September 1995 - Trinidad and Tobago

1 September 1995   Chaguaramas, Trinidad
Hurricane Luis is now at 16.3°N 43.1°W and it is expected to pass to the NE of Antigua on Monday 4th.  It is now a Grade 3 hurricane with 105-130 knot winds and an eye 30 miles wide!  

Glenys went to West Mall with the boys while I changed the engine oil.  I then cleared out so that we can go to Tobago when we want to.  Glenys did a big food shop and we got soaked loading it all onto the boat.  

We went to the Lifeline Bar in the evening and Brett was caught with a big box of matches.  He was reported to us by “Daniel K” who had found him striking matches in between the power boats, with all those outboards and those petrol tanks. He had apparently bought the box of matches (a cooking box size!) in West Mall, while Glenys’ back was turned.  Craig was sworn (bullied) into secrecy.  Glenys was really hacked off about it and gave Brett a real hard time!

2 September 1995   Chaguaramas to La Vache Bay, Trinidad
Hurricane Luis is now at 17.1°N 47.4°W and is heading straight for Antigua.  It’s expected there on the 5th with winds 115-140 knots!  I hope “Dabulamanzi” is secure.  

We decided to get the hell out of Chaguaramus, so Glenys sorted the boat out while I ran a few errands.  I talked to “Kelly’s Eye” and found out that they hadn’t managed to find our mail in St Lucia.  They are going back there in October, so they’ll try again.  

We motored around to La Vache Bay which is surrounded by steep slopes covered with rain forest – spectacularly beautiful.  We swam, snorkelled and had a quiet afternoon.  I filled 3 tanks.  Some teenagers came over to say hello and towed Brett around on the windsurf board. They left us with a gift of a bag of mangos and an avocado – this is one of the few places in the West Indies where we have been given things!  Last year, we gave the same family some children’s books.

3 September 1995   La Vache Bay, Trinidad
Hurricane Luis is now at 17.3°N 52.5°W and is still expected to hit Antigua at 0200 local on the 5th September.  It is now a category 4 hurricane with 120-145 knot winds.  The eye is 30 miles wide, winds of 65+ knots expected within 40 miles of centre, 50+ knot winds with 75 miles of centre, 35+ knot winds with 150 miles of centre, and 25+ winds within 300 miles of centre.  Cloud cover extends 250 miles from centre.  It’s big and nasty!  We shouldn’t be affected too badly down here, thank God!  

We had a pleasant day - swimming, went for a walk up into the rain forest and visited a local fisherman’s house.  His house is about 200 metres from a waterfall, so he has lots of running water piped down to his house.  The children have a turtle, 3 squirrels, (2 in cages, 1 free) and about 6 dogs.  It rained in the afternoon which didn’t bode well for our night passage to Tobago.

4 September 1995   La Vache Bay to Anse Bateau, Tobago 
We left La Vache Bay just after midnight and motored out into flat calm seas with little or no wind.  We motored all night and didn’t even have any wind for the crossing over to Tobago.  Glenys woke me up 20 minutes early because we had hooked a fish.  It turned out to be a large barracuda which I shook off and lost the hook.  We’ve not caught a decent fish for months.  

Hurricane Luis is at 17.0°N 47.4°W with winds of 120-145 knots.  It’s expected to pass straight over English Harbour at 1400 hrs tomorrow.  Winds of 65+ knots within 110 miles in north quadrants and within 60 miles in the south quadrants.  The eye will pass over Antigua, Statia and St Thomas with hurricane force winds expected in all islands from Guadeloupe to the USVI.  Terrifying to listen to the radio report, never mind being up there!  

We anchored in Scarborough while I cleared in and then we motored around to Anse Bateau.  We put a stern anchor out because a bit of swell is getting in the anchorage and there are two other boats in here.  The boys went to the beach and we slobbed about.

5 September 1995   Anse Bateau, Tobago
Hurricane Luis is now at 17.4°N 61.4°W directly over Antigua heading for St Thomas.  The wind here picked up to about 15-20 knots from the SSE which caused a 3ft swell to come into the anchorage.  By eleven o’clock it was very unpleasant, so we went for a walk and then had lunch at the hotel.  

We thought about going around to Man-O-War Bay, but decided to stay.  The conditions didn’t get any worse and by dinner time the motion was fairly comfortable.  I’ve had a headache all day which made me pretty miserable.

6 September 1995   Anse Bateau, Tobago
Hurricane Luis is now at 19.2°N 64.4°W which is just north of Anegada.  Luis is now moving NW and should be out of the way in the next couple of days.  We will probably get a 2-3 metre northerly ground swell down here over the next couple of days, so we’ll probably stay put.  It sounds like a lot of boats were swept away in St Martin (25 boats on the beach and 10 sunk) and Antigua has declared a state of emergency having sustained $350 million worth of damage!  

I spent most of the day sorting out our finances – we managed to spend nearly £7,000 last month, leaving us with £15K in the bank and $5,000US cash on board.  Definitely need to be back in Europe next year.  Glenys pottered about doing a bit of sewing.  The wind has started to back to the SE and the conditions in here are getting better.

7 September 1995   Anse Bateau, Tobago
Hurricane Luis is now at 21.6°N 66.2°W, which is north of Puerto Rico and going away.  It sounds like St Martin has been devastated with reports of up to 1000 boats on the shore!  The boats in English Harbour survived without any major damage, so hopefully “Dabulamanzi” is OK.  

Glenys and Brett walked into town, while I continued looking at our finances.  I reckon that since April ’92 we have blown £92K!  About £40K has gone on the boat, which means we have spent £52K on enjoying ourselves for 3½ years, which is about £1300/month.  In the afternoon, Glenys took the boys on a glass bottomed boat across to Petit Tobago.  I went snorkelling to try to spear some fish, but couldn’t get near any large ones.  I saw a nice turtle.

8 September 1995   Anse Bateau, Tobago
Hurricane Luis is now at 25.3°N 68.8°W which 500 miles SSW Bermuda.  There was a lot of chat on the radio about damage in St Martin.  “Sahara Blue” is badly damaged but afloat, Guy and family are OK.  “Blue Monsoon” is afloat and OK.  “Namaste” is sunk but Bob, Diane and Dorian are OK.  

Glenys and I did 2 dives and caught a 1½ lb lobster and some fish.  Nice day.  Filled 3 tanks.

9 September 1995   Anse Bateau, Tobago
The weather seems to have settled down, back to tropical waves and ITCZ.  Glenys walked into town to get some bread and then we went for a dive.  A massive squall came over at lunch time and we had to retire below for a while.  We opened the water tanks and filled them a third full.  Glenys rang her Mum and found out that “Dabulamanzi” is safe and secure in Jolly Harbour.  We had a quiet afternoon and I did a lot of clarinet practice.  

10 September 1995   Anse Bateau to Man of War Bay, Tobago
The ITCZ is going to give us squally weather today and there is a strong wave with a low at 20°N 48°W which should pass north of the islands.  We motored around to Man-of-War Bay in a horrible, confused lumpy sea.  We were tossed around for about 30 mins until we got to the outside of the Melville Islands and started down current.  

When we got to Man-O-War Bay, we met Pete and Dina from “Coquette” and Craig and Jenny on “Asylum”.  Brett and Craig immediately went to the beach with Robin and Matthew from “Coquette”.  I filled 4 tanks.  

Glenys and I went for a dive. I caught a 3lb lobster and, in the frenzy, I got an attack of nitrogen narcosis – tunnel vision and confusion.  Craig from “Asylum” speared a 5ft fish that was hanging about under his boat – it was a Cobia.  We had a nice quiet night.