Another week in paradise…

prickly-bay-palmUnder a self-imposed moratorium from jobs aboard Blue Heeler, we took the opportunity of the good holding at Prickly Bay to go ashore and see a bit of the island. Grenada, located at the bottom of the Caribbean islands, is 34kms long by 18km wide. The smaller islands of Cariacou and Petit Martinique make up the three islands of Grenada. The population is around 100,000 of mainly African descent with a blend of Indians, Europeans and others making up the balance.

Grenada flag complete with nutmeg

Grenada flag complete with nutmeg

Grenada has a rugged rainforest interior with the highest peak, Mt St Catherine, around 900m. As one of the top ten growers of nutmeg in the world, the locals certainly love their nutmeg and spices so much that a nutmeg is on their flag.

I thought a walk to Hog Island from Prickly Bay Marina would be a good jaunt so with bottles of cold water and good footwear, off we went.

Walking 15 minutes east, just before you reach Secret Bay Marina there’s a decent track to the left which weaves its way through mangrove scrub for about 45 minutes until a wide bridge crosses to Hog Island. (Only a couple of months ago a couple of guys assaulted cruisers in this area so as we tromped along, my radar was on full alert or any sign of weirdos lurking in the bushes).

View looking south at Hog Island

View looking south at Hog Island

Hog Island attracts sailors that want to get away from it all, literally. There’s nothing on the island except for the ramshackle Roger’s Bar. On Sundays the bar hosts a BBQ – a hit with the yachties by all accounts. Following the vehicle track from the bridge around the south of the island for thirty minutes we turned northwards and reached muddy mangroves that sucked the sandals from our feet before arriving at the beach near Roger’s Bar. On the way back to the bridge we found a shorter track through the mangroves which made the trip back to Prickly Bay (and ice-cream!) 50 minutes.


Annandale Falls

The following day we took the number 1 bus into St Georges then the number 7 to Annandale Falls, located about 10kms out of St Georges along the road to Grenville. The waterfall was pleasant and the fresh water was deliciously cool. We were the only tourists; outnumbered 10:1 against the local vendors selling jewellery, nutmeg and spicy trinkets; for a fee one guy leapt from 50ft into the small pool so we could take his photo, while another guy serenaded us once we were in the boundary of the park then got us once again when we left (also for a fee).

The next day we again took the number 1 bus to the main station in St Georges, then caught the number 6 to the non-touristy town of Grenville located on the east coast of Grenada.

The 28 seater minibus didn’t leave the terminal until it was full, so after an hour with the bus filled with locals we were on our way. Bus travel is cheap – usually EC$2.50 (US$1) per short trip, and EC$6.00 from St Georges to Grenville. The trip across the island took us through the thick jungle foliage of the Grand Etang Forest at an elevation of 1900ft then down the reasonably good but narrow winding roads all the way to Grenville.

Grenville is a small town with shops similar to those in St Georges – cheap clothes, plastic stuff, small supermarkets and a couple of banks. A few eateries scattered around including Bains “The best restaurant in town” where for lunch we had fried fish, stewed chicken, rice and beans (of course!), and noodles. The beachfront isn’t particularly inviting as far as swimming goes but it was a nice day out anyway.

Taking the number 2 bus from Grenville, the return route took us along the south coast with views of the coast and of the humble homes and villages along the way. After an hour we alighted near Island Water World in St Georges where we paid the obligatory visit to this popular chandlery (there’s always something we need). From here we caught the number 1 bus back to Prickly Bay. Bussing around Grenada is an inexpensive way to travel around and see the island, so long that you’re not in a hurry.

Back at Prickly Bay, events to break the mid-hurricane season blues are organised by enthusiastic cruisers and local entrepreneurs. Yoga, Tai-Chi, movie night, dominoes or chess. Other marinas have similar events, plus volleyball or music jam sessions. Friday night entertainment at Prickly Bay is a steel drum band night followed by a local group to entertain; Saturdays is half price pizza night (our favourite night!) and on Sundays is movie night for those that want to get off the boat and enjoy a movie under the stars.

