Back home in Suriname

       

As a result of all the trouble with the engine, it was too late to get some fair winds on our trip to Surinam. We made it from Grenada to Tobago (difficult because of the strong current), but that was all. We tried twice to sail to Suriname but failed and returned to Trinidad. From there is a direct flight to Suriname, but unfortunately the cats could not fly because The Quarantaine Department in Trinidad was on strike and not even one flea flew in or out of the island.
Next idea was to go by boat. We arranged with Peter (friend and tunafisher in Trinidad) that we should sail on one of his tunaboats and at the Surinamese outer marker jump over on an other fishingboat that would bring us to Domburg. The strict lady from Immigrations ssaid STOP so now only the cats could sail (illegally) on this floating tuna paradise, while we had to take the plane.
In the meantime Witte Raaf is on the hard at IMS in Chaguaramas. Finally a safe spot to let her "winter", as after the collision we had no faith anymore in the moorings in de Surinam river. Last year we were so lucky that it was a Dutch yacht that hit our boat, but the chances are bigger that you get hit by a Surinamese sandbarge (with no insurance). In December she'll be launched again. Our plan now is to sail every year for 3 months and leave the boat for the remaining time in Trinidad. We were able to make a good deal with the yard, so the extra costs are not ridiculously high and we get much more comfort with this move (not having to sail the awful traject between Trinidad & Tobago and Surinam), so our sailing gets a new boost.

It was great to come home. Viviane didn't only take care of our garden, but in the last two days also cleaned our house. In the tropics things get dirty very quickly: from sand and dust and also from animals: shit from iguana's, mice, bats, insects, there was a dead bird on the floor etcetera. Had we returned by boat, we could have cleaned the house in daytime but now we would arrive at midnight in a dump. So we were extremely grateful.
In Domburg everyone was happy to see us and P’s birthday was celebrated three times: twice in Domburg and once at home.
We had to do a lot of driving around to buy new kitchenware as most of JW's kitchenstuff was still on board. Quite fun with our “new” Mitsubishi Pajero! When we were sailing, the car was renovated and the obligatory yearly car check which has become very strict since last year, was a piece of cake. Our mechanic called the garage saying that the car was A-okay so we were through in 5 minutes; quite quickly for a car constructed in 1990.

For the cats it took another three weeks to get home. Trinidad is not only for sailors a disaster if you talk about slow bureaucracy, for businessmen it is worse. The steering installation on “Captain Homer” needed some parts, that of course not arrived all in one batch. Furthermore the struggle for fuel, bait and ice. In the end the boat left with only a half load of ice to get the other half in Surinam. In the meantime Peter installed an icemaker on one of his boats.

The trip from Trinidad to Suriname is apparently also for such a sturdy fishing boat a problem, because they were out for five days (500 miles). For us their last day of sailing to Surinam was a long one, as early in the morning we arranged ice for “Don’t Worry” and , the small fishing boat we chartered to meet “Captain Homer” at the Surinamese outer marker. She left around noon with more than 9 tons of ice, but had to wait for “Captain Homer” until sunset. The transship of the ice was done manually with buckets, while both boats drifted westward on the current. In short: the men were finished around midnight and then had to come in (40 miles), so the cats had to stay one more night on again a strange boat with again a new strange crew. So they were rather nervous after those three stressful weeks, but they'll be alright before you know.

The work on the Vrijheid is started: JW removed the complete deck and we have a huge shopping list for Holland. Fibreglass, epoxy resin, epoxy filler, glue, stainless steel screws, paint, blocks, pennant, etc., and... we ordered a new set of sails. From Hagoort Sails, Miep's favourite.

As of 28 April until 27 May we are in Holland. An important mission is to help JW’s parents with their moving to an old people's home (88 and 92), which takes some time so we can visit many friends but unfortunately not everyone.

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