Chaguaramus: 'you have reached your destination'

Wed 12 Jun 2013 13:15
Wednesday June 12th 2013
Position 10:40.75N 61:38.2W  The anchorage, Chaguaramus Bay
Actually my Tom Tom doesn't talk to me, but it does give a curious message: it says, on screen, 'you have reached your waypoint, do you wish to continue navigating, or cancel navigation?'. I always press cancel navigation at this point, as I am afraid that the machine would otherwise take over, and decide for itself where to go next: to the stars, a parallel universe, or more likely the nearest sandbank. But I digress, this is our destination for now, and Fleck will be hauled in a day or two, and dry out until next year.
Chaguaramus was a US Base in WW2, it is in a lovely spot, sheltered from the trades, and with offlying islands. The scale of the yachting Industry is amazing: forrests of masts everywhere, like a trip up the Hamble River. But these boats are on land, sitting out the hurricane season, south of the hurricane belt. The boatyards all seem pretty full, so I am hoping that there is space at the Yard that already has my hefty deposit: I am off to see them when their office opens in an hours time, and then armed with a haul date, I can book a flight home, well, back to the UK, anyway.
It has been an eventful 24 hours: Maracas Bay, a very peaceful overnight anchorage, was soon astern as we made gentle early morning progress, downwind and current, towards the Western Tip of Trinidad. To get round to Chaguaramus you have to go south through a narrow channel between the mainland and an off lying island; the Bocca de Monos. As the end of Trinidad loomed, so an acceleration zone appeared, with winds suddenly up to 25 kts. No problem, reef down a bit and swing south into the Bocca. But suddenly, sails straining, we are going backwards, there is a six knot current flowing out. No problem, engine on. Then big problem, overheat alarm sounds, engine off, turn round, and washed out to sea into the choppy race which is now carrying us towards Venezuela. I change the rig to start beating back up the Trinidad Coast, the boat is very uncomfortable and wet in the chop, but we at least seem to be staying in Trinidad. Forever cooling problems with this engine. First you check the water inlet strainer, and bingo, it is empty, there is a blockage in the through hull inlet pipe. Seems to be quickly cleared, but when the engine is turned back on only a dribble of water runs through the exhaust, and the overheat alarm comes back on. Something must have got into the engine when I lifted the strainer to clean it? Companionway steps dismantled to gain engine access, Water pump and hoses to the heat exchanger dismantled, impeller chacked, pipes blown through, no blockage. Reassembled, engine back on: overheats. So do I. Check strainer again, blocked again: what can it be: something sitting over the inlet on the outside of the hull: a Jules Verne giant squid moment? Prodded and poked through the inlet, blockage cleared, and a dense fountain of seawater now spurting into the cabin. Inlet cap located and screwed back on. Engine on, problem solved. By the time that I got back to the Bocca the worst of the current had abated (there is quite a lot of tide around here), and we hardly needed the engine! Once through the Bocca, Chaguaramus bay opened up, peace and tranquility restored.
The blog is now closing down for the hurricane season, If all is well, then more next year.