The evening breeze cools the air and we generally lime in the cockpit after our afternoon swim. My iPad, perched on a tub, is paired with the speakers through Bluetooth transforming the shell-shaped dodger into a simple amphitheatre. With our legs up we watch our favourite news shows from Aussie podcasts, then perhaps re-watch a favourite movie, glimpsing up at the stars now and again.

Prickly Bay - up to 200 vessels during the season

Prickly Bay – up to 200 vessels during the season

Although Prickly Bay had a couple of hundred vessels on anchor and moored, there can be plenty of swing room between boats. Now and again on a calm evening we can sometimes hear raised voices from nearby vessels; no doubt a result of the heat and tediousness of being at anchor for extended periods, perhaps the result of a few gin and tonics too.

Already it’s the end of September and so far the region has had a few named storms and hurricanes; Fiona, Gaston, Hermine, Julia, Karl, Lisa to name the recent few. Of interest to us was a tropical wave that appeared by the third week of September. Invest 97 as it was named was lower in latitude than the others and heading directly west towards the windward islands. Each day we watched the NOAA Hurricane Watch website and various other websites to see which way this tropical wave would go.

By Monday 26th September it was still unclear where the blow would hit (Cariacou to the north of us looked likely), so we made the decision to leave Grenada and head south to Trinidad. It was an easy decision as our boat was ready to sail and all we had to do was check out. The alternative was to stay on anchor in Prickly Bay, but the thought of being on anchor with all those other boats thrashing around in winds possibly over 50 knots was a little daunting to say the least. By the end of Monday, Prickly Bay looked quite deserted; yachts headed south to Trinidad, while others ducked around into other bays to seek shelter in the hurricane holes.

Bye Bye Grenada (and Matthew!)

Bye Bye Grenada (and Matthew!)

Our plan was to sail directly to Trinidad. With 15 yachts also leaving, we thought it highly unlikely that pirates would come out with so many vessels out there and a tropical storm on its way. But halfway across the voyage, about a dozen boats surreptitiously turned off all their lights and AIS transceivers. While that may have seemed like a good idea at the time, the thought of a dozen or so boats out there in the darkness was slightly more nerve-wracking than pirates! As we’d already motor-sailed ahead of those now in stealth mode, we felt confident we wouldn’t run into anyone in the darkness but kept an extra good lookout just in case. At least three other vessels near to us kept their lights and/or AIS on which we thought was a good idea.

The trip only took 14 hours and we checked in at Chaguaramas on the Tuesday morning. It wasn’t long before the office was swarming with captains and crews waiting to complete the many of forms and pay the navigation fee of TT$50 to Customs. After we’d cleared I took the opportunity to stock up on groceries from the Massey store at Crews Inn then we motored around to the Carenage as the anchorage at Chaguaramas is dirty, deep, stinks of diesel and has terrible holding.

Tropical Storm Matthew transforms into Hurricane Matthew (Trinidad to the south)

Tropical Storm Matthew transforms into Hurricane Matthew (Trinidad to the south)

Tropical Storm Matthew passed over the islands on Wednesday night and intensified into Hurricane Matthew by Thursday. The most wind we had in Trinidad was a breezy 25 knots, while reports from Grenada were 45 knots with boats dragging in the bays, and up to 65 knots in Martinique and Bequia. Hurricane Matthew, now with winds around 150 knots is now spinning in the Caribbean Sea deciding which route to take and which islands to decimate on its path. He certainly is a slow-moving hurricane.

With a few weeks remaining in the hurricane season, it’s certainly not over yet and we continue to watch the weather from the east. Over the next few days once the wind shifts a little more southerly we will continue our plan to head to Tobago, 70nm to the north east of Chaguaramas. Meanwhile, here’s a great image of Hurricane Matthew.



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Just another week in paradise…

launch-dayAfter almost three months preparing our floating home for the coming sailing season, the time to depart Power Boats at Chaguaramas in Trinidad was upon us. All had gone well with the work we’d done and we were both keen to find a good breeze to sail along with.

