A Travellerspoint blog

Around the island with Newton

Mobile phones, airline tickets, ATMs. spanners and lottery tickets. Oh, and some birds and a caiman.

View Bird watching, snorkelling and sunbathing. Sunbathing? Tobago & Trinidad 2012 on Grete Howard's travel map.

Enjoyed a nice lie-in this morning – didn't have to leave the hotel until 06:30! I really struggle with this unpacking lark; I am much better at living out of a suitcase, at least then I know exactly where everything is. Another problem with the breakfast box this morning – this time they'd only given us enough for one person, not two. We shared the around-the-island birdwatching trip today with Jonathan – he of the long telephone lens from yesterday.

We started as we meant to carry on the day , by stopping off for one of Newton's errands – he'd left his phone at home. Newton lives in a beautiful green-painted house on the hillside further south along the coast from our hotel, and as soon as we stopped, we could hear the racket of birds emanating from his garden!

Next stop was the docks to drop of a credit card to his wife, who was on the ferry waiting to go across to Trinidad for the day shopping. It really is a small world – it turns out we met Newton's wife last week at the World Travel Market in London!

At the Tobago Plantations we saw a few good birds such as the southern lapwing, anhinga and black bellied whistling ducks; as well as a caiman. After my last too-close-for-comfort encounter with a caiman in Nicaragua (it's a long story, but basically one ran over my feet!), I kept a safe distance from this one!

I'm staying well clear!


Black bellied whistling ducks

Southern Lapwing

Our next stop was for a walk around the sewage works. As you do. We were casually strolling around, enjoying the various wading birds, when Newton got very excited, shouting “come come hurry hurry” and lead a sprint across to the other side of the tanks. He'd spotted a Mangrove Cuckoo. Today's bird apparently, as not only is it unusual to see, Newton has never known it to hang around for as long as it did, to be photographed from every imaginable angle. On the way back to the car we spotted a metal-pecker – a very confused woodpecker hammering away at a metal lamp post!

Mangrove cuckoo

The newly spotted species of Metal Pecker

Driving around this area, revealed not just lots of interesting birds, but also some really palatial homes. We stopped at the airport for Newton to pick up our flight tickets to Trinidad for Tuesday, before continuing to Grafton Bird Sanctuary. The place is awash with chachalacas – the national bird of Tobago.


From there we took a hike into the rainforest, on badly maintained, overgrown paths. The jungle was so humid the sweat was literally dripping off my chin and running down my chest and back; and the mosquitoes were out in force and hungry for human blood. Newton has made recording of 175 of the different bird species found on the island, and will literally talk to the birds. He plays the recording and they will answer back. It is really cool, and despite seeing our first lizard on the island, and an amazing motmot, I was glad to get back up the hill and out of the jungle.


We stopped again for Newton to use the ATM, which was out of order, before going for lunch at a self service restaurant near Crown Point. One of the dishes they served was the Tobago favourite of crab and dumpling, which of course I had to try. The small land crabs are served complete with their shells, and are a pig to eat as they come smothered with curry sauce. Very tasty though, albeit incredibly messy, as the only suitable implements are your hands. At the till, the plates are placed on scales, and you pay by the pound, which is definitely a first for us.

Crab abd dumplings with blue food (dasheen, sweet potato and plantain)

We stopped another couple of times before Newton found a Blue Machine (ATM to you and me) that worked, for him to buy some water, and to fill some diesel, before continuing with our bird-spotting. At Plymouth Newton spotted three different terns on a fishing boat moored off shore. The boat was called Vagina and I couldn't help to think that you can't beat (taking) terns on the vagina.....

There is nothing like (taking) a tern on the vagina...

Heading for the hills, with winding roads, wooden clapper-board houses on stilts clinging to the steep hillsides, tethered goats and the odd street party with blaring reggae music, we stopped to have a look at a couple of bays on the leeward side of the island, ie the west coast. From the last lookout point we had a great view of the soaring frigatebirds.

Castara Bay

Englishman's Bay

Parlatuvier bay

Frigate Bird

More bird spotting on the journey across the island, plus stopping for Newton to chat to a mate, hand over some tools to another mate, and buy lottery tickets in a third place.

Just as got back to the room, the heavens opened and produced an impressive tropical storm. We were enjoying a leisurely rum and coke on the balcony, but had to retreat to the bedroom as we were getting wet.


This evening's menu looked so promising, I really struggled to decide what to have for main course, being torn between a channa and cauliflower curry, seafood spagetti and chicken in passionfruit sauce, so I asked Erica (the waitress) to surprise me. She certainly did that, as I ended up with all three! After a very nice seafood souce (no, it is not a mis-spelling!) for starters, I was well and truly stuffed afterwards!

Seafood Souce

Channa Curry

Chicken with pasionfruit sauce

Seafood spagetti

Posted by Grete Howard 16:08 Archived in Trinidad and Tobago

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The food looks soooo good!

by Helen

The food has been so surprisingly good. I saw lots of negative comments on TA and other places about it, but we've loved the food!!

by Grete Howard

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