Archive for: ‘April 2012’

Rain, Races, and Refuse: Trinidad

April 28, 2012 Posted by Deb

There hasn’t been much of a dry season for Trinidad this year. Here is a typical little dry season surprise that hit us when we were on a mooring in Chag. Click on the photo to see a video of the downpour.

Rain in Trinidad

The boys trot out their toys on the weekend and do test runs. The attrition rate is so high for their races, I wonder why they bother testing. This photo links to a video, too. Just click on it.

Racing Boat in Trini

And, we are living in a sewer. The tide moves a small island of debris around the bay so I shot a sample of plastic drifting by. Deb hates it when I do this. About an hour ago, a 200 lb bag of rotted fish guts got jammed between our hull and the dock. It will be days before we get rid of the smell.

Floating Garbage

The scenic sites are also a garbage dump.

Scenic Garbage

Not so Tough: Trinidad

April 25, 2012 Posted by Deb

Seventeen years ago we shrugged off the heat and the rain to party hard in Trinidad. This time, we held out for a couple of weeks in the anchorage but a Chinese freighter had our number. His smokestack was directly up wind of us day after day making our eyes water and the air unfit to breathe.

We bailed out of the anchorage and moved into Crews Inn, a nice marina with great amenities and nice parties. That move came with a price tag that is 1.5 times a monohull but we sort of like it so far.

Neytiri in CrewsInn

Crews Inn

We get a paper delivered to the boat every morning, a mild salt water pool, new showers, a great crew working the docks, a small American like town inside the compound, and a set of contractors a mile long. We also got to try shore power for the first time. When we finally traced the system, found all the breakers, and rewired the plugs, the charger was DOA. We’re working on getting the TV cable working and we’ll have water but the power won’t be happening soon. Did we mention we’re about the only boat in Crews Inn that does not have A/C. We’ll probably need to rectify that before we have company.

So … Why are We Here

The sail cover, salon cushions, awning, watermaker, solar panel, 220 system, sewing machine repair, and woodworking projects are all going well and prices are good. The sailors here are great even though few and the hiking is as good as we remembered.

Bamboo Cathedral

Hike To Macqueripe Bay

Floorboard Project

April 23, 2012 Posted by Deb

Ten or so years of shower drips turned one of our floorboards into balsa and the veneer was sunken and cracked.

Rotten Floorboard

What better place than Trinidad to get that repaired or replaced. The bids were coming in at around $100 US and we should’ve gone with it since we were about to blow significantly more that that by leaving the anchorage. I had an idea of how it should be done and the guys bidding on the repair weren’t quite on the same page. I decided to do it myself and turn the cockpit into a sawdust pit and epoxy area again. My Grenada plywood kit came into play again and since I couldn’t buy 5/8th without buying a whole sheet, I decided to construct a piece of 5/8 ply. Below is my attempt at creating another layer to add to my half inch, badly warped and delaminated starting piece.

Plywood Layers

Once the piece of 5/8ths is fabricated, squeeze it into the cleaned out area with enough pressure to re-flatten the original veneer.

Taste of Trinidad

April 22, 2012 Posted by Deb

We took a lap of the island with Jesse James and seven cruisers on a trip he has done about 20 times since 2011. It is eleven hours long and you lap a good portion of the island eating local specialties (count was close to 60 different foods) pretty much continuously. There are so many stops that for many of them, Jesse jumps out of the car, rounds up the food, and we pass it around while driving. My favorites were doubles and his pineapple thing on Manzanilla Beach.