With 12 tonnes of Blue Heeler cradled in its four massive straps, the 60 tonne travel-lift, expertly steered by Brent, weaves through the yard clearing other vessels by millimetres. It’s clear he knows what he’s doing; at least I like to think he does. From the 60 tonne travel-lift, Blue Heeler is gently lowered into the unclean industrial water of Chaguaramas bay. The newly painted bottom and hundreds of dollars of antifoul is the first point of contact in the oily slick; suddenly we are floating – this is good!

Waves from passing speed boats rock the boat wildly and our legs are reminded that our home is no longer steady. While still cradled in the slings, Wayne turned the ignition key. The engine, which only weeks ago was in pieces, purrs to life, spewing out a successful gush of water from the exhaust. Already the oily Chaguaramas water creeps and clings to our clean white hull.

trinidad-departureBefore Blue Heeler leaves the slip, our priority was to check the two new through-hulls we’d installed and to squeeze lubricating water into the boot seal on the prop shaft. The travel lift straps are lowered beaneath the hull and Blue Heeler is released from their grasp. Thanking the guys handling the lines, Wayne reversed Blue Heeler around to the fuel dock. I jump off the bow and fix the lines, while the attendant ties the stern line. The last time we filled up with diesel was at St Maarten at the end of April, but our tanks still had plenty left.

By 10am we hooked a vacant mooring where we would spend the afternoon making sure all was well and tidy up down below. Wayne rechecked all the new through-hulls. No problems. He then checked a through-hull which he hadn’t replaced, although he had replaced a valve attached to it. There was a drip. A small drip, but a drip just the same. He doubled checked all the through-hulls over a couple of hours and still no leaks, except for a dribble from this small half inch through-hull! The seal must’ve broken when he replaced the valve. Bugger!


Our home for the night as we replace the offending through-hull

Our only option was to haul out and replace the bronze through-hull fitting. Even the slightest drip inside the boat is unacceptable and would keep us awake at nights. Wayne ferried me ashore to fetch a new through-hull from Budget Marine. I scrounged around the shelves but couldn’t find one where one should be. Shifting my gaze, I saw a half-inch through-hull consorting with the brass elbows on a nearby top shelf. Quickly I bought the item and on the way back to the boat stopped at the office to speak with the staff about hauling out. It was agreed we could haul at 3pm that same day so we could replace the through-hull, then launch the following day. At this point I must send a big thank you to Don, Brent, yard guys and office staff at Power Boats for their help.

The offending through-hull after skipper bashed it out

The offending through-hull after skipper bashed it out

The haul out went fine and by 4pm Blue Heeler was high and dry cradled in the travel lift. As Brent and the yard hands finished work for the day, we began the job of replacing the through-hull. By 5pm, the old was out and the new was in, complete with plenty of through-hull sealant which would cure overnight.

The following morning Blue Heeler was returned to the oily water, this time no leaks! Once again we thanked Brent and the boys, and headed out to a mooring. After a few hours, satisfied that all was well, we packed up bikes, sails, scuba gear and a variety of tools in their designated places on board and relaxed for the afternoon. All being well we would check out of Trinidad and leave for the cleaner waters of Grenada the following day.

Sailing away from Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Sailing away from Chaguaramas, Trinidad

The next morning we cleared out from Immigration then Customs at Chaguaramas, then spent our remaining Trinidadian dollars at the Massy store at Crews Inn on groceries and wine, leaving just enough to pay for our mooring. By 11:00am we’d dropped the mooring and began our journey towards Grenada. Along the coast while I still could receive internet signal, I downloaded podcasts to finish off my Digicel data plan.  

To avoid any possible interaction with bothersome pirogues, we steered east along the north coast of Trinidad motoring in little wind. After twenty miles we changed course and headed northwest towards Grenada, some 75nm away. That evening we sailed with a kind 10-15kn breeze and a 2kn current, with a quarter moon lighting the evening sky until midnight followed by sparkling stars until dawn. By 5am we could see the horizon and coastline of Grenada.

