12-Oct-2006 -- Coming from Bahía Blanca (Argentina) and bound for Cartagena (Colombia), we are now back in the Caribbean Sea, and today just at sunrise we entered it through the channel between the islands of Trinidad and Tobago, the so-called "Galleons Passage". This passage is about 19 nautical miles/35 km wide, and almost in its centre there is 11N 61W.
Looking first to SE we see the NE coast of Trinidad near Galera Point, the eastern extremity of the island.
Trinidad is the second largest and southernmost of the West Indian Islands and is situated 8 miles off Venezuela. Mountains and hills on Trinidad consist of the Northern Ranges and Southern Ranges, stretching almost across the island, and the Central Range standing partly across the centre. The highest elevation is El Cerro del Aripo (940 m). Otherwise the island is nearly flat.
A further look to SW shows the Northern Range to continue and Chupara Point. Finally looking towards NE, we see the island of Tobago with its SW-most extremity, - Crown Point -, and unfortunately under rainfall. A ridge of irregular mountains rises from the NE part of Tobago to an elevation of 566 metres. On the S side, between the spurs of hills extending to the coast, there are several fertile valleys.
The Galleons Passage is subjected to the full force of what is known to the mariner as the "Guiana Current". Throughout the year, the Trade Wind drives the Guiana Current off the South American coast towards the Lesser Antilles. On reaching the island chain, much of the water is force through the various passages. Additionally, water from the North-Equatorial Current enters the E and N boundaries of the Caribbean Sea. See the effect of the Guiana Current on our speed on the GPS, which is 15.3 knots at the Confluence. Our normal service speed without the effect of currents would be not more than a 13.8 knots, thus the current is setting with a rate of 1.5 knots (about 3 km/h) towards WNW.
Trinidad and Tobago were discovered by Columbus in 1498 during his third voyage. The English flag was first planted on Tobago in 1580, but the island was not settled until 1632. The Dutch settlers, after about 2 years, were all killed or expelled by the Caribs and Spaniards from Trinidad. Tobago then passed successively into the hands of the Courlanders, Dutch, and French, and was finally transferred to Great Britain in 1814.
Trinidad was first colonized in 1588 and ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Amiens in 1802. In 1962 Trinidad and Tobago became an independent member of the Commonwealth.