Breakfast Dishes                                       

DoublesCoconut Bake, Buljoh (Saltfish with Vegetables), Smoked Herring, Cheese Pie, Beef Pie, Roast Bake

Lunch/Savoury Snack Dishes

BBQ Pigs Tail, Buttered Cassava and Parsley, Stew Beef, Saheena (Callaloo), Kitchore (Chic Pea), Bighynee, Aloo (Potatoes), Chitetoe, Parata Roti, Buss Up Shop, Palourie (Chicken Balls), Dhalpori, Curry Chicken, Curry Goat, Curry Chicken Gizzard, Curry Mango, Curry Pumpkin, Macaroni Pie, Bake and Shark, Pineapple Chow, Stew Pork 

Fruits and Nuts

Mango, Silk Fig, Brazil Nut, Sapodilla, Water Melon, Cocoa, Grapefruit, Pommerack


 Malby, Sorrel, Passion Fruit and Mango, Coconut Water


 Ballerina, Coconut Turnover, Sweet Bread, Cassavapone, Barfi, Kurma, Gullar Jamoon, Tamarind Balls, Fudge


 Vegetable Pelau Rice, Geera Pork, Cinnamon Fried Plantains, Green Fig Salad, BBQ Pork

Taste of Trini

Manzanilla Beach

Taste of Trini Tour

Trini Tour

Cowbird Nests

Welcome to Trinidad

April 14, 2012 Posted by Deb

We’re on day four of Trinidad. It is not the island we remembered but we’re still adaptable and camping tough. Of course we don’t camp downwind from an Asian freighter too often. We pulled into the customs dock and got the beast tied up without any line handlers ashore. Trini customs is still the paperwork nightmare that we remembered so fondly but their offices are nicer. Crews Inn Marina is new and a Chaguaramas version of what the old TTYC used to be. TTYC is now TYC and is local power boats mostly, TTYA is now TTSA and is local boats with the exception of maybe 3 or 4 liveaboard cruisers (used to be us and 100’s of others), and Chaguaramas is, how should I say, now commercially mature.

We left customs and tried our hand at the reduced anchoring zone now full of mooring balls. A storm was rolling in so we took a bit of a lap around to wait for it to clear. We grabbed a front row seat mooring right off Power Boats and right on the main channel. We found out soon why it was empty. It was busy, noisy, bright, smelly, and no wind. We moved to of Simon the Diver’s mooring out in the center and are marginally happier.

Neytiri Chagauramas Anchorage

Simon the DiverSimon the Diver

He’s a full blown rasta who lives in a catamaran that was given to him by Scotland Yard. The boat was seized with “a lot” of cocaine on board and stayed on his mooring for over a year. They eventually just gave him the boat for back mooring fees. I asked him when he was going to inspect our mooring and he said he does them all according to the moon and his religion. He said his moon guide book is always right and predicted 9/11. Anyway, the moon says my mooring will get inspected on Monday.

Dress Code

It is 90 degrees already in Trinidad and the humidity is higher. We wear shorts, sandals, and t-shirts and Deb goes sleeveless when possible. From customs right down through the waterfront restaurants there are signs that have “Dress Code” at the top. Long pants required, no flip flops, no sleeveless, no bare backs, and more. Of course I didn’t see them until day two in the daylight and we’ve violated the code in every restaurant we’ve been in. We haven’t been tossed out yet but we have definitely been underdressed compared to the other clientele. We have since learned that the code is more for the guys than the ladies and that most ignore it. Horst on Sunborne said if you hold up a 100 TT bill, you could walk in to the restaurant naked.

Sails-Restaurant Trinidad

 So … Why Are We Here


Trinidad is a good place to get boat work done and one of the cheapest places to haul or so we heard. We’ll see about the work but the haulout is about the same. Plane tickets are nicely priced so we’re getting guests. The outer islands are still good if you avoid the weekends. We just scored laundry, water, garbage, and shower rights at Peakes for about $18 US/month and the showers are great. Hot water showers is another big change in 17 years … we’ve found them everywhere and many are solar powered. Oh … we got our first bids in on work and they are running around 50% of Grenada so far.

Still … I took a few shots that are not very flattering to Chaguaramas and we’ll see if Deb includes them with company coming and all.

