBQ lamb (71) potato salad (72) Macaroni salad (73) potato wedges (74) onion rings
The last stop was on the outskirts of Chaguramas where we enjoyed (75) icecream

We didn't break the record...... 75 different foods and drinks were consumed.. the 95 remains to be broken!

It was 2115hrs when Jesse pulled up at the boat yard/marinas…..A great day out and we were soooooo full. This is a highly recommended trip!

SV Erica

SV Erica

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We met in 1971 and it was Eric's dream to build his own yacht and sail the world. This became a joint dream but it was not until 1994 that we were able to start building. "Erica" was launched in 2001 after 7yrs building her. It then took us 5 yrs to prepare her and ourselves before leaving NZ to see the world