Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Wed 22 Jul 2009 22:27
En route to Trinidad and Chaguaramas
Well excitement on a GRAND scale, just before we left Bear stuck his head in the bedroom and asked did you just make a loud crack noise - "No, what have I got in here that do that then". Keep it clean people. Racing past him to get a look outside, we saw a man laying flat in a high speed but small craft with Customs in hot pursuit firing off a full clip of bullets. As we were just undoing ropes said Customs was seen towing small but fast craft behind him, said prone man now in handcuffs looking sorry for himself next to Customs men. Marina man, Junior was most put out, "this just doesn't happen in Grenada, let alone in St Georges, and definitely not in Port Louis. I just don't believe it". Had he have watched One Foot in the Grave he would have got the voice and pitch right..................
Off we went at 18:15 on the 19th of July. We got out to sea without further ado until we heard a Pan Pan message to be on the lookout for a snorkeler who had gone missing on the 15th of July from a beach in Grenada. I thought "if I see a body I may have to turn my head because I know the paperwork is gross, but then again it would give a family closure, so please may it not be us".
The wind was just strange and fluky, the sea didn't now what to do and the tidal current all held hands to have our speed at 2.2 knots in eighteen knots of wind. We had supper and fell in to our usual shift pattern.
Next day we saw Trinidad slowly appearing through the clouds. Time for our last flag change of the season. A rare sight at this time of year to see a cruise ship.
Funny to see the gap slowly get bigger as we approach to sail through into sheltered waters that are really green in colour.
Through the gap and beyond we can see masts. Scotland Bay anchorage.
First thing that struck us was hundreds of Pelican at a conference
Past the house on the promontory we knew we had to turn left.
Next up was a Trinidadian (Trinny-day-dian) Naval Base
Little could prepare us for the sheer size of Chaguaramas. This is just the first of the thirteen boatyards.
Every size of vessel can come here and get just about anything fixed, replaced or repaired, painted, fibreglassed, waxed and polished, oh err Mrs.
The industrial end
A fairly big chap and a fishing vessel in for an MOT
We arrived at 17:20 on the 20th July knowing we should go straight to the Customs jetty, off Bear went to do his stuff. An officious woman told him I had to be there. I sat for two hours watching hideous US TV. Then the rains came. The first picture is of the lighthouse on the customs pontoon, it is a twenty four hour entry port, of course you are charged overtime after 16:00. View of Crews Inn (another yard) and across their visitors pontoons.
Bear now in Immigration. "Oh we have a parcel for you, come back for it tomorrow or we will charge you overtime on it". Heaven knows what goes on behind the curtain. I didn't want to ask. An hour later it is still raining and Bear has not moved, we ARE on Caribbean time you know. Out at nearly dark we went to anchor, took a while to dig in but both tired time for an early night. When I eventually went for said parcel I was directed out the back to await the opening of a four foot high dungeon-like door containing parcels.
22nd July. Up bright and breezy with a job list as long as Beez Neez we set forth. Booked in, picked up the forms for our haul out at Peakes, met Suzanne in charge of letting sheds for stuff. Met Troy aka Head Honcho. Went to KNJ to organise bow thruster replacement. Shiva is to be our Clerk of Works when we are in the UK. Calypso for a quote for cockpit cushions and chat to Jim on Delicado - Pam and Pete from Troutbridge had gone shopping - while Jim was quietly electrocuting himself. We ambled to seek the bar, had some lunch feeling chuffed with what we had achieved, had a chat to Pam and some good info from Pete post shopping trip. His legs looked like the mossies had won, time to check the stores of insect repellent. Plan to go get ships papers, shower, finalise paperwork with Peakes and meet Jim, Pam and Pete for a small sherbet at five. Meantime I had met Mark the fabricator, after he had finished with Pete and - no sooner the word than the blow - I got him to come with us to Baby Beez to look at our metalwork needs on Beez Neez. NO. Baby Beez engine would not start. Mark gave us his number and disappeared. I waited for Bear to go seek help. Took this picture to the right of the bar. The size of just this boatyard is vast. Baby Beez to the left of these stern-to boats.
Bear found an outboard engineer. No he needed tools, off he went, we sat in the sun and waited. He gathered another Troy and he went for his tools, we sat in the sun. Troy was just to the spark plug phase of checking when the heavens not only opened they slammed the gates back. Photos show first engineer - orange shirt, then Troy and Bear getting their heads together. Bear debunking, followed by Troy. Then running for it. Whilst we sheltered Troy told us that this would happen every afternoon around four until a hurricane was birthed here. Then things would clear and settle. Meantime Pete had just had his outboard serviced and very kind lent it to us. A HUGE THANK YOU as Bear had to be at Crews Inn at 07:30 the next morning to get to the US Embasssy for his 08:30 appointment. My new chipped passport meant I could apply on -line for a waiver. Poor Bear had to wait three and a half hours before seeing anyone. I had stayed on board to do chores. After all the waiting he stood in front of a bloke for all of three minutes to get his visa application done THEN he has to go and pick it up on Friday, this is all just to LAND at JFK, not tour the US. He said there were about two hundred waiting with him. Great system for the supposed leader of the western world.
The usual view from the bar out to sea. Many boats at anchor waiting for the hurricane season to pass or like us waiting for their haul slot.
PLAN. Take our outboard to Troy, take the kayak, scrub Baby Beez, put her in our storage shed and kayak back to Beez. Plan set, really simple, I had forgotten that the best laid plans usually end "tits up" Oh don't they just....... Bear returned Pete's outboard, they returned, hauled out Baby Beez for me to scrub while they carried our engine to Troutbridge ready for Troy to pick up. We knew we could borrow a barrow to get Baby Beez from the dinghy dock to the shed and then just have to man-handle her up the stairs to number sixteen. Bear returned with the main key to get into storage, no barrow. We got the dinghy up over our heads but, me at the front couldn't see where I was going.
Plan B, carry like a stretcher, off we went. I gathered a passing Frenchman and John who was working on a boat. Much better with four of us - "Thank You boys, buy you a beer later". Beer and a sandwich later it was time to blow up the kayak. That went well, oars fitted together. I chose to get settled in the back and Bear was supposed to gently get in the front. NO. My hero and defender leapt like a bull at a gate and guess what, we tipped over. My dress is now floating over my head, "tits up" and out, legs akimbo, laughing so hard people around us started to laugh too. A Swedish man said "I bet you are English".
Plan C. Bear get in and settled. I stand astride and lower my weight evenly. Marvellous off we set. Stopped to chat to a Dutchman en route who is going to explore the Orinoco River. Back at Beez, Bear out, our new American friend motored over to see if we had made it only to find me have a swim fully clothed. I should put in that he became our friend when I went running after him in the boatyard and scooped him into a huge hug, I thought he was Pete, he looked like him Honest Guv.......... I had decided that to haul myself out of the back of the kayak was like being reborn so I just loosed upside-down. The couple on the boat behind us stared in abject horror that a madwoman was anchored next to them, and swimming fully clothed. I climbed the swim ladder like a lady, slipped into the cockpit and had an al fresco shower.
Plan D. An early night after watching a film. Hopefully with a kayak pumped much harder and a better plan, tomorrow may be a little more orderly??????
Total miles 5892.36. Looking forward to visiting family and friends back home.
Congratulations to Peter and Rita for getting away on holiday - the first in their love bug since the arm repair op.
ALL IN ALL STRANGE TO BE AT OUR FINAL PORT OF CALL FOR THIS SEASON