Position 10° 40.749’ N
61° 37.899’ W
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|Port of Spain, Trinidad|
The anticipation of this lifestyle is exciting, just talking about the possibilities of where we can go next for a visit and to explore pricks the hairs up on the back of one’s neck! While we were together with Bill & Ann we discussed going to Tobago for a while, apparently people have told us it is like the Caribbean was 20 years ago, exciting! Many of our friends are in Tobago now, the ones that we met in Mayreau and Carriacou and those who don’t have insurance companies that require them to be below 10° 50’ N for the hurricane season i.e. Trinidad. Some have already sailed back to Grenada which provides good hurricane protection in the many clean clear water bays on its south coast. Grenada really is the cruisers favourite island for the hurricane season. We are looking forward to Tobago and Grenada and also catching up with cruising friends. You can’t imagine how exciting it is to cruise into a port, even a remote anchorage, and see a boat you know. In other words it is not only the travelling to places unknown, meeting the local people and sampling their culture which is our motivation it is also all about the great people we meet that make up the cruising community.
We paid our first visit to the Long Circular Mall and the Malabar Meat Store. Jesse James runs a
|Very modern Cinema|
|Academy for the performing arts|
|The National Museum of Trinidad & Tobago|
The latest ‘chat’ is about a flotilla of boats heading further south to Guyana and Suriname, both these destinations are remote and unexplored; Guyana in particular is trying hard to encourage yachting in their country and is promoting the country in the hope cruisers will come. We discussed whether we should go and decided that this year is a little soon for us. I want to get a few more miles on our new day tank just to make absolutely sure we have reliability back in our propulsion system. Guyana and Suriname as I said before are both extremely remote and both require river transits in strong tidal conditions. Engine stoppages are not what would be needed here! It seems that every year there are one or two cruises planned for this trip so we will consider going next year. In the meantime we are making ready for our cruising season and replenishing the supplies we will need. Spare engine parts have been ordered from the US and will arrive in the next ten days which will enable me to finish the servicing in the ‘Holy Place’ and put us in a ‘go’ state. We are still exploring the refuelling options open to us including a trip to Venezuela where diesel is only US 4c per gallon; we could take on 500 gallons there costing US$20! The FM is not keen! The price to locals in Trinidad is US .91c per gallon but to visitors is US$4.54! Much black market fuel is available at the lower price and we will probably get some delivered, everyone seems to get it without consequence. The saving is too high to overlook. I will write more on this later.
Lavinia, Judy and Meyka went on a day trip to the Asa Wright Nature Centre, Judy is an avid birdwatcher and Trinidad is a unique place for seeing a huge variety of birds and other flora and fauna. The Asa Wright Centre was created over 38 years ago and has received much acclaim since. Please take a moment and check the link here you will be fascinated... http://asawright.org/about-the-centre/ there is a lodge where one can stay and it is our plan to spend two or three days here next year when we return for hurricane season. It is US$150 per night per person which includes accommodations in a beautiful room with three meals a day and tea in the afternoon served on the terrace which overlooks the jungle and rain forest. Doesn’t that sound relaxing and civilized? Credit for the bird pictures published here goes to Judy Sundin the Birder of the group!
|Our aft deck view|
replacing the sound proofing material on our generator sound shield box. Back in Carriacou Jim from ‘Sweet Chariot’ had given us some insulation material which we glued in the panels which did cut down the noise considerably but not to the level proper sound proofing material does. Anyway, Budget Marine, here in Chaguaramas, happened to have proper sheets of sound proofing material so we bought two. It is not a difficult job; just a time consuming one and the removal of the old insulation material was the hardest part. Let me tell you, the 3M aerosol spray on glue works! Once off we cut all the pieces we needed for the panels and began to glue them on. It took four hours in the end which for us now is considered a full day’s work! The rest of the day, after clean-up, and a long cool shower was spent watching the Americas Cup racing on the television, having cocktails at 5 o’clock and then enjoying a lovely dinner al fresco under candle light on the ‘back porch’. Our aft deck is facing the coffee shop and restaurant complex here in Crews Inn so we have ‘life’ to watch across the marina canal as we relax.