At dawn we arrived at the popular anchorage of Prickly Bay, Grenada. By 7am we were settled on anchor well inside the bay amongst a couple of hundred boats. Using the Sailclear system, our check-in was easy enough. We have a three month visa on arrival, although only a one month cruising permit, which we have to renew each month for EC$75 (A$38). In between naps to catch up on sleep after our overnighter, we were visited by Aussie couple Neil and Ley from the yacht Crystal Blues. They know some of our cruiser friends that we’ve met in Thailand so it was great to swap stories over pizza that night.

Now that the bulk of our maintenance work is over, for a while at least, I was glad to be back on anchor and looked forward to my daily dose of yoga, swimming and walking – the reward for weeks of work. But I was no longer able to ignore the aches and fatigue I’d had for the past few days.

By Saturday I’d noticed a red rash forming on my stomach and thighs, while my eyes, joints and muscles ached – something wasn’t right. By Sunday the rash had spread up to my arms and to my thighs, and I’d lost my appetite – a definite sign something wasn’t right! By that evening the rash covered me – from the tips of my toes to the palms of my hands. The only positive is that I wasn’t itchy! All I wanted to do was sleep, drink water and rest, jumping in the water to cool off now and again.

zika_1By Monday I had self-diagnosed myself as having the Zika Virus, as I clearly had all the symptoms (according to various medical websites!). Apparently 80% of people with the Zika virus aren’t even aware they have it, while the other 20% have some symptoms. I was 99.9% sure I was in the 20% so kept myself quarantined on board until my immune system could boot out the virus. By the end of the week I felt better and the rash subsided. The bonus I suppose is that I am now immune to the Zika virus. Wayne just shakes his head and reminds me that if anyone is going to be bitten or stung from something, it’d be me! After a week though I had no symptoms and felt good. Being unwell on a boat isn’t much fun as there are still jobs to do regardless. The outlet hose on our dunny needed replacing; a corroded wire to our solar panel needed replacing; the hose on our outboard fuel line needed replacing…and so ‘the list’ continues.

So as the tropical lows roll in from the west coast of Africa to the north of us, we continue to do jobs, watch the weather, enjoy the cool evening breezes and swim in the tropical waters at Prickly Bay. 


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A taste of Trinidad

Heading into our third (and final) month in Trinidad, I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made. In the heat and humidity, we’ve worked almost every day, seven days a week for the past 11 weeks (the cool evenings compliments of the rental airconditioner, is one of life’s little luxuries…). Yesterday, the final painting was completed on the hull – transforming our formerly shameful underneath to a smooth and curvaceous bottom – watch out Kim Kardashian!

Now that is a nice bottom!

Now that is a nice bottom!

All the 'mod cons' of a galley!

All the ‘mod cons’ of a galley!

After a big day’s work, at the end of every day we usually eat on board – curries, pizza, nachos, salads, stir-fry, whatever I can be bothered to whip up. Of course, I have all the mod-cons (potato peeler, pressure cooker, etc) and the nearby supermarkets have all the groceries I need, so staying in is easier than going out; plus we can save our money for more important things, such as A$350 for 200ml of Propspeed!

One day though, we managed to get away from Power Boats for the ‘Taste of Trinidad’ tour, run by Jesse James of Member’s Only Maxi Taxis. In a maxi taxi, we joined eight other yachties on a fun tour around the island stopping at local food huts and stalls along the way to sample some of Trinidad’s delicious gastronomy.

We tasted soursop, goat curry, barbecued pig tails, cow heel soup, fry bake, saltfish, chicken livers, a slimy plum fruit, plus heaps of other tasty and dubious dishes and fruits. Jesse even drove us across the island to see the eastern shore and the Atlantic and to stop – for lunch!

I must say though after relentless sampling from 9am until 7pm my stomach was packed to the gunwales; At the end of the evening when Jesse stopped the van outside yet another food outlet, I thought I heard him whisper ‘just one wafer thin mint’… but it turned out we stopped for a yummy homemade ice-cream. It was a fun and filling day out!

Fitting transducer with Supervisor Kitty looking on

Fitting transducer with Supervisor Kitty looking on

Back aboard, Wayne fitted a new Raymarine CPT-120 transducer which should give us higher resolution, photo-like, sonar images on our Raymarine MFD. Drilling a hole through the hull is always a little scary, but a tube of black 3M 4200 sealant filled any gaps to keep the sea-water out. This will be out main depth sounder while the original one will be used as a backup.

