Thursday, February 23, 2006

Mas Camps and Panyards

Trinidad is gearing up for Carnival. Although the main Carnival Days are Monday and Tuesday 27/28th February, there are many competitions and much preparation taking place in the weeks before.

Last night we visited some Mas camps. These are the places that design, plan sell and manufacture Carnival costumes. Each Mas Band has a theme for the year - Trini Revellers, for example, have a Roman theme - so all the costumes are around this theme; they have gladiators, Roman generals, senators, etc., etc. Trinis who want to join this group pick their costume and order it well before the Carnival days. Prices are typically 1300-1800 TT dollars ($200-300 USD). The Mas bands also each have a King or a Queen. These are people with huge elaborate costumes, based on the theme, that are so large they are on wheels. They are judged in a series of heats and semis and one of each will be selected at the Carnival launch event. (Dimanche Gras on Sunday 26th)

After the Mas camps we visited a couple of Panyards where the steel bands rehearse. They also have a whole series of competitions culminating in the National Panorama on Saturday 25th.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Asa Wright & Caroni Bird Sanctuary

We visited Asa Wright Nature Center again to see the Corn Birds, Honeycreepers and friends. This was a much shorter day trip because they are fully booked for overnight stays well into March.

In the afternoon we were taken to the Caroni Swamp, also a bird sanctuary. This huge mangrove and lagoon area is populated with many herons and kingfishers but is known for the Scarlet Ibis. The boat settled us just before sunset near their principal roosting tree and soon they turned up in their hundreds. Watching them fly in towards the tree lit by the setting sun was amazing.

Thursday, February 16, 2006


We left Ile de Ronde February 4th and sailed to Prickly Bay on the south side of Grenada, and from there to Trinidad on February 9th. We spent a few days at Chacachacare island on the west tip of Trinidad and then came into CrewsInn Marina on February 15th.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ile de Ronde

We spent four more days at Ile de Ronde and dived three times. At the south tip of the island are three small rocks called the Sisters. We twice dived off the tip of these. The rocks go straight down to 40 feet and then keep on going at a moderate slope down to more than 100 feet. Although the Sisters are exposed and about 2 miles from the anchorage, there is a bay on the south side where we could anchor our dinghy. This is probably the best dive site we've seen in the southeast Caribbean. Our third dive was on the reef in the anchorage bay that we had dived before.