A word on the difference between sub-tropical and a true tropical climate...the temperatures in the summer time are pretty much the same but the climate here is equatorial and hardly has any change, there is a wet and dry season however. When the sun is out one really feels the power, the feeling of burning is ever present and is apparent immediately one becomes exposed; the humidity is thicker and it is easy to see how the pace of movement must be slowed to avoid exhaustion. Frequent submersion is a daily requisite and enables a revival to continue activities. We are lucky as cruisers to be able to take a cool refreshing dip right off the back of our boats. One becomes used to the constant presence of sweat, yes, stickiness is your companion and quickly you realize that the dress code that you planned for when you packed your suit case is quite different. Here in Trinidad we are only 60 miles from the Orinoco river delta, one of the great rivers of the world and the third longest in South America, third only to the Amazon which runs from Peru, Columbia and finally through Brazil and the Paraná which flows from Brazil through Paraguay and emerges as the Rio de la Plata in Argentina. The region is tropical and quite different from the eastern Caribbean Island chain, having lived in Florida for the past 33 years one tends to think that it is ‘tropical’ well it isn’t, here the same plants are bigger and more spectacular, the wild life is far more exotic and there is a feeling of being an intruder to natures prolific accomplishments. Nature as most people know it is larger than life here, the jungle is always close; as one drives through habitation, a small village or town, it is only a minute before one is back to being accompanied on each side of the road by the impenetrable undergrowth of the rain forest and jungle. Trinidad is developed and Port of Spain, the capital, is a sophisticated grand city with wide boulevards and distinctive architecture that one would associate with any other established historic city of the world. Civilization as we know it abounds, shopping malls, cinema complexes and the trappings of wealth are evident. For long now the nation of Trinidad and Tobago has prospered from natural resources which include oil, natural gas, pitch, coffee, sugar and most other agricultural cash crops which are fuelled by the equatorial climate. Trinidad is a Caribbean ‘heavyweight’ is an influential Caricom member and is certainly very important to the development of the Caribbean islands.
I have just risen from the edge of my chair where I have been ‘glued’ for the past two hours watching the America’s Cup finale, wow, unbelievable...the comeback of all time. I think that the odds one could have received two weeks ago against the American boat winning and retaining the cup would have been huge but they did it! This is one of the most exciting events I have watched in years...well done USA ‘Oracle’!
Lavinia and I have decided to return to Florida for annual medical checkups and a visit to friends and family, so we have reserved flights to go on the 29th October returning November 12th. We are in a great marina where we feel ‘Partners’ will be cared for in our absence plus the timing is right so the tickets are booked. Our friends Carol & John in Sarasota have kindly offered us a bed so we are all set. With the internet it is possible to do so much, and we have a good connection here, appointments have been made with doctors, dentists and arrangements to see family and friends are all planned. We will fly into Miami and stay with our youngest daughter Georgina for a couple of days so we can go to the Ft. Lauderdale boat show on the opening day, Thursday 31st before driving across to Sarasota. We are excited; we have a short list of ‘essentials’ that we will go shopping for while there, things which are hard to find in the Islands. We will have been away cruising for nine months, which incidentally seems like no time at all and already we are realizing how important it is not to waste time; life is too short and the opportunity for adventure is small so we intend to use our time well, packing in as much adventure, exploration and travel as we can before we fall apart with old age! Yes, there will come the time, sadly, when we physically can no longer continue with this dream. Hear me folks, get out there and make it ‘your time’ as soon as you can! Tempus fugit!
|Ann at the Saturday Market |
meeting a very excited vendor!
Yesterday Oct 30th HT gave me a hair trim, I sit on the dock, no hair on the boat, in one of our aft deck wooden folding chairs and she cuts away. Yesterday she forgot the razor to shave the hairs on the back of my neck and had to step back onboard to get it. What luck, the washing machine and dryer where going and the next thing I heard was “quick, we have a fire”! I rushed on board and the washer and dryer had stopped, I assumed there was a safety switch that had shut it down. The boat smelt of burning and was full of smoke, I immediately thought it was the dryer which had caught fire because of fluff which was blocking the exhaust flew and had backed up finding its way to the heating elements. I immediately went to work dismantling the exhaust pipes and cleaning them out. Once complete the moment of truth did the dryer still work? Lavinia turned on the circuit breaker and we winced as we turned on the dryer...it worked just fine and because of the clean out I think it was working better. We resumed the completion of my haircut! Later in the day HT remembered that there was still washing in the machine and went to resume the cycle...oh dear, yes the burning smell was from the washing machine not the dryer! The washer was ‘dead’! We have had a problem with the washing machine; one of the stabilizer arms to the drum has broken so on the spin cycles it tends to wobble and bang! We decided to look for a Frigidaire dealer, the machine is a Frigidaire, so that if it is not worth repairing the same company can supply us with a new one; a project for today.
Tonight we have the sailing boat crowd coming onboard for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres which will be a blast. There will be eight of us, John & Jo from Out of Africa, Steve & Jan from Sealacious, Doug & Meyka from Banjo and us. We wanted to have a get-together before all of them trek off to Guyana and Suriname next week. We would love to be going with them and think we will do the passage next year.
|Splendide Stackable Washer Dryer|
October 3rd. Thursday is Pot Luck dinner night at Crew Inn. Every Thursday the resort provide a table and chairs, with table cloth, and also the charcoal for the barbeque pit, in fact they even light it and get the fire going! Eight of us from five different boats gathered for the get-together. The location, the breezeway by the bar in the hotel part of the complex is ideal as it is weather proof! The breezeway is just that, a tunnel through the main hotel building providing cover and we hoped a breeze. Cover we got although it didn’t rain, the breeze we didn’t get on this occasion! The evening was great and was filled with much food, constant conversation and concluded with an agreement to an encore next week.
|Port of Spain at night|
This will be my last post from Trinidad this year, the next rendition will be from another island, either Tobago or Granada, you’ll have to wait and see...