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 P’s 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
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:
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
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
The Indonesian crew welcomed us enthousiastically with a hot shower 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!