Happy Days in Trinidad

andromeda of plymouth
Susan and Andrew Wilson
Mon 9 Dec 2013 20:39

After Sue and Paull left us we had a week to get ready to be hauled out down at Peakes and this time things went very smoothly. Graham from Dynamite had two of his guys on board to check out the 2 thru hulls that needed attention before we even were put in the slings. Up went Andromeda to show us a very clean hull and after a good pressure wash down we were carefully placed in the chocks in a great position behind the chandlers, then a few minutes later the Dynamite guys came on board and got to work...... After 5 days of hectic activity on the hard we were put back in the water and very pleased to be back here in Crews Inn. Partly this is getting away from the ladders and the dust, but also because we have the swimming pool, daily paper and ice machine, – luuuuuverly! – and, of course, a working fridge. We were delighted with how the anti-fouling survived the season – yes, we are that sad – we were so pleased that we decided to apply another couple of coats for our return to Europe. We managed to get the hull anti-fouled, the zinc’s replaced, the prop cleaned and the thru-hulls re-bedded, which was most of what we wanted to do, and only the hull cleaning above the waterline didn’t get done largely as a result of the rain, yes, we still get a lot of rain as the Tropical Waves and Troughs come through off the Atlantic; after all we are still in the rainy and hurricane season for another month. In weather person mode as you can guess – it’s becoming a habit.....oh dear! We also celebrated our 36th Wedding Anniversary and Andromeda’s birthday with a lovely meal at Zanibars.

It was now time to get ready for the arrival of Sue and Ron who were sailing their way, or should we say cruising their way, across the Atlantic, in luxury aboard the cruise liner Ventura – how to cross the Atlantic, eh! A little different to our crossing and they still ended up in Barbados! They visited St Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St Lucia before leaving their liner in Barbados and flying down into Trinidad for a week with us. They have returned to the UK and will go onto Spain where their yacht Silver Cloud is based sometime after Christmas. However, we were looking forward to showing them around the island, and we had a few things lined up courtesy of Jesse James. Other than getting the boat ready for visitors, we are also getting Andromeda ready for our journey north and the ARC Europe in May – so lots to do on the safety front including replacing the flares, life-raft servicing, additional safety items, grab bags, provisioning, spare fuel cans, charts and a long list of other bits and pieces – what else would we do? Swim, sun bathe, drink rum punches, noodle, relax, enjoy ourselves etc? We have decided to head to Lagos in Portugal for one final season in relative warmth and to acclimatise us to a final UK return – well that’s the plan and in sailing we all know what happens when you make a plan!

The trip from the British Virgin Islands via Bermuda and the Azores back to Europe will not be as straight-forward as the trip across – if you can call our trip in 2010 straight-forward. It is tougher in terms of weather conditions, with lows coming off the continental US, colder than we may like given the cold water from the Arctic ice sheet and occasional icebergs, yup, they do come that far south, and slightly longer in terms of the overall distance sailed, though its broken down into three distinct legs – BVI to Bermuda, Bermuda to Azores, Azores to Portugal, or, for some, a return to the UK. There is, though a break of between 5-10 days between each leg to recover, change crew if necessary, and get ready for the next leg. Overall, a trip of some 6-8 weeks and some 3,400 miles and some serious sailing, what fun eh!, and rather spiffing, what!

So who is up for crewing? Great experience and character building and would look good on a CV! ;-)

With a few other folks from yachts Just Now, Serenity, Fawkes, and Aires Too we took a trip with Jesse to learn how to make Doubles, Sahinas, Baganis etc. out near Sangre Grande, (all tasted wonderful and we got our hands all wonderfully doughy and sticky), followed by visit to the Valencia wildlife centre and on to Mount St. Benedict, a monastery founded by Brazilian catholic monks, who also make home-made yoghurt. The views of the central plain were spectacular. We returned to Chaguaramas along East Main Road to Port of Spain (where we purchased early mangos, and a few potted herbs, which are not often seen), and then onto the Carenage for a very tasty Chinese lunch, ice-cream on the Boardwalk and finally back to the boat – all in all a long and filling day.

