On dry land in Trinidad

Alia Vita
Rob & Frances Lythgoe
Fri 23 Jan 2015 20:26
We are slowly getting organised in Trinidad. A couple of posts ago I told you that we had had an exciting sail between St Lucia and St Vincent if I recall correctly. Well whilst looking through some photos I found this one that I think is quite good. 


When ever the wind gets up we have to put a reef in to reduce the sail area, when it eases we take the reef out and increase the sail area again. In between each sail change we always tidy all the lines so that we are ready for the next one. In this instance we took one reef and then the next straight away, we also had a few other maneuvers to contend with whilst sailing through a wind acceleration zone (which occur at the top and bottom of each island) which coincided with a strong squall that passed through at exactly the same time. This is the result of all hands on deck, (OK, both of us) using every line we have in just a few minutes whilst all hell let loose and without getting chance to tidy up. Good job they are all colour coordinated. More importantly, good job we have learned what all the colours actually mean. When the wind blows here it blows all at once and there's no time to waste.

On Monday we are off to the US Embassy in the capital, Port of Spain, for our interviews. They will presumably be the ones to decide if we are suitable people to visit the USA or not. We have already completed a very lengthy on-line form and paid our fees, so Frances says that so long as I'm on my best behavior we should be OK. On the form we had to fill in I have already told them that I am not entering the USA to take part in human trafficking, terrorist activity, prostitution and a long list of other misdemeanors, so I don't know why they actually need to meet me.

We have now hauled the boat out of the water to get a few outstanding cosmetic jobs attended to at reasonable prices. In the Med we couldn't get a quote to haul out for much less than 1,000 Euros plus another 50 euros a night to keep the boat on land whilst work was done. Here we have hauled the boat for £200 with the first 5 nights on land free. Now that's my kind of boat yard. Labour is also much, much cheaper here, just as professional and they are lot happier whilst they are doing it.

To pull the boat out all I had to do was drive this 27 foot (8m) wide boat onto a sunken trailer in about 3 feet of water with the tidal current doing its very best to make sure that I can't keep it straight. What could possibly go wrong?  In the event, my second approach was acceptable and we made it out. Two tractors are then chained in tandem to pull us up the ramp and then the trailer is towed around the yard with our home wobbling about on top. Always a bit of a 'heart in mouth' moment, but we are now sat securely on some wooden blocks and 'Team Alia Vita' as I have christened them have already set about transforming the exterior of the boat back to showroom condition. Her paintwork had lost its shine, but the guys here are very professional and working hard. After only two days a transformation is already taking place. 

We have hired a car for a few days from tomorrow so that we can explore a bit and get to our interview on Monday. A report on how we find Trinidad will follow, but so far so good. Carnival is famous here and they tell it is second only to Rio. The island is already warming up for the event which takes place in mid Feb and we are likely to see bands and groups going through their paces this weekend.  Only downside here so far is telephones. We got an international SIM card sorted that was supposed to give us coverage at reasonable prices everywhere, but we are yet to get it to work. Standard rates are £1.50 a minute to make or receive so we wont be calling just for a chat.