The transducer came complete with a 10m length of cable with plug at the end to plug straight into the MFD. Blue Heeler is only 12m long so a 10m cable should reach from the head to the cockpit, right? Of course the best route is usually the most direct (ie: a straight line), but as the cable path on our port side is usually easier, albeit a little longer, we fed the cable back then forward then reach over to the chart plotter at our starboard cockpit.

This cabling job didn’t take long at all as we’ve worked cables on the port side of the boat before. But a problem. After feeding the cable into tiny gaps and tunnels, once it had reached the cockpit the cable was 30cm too short! Hmm…

Back to the beginning – identify the most direct route between A and B. Could we really put a cable on the starboard side of Blue Heeler where no cable has ventured before? Do we go under the floor; behind the lounge; inside the bilge; overhead? With our combined troubleshooting minds we would solve this puzzle.

Cabling in a boat - fun fun fun!

Cabling in a boat – fun fun fun!

Wayne grabbed his hole drill; I emptied all the cupboards from one side of the boat to the other; we removed panels, lifted hatches, closed hatches; moved stuff aft, then forward, stepping over each other as we went. Only when we agreed on the cabling route did we remove it from the port side. All the stuff I’d moved had to be removed to the other side of the boat! Finally after a few hours we did it!

The cable pioneered it’s way from the head into a forward locker; the wet weather cupboard; behind the kitchen gizmo cupboard; behind our ‘library’; behind my canned peas, corn, and coconut milk powder (Oh, there’s my missing potato masher!); diverting sideways into the plastic container cupboard; moving upwards past the cordial bottles; into the cockpit panel; then hey presto, into the back of the chart plotter – with not one centimetre of spare cable! Phew! The alternative was to buy a 4m length of cable from nearby Goodwood electronics. Not only would an extra 4m of cable potentially deteriorate the signal, it would have been too easy for us!

Hooray! Getting closer to Vitamin Sea!

Hooray! Getting closer to Vitamin Sea!

So the big jobs are done and the cleanup commences. Wiping, washing, polishing, greasing nipples; emptying cupboards and wiping down everything with vinegar to prevent mould. Our indulgences these days are electricity, water and showers, so we’ll stay a few more days on the hard making good use of these conveniences.

While Trinidadians look forward to their Independence Day holiday on Wednesday (Happy 54th Birthday Trinidad!), we look forward to an imminent launch for a dose of vitamin sea!

banner storm trinidad

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Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Hurricanes CaribThe hurricane season in this region runs from 1st June to 30th November with August and September the most active months. As you can see from the image to the right, Trinidad has avoided the majority of major storms over the past 150 years.  So far there hasn’t been anything of concern blowing in from the east but now that it’s August we’re keeping an eye on the weather forecasts a little more frequently. There have been close-calls for Trinidad and Tobago over the years – Hurricane Ivan probably the closest call back in 2004 – but not a direct hit for some time.

Trinidad has many public holidays – around 19 each year apparently – and there have been four during our stay at Power Boats. Besides religious observances for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, the latest holiday was Emancipation Day (1st August) which marks the end of slavery in the British Empire in 1834. Of course this is a holiday throughout many Caribbean countries, but not necessarily on the same day.

Like every day, we spent the holiday weekend working on the boat. Once Wayne had sanded our antifoul in preparation of applying fresh coats, it was obvious that the sub-surface wasn’t good enough to throw another couple of thousand dollars worth of primer and antifoul on. The epoxy layer under the primer was flaky and scraped off easily on some sections, exposing gelcoat underneath. There were also small blisters that needed to be sanded out. Perhaps the humidity or poor preparation in Thailand three years ago was the cause, but we’ve since learnt that unthickened epoxy doesn’t adhere well to gelcoat – who knows?

