We were talking to Benny, a drunk Rastafarian man, down at Little Bay's beach bar one evening. He'd been rambling for a while, but Dan and I were tired and happy to let him do the talking, only interjecting with the occasional "oh wow". He likes living here in Castara as he grow his own food, catch his own fish and just enjoy living amongst "the Almighty's creation". Generally in this sort of situation it's a good idea to tell somebody how amazing their home is, but when Dan said that he lived in paradise, Benny got a little indignant. He'd travelled around a lot and said that this was only a small part of the work of the Almighty- "everywhere is paradise". I'm pretty sure he'd never been to my old home in Portswood, but having lived around Tobago all his life it's easy to see how he'd come to that conclusion.
Since we've been staying with Sparkle and her family, our first ever work-away hosts, I've realised what a great way this is to get to know a place and the people who live there. There's no way you can avoid interacting with people if you're working with them and the more locals begin to notice what you're doing, the less they treat you like a tourist.
...saying that, a fisherman did try to charge me US$10 to take a photo of an anaconda he caught on the beach, so it might take a while to settle in.
Over the last couple of weeks in Castara we've had Sunday lunch with Sparkle's parents Debbie and Dexter, partied at the wedding reception of a couple we'd never met and just generally been included into all manner of situations and conversations we would never had the chance to experience if we were staying in a hostel.
Every Wednesday, Boat House host an evening of African drumming which we've been lucky enough to go to twice already. The music's fantastic, the beer is cheap and by hanging around after it's finished we've got talking to some locals. People are particularly friendly if you make a little effort and look like you're having a good time.
I'm not sure my photos do this place justice, but hopefully you can get an idea of the general setting.
Castara is surrounded by forest and one of the most exciting things for me is the amount of animals we see just from looking over our balcony and walking around the village. My favourite so far was a creature called an agouti, which looked like a sort of long-legged black guinea-pig. Unfortunately most things run away before I can get my camera out so we'll have to make do with lizards and birds for now...
It's possible to rent snorkelling gear in Castara, but I brought a couple of pairs of goggles with me so we've just been exploring the reef off to the right hand side of Little Bay with those. The coral isn't always very colourful, but there's plenty of marine life and if you get a calm day then water visibility is amazing.
I love these cuttlefish!
Spend any time in the water and you're pretty much guaranteed to see some sting-rays. Despite the fate of Steve Erwin we've been told not to be afraid of them as they are 'gentle creatures' and that you'd have to be doing something 'unnatural' to them to get attacked...
Unsurprisingly, my biggest excitement was been bumping into a couple of turtles.
A theoretically manageable three kilometre walk East along Tobago's Leeward coast from Castara is the dubiously named "Englishman's Bay". It's stunning from every angle, as if you've stepped into the setting of a tropical romantic novel. Bring your own snacks if you're skint as the one little shop here can charge whatever it likes in this remote location and probably don't stay too late unless you are in a group.
That's all I can manage to share for now- I've been having some internet/computer problems as usual. We've started painting Angel Apartments, but I'll save those photos for when you can see a more significant progression!