Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 8 (Saturday)

The late Friday night resulted in the rest of the family sleeping-in on this morning. I still woke early as usual and enjoyed some quiet time alone on the veranda working on this blog and getting our digital photos in order. The children had made several creative videos with their cameras the day before, so I had some fun viewing them for the first time too.

The weather early this morning was delightful. The air was quite calm and the water as far as you could see was smooth as glass. It was almost eerie to see the ocean so quiet. By 8:00 a.m., a slight breeze had picked-up and provided some reassuring ripples in the bay.

Everyone finally crawled from their beds and got around to getting their day started. Late in the morning, we had a visit from Mike Hatch, Paul’s father and co-owner of the Las Tortugas Villa. Mike and his wife Nan had arrived in Carriacou the day before, sailing from their home in Trinidad aboard their beautiful 41 foot yacht, the Cynara. Although Mike and Nan make their home in Trinidad, they spend a significant amount of time living on Carriacou and sailing about on the Cynara. They have done this for many years and have established themselves as relatively well known local residents. The Hatch family has become great friends of ours, and it was great to see Mike and Nan again. Mike invited us to Tyrrel Bay that evening to join the crowd in greeting the tournament competitors as they returned from the first day of the bill fishing contest.

Our friend Godfrey Calliste also stopped by to visit, and Laura invited him to stay and have lunch with us. We enjoyed a light meal and solved all of the world’s problems during a lively discussion. Spending any amount of time talking to the native residents of Carriacou gives you a very unique perspective on the island and its culture. In some ways it is very different from our life back in the States and in other ways we are quite similar and share many things in common. We have always tried to make friends with local residents wherever we have traveled. The residents of Carriacou in particular, have always been very interested and open to meeting us.

By early evening, we had all cleaned-up and made our way to Tyrrel Bay. The bill fishing competition was sponsored by the families who are constructing the new marina in Tyrrel Bay. The project has come a long way with a significant, 40 foot deep, channel dredged through the bay up to the new concrete jetty. We understand that the next big task associated with the project is a new breakwater / seawall to quiet the waters near the marina. Even on this relatively calm day, we could see that a breakwater was necessary as the large boats moved around quite a bit while being so close to the concrete walls. Rough seas could really cause some expensive damage to these ships.

While at the marina, we met many people, some local residents, some ex-patriots and some visitors who had all gathered to celebrate the first day of the tournament. The dozen or so boats ranged in size and style. Some were dedicated fishing machines, while others were simply magnificent multifunction ships. There were no trophy or record catches on this day, but stories of some good-sized fish (well over 100 pounds) that were caught, weighed, photographed and then released. A few smaller, common fish were kept for a cook-out for all who had assembled. A wonderful Dorado was the featured catch. While the designated cooks were busy preparing the meal, we said our good-byes. We had already made plans to eat out that evening and needed to get moving along.

Before our dinner at the Roundhouse Restaurant in Bogles, we needed to stop by the ATM in Hillsborough. This was not to be an easy task on this evening! The streets of Hillsborough are normally full of life on weekend nights, but with the election just a few days away, the island was also alive with enthusiastic campaigners. We had some difficulty finding a parking spot along the main street anywhere close to the ATM, and when we finally did, we were confronted by some opposition party supporters who had obviously begun their weekend celebrations quite a bit earlier in the day. It was the first time that I had ever felt any discomfort interacting with a local resident, which is unfortunate, but I suppose inevitable. After a lengthy conversation with the inebriated young man, we decided that this particular parking spot was not for us and drove around to find a better location on an adjacent side street. Once the ATM transaction was complete we were off to Bogles.

One has to be careful navigating to the Roundhouse Restaurant in the evening, as the gated entrance can be easily missed along the dark and winding roads. Laura absolutely loves everything about the Roundhouse, from its creative architecture, landscaping and interior design, to the refreshing drinks and prompt service provided by Phil, to the wonderful menu of delicious food expertly prepared by Roxanne. This night’s dining experience was no exception as everything was perfect. Even after stuffing ourselves, we were left with enough food to bring back to our villa for another meal. Laura had a tasty tomato soup appetizer, then her and Anthony both had a generous cut of beef sirloin for their entree. Courtney also had the tomato soup, but a beautifully prepared mahi mahi filet for her main course. I started off with a fresh tomato and avocado salad and then feasted on an expertly-prepared rack of lamb. The children had Roxi’s hand-made ice cream for dessert, while Laura was treated to banoffi pie (a concoction of banana custard, toffee and more) and I had a chocolate roulade. The three course meal, including beverages, was about EC$150 each, and well worth it!

Once back at the villa, I continued some work on a jigsaw puzzle started the evening before while Laura and the children watched a movie that we had on the notebook computer (Apple’s iTunes Store has really changed our travel entertainment options). I also spent some more time this evening stargazing from the veranda. With only a few days left of our return visit to Carriacou, I wanted to take-in as much of this view as possible.