Our two options were to ignore it and hope it goes away; or do it properly by removing all traces of epoxy and sand back to gelcoat. After Wayne spent many, many hours sanding the hull back to the primer and removing all antifoul, he decided it was time to get some help if we were to get it back to gelcoat before Christmas! With me on our sander, Wayne on a rental 6″ orbital sander, plus two days help from a labourer on a 7″ sander, in a few days we managed to strip the hull back to gelcoat white and remove the small blisters that had appeared. Once the sanding was done and the bad layers removed, the hull was in good condition and we could prep it for painting.

Teamwork makes the dream work!

Teamwork makes the dream work!

In between sanding the hull, we also did plenty of other jobs. The paint on our poor Air-X wind generator was almost all off so that was repainted along with our weathered binnacle; the toilet seat we bought in Thailand obviously had a poor coat of paint that had badly deteriorated so the dunny seat also got a thick coat of Interprotect and Brightside – can’t imagine that will need painting in the near future! The second hand Tohatsu we bought in St Maarten needed the old paint scraped off; buffed then a fresh coat of black paint. Both our outboards received a service and with new Sunbrella covers they look good as new. In the back of Wayne’s mind over the past couple of years was a deteriorating exhaust manifold. This was rectified by local fabrication shop Chag Fab with some aluminium welding. We had our mainsail and our spare mainsail repaired at Superb Sails here at Power boats plus we had a useful teak drink holder made by local woodwork shop also at Power Boats. Always plenty of work to do on a boat!

Weekenders fill up the yard

Weekenders fill up the yard

But it hasn’t been too stressful. Each day we put in the hours making sure to finish in daylight so we can clean up and enjoy a cool evening inside the air conditioned saloon and watch old episodes of The Sopranos. For variety once a week we might go to the social BBQ held at the Roti Hut, or I’ll take a bus ride to the shops for groceries, while three mornings a week I cycle across to Coral Cove Marina for an stimulating morning yoga session with Nana, a fellow cruiser. Weekends are busy with locals filling up the yard with cars as they boat across to nearby islands. We bumped into a South African fella that we first met in Madagascar and last saw in South Africa, and another Aussie guy we also first met in South Africa, but generally most people leave their boats here while they travel back to other places around the globe to return in October/November.

Trinidad blog (1)Optimistically I think the boat will be ready to paint this week. The only hold up will be that August/September are the two wettest months in Trinidad! Each day around 10am a thunderstorm will pass over; followed by another one after lunch. Each time we quickly pack up our gear and sit upstairs to wait until it blows over. Usually in the afternoons it clears and we can continue.

The hull requires four coats of epoxy primer followed by two coats of antifoul – six coats overall as a minimum. We have the paint, the tools, and the time…

Trinidad blog (10)

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No time for limin’

trinidadThe crossing from Grenada to Trinidad is around 85nm. With a north-east breeze between 12-18knots, the evening of 15th June was an ideal night to sail. Back in January this year however, two incidents took place between Grenada and Trinidad which pricked up the ears of the sailing community. About halfway a pirogue with five armed men boarded two vessels at two separate times. The pirates (for want of a better name) allegedly stole from the vessels – anything from electrical items to dunny rolls. Fortunately nobody was hurt in the attacks. It is assumed the attack vessel was the same in both incidents and likely from Venezuela.

Word of the attacks spread swiftly through the sailing community. Following advice from various bodies, we took some precautions for our trip. Firstly we notified the Trinidad Coast Guard and local YSATT representative in Trinidad of our intention to sail at night. A Float Plan template is available from local Trinidadian and yacht services representative Jesse James. Secondly, our route was to the east of both the Hibiscus and Poinsettia Oil Fields, which are located about halfway. There were around five other yachts sailing the night we sailed.

But a strange incident did happroute to Trinidaden on our voyage. About 35nm south of Grenada, north of the Poinsettia oilfield, for some time I’d been watching a vessel heading north-west as we were heading south-east. When the vessel was about 4nm on our port side (identified via the radar), the vessel turned sharply and headed directly towards us. In what seemed minutes the vessel then crossed our bow within 50m. The vessel circled Blue Heeler in a clockwise direction, passed our stern and began motoring away. It appeared to be a fishing vessel around 15m long and was clearly lit. The vessel gave us no indication of its intentions and we certainly don’t enjoy having vessels deviate from their heading, come straight for us, then circle us in the middle of the night! The rest of our trip was fine except for the 2kn current against us for most of the way.

