It is so wonderful to be at anchor again. We are in Scotland Bay on the Northwest shore of Trinidad. A beautiful natural setting and small bay surrounded by lushly, textured steep hills. There are no buildings at all, just a couple of campsites on the beach. Beautiful until you go to shore where, disappointingly, the human picnicers leave there vast quantities of garbage lining the shore. Really disturbing!
|A small amount of the copious garbage. Humans can be disgusting!|
But from the boat, where the garbage is less visible, we see schools of silver fish jumping like skipping stones in synchrony across our path, sea turtles languid until we glide up politely in our kayak when they gracefully swim faster than any stereotypical turtle ever moves. It’s obviously better to be in buoyant water with a house on your back then on land. We see bank swallows and bananaquits. We have suddenly become birders, sitting over morning coffee and tea with bird books at hand trying to identify the birds perching on our spreaders, even on our wind instruments where they turn with the wind.
|Milly as birdhouse|
We are searching for an 8 km trail to a distant waterfall where we can bathe in a pool at it’s base. Sounds idyllic on a hot, humid day when the air seems thick. But, of course, we have to walk there first…and back…. after the cooling swim.
We hid our kayak in the lovely ferns that are pushing up through discarded beer cans, styrofoam take-out containers, water bottles, plastic bags etc. etc. etc. and tried to find the trail head. After several false starts where the trail ended in a ruin of a quasi shelter with no less than a porcelain toilet inside connected with pipe to a hole a few meters uphill. There are at least a dozen of these civilized outhouses surrounded by litter!
|The toilet and pipe are the most prominent remains in the sites along the beach.|
We finally find a trail occasionally marked with orange ribbon - a good sign. It follows concrete mud covered pavement, the ruins of an American military camp from W.W.II. A hanging vale of branches eventually prevents us from going further. We have learned that this particular tree’s bark, leaves and little green apple-looking fruit are “poisonous” and since we don’t want any itchy rashes, stinging welts, or watery eyes, we decide to turn around.
|Descending into the depths of the gully|
Instead, we turn right and clamber up a hill along another trail marked with blue tape. It takes us up and then down into a deep, damp gully which is a river during floods. We stop very briefly to look at a column of long-legged, red bellied ants marching across the rocks. And then we notice that the ants are everywhere in great swarms of military movement. On we go for a few short steps until Peter yelps in pain. He has been bitten by those ferocious insects. We both look down to see our shoes and ankles swarming with ants. They are quickly moving up our legs as we dash about swatting with hands and hats. After minutes - or at least, seconds - we are clear and continue on the path. But the earth is now swarming with these ants, all moving in one direction but not in discrete columns that we can step over. They are everywhere. After a brief sprint up the steep path we decide that these creatures, which are now enormous in our minds, are not worth the adventure of exploring. We turn back only to go over the spot of our original infection. In even a few moments as we literally run over the slippery rocks our shoes were again covered. Again, we furiously batted them off as we gained higher, drier ground.
We have done quite a few jungle walks but so far had not encountered these tiny, hostile creatures with strong and painful pincers. We did not reach the waterfall but we are not giving up. When the locals come on the weekend, we will ask direction. If it’s the same path, we will choose to wait for another waterfall on another island.
|Peaceful serenity after our encounter with the mad ants|
|Milly looking enormous beside our only neighbour|