Friday, September 19, 2008

Lepers & Venezuela

Chacachacare Island
10 41.3N 61 44.7W

We have just had a week away from the rigours of Chaguaramas Bay to celebrate the new davits and the end of the major repair works for this season. Obviously things will go wrong and break, but no more "improvements" for us!

Chacachacare Island was used as a leper colony until 1984 which is shockingly recent, but the fast growing jungle has rapidly reclaimed most of the buildings so other than the odd roof and an abandoned church there is little to see. We learnt that Leprosy was not even that infectious so there was really no need to even have these colonies, and that it was still a problem in the 80's because the initial drugs were met by a mutated strain and it was only with multi drug therapy that they finally found a cure.

What it does have which is a great change is water clean enough to swim, which after 3 months on a boat in tropical heat without swimming has been wonderful. We were anchored by ourselves for much of the time and enjoyed the peace and quiet after the endless noise of Chaguaramas bay.

We walked up to the lighthouse which has excellent views out over the Bocas to Venezuela (see photo), amazing to think we are only 6 miles away from South America. Sadly this is as close as we will get this year, there has been a lot of crime directed at yachts this year there and 3 boats have limped into Trinidad in the last couple of months after being boarded and robbed by 6 men armed with semi automatics just off that lovely coastline you can see above.

Trinidad on the other hand remains peaceful and crime free as far as the cruiser is concerned, but I wouldn't want to be a drug dealer in Port Of Spain, 400+ murders this year on an island of just over 1m people (still a lower rate than Baltimore though interestingly for all the cruisers reading this).

Back at the lighthouse we picked mangoes and avocadoes from the trees and ate them at anchor watching the birds and dolphins, much more waht we signed up for.

No comments: