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Port of Spain

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

21st December, 2015

The following day, after a 200 mile run which took us between Trinidad and Venezuela, we arrived in Port of Spain. For the Caribbean, it is a very busy place and while the ship took 600 hundred tonne of fuel bunkers Mrs H and I managed to get two slots on the four wheel drive tour.

In fact we had to first pass through the bustling city in a mini bus before arriving at the hillside district of Maravan. Our next mode of transport were apparently normally used as taxis, having to negotiate the narrow and often steep roads that thread their way through the mountains along the north coast of the island. Once the transfer had been completed three Japanese Jeeps set off, first to the hill side village of Parmin, giving us a very realistic idea of what everyday life was like for the average commuter. I have to say it’s not exactly comfortable going around a 180 degree bend with the front wheels at a considerably higher elevation than the rear. Vice like grip on any available handhold was required, great fun though. Meanwhile our extremely competent lady driver cum guide was steering in a very relaxed manner, one hand on the wheel, the other on the horn at the same time as turning around in order to give us a continuous commentary.

We stopped off at the church of ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe’, a relatively modern building with great character and some very interesting stained glass. Before re-embarking into the vehicles some serious rum punch was offered, it did cross my mind as to whether this was to prepare us for the journey ahead. We continued ever upwards through the lush vegetation until we were at the top of Trinidad’s third highest mountain. Stopping there to take in the views we also met a party of guys from the local electricity company who were taking a break. Our lady driver had a few words and smiled with their banter, it was in a dialect I could not understand, but the meaning was pretty clear as they looked at their liquid refreshment; coffee? Probably not.        

Continuing on, downhill this time and at quite a rate of knots, we eventually arrived for our final stop at Maracas Beach. There was an opportunity to walk on the sand or take a dip, but the seas were quite high so after the compulsory photo we retreated across the road where there were a number of semi fast food outlets, of a sort. What was available seemed to be the same in all and included such delicacies as ‘Popcorn Shrimp’, ‘Alloo Pies’ and perhaps the most intriguing ‘Bake & Shark’.

It was a great tour, not for the faint hearted perhaps, but we certainly enjoyed the experience.

Captain Philip Rentell

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