Day 121

Everything was on time this morning at Tobago and our excursion was to Argyle Falls with a chance to swim in the pool at the falls. Three small bus loads left for the 45 minute ride. The ride through the countryside confirmed how poor this island really is. Tobago is about 6 miles from Venezuela and it has received its share of refugees.

After gathering at the falls entrance, each of the tour groups began its trek to the falls. The walk was gentle with a couple of small rises and a stretch of rocky terrain underfoot, but the 30 minute hike was well worth it. The falls guide pointed out some chocolate, banana, plantain, mango, and bread nut trees and other local species. She even hit a rubber tree with a rock and we watched latex ooze out.

The Argyle Falls were quite beautiful in a tropical setting. Of course, we got into the pool and cooled down from the hot walk there. Not many people got into the water. After 30 minutes, folks started to leave and we were nearly the last ones out. On the way back to Scarborough, the capital, the buses stopped at Fort King George. This was a several hundred year old British fort with in tact cannons. There were some excellent views of the harbor from atop this hill. As we paused to take the usual photos, Mac’s straw hat blew off his head and down part of the hill. Fortunately, it got lodged in a bush. Since I could see it, I went to retrieve it, although a bit precariously. Mac immediately put it in the bus to avoid any repeat occurrence.

People could not believe that Pat would go down the steep hill. She must really love me.

We had a quick lunch, changed out of our bathing suits, and headed out to walk around town. We met Lisa and Morry getting back on and asked if they wanted to join us for a walk to the nearby botanical gardens. They got back off with us and we ventured to the gardens a few blocks away. It was free and very walkable. Only a few trees were labelled, but there were some interesting specimens and flowering bushes. We spotted a man high up in one fruit tree, picking fruit for his family. I guess that is permitted here. He was also barefoot and there was no ladder around.

After walking around the circumference of the garden, we all returned to the ship. Lisa and Morry went for a late lunch, while Mac and I got milkshakes at the ice cream station.

We went on deck to watch us leave Tobago a little after 6pm. The Captain had made an announcement a minutes earlier that the ship would do a special maneuver in the bay to re-calibrate the compasses, both magnetic and electronic. In old seaman’s terms, it is called “re-calibrating the box.” I learned that and other stories of Navy life from the onboard Commodore, another worldly traveler with over 2,000 nights sailing on Regent. Actually, he already has 2,800 nights before next year’s world cruise. He is also in our Trivia team. The ship ventured less than ½ mile into the bay and started to pirouette. The Captain brought the ship to a stop and circled in place stopping at known fixed points to reset the compasses. He did this several times until completing the complete circle. At the same time on the bow compass, two crew were on the radio with the bridge relaying bow compass readings and adjusting the setting as instructed. This went on well after sunset and the captain did a second pivot, after which the harbor pilot left our ship and we proceeded out.

Tonight, nothing appealed to us in either dining room, so we ordered room service and began watching a movie. We did, however, pause it to attend this evening’s headliner, Jerry Goodspeed, a ventriloquist whose show was called, “You’d Be a Dummy to Miss This Show.” He worked with an old man and old woman dummy, all the while cracking hilarious jokes about aging. He ended with the two singing a duet and singing the end of the song, “You are my Sunshine” in two recognizable voices. He also never moved his lips. He was an excellent ventriloquist. Tomorrow is another sea day.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac