If Knot Y Knot
Patricia Day
Sat 17 Mar 2007 18:32

Friday, 9 March 2007 - TRINIDAD


I was going to arrive just as customs and immigration were closing for lunch, so I slowed down along the bay.  I tied up to the customs pontoon and turned the engine off at 13:00 exactly.  I did not want to be there long as the pontoon was fixed and my stanchions were in danger of being swept under and damaged as the tide went up and down. 


The European islands use Euros and are metric, I have to admit that this is now what I am used to, they also use pre-carbonated minimal info forms and do not make a fuss.  The other islands, mainly ex-British, have their own currency, but quote in US$.  You hand over US$ or their own currency and get change in their currency, at an exchange rate that is good for them.  They make more of a deal out of the paperwork and still use carbon paper, which I thought went out in the early 70s.  This should be the last check in for several months. 


Then I went and anchored.  While the engine was warm I changed the oil and the filter and the reverse gear oil.  I was too tired to do that really, but apart from making a big mess and spilling a fair bit of new oil I am glad that was done.


Saturday, 10 March 2007


Chaguaramas has a Cruiser Net and I announced my arrival to the local world of boaters and asked about haul outs.  After the Net I was back on the radio to one of the boats.  Mike came in on the discussion and offered to take me in, this saved me getting the dinghy down.  I decided to go on the dock as my batteries really needed sorting out.  Mike had his dinghy so he tied my bow rope to the buoy and then I just had to spin the boat round and rope up stern to the pontoon.  The pontoon is fixed and high.  The dock guy asked me, quite nicely, to tighten up the bow rope, but I explained that I was tired and warned him that I was going to kill him, tear his liver out and eat it if he did not give me a bit of time to get myself sorted.  Having got myself off the customs dock I needed to change the ropes around.  I had to swap the rope on the buoy for one that reached there and back so that I could have both ends on the boat.  A passing dinghy did this for me.  Then I was able to sort the shore ropes.  I had to give a 300$ deposit on the shorepower plug, American type.  I checked my battery charger is ok on 50 or 60 Hz and the electrician attached the plug and I have mains electricity for the first time in ages.  I had to launch the dinghy and row over to the dinghy park to get on and off the boat as I cannot climb up onto the dock– which is a bit of an effort just to turn the tap on and off, so I leave it on with the spray end turned off. 


Mike came back and invited me to go and meet some friends of his that were anchored round the corner and soon off to Patagonia.  I had an hour to get sorted.  In that time I also had to catch an adrift dinghy, because someone shouted from the balcony of the restaurant, but nobody came to get it.  I lent an oar to someone to row it back across.  I threw everthing back in the locker and the boat and went off. 


Mike has two dogs, they seemed to like me, and a cat – enough said.  We motored round the corner and there was nobody there.  We changed to a different anchorage, I think that was my fault, but it looked a bit scary.  Instead we had one with half submerged wrecks that were going to creak all night, but at least I could see other yachts moored over the other side of the water and it did not feel quite so odd.  Some guys got dropped off by boat and were having a bit of a party all night.  I certainly would not have anchored there, but the dogs made it ok.  


Sunday, 11 March 2007


Spent the day at anchor on Loralae.  Slow Dancing, Beth and Richard, came over by dinghy to tell us about the Dragon Boat racing next Sunday.  Mike wanted to be shown how to use his sewing machine.  It is a very old, manual, but has a good feel.  There was an awning that needed hemming and the attachment tapes sewn on, I ended up doing this, but I am sure Mike learnt a lot by watching.


Monday, 12 March 2007


We got back to our anchorage in the morning.  The people we had gone to meet were in this anchorage.  They must have arrived just before we departed, they said the wind had picked up out there.


Tuesday. 13 March 2007


Motivated myself to take the sails down.  The main looks fine, but the genoa needs most of the stitching redone.  I noticed the mast gap narrows at the spreaders, this may be why I am having trouble winching it out.  I must get the rigger to look at it, I am going to ask about mast steps and a rigging check at the same time. 


Wednesday, 14 March 2007


I went on the shopping trip.  I had to find out where to catch the minibus, and make sure I was on the right one.  There were two buses picking up at the same time from the same places, one went to the cash and carry store and the other was going to Port of Spain town centre.  I went from the marina to the security gate and then was told to go and stand under The Tree.  The bus went past me to the security gate, but the other bus phoned them and said where I was.  We were given a map with highlighted spots.  If went up the street highlighted in brown we were to hold on to everything we had.  If we went East of that street then nobody would be responsible for whatever might happen to us.  It was mainly a fabric trip.  The material selection here is extensive and not expensive.  There was nothing I was looking for and Michelle and I took a long lunch.  I did buy some Cadburys chocolate, including Cream Eggs and Mini Eggs, it is Easter soon.   I bought a new pair of sunglasses, 400 UV and Polarised for about £15.  I also bought some fruit, now that I can use the juicer and blender as I have shorepower.  Then we headed for the pick up point where I had a donut and a chilled coffee, it was lovely, but the air conditioning made me a bit cold.  I cannot see that Trinidad is worse than a lot of places, but this was my first trip out.


Ken and Michelle came over and had tea and cake and he answered my battery query.  No surprises, the setting is ok, but I need new service batteries and should consider putting in more if I can charge them.  They are going up the Orinoco soon. 


Some large boats have long enough passarelles to reach, but the dock is very rolly and other people have now resorted to using the dinghy.


Having taken the sails out the rolling is causing the furling gear to rattle in the mast.  The noise is amplified inside and I had to move into the aft cabin and use earplugs to get any sleep.  I knew this would annoy the neighbours.  The next night at 19:30 the S African broke down first and asked if I could do something about the mast noise.  Unfortuntely not, but I will go and see the rigger in the morning and see if he has any ideas as I need to ask him other things as well.


Thursday, 15 March 2007


I finished servicing the engine, the fuel and pre-fuel filters and flushing out the heat exchanger.  Then I tidied up the mess.  I am so pleased with myself when I have finished, now that I know that I can do it.  If I win the lottery I may feel duty bound to redistribute the wealth and let someone else do it; I must buy a ticket sometime. 


Then I checked the batteries, following Steve s instructions.  The service batteries are ok on shorepower, but they do not have a green light and I am sure they will be replaced before I leave with the boat.  The engine battery was ok and the reading went up when I turned the engine on.  I had to put it in gear to get the revvs up, I must see to that throttle cable sometime.  This infers that not only is the alternator working, but I have put the engine back together properly.  I have slightly overfilled the coolant, but I will drain some off when I get back if it has not evaporated in this heat.


Then it was time to have another attempt to make the watermaker work through the proper plumbing with the seacock and the seawater filter.  I seemed to have accessed every locker to get tools or pipes and everywhere was a mess.  Mike came by and had a look.  There may be an air leak.  We work differently, he may well be right, but I wanted to try something first.  I gave up for today and spent the evening tidying the boat.  I only put the important things back in the locker, everything else is on the side of the boat to give me less to move every time.  I tidied up all the inside and felt back in control.


Friday, 16 March 2007


Went to the chandlery and bought a smaller strainer and then to the sailmaker to get some sail thread.  I was going to get one white and one burgundy, but the white only came in large and I did not have enough money for both.  The white was more important.  I must get used to the fact that it feels like I am carrying a lot of money around, but 100TT$ does not buy much,about £10.


Mike had bought some canvas for a new awning, I think it is to shade the dogs on deck, which is a good cause.  I was going to sew the seam, but my machine did not work.  Why is it that the bobbin case causes more problem than any other part of the machine.  I have lost a screw (in the bobbin case) and the top spring feed is not right.


Mike showed me where Budget Marine was by dinghy, he had told me before, but I could not spot which cutting it was when I was trying to find it.  We took both dinghies because I need to use the outboard otherwise I get worried it will throw me out again.  The dinghy is not easy to row and with a lump of outboard on the end it is even more difficult.  The motor started easily enough.  Perhaps we are getting there.  I bought some more fittings to reduce the stopcock straight down to ½” as I only had fittings to do it in two steps.  I am not happy to play with the brass fittings with the boat in the water.  This takes two big wrenches and if I go the wrong way I could stress the fitting and crack the hull, this means water comes in and the boat starts to sink.  If I wait until the boat is out of the water then I cannot test whether the fitting will work.  Mike changed the brass part and I replumbed the watermaker and it works, but not properly.  Is this a bad connection letting in air, or the through hull fitting.  Enough for today, I tidied up and cleaned up.  Mike picked me up and I sewed the seam on his machine.  I think this is a work in progress one seam at a time; rather like my watermaker, one fitting at a time. 


I managed to get on the wifi for the first time in a couple of days.


Saturday, 17 March 2007


I had one more go at the watermaker.  I have replumbed it from the seawater intake for the toilet.  This basically works better than the fitting in the locker.  I shall now have to go through the whole installation and do all the joints properly – Monday.


It has taken me this long to remember that with wifi I can get the radio.  I shall now catch up with the Archers and then BBC 7.