There follows a power-point of our holiday in July and August 2013.
Proudly independent since 1962 (formerly British). English is the language (often Pigeon English!)
Coconut plantation near Mayaro.
False religion abounds.
Fast ferry to Tobago. North coastal mountain range of Trinidad in background.
Rubbish-a common site.
Lovely waterfalls for bathing.
Mosquito net and aircon-two necessities!
Wonderful wildlife. Giant Leatherback Turtle and Scarlet Ibis.
Many beautiful plants.
L to R. Hummingbird. Kiskidee (very vocal in the morning).??? Then Golden Oreole, Pelican, Black Vulture and Scarlet Ibis. Middle row left is a Savannah Hawk of which I saw three at once today-this one has caught a snake. I take no credit for any of these pictures!
Trinidad has one of only three pitch lakes in the world.It covers an area of 100 acres and has dropped in height over the last 150 years. The pitch is approximately 30% water, 20% sulphur, 40% oil sand. Some parts are hard and have a skin others softened and sticky in the sun.
to enter big boiling vats where at 350F the water and sulphur are extracted to give the pure asphalt used in road building, camera cases etc. A barrel is worth 500$ US.
Creation of the Lake
The lake was created thousands of years ago by the process of subduction, when the Caribbean continental plate was forced under another plate. This opened fault lines that allowed oil from deep underground deposits to rise to the surface, where it collected in a volcanic crater. The air caused lighter elements of the oil to evaporate, leaving behind the heavy asphalt, a mix of oil, clay and water.
Sir Walter Raleigh came across it in 1595 and saw it’s contents would help seal his ships hulls.
Mining of the lake started in 1867, and an estimated 10 million tons of asphalt has been extracted since. Lake Asphalt of Trinidad & Tobago Ltd. (trinidadlakeasphalt.com) is a state-owned enterprise which mines, processes and exports asphalt around the globe, where it is used for paving roads, runways and race tracks. The company is vital to the local economy, as the major source of employment. The lake is estimated to contain reserves of around 6 million tons, which would last 400 years at the current rate of extraction.
This means that even though it seems to be solid at room temperature and can be shattered with a hard impact, it is actually fluid and will flow over time, but extremely slowly.
Pitch was traditionally used to help caulk the seams of wooden sailing vessels (see shipbuilding). Pitch was also used to waterproofwooden containers, and is sometimes still used in the making of torches. Petroleum-derived pitch is black in colour, hence the adjectival phrase, “pitch-black”. Noah used pitch to waterproof the ark
Scores of brilliant scarlet Ibis flying in and roosting on an island of green tree foliage in the middle of a huge brackish lake was the undoubted highlight of a two hour boat trip into the Caroni Swamp in west Trinidad. It is noticeable that God has especially made so many red flowers and this particular bird in this part of the world to show the exquisite beauty of contrasting colours. The colour of these birds is due to their unique incorporation into their plumage of the red chemical pigment that they absorb from the tree climbing crabs that form a major part of their diet. (It is B carotene also found in carrots!).
En route to the Ibis island we saw three coiled up Casacabel (boa) snakes resting in the trees above us. The forests that make up the rest of the swamp are mangroves with massive arching roots lining all the waterways.
Among the birds we also saw the ubiquitous white egrets, some blue heron, tri-coloured heron, sand pipers, a potoo (nightjar) and a large white hawk.
A great time-thank you Lord!
It was overcast, a good day for the beach. We bathed and body-boarded in the surf. There were horses and their keepers in the waves too. The rain came on heavily and the sea was turned into what looked like a giant sundew plant as the drops bounced back up. The rain was cool and the seawater warm. The streets and drains turned to torrents. I was singing walking back from the beach as the thunder rolled. There was not a mosquito in sight trying to bite. It was wonderful!
Rain in tropical lands is so different. You don’t mind getting wet, in fact it’s a pleasure!
‘ For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.’
Lord send a torrential rain of your word on the earth!
Fri 26th July
There are many lovely beaches on the north coast. (see pics) Boat trip to Paria River in heaving blue sea navigating between giant rock formations.(see photo) River comes out from a lagoon behind a sandbar like so many on the island. A walk though the bush brought us to the impressive Paria Falls where we bathed, dived , jumped in and fed the greedy fish.(see photo) Stargazing and discussion followed by games evening.
Enjoyable visit to Point-a-Pierre wildfowl trust-wetlands with various ducks eg Black Muscovy, a Jacana and some huge fish called Pacos. Also saw an Osprey hunting on way home. Joseph and Marie now look positively black. I now realise why so few white men make their home in the tropics!
Weds 31st July .
Some of the adversities of tropical living…
Another dawn dog chorus which continues all day!
The heat at night is almost unbareable, fans really don’t help much! Air conditioning is the only remedy! Bitten badly as well by sandflies as I try and sleep.
Mcdonalds may be here but I miss fresh milk! In T&T Nestle reconstituted milk reigns.
New realization of the need to love others regardless of their weaknesses and characters, just as we have been and are loved and accepted by our longsuffering God. Rom.5:8.
‘If thou Lord should mark iniquities, O Lord who should stand?’ ‘ Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more .‘(for condemnation)…..yet ‘every man shall give account’ in judgment (hence they must be recorded in the books)
Day at Macqueripe on the north coast from where we could see Venezuela. Some did ziplining and most bathed.