Hog Island: Grenada

April 9, 2012 Posted by Deb

We went to the re-opening celebration of Hog Island seventeen years ago when they let Roger open up his shack (Roger’s Bar) again after running his operation and the cruisers off the island. We hiked over there and Roger is still operating. He didn’t remember us but we hoisted one anyway. The operation is bigger now with benches and picnic tables and there is an exotic mix of cruisers and locals with a live band. The cruisers anchor in a tight pack within a rocks throw of the beach and they were having a 70th birthday potluck for a cruiser when we got there.

Hog Island

On the way there, near Secret Harbor Marina, we took a few shots to add to the bombed out resort collection. There are hundreds of these all over the Caribbean and I can’t help but take the odd shot of one of us bellying up to a defunct bar.

Bombed Out Resort1

Bombed Out Resort 2

Port Side Entropy

April 7, 2012 Posted by Deb

Ten years of refrigerator condensation had done a number on the port subfloor and supports. This part of the boat was mentioned in the survey so it was a known problem. With company coming, we didn’t want guests crashing through the floor into the bilge so I starting hacking, sawing, chiseling, and ripping rotten lumber out of the port side. You can see the starting point on the left but it doesn’t do justice to the extent of the problem.

Rotten Wood

The shot on the right is about a day or so later with the entire starboard side of the hallway over two bilge sections gone plus we cut out half the floor of a locker under the compressors.

Lumber is an issue. Plywood is sold by the sheet at exorbitant prices and it isn’t delivered. We solved the problem by buying a damaged sheet, paying to cut the bad half off, and walking about a mile carrying a half sheet of plywood. We propped it up in the dink and succeeded in keeping it from kiting off. The half sheet only cost about 25 EC ($8-9 US) and I found out why. They call it plywood here on the island but it is really a plywood kit, glue not included. The voids and layer separations were unbelievable (on the left).

We watched Eric from Sherpa buy plywood for his new boat and learned to appreciate the fine art of plywood selection. This stuff wasn’t even worth burning. Since we were going to epoxy it anyway, we figured the plywood was just the mold and pushed on.

We had to replace all the subfloor beams that we tore out so we took our newly purchased plywood kit and cut out our beams. Of course we left three skilsaws (one cordless) in Iowa so we got to rip plywood the old fashioned way, hoping the layers would stay together. To the right are three new 1×1¼ inch beams as well as the first of the bulkhead replacement pieces.

Plywood Kit and Beams

Drying session one was the bulkhead piece and two small beams. Drying session two included some of the longer supporting beams.

Drying Sessions

Weighted DownAll the weight in the shot to the left is plywood manufacturing. We used all the weight that would fit to simply crush the layers of plywood back together after an epoxy bath.

AqueductThe above is all academic if the source of the water isn’t stopped. We had expert advice, insulated, packed, and sponged but nothing would stop the flow of water from the main refrigerator down through the locker and two bilges. I figured if you can’t stop the water, control it. The following shot is a couple of feet of half inch PVC ripped lengthwise and glued to the hull to catch water like an aqueduct and flow it into a clear plastic tube exiting on the right. I call it a temporary fix because it treats a symptom but it is working really well.

And finally, after about a week of one to two drying sessions per day, the subfloor goes back on.

Subfloo rDrying

And here’s the new port floor that will not eat people.


Lightening Up: Secret Harbor Grenada

April 2, 2012 Posted by Deb

For a week we’ve been accumulating treasures of the bilge for the swap meet today. All said and done, we are well over 150 pounds lighter now. We put a price tag on pressure cookers, pans, plates, alternators, cordless drills, inverters, outboard motor security bars, and other stuff at about a dime on the dollar and it flew off our table. The pressure cooker, pans, and plates went to the restaurant so if you eat at the Secret Harbor Marina, you might be eating off our stuff. I felt a bit sorry for one guy who had outdated electronics, old GPS’s, old chart plotters and chart cards. He had huge prices marked on the stuff and was talking himself hoarse telling everyone how much the stuff cost new. Well, electronics lose value faster than produce and you get a GPS for opening a checking account now. Deb’s Xoom could smoke most of that stuff and the app was $16.95.

Navionics Ap for Tablet