Approaching Trinidad

Approaching Trinidad

At daybreak we noticed the Caribbean Sea had turned brown. The Gulf of Paria is a natural harbour which separates Trinidad and Venezuela. Brown waters from South American rivers leech into the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Following a couple of tugs through the Boca Channel, by mid morning we’d arrived safely into the industrial port of Chaguaramas at the northwest of Trinidad.

Our first stop was Customs and Immigration. At the Crews Inn Marina there is a customs dock, but it was busy so we anchored out beyond the full mooring field. Customs fee to check in was TT$50 (about A$10) which is a monthly fee to cover ‘navigation’. We entered on our British passports as to enter on our Aussie passports would incur a Visa or Visa Waiver fee of TT$400 (A$80)  ;)

The next day Blue Heeler was successfully hauled out at Power Boats Marine Yard . We made sure we closed the through-hulls in both the head and galley in preparation of the high pressure wash (first time we learnt the hard way with thousands of PSI of water blasting up the hoses pushing barnacles, crap, and goo into the galley and head!). Before long we were wired up with an air-conditioner installed in the front hatch. Cool bliss!

20160616 Trinidad (10)

In the office we met Camille and her team and got the lowdown on the facilities at Power Boats. Laundry costs TT$15 per token (around A$3) and the machines are in good condition – four washers and three dryers. The toilets and cold-water showers are clean and there is the Boaters’ Shop that stocks all sorts of products (antifoul, epoxies, solvents, etc) plus a Mini-Mart for groceries and ice-creams!

View from Blue Heeler for the next few weeks

View from Blue Heeler for the next few weeks

Conveniently the office issues guests with a ‘Convenience Card’ to get a 5% discount at the on-site stores without having to carry cash. A Roti Hut is on site for lunch, or if you want something cheap, you can go outside the gates near Budget Marine and buy a ‘double’ for TT$4 (A ‘double’ is a national breakfast food which consists of chickpea (channa) curry between barra, or Indian fried bread). If you want western type food (steaks, burgers, etc) Sail’s Restaurant is also on site, but we’re pretty happy with rotis and doubles. Internet signal around the marina isn’t particularly good, but there is a dedicated Internet Room close to the Mini Mart that allows salty sailors to Google, surf or stream in the comfort of air conditioning.

Our first week in Trinidad rained every day, but we managed to get some work done between downpours. Wayne spent three days sanding the remaining antifoul from the hull and depositing it upon himself; ending up looking like a Smurf! I spent some time scraping and sanding evil barnacle footprints that attached themselves to the hull from the lengthy stay in the horrid waters of St Maarten. Our  Max Prop is back to shiny and bronzy while the bow thruster prop and tunnel is looking shiny and smooth. A puncture in our dinghy was patched and the Sunbrella dinghy cover had a much needed makeover. Wayne also took the engine apart to have a local fabrication shop work on our exhaust manifold and we have a couple of sails in for repair. There’s plenty of other jobs we have to get on with, but we’re not in a rush to get back into the water.

There’s not a great deal around the vicinity of Chaguaramas, but getting into the capital Port of Spain is straightforward. Across the road from Power Boats is a bus stop to catch a bus or Maxi Taxi to either Port of Spain or the Massy supermarket, or the Westmall shopping complex where there’s plenty of choice for provisioning. There’s also a small Massy supermarket at Crews Inn marina which is easy to walk to.

Downtown Port of Spain

Downtown Port of Spain

Although Trinidadians speak English, the influence of French, Indian, and African languages have created a gorgeous blend that makes the Trini language a delight to listen to (although I don’t always understand what they’re saying!). I sat with a woman in the bus stop and she talked and talked, but I struggled to understand exactly what she was saying!

So that’s what’s going on in Trinidad.

With a few jobs already done and most underway, we gonna be limin’ over duh coming weeks, yeah mon!

PS: Limin’ – To hang out to pass the time, or chill out.

Trinidad Liming

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