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Trinidad and Tobago are two islands comprising an independent country.  Trinidad has a population of about 1.2 million.  Its capital, Port of Spain, is a small bustling town with cruise ship docks.  The black symbol of our boat placed there by the GPS shows where the Trinidad and Tobago Yacht Club (TTYC)  is located.  TTYC is about halfway between town and Chagaramus where most marinas and yacht services are located.  During this visit from November through January, we toured Chaguanas for Divali, Asa Wright Nature Center, Nariva Swamp, Manatee Conservation Trust, and Maracas Beach in addition to enjoying a number of social events.  The chart shows the northeastern tip of Venezuela and the islands of Trinidad and Tobago.  Inserted are the various points of interest which we will cover in this update.  Chacachacare, the former leper colony previously discussed, is also indicated.


Divali is a sacred Hindu holiday, comparable in importance to Christianity's Christmas.  The date varies each year since it is observed on the darkest night at new moon in October or November.  Honoring Mother Lakshmi, the Goddess of Light, beauty, riches, and spiritual wealth, Divali also celebrates light over dark, good over evil.

The festival is based upon legend.  A princess was kidnapped and God, in human form, went to rescue her .  As he returned in the darkness, the villagers placed small oil lamps along the road to light his way.  Thus, Divali is also called the Festival of Lights.

The cruisers' Divali began at a Hindu temple.  As we entered, we took our shoes off and placed them in a rack.  The priest greeted us on the steps of the temple and then led us behind the temple to a small meeting room where he spoke at length.  One of the things Bob learned was that Hindus must strive to be successful. Laziness is not condoned; rather, people are encouraged to do something positive.  Bob's impression was that Hindu is an up-religion, not dealing in sins but the concept that if you don't do it right, you do it over again.  Upon leaving the meeting room, a woman in traditional dress offered us small bags of
prasad, dried fruit and lado (pieces of moist cake made from cream of wheat or flour, milk, sugar and butter).

Hindu gods often have part human- part animal features.  This god was in a shrine behind the temple.

Georges et Anna at the temple

Our bus driver got lost and toured much of the area while he insisted we were not lost!  Along one section of the narrow road, small glass bottles of flaming oil were suspended from wires stretched between posts to light the way.  The driver said the lights were called "flambeaux" from the French but he understood we Americans called them Molotov cocktails!  Finally, Jesse found us and led the driver to a local house.   

Jesse James and wife Sharon Rose arranged
transportation and dinner for the cruisers.

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