Posted by: bearcruzer | October 26, 2010

A visit to Asa Wright

Just one more week here in Trini.   We rented a car one day and Mike took me up to Asa Wright Nature Reserve.   We had rented the Car from Economy Rental Car.   The prices are very reasonable but you take your chances on comfort.   All the cars have dings and dents and none of the cars have shocks.  You learn quickly to dodge potholes.  Most have some little quirk or another that you learn to take in stride.    To have the freedom of wheels after being on the boat for so long and at the mercy of public transportation is a real luxury.    After a couple of wrong turns we managed to make our way through Port of Spain and onto the main hwy that lead toward the Islands Interior.     We noticed on this day we were attracting quite a lot of attention as we drove along.    People were honking and pointing at us.    Now even though we are a rather unique couple we began to suspect that we might not be the focus of all this attention.    Mike rolled down the window and a kind local informed us that our right front turn signal light was dangling from its connections and “de police will give you a ticket, Mon”.     Mike was able to snap it back into place where it remained for a few miles before we had to repeat the procedure.    He finally got it to quit falling out by wedging it into place.  As we turned onto the narrow shaded single lane road that led deeper into the forest we felt the air cooling somewhat.  This was a welcome reprieve as our air conditioner had quit after the first hour on the road.    We wound our way through mountain villages and neighborhoods where small colorful shacks and bungalows were tucked into the sides of steep hills with no apparent entry other than narrow stairways made from stones or cement or occasionally just cut into the hillside from the main road.   We saw signs indicating the property lines of the Reserve long before we came to the entrance to the Nature Center.   It is huge.    We parked the car and took our binoculars and cameras and headed to the Main House which is now a B&B.   It is known for its wonderful veranda and marvelous birdlife that frequents it feeders.     The reserve itself has over 10 miles of trails however only overnight guests have access to them.   Day visitors are only allowed on one short trail and must go with a guide.  Our guide JoAnn was very helpful and educated us on some of the more interesting aspects of the bird and wildlife of the area.   We enjoyed relaxing on the veranda where most of the best photo and bird watching possibilities are anyway.   The feeders afforded us a wonderful view of abundant birdlife as well as Agouti and a Large Tiger Lizard and numerous butterflies .      We brought our lunch with us and were entertained by a group of ants that appeared  from a crack in a nearby cement pillar.   They proceeded to carry off any crumbs from our lunch.   Some of the pieces  of cracker we had dropped were as large as a quarter but hundreds of  the industrious little ants lifted and carried them at quite a rapid pace across the floor and up the side of the pillar and into their nest.      After lunch we hiked down to a cool pool that has been created by damming the small creek below a waterfall above the Nature Center.    It has cement benches around the pool for sitting and soaking and a place to change clothes.     After a wonderful afternoon at the Center we climbed back into our car and decided we would take the even more rural road that continued north through the forest and came out on the north coast of the island.    This road was partially paved for a while but then became a dirt track.  It was not unusual to have to creep around a fallen tree or small landslide with little room to spare as the road clung perilously to the side of the steep hillsides.   Around every turn the forest seemed to be trying to reclaim the track from the few cars we met during the next couple of hours it took us to negotiate this stretch of road.   We knew we were getting close to civilization again when we met one of the Maxi Taxi buses coming the opposite direction.    We made it to north coast and then turned west and headed to Maracas Beach where enjoyed some Bake n’ Shark, a tasty local meal of deep fried shark placed into a bit of fry bread and served with a variety of condiments.   We got there just as Richards, the most famous of many colorful little Bake n’ shark shacks, was getting ready to close for the day.   We walked out to Maracas Beach as the sun was setting.   We climbed back into the car and watched as a dark cloud crept over the Island from the direction of our anchorage.    As darkness descended, the deluge began and we were thankful that our wipers and headlights at least were in working order.    We joined a long slow train of cars snaking their way along the narrow roads back toward the northwest side of Trini.   We breathed a heavy sigh when we finally pulled into the parking lot at TTSA.   It is always a relief to return to the anchorage when we know a squall has come through to find DD sitting where we left her.    It was a day filled with many new sights and touch of adventure and will be fondly remembered as one of the highlights of our time here in Trinidad.

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  1. Neat story and pictures. Mom loved them.

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