Trinidad - and return to UK
Sunday, 18 March 2007- TRINIDAD 2
There has been a lot of changing boats on the dock. The English boat next to me on the inside left. Another boat came in yesterday morning. Someone was holding the bow on the dock, he was 3 spaces away from me and his stern still blew onto me. I was just about to row over to the dinghy park, so I left them to it. The dockmaster was there to push his boat off of mine. The man was rowing out to get a line on the buoy and was trying to hurry and apologising to me. I told him not to worry, the dockmaster was there and it was only plastic. I have obviously chilled out and am getting over the week that had stressed and upset me, nothing that is really suitable for this open media.
The boats on the outside have also left. I do not know where the cat went, probably somewhere more protected. The Canadian boat that was damaged has gone onto a buoy in the anchorage. Did I forget to mention that on Thursday evening, while the occupants were out, we had some big surges and although they were well back on the buoy away from the dock the bowsprit hit the edge of the dock. The dock was damaged and the end of his bowsprit, up to the steel, was floating away. This dock is known for being uncomfortable and is really only somewhere within reach of electricity and water, nothing else.
I am here really for the electricity, I can use my blender and juicer off shorepower. I will have to consider getting a more powerful inverter to run off the batteries, although the cleaning process uses a lot of water. It is a healthy diet of fresh fruit juice and banana milkshake. I have even ventured as far as carrot juice.
This morning I set off before 9 and walked to the Dragon Boat racing. I had noticed flocks of black birds circling the water, like seagulls, but somehow had a menacing feel. I saw many of these on the side of the water on the walk and they had heads like vultures, scaly like turkeys, not very nice at all. The team I was supporting came 2nd and 1st in their heats. They only got 16 points so did not make the final, although their total time was faster than all 6 teams that got 20 points.
The event was in aid of Breast Cancer and so I bought a bag and a glass(!) mug for charity and a mobile phone with a local sim card. It has a US plug and no in car charger. I am hoping that I have a 12v charger to fit it from a previous phone.
I got a few free drinks and some popcorn, I even had a chocolate mousse yoghurt, which was really adventurous for me.
I walked back and stopped off at Crews Inn, just in time to join in the lunchtime dominoes game. I had a quick lesson and we were off, I won the first round and that was the end of the help. They play from 12 down to blanks and I won. It took about 3 hours and was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon meeting new people. I walked the final part of the way with a couple from this boatyard, before it got dark.
Today I did no work on the boat, none. I should fill up the water tank, but will do that in the morning.
Monday, 19 March 2007
Back to the watermaker. It worked when I left it on Saturday, all I had to do was tidy it up. I moved the sea-water filter and pre-filter from the cockpit locker into the cupboard under the sink in the bathroom, changed the soft tube for a tougher one, did up all the connections properly with clips. I also attached the inlet for the toilet to one of the outlets on the valve, because this also had to work. I could not make it work. I tried sucking up and blowing down tubes to check I had valves the correct way, eventually I got it to work, but the filter was not full, not like it was on Saturday. It is good enough for now. I have proved the installation will work and I have biocided it so it can be left until I come back.
I hosed down under the floor in the cockpit locker and used some disinfectant, put the floor back and tidied everything away off the sides of the boat. I hosed and cleaned the bilges from the back up to the keel. Not much needs doing to the front bilges and I need to move things from under the table to get to them. I still have to tidy everything I have put in the aft cabin, but it feels much better. I had a shower and lunch and settled down to read in the afternoon. I was very tired and had a snooze. I think the first part of the book is just setting all the different aspects of the plot, but I am struggling with it at the moment.
The boatyard are now telling everyone to use the dinghy to get on and off the dock and to stay well back because sometimes it surges. I started this, before me it was everybody trying to make walks out of planks.
This is the second day that I have not been able to get any wifi signal.
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
This morning on the Cruisers Net it was announced that I won the Dominoes on Sunday, is this a good thing to broadcast?
I tidied up the boat. Under the bunk in the forecabin is now pipes on the right, wires on the left and plumbing fittings, which are heavy, in the front. This meant moving my paragliding helmet and ski boots which are now in the extended storage area. The space in the storage area was made by moving the previous occupants into the saloon locker, space there made by moving . . . . and so it goes on. The aft cabin is now officially clear. It contains the sails, ropes and hydrovane sail. The dinghy will also go in there in its bag when I haul out. Normally these items would be in use. Everything that is not seriously fixed to the outside of the boat will be inside before I leave.
I made a proper loaf, let it rise twice, and a cake. This was good because then I had a visitor. You know you know them, but then have to name islands until you suss it – David, Porto Santo, November 2005. He got to the Caribbean in May 2006, but the boatyard next door to me trashed his boat in July and he has been fighting for the money it was worth since then.
Wednesday, 21 March 2007
Heard Rebel on the radio and contacted them, they were in Cape Verdes. I am going on the Port of Spain shopping trip again. I did not buy much, but I did find the silicone baking dishes for cakes and muffins and bought some. I may find they are not suitable for gas ovens, but it is weird having soft plastic dishes to put in the oven.