Susan managed a trip to the Indian Expo where they sell East Indian clothing, shoes, bangles etc and had a great time and only bought one thing back to the boat before she headed off to the airport to meet Sue and Ron complete with her ‘Sue and Ron Morgan ‘ sign. Sue from Silver Cloud had mentioned that she had always wanted to be greeted that way and even though Susan was meeting them (this they didn’t know) she had the sign anyway which caused much hilarity at the airport. As this was an evening flight from Barbados the traffic was very light apart from all the folk going out for a ‘lime’ and so they managed to arrive back on Andromeda at around 11.15pm.

After a few days of relaxation in and around the pool, a walk in the bamboo forest, a dip in the sea at Macaripe and a Domino’s session where Ron won the burgee for the most fun, the Sue’s went off to Port of Spain and a trip around the downtown shops (most importantly a visit to Jimmy’s for some lycra). A “Taste of Trini” tour left Sue and Ron staggering back to Andromeda very, very full, having tasted some 83 different foods and drinks – no-one wanted to eat else anything! Following a lazy day by the pool and generally chilling or “liming” as it is known in these parts, the next day saw us all take a historical tour around Port of Spain and its interesting museum, a very fine roti for lunch, a tour of Angostura Bitters (where they have revamped their museum and butterfly collection) with some wonderful rum tasting, followed by a trip to the Caroni swamp to see the Scarlet Ibis – spectacular as always. We all enjoyed the manager’s cocktail party on the Wedneday evening, lovely rum punches and food and all too soon they were getting ready to leave us and return to a cool Britain. We also had several hilarious rounds of Icelandic Rummy, fuelled, in part, by Black Label! Before leaving Sue had a couple of bikinis, and Susan a lovely dress, delivered by Debbie, who does fantastic work for very reasonable prices.

We were really pleased that Sue and Ron spent a week with us – both Sue & Ron and Sue & Paull were fantastic guests and we had a really nice time with them both and we hope they will have great memories of Trinidad and we look forward to catching up with them again somewhere else.

Alas back to work.

Piracy incident –there was a pirate attack some 20 miles west of us involving two yachts we know – thankfully, all are ok, but obviously shaken. The two boats were heading west as “buddy boats” some 10 miles off the coast of Venezuela, but for reasons that are still not entirely clear but appear to be speed related, became separated soon after leaving Trinidad. This part of the Venezuelan coast is notorious for piracy incidents. The smaller slower boat was attacked by 5 armed men in a high speed pirogue, with money, computers and other valuables etc. being taken, radios disabled, and both crew physically attacked. The pirates left the boat when a freighter appeared. The Crew managed to return to Trinidad, with the larger boat continuing on to a marina in Venezuela. It is not clear why the larger boat did not slow down sooner, nor slow down until after the slower boat was lost to view (and this is what they have said in their statement about the incident), or react sooner to the situation, but increased speed after being contacted by the Trinidad Coastguard to see if they were ok. Some information is on Noonsite (http://www.noonsite.com/General/Piracy). There are a number of views circulating amongst the rest of the cruising community about the incident – we have ours, which, knowing both yachts and crew concerned, we are happy to share with those interested.
More work to be done – batteries replaced, rig inspection, generator test and getting the final prep done still to do, so more in due course.........

Photos to follow....

Andrew & Susan
S/V Andromeda of Plymouth
Trinidad and Tobago
West Indies

P.S. And the cat is still being fed and looking very well!
You know you are a live-aboard when...
- You think butter only comes soft
- You and your partner define “taking a break” as moving about six feet apart and looking in opposite directions.
- You avoid telling people you live on a boat just so you don’t have to explain to them how you shower… again.
- You are the only one who doesn't want to win the big screen TV at the charity raffle.
- You think CSI is some sort of yacht club racing acronym.
- You know that if it moves and it shouldn't- gaffer tape it, if it doesn't move and it should - WD40 it!