Carnival fun….

Friday, as planned, we did our provisioning at Foodland … along with a trip into Island Water World for more stuff – cleaning products this time. Coming back through the channel we followed a ship leaving harbour – they are really huge when you are in a dinghy – so we were pretty careful not to get too close to get swamped by his wake!! Coming through the anchorage we were amazed by how many boats were still coming in…. pretty busy now as everyone is arriving from far and wide for Carnival.

Back on board we unpacked and were grateful that we were back before it rained cats and dogs. There was a great rainbow during the afternoon too – although struggled to get a good photo as the camera is playing up pretty bad now with focus and zoom problems. Think it is time to replace it – but hope it will see us through, as the selection here isn’t a good as at home. Following a stunning sunset we had a quiet night on board. Well I say quiet – it wasn’t all that, as the thumping sounds from the Soca buses came through loud and clear!

Saturday morning we listened to the cruisers net and found out that two boats immediately in front of us in the anchorage had been boarded during the night. Hmmmm…… Kudos to Mark the net controller who had immediately launched a floating ‘neighbourhood watch’ and, as a result, some boats were going to patrol the shoreline throughout the night during Carnival…   We had a lazy day on board in the rain – and were going a little stir crazy – so decided to go to the national stadium in the evening to watch Promenade, the steel pan band competition. The stadium had a couple of stands open with some concessions – cheap beer but decidedly ropey chicken! The atmosphere in the stands was a bit muted but when we went into the standing area below the stage it was much more fun – even though we had to run for cover a few times to escape the downpours!!! These bands have up to 100 people in them and the age range was from 7 to 80 – amazing energy and great sounds…. It was also a massive logistical effort to move the drums and performers on and off the stage – so by the time we left at 11.30 pm we had only watched five bands perform along with a troupe of African drummers and dancers. There were some comedians talking between acts – but we really couldn’t understand them enough to work out if they were funny!!! Had to really leg it to the cab for the return trip and got absolutely soaked – Martin, our taxi driver, thankfully brought some bin bags so we could sit on them and not wreck his upholstery! Back to the marina – still raining – so had another drink before we chanced heading back out in the dinghy to the anchorage.

Sunday and the rain continued…. We dinked into the marina – met Jim and Sharon – and got the courtesy bus to Whisper Cove for the Sunday jam. Was a great afternoon – and luckily under cover as the rain was relentless along with 35 knots of wind in the squalls.

One boat in the anchorage was dragging into the mangroves so there was an effort underway to help them – then there was a call from Mt Hartman Bay that Troubadour was dragging. I will never forget the look on both Chris and Linda’s faces when they heard that come through on the radio – but they were able to get back and sort it out. Phew – no harm done thankfully. Had a lovely afternoon listening to all the performers – with the addition of a fiddle player and an accordion this week – good time had by all. Especially Sharon who showed off her barefoot shuffle skills along to an Irish jig played on the fiddle – think Riverdance without shoes! Back on board and we sat on the coach roof of Morphie listening to the sounds from shore until we gave in and retired to bed early.

Monday morning and the alarm wakes us at 4.00 am. Are we mad??!!??   No – just want to go to J’Ouvert!    This starts at 5 am – and the main event is that the jab jabs come out to play and parade. They are mainly men (although not exclusively) – covered in dirty oil – portraying devils, dragging chains around, not wearing much, and who jab you when they come by…. We think there is some slavery simulation here too although not mentioned in any of the SpiceMas adverts we’ve seen.   Anyway throwaway clothes and shoes were necessary – I was armed with my £2 flip flops – as the roads (and spectators) get absolutely covered in oil, paint and coloured baby powder!!!! As well as oily jab jabs there are also coloured men – so we saw blue, pink, orange, green, silver and purple men – and loads of girls wearing very very little!  Much to Richard’s delight…   Anything in the way got covered in something – and the funniest sight was one of the oily jab jabs pushing a commode…. what a time for the camera to fail again!  Everyone was gyrating to the beat of the boom boxes and, when the lorries come by, you feel like your whole body is vibrating too from your feet through your head. So significant I reckon it would restart a pacemaker!!!!   We had a great time – got jabbed a number of times with paint as well as oil – and came back on board about 8.30 am having drunk and partied a bit. Phew…. washed up and back to bed for a couple of hours.

Noon and we met up with Jim and Sharon for Pageant Mas. This is the traditional parade of fancy costumes – so we took up residence in a bar alongside the road and had some local food and watched the activities. There were loads of “short knees” who represent each village – and parade singing, dancing and spraying baby powder around – then there were wild Indians and calypso dancers following the incredibly loud music from the lorries. Great to see so many kids involved too…. During the afternoon we were joined by John and Georgina as well. Of course, this being island time, the parade didn’t start until 3pm rather than the advertised 1pm – but hey, who cares…. Fun time had by all – especially Jim and Richard who managed close ups with a number of the scantily clad young women – although Jim did look a bit surprised when one of them proceeded to throw herself to the floor in front of him…  Check out the last photo!!!!

Tired and emotional we all went ashore to the marina for dinner and decided to call it a day – said sad farewells to Jim and Sharon as we have had so much fun with them but they are heading back to the States so this really is it this time….    In the evening there was another (adult!) parade which Richard and I watched from the foredeck of Morphie with a glass of wine in hand in the end.    Amazing sight to see literally miles of people parading with lights… and, of course, the music was still very audible in the anchorage….

Tuesday was a quiet day relaxing (recovering?) on board and we didn’t even get dink down off his davits.   What a nice way to spend the day for a change….

Today – Wednesday – work starts!  We had a miserable trip in big seas on the nose round to La Phare Bleu marina to tie up and start dismantling and winterising Morphie.   So far dink has had a makeover….. and we are shattered.  Early night me thinks.

Bye for now