Thursday, 22 March 2007
Not a good day. My keys were in the dinghy and when I pulled the bow rope the keys got caught up and went in the water. There is a float on the keys, but the padlock for the dinghy wire was attached and they have sunk. The water is 20 feet deep and murky. I tried fishing, I got in the water in my wet suit with snorkel and mask, but so far no luck. I have told the dockmaster and he was trying to get me a diver.
I abandoned the keys and put the remaining can of diesel into the tank. I went and got another can of diesel to fill the tank to reduce the condensation and put in the fuel additive to stop the bugs multiplying. I was using the outboard, although it was very slow. I checked to see if it had caught a rope, but no it was fully enclosed in a plastic bag. All the time I am at the back of the boat the dinghy gets damaged on the barnacles on the dock.
I was re arranging the ropes so that I could pull the boat forward on the buoy to give more space at the back, when I fell in the water, fully clothed. This is at least the third shower of the day.
I was going to go to the office and beg to be moved onto the land this afternoon, but the boat was in a mess with all I was doing and it would not have gone well. I decided to sit it out until Monday. I have dismantled the seat, taken out the stern board and am putting everything that is not bolted down in the aft cabin – it is getting crowded in there.
Mike came to visit and was able to get on at the back, which made me feel a bit better. We had a look at the furling gear, I will try washing it and oiling it and working the line in and out before deciding on taking the mast down. I cannot do much until I undo the line tying the gear up, I could climb up tomorrow.
Friday, 23 March 2007
8 am I was ready to climb the mast, someone came and offered to winch me up, but for some reason I said no I was ok. I did not really want to go up, I should have taken the offer, I did not climb up. I sat on the boom and did stand up, but could not reach the rope and postponed it.
The water seemed clear early and I was told the diver would come today to look for my keys; count the flying pigs. I fished for the keys again for a bit, but gave up.
I had another go at the watermaker, I have used the hull fitting for the waste water, it is too high up the waterline to be an inlet. I changed the hoses around, but it does not seem to have improved anything.
I spent some time listening to the radio on the internet and the day disappeared. Mike had invited me to watch the cricket, but I had to wait for the diver. I should have gone. At anchor I do not expect to leave the boat, but on the dock it should be easy, but I did not leave the boat all day.
Saturday, 24 March 2007
Went to the office to get a new key for the bathrooms and had a bit of a moan. Mike came by to see if I wanted a quick trip in the car to the supermarket. We went to 2 supermarkets and Mike got some bones for the dogs. On our return the dockmaster informed me that the diver had found my keys, was this related to my moan of this morning, or just co-incidence? I have the good padlock back and can rest knowing that my boat keys are not down there any more. The weather is really hot and sticky today.
Sunday, 25 March 2007
Getting the boat ready for haul out.
Monday, 26 March 2007
8am the boat was hauled out, I did not need any assistance which is rather lucky as there did not seem to be any on offer. The haul out dock was much wider than the one in Tenerife and I did not have to go into the water. The boat was pressure washed and chocked up in the boatyard. The boatyard guys certainly seemed to know what they were doing. I had to change the electricity plug again, the one that fits the dock does not fit the yard plugs. I was asked if I wanted to have grease put on the chocks to stop the ants and I said I would think about it when I had sorted myself out. Soon there was a knock on the boat, I said I was still thinking about it and how much would it be, but the guy had done it anyway, so I paid up. It is a bit strange being still after a year on the water and the boat tilts up at the front which disorientates me even more.
Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Getting the boat ready to be left. Still trying to get the washing and the ropes dry. It is supposed to be the dry season, the torrential rain is not expected at this time of year.
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Went to Customs and left them my flares as instructed previously, they did not want them really, but I was just sticking to the rules. They can have an office of explosives if they want them. Then I went to Immigration and had to fill in an arrival form, don t ask. I did not have an airline ticket and had to go to the internet café to print out a copy of the booking, luckily it was still on the account and not just on the laptop. I picked up some mail from someone to be posted in the UK. Then I went to see about a trip to the turtle nesting beach. It was on for tonight at 5. Back to the boat and yet more getting ready.
5pm it took 2.5 hours to drive the 35 miles to the beach with the turtles. Trinidad traffic is terrible from here to the airport. The last train stopped in 1968, but the roads are so bad that they are trying to bring them back. We had one turtle come up after not too long a wait. She was about 5 feet long and weighed 350 to 400 pounds. She looked quite young and had to be tagged and microchipped. She dug a hole so near to the sea that the incoming tide filled it in before she had finished digging. The beach patrol guides helped dig a soakaway and she did lay her eggs, covered up the nest and eventually made her way slowly back to the sea. One egg came out and was buried in a hole by itself a bit further up the beach. The distance away from the sea makes the sand hotter and determines the sex of the eggs. Perhaps that one will be female. The turtles should lay about 100 eggs, 6 times a season and the survival rate to maturity is about 1 per turtle. It is a lot of hard work for 1 turtle. These are leatherback turtles and endangered. Seeing a live one did convince me that the white ghostly carcass that floated by me at sea off one of these islands was a leatherback turtle, I did not realise then that they totally decompose, even the shell. We arrived back at the yard at 1 in the morning.
Thursday, 29 March 2007
Last few hours to get ready to go. Taxi at 12.30 to the airport. That will be it until I return, scheduled for July.