Trinidad; an adventure awaits
After we left the Canary Islands and sailed through a fierce storm and then became guests of one of the eeriest phenomena known to mankind - the doldrums -we finally made it to Trinidad. Our first night there was a restful one. We were the only yacht tied up at the dock when we arrived, but in the morning when we woke we saw that a massive dredge had arrived late the previous night, either they made it in quietly and calmly as none of us heard a sound, or we were so tired that we slept through the noise.
After breakfast we were greeted by the crew from the Trinidadian dredge. "Captain, de Canadians is awake," one crew member shouted. A minute later a burly man came onto the deck of the dredge and then leaned over the railing. "Welcome to Trinidad," he said. The captain then invited us for dinner and then told us of some of the places we should see while we are in town. It certainly does not take long to see that Trinidad is another jewel worth seeing, an island of history and culture. The people of Trinidad are a proud people and they certainly are proud of their paradise.
After exploring a little of the island for a couple of hours, we found a small café tucked away in a little corner off the main street. We sat down at the counter in the humble café and ordered lunch. When I looked around, I spotted a man sitting at the end of the counter, a big burly man sporting a Mohawk. I know what you are thinking, it's Mr. T. Well, I thought so too, but couldn't confirm it. At the age of 13, I was a bit shy and did not want to ask. Later we learned that Mr. T does come to Trinidad every year to see the festivals.
After we finished our lunch, we visit a few shops and saw some more of the local sights before heading back to Taurus.
The day is winding down; the sun is beginning to lazily vanish over the horizon. The first day in Trinidad was very nice, restful, quiet and rejuvenating. We went back on board and relaxed a little before we heard a crew member from the dredge shout out to us that we were to come aboard for dinner, so we walked up the gangplank onto the dredge and are quickly greeted by some of the friendliest people on this planet.
We sit with the captain to eat the local cuisine and exchange stories of the sea; the air is filled with the happy, joyful sounds of steel drums from the calypso record playing in the background. Time got away from us before we realized that it was well past our bedtime, so we said goodnight and headed back to Taurus.
It did not take any of us long to drift off into a deep sleep.
The gentle warm morning breeze woke me from my sleep. I got up and took a look outside and noticed that my dad is watching a new yacht which has just dropped anchor near us. Two people are on deck tidying up. We wave at them and they wave back and then head below deck. After breakfast the three of us climb into our zodiac and make our way to the newcomer's yacht, with permission we board. We spend a couple of hours with them and then decide it is time to head back to Taurus, but not before we invite them for supper. We bought a can of the most amazing ham I had ever tasted, we ate one before and it was truly the best.
After the couple rested and freshened up they came over. We sit around the table and listen to their adventures and they listen to ours. Around 5 o'clock dad begins to open the canned ham, and we hear a loud SHHH! emit from the can -then the stench, the most vile, obnoxious stench I have ever smelled, an odour which would make the smell of death an inviting fragrance. One by one the five of us rush from galley to deck like a bunch of rats fleeing a sinking ship. Needless to say, that was the end of dinner on board and the beginning of a meal at a restaurant. However, the story telling and the laughter continued nonenetheless.
The next few days in Trinidad were most uneventful, except when we were walking along a somewhat quiet, dusty street. It was my turn to carry the pouch with our passports, which I took most seriously. My dad was ahead of me along with my brother, and we walk past a group of four men in their mid- 20s, when one of them grabs the pouch. I still have it in my hand, so I yank back and he does the same. I look at him with disgust and think, "what the hell do you think you're doing?" Suddenly a wave of courage comes over me, and I take my other hand and shove the man, who falls backwards and I continue walking, then I heard the others laugh. When I get about five paces further I realize what I had done and that is when my heart begins to pound faster and with more force. My dad asks if I am OK as he did not realize what had happened until I shoved the man.
The rest of the day went smoothly, without incident.
Once back on board I was able to unwind and relax, then I went to bed and fell into a most restful sleep.
It was shortly past midnight when I was startled awake by a deathly scream. Within a fraction of a second my brother and I made it from our bunks to the galley, where we found my dad in mid-swing with a steel pipe in his hand and a local man screaming "stop" for his life at the top of his lungs. This man boarded our yacht with full intentions of stealing from us; however, what he hadn't counted on was my dad sleeping on the bench in the galley. The man fumbling around in the dark woke my dad, and he always slept with a three-foot-long solid steel pipe next to him. My dad then got up, swung at the man and stopped literally 2- 3 cm from the man's head. This was enough for him to realize that he had boarded the wrong yacht. It took him a matter of seconds to flee.
That morning we told the captain of the dredge what had happened, and he told us that the man was a local drug addict and that he would let the harbour authorities know what happened.
We figured that was the last we would see of him. Well, around noon we saw the addict making his way along the dock toward us carrying a brown paper bag. "Hello sir, I am apologizing for last night, here is a gift for you," he says nervously as he hands my dad the bag. We all look at each other, unsure of the gift; dad reaches into the bag and pulls out a bottle of wine. "Thank you, that is nice of you, would you like a drink?" my dad says to the man. The man smiles, says no, shakes dad's hand and walks away.
We all think this is suspicious, and suddenly dad notices a pinhole in the foil which covers the cork. We then realized that the bottle was tampered with and had probably been poisoned; so, overboard it went.
Dad figured enough is enough and we headed into town and picked up a few more supplies before preparing Taurus for the next leg of our journey, Grenada. Before heading to bed we said goodbye to the new friends we made and then off to bed we all went. We wanted to leave early next morning.
The morning is really quiet, and we spotted another new yacht just coming in, another red and white sloop. As we left they took our spot, we wave and exchange smiles. As we reached the exit of the harbour we set our sails and shut off the engine, the rushing of the water against the hull the sound of freedom, Taurus' sails filling with the warm wind and she begins to race through the water. The freedom of the ocean is therapeutic; and the fresh winds are cleansing.
The day drifts lazily into the night which melts into another day and so on, and then we finally see the island of Grenada.
Grenada has to be one of the only places which one can go to and truly feel as if they have travelled back in time. Others have come close, but none can compare. When we arrived, the locals welcomed us with open arms. One of the first thoughts for me was that I hoped this island will always remain just the way it is, untouched and unspoiled, but that was not too be, as they were invaded and their way of life destroyed a while later.
We took $50 to go shopping with, and we bought so many groceries all of us could barely carry them, our arms were filled with bags, and we still had quite a bit of money left over. We stayed for a few days enjoying the hospitality of the locals and we saw the sights which still to this day amaze me, everything from the architecture to the vegetation, and the kindness and friendliness of the people of Grenada.
When we left we were sent off by many smiling faces and people waving at us and inviting us back any time. What a great send-off as we made our way to Jamaica.