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Sailing again!


Just before leaving Suriname we were very busy with a day to Klaaskreek (interior), a car rally, an other day into the interior and a party to celebrate our fifth anniversary in Suriname, but now we are finally on board.
We had lots of boat's stuff at home that is not allowed to fly (paint, epoxy) and this was brought to Trinidad by a boat leaving one week before us. Including the diesel heater, spinnaker, a mattress and other big things we stored at home to gain some space, but have to be on board in case we sell her.

And while Trinidad prepares for carnival as carnival in Rio is famous but Trinidad is world ranking #2 we prepared ourselves for the coming sailing season. Lots of work on the boat because we left her for almost a year and some things had really gone wrong. Batteries were dead because the charger had broken down, a bad spot in the doghouse, the teak on the cabin roof had come off, etc. So we bought three new batteries, a new charger and along with those electricians came and solved various electrical problems of which in some cases we never knew we had them! So the fridge works fine now after 20 years. And to Ps delight they also brought the right adapters to connect the laptop (now a Windows 7/64 bits) to the Pactor-modem/HF-radio (Winlink) and NMEA (GPS). So we have email on board again and we see ourselves navigating on the computer.

The cabin roof was tackled: we took off the teak, scraped the epoxy remains off and after much of sanding and filling we added a layer of glassfiber resin

with microballoons and non-skid paint, so the roof is now maintenance free thus more manageable in the tropics.
Our liferaft was serviced and we did the usual odd jobs such as polishing and antifouling, the Windpilot which was completely stuck as a result of corrosion (seawater and aluminium), and so was the electrical steering unit, and also the stopping cable of the engine for which we fortunately carried a spare!, etc.etc.

The yard where we had left the boat is the cheapest of all yards in Chaguaramas. Very economic if you store your boat for a long time, but less practical when you are on board because it is far away from shops and restaurants. In our case this was not the end of the world as JW found huge stocks of food in the cupboards, enough for a month! P had thoroughly stocked up in Suriname (November 2009). Another piece of good luck was that our friend Peter, former neighbour across in Suriname and also the tunafisher who smuggled our cats to Suriname, went on a businesstrip for a week and lent us his car! So stocking up was easy and we also took some time off to do nice things. Such as after a day's of hard work rinse off the yard's dust in Macqueripe Bay, on Sundays busy and bustling, especially at spring tide when the sea only leaves a very small piece of sand. And play tourists: a ride through the tropical rainforest followed by a bake 'n shark on Maracas Beach we do this every year but it is always pleasant, even though the sunny weather had just changed and it rained cats and dogs.
It remained bad weather so we decided to do a city tour.

San Fernando is also called the industrial capital, but it is very different from Port of Spain. Not spectacular so no tourists in sight, but friendly and above all: chaotic. Built around a hill, one way traffic all around and no road signs; narrow steep streets and 100,000 other road users. Good for communications as we had to ask for directions all the time, and one man even hopped in the backseat to direct us to the restaurant of our choice. We would never find it, he said, and he had to go in that direction anyway. A ride for a guide.

The work on the boat took more time than planned so our departure from Trinidad would be just before carnival. A pity, as Trinidad is indeed world famous for the colourful costumes and acts and who wants to leave when The Party of the Year is coming up?! So we decided to stay. But... nothing more fickle than a bunch of sailors and when the wind suddenly veered to the east with prediction that it would back to northeast the day after carnival,
we immediately discarded the carnival plan and chose for easy sailing. Especially the first 100 miles north from Trinidad are dominated by heavy currents setting you off 40 degrees, and confused seas. Next year is an other chance to celebrate carnival (as we don't really expect to have sold the boat by then).

When launched we tied up to Peter's floating island of four tuna fishing boats. The Indonesian crew welcomed us enthousiastically with a hot shower and dinner (and immediately asked how the cats were doing), and helped mounting the Windpilot, which was at the last moment revised by Peter and one of his engineers.

And now: sailing again!

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