November 2011 - Trinidad to Grenada

1 November 2011   Chaguaramas, Trinidad 
The Eco-tech electrician came back early in the morning (after ringing us to see how rolly the anchorage was.)  He’d changed the starter capacitor and checked the internal components of the motor.  He says that there is a little bit of heat damage to the windings, but it should be OK for a few more years.  He managed to refit the pump assembly and most of the wiring before he had to rush up into the cockpit to stare at the horizon and sip water.  I finished connecting the wiring and started the water maker up.  It worked fine, so I tidied up and took the electrician back to terra firma.

Glenys went shopping in the morning on an organised taxi run to Circular Mall.  We’d swapped phones so that I had our Trinidad SIM card.  When she got back she discovered that she didn’t have my number, but she managed to scam a lift from a local in a pirogue.  

We lounged about in the heat of the afternoon and had a quiet night in.

2 November 2011   Chaguaramas, Trinidad 
I spent most of the day trying to fit the table to the arch.  It was a very frustrating day because it kept raining and preventing me from working.  I only had to drill seven holes through the stainless steel tubing, but it was a mission because stainless steel is so hard and my drill bits are cheap and nasty.  I snapped a couple of drills, so I had to go and buy some more.  Once I’d drilled the holes, I went to the chandlers and bought some bolts.  I couldn’t get the size that I wanted, so I had to re-drill the holes to open them out.  I just managed to get the table fitted before dark.


I also removed the wind generator.  It was a little precarious balancing on the top of our Arch trying to remove the 10 kg unit.  There are many local boats that whizz through the anchorage and cause us to roll with their bow waves.   Of course, the sight of me stood on the arch attracted them to come and have a closer look…  I was a little too impatient with the job and (stupidly) yanked too hard on the cable to lift the unit off – the cable pulled out of the connectors.  I now have the end of the cable somewhere down inside the stainless steel tubing and might have a major problem to re-wire it.  

I took the wind generator into Kiss Energy to get it looked at.  Unfortunately, Doug wasn’t there.  The guys who work for him are very difficult to talk to - they just shrugged their shoulders and pointed for me to leave it on top of a box.  Fortunately, I’d been prepared for this and left a note for Doug with the unit.  I tried to ring Doug later in the afternoon, but no joy.  I hope that this doesn’t turn in to a drawn out saga.

3 November 2011   Chaguaramas, Trinidad 
We dragged ourselves out of bed at quarter past six and caught a taxi to the US Embassy in Port of Spain.  We had to queue outside for half an hour with the other people who had an eight thirty appointment.  Once inside we went through a security scanner, then handed our passports and confirmation papers to a clerk.  We then took a seat with the other 200 applicants.  

Two hours later, we were called to a small booth, where we had our fingerprints scanned.  The guy asked a few banal questions about why we wanted to go to the USA – I reckon that these were just time fillers while he processed our finger prints and scanned through our application forms.  We were granted our visas, then queued to pay 50TT each to have the passports sent back to us and that was it.

We did a little bit of shopping in town and grabbed a roti for lunch.  There was nothing else that we wanted in town, so we caught a mini-bus back to Chaguaramas.  I called in to Kiss Energy, in the vain hope of catching Doug there.  No chance.  One of the more communicative of his workers pointed at my wind generator which was in bits on a bench and mumbled that he was waiting for Doug to come back and tell him what to do. Ah well, at least they’ve started on it. 

Back on the boat, we chilled out for the afternoon and then went to a pot luck barbeque at the Crews Inn marina and hotel.  It was very posh.  It’s supposed to be for marina users only.  One of the hotel staff lays out tables complete with table cloths and starts the barbeque.  There were only four couples there - “Smidge”, Bob and Vicky from “Fox Sea” and Kaj & Leila from “Amelit”.  Kaj is from Sweden and Leila is American and they kindly invited us to go walking up to Edith Falls with them on Saturday.

4 November 2011   Chaguaramas, Trinidad 
We had a go at recovering the wind generator cable from within the arch tubing.  I was balanced on top of the Arch trying to hook the cable with a piece of stainless steel wire, while Glenys was lying inside the aft lazarette pushing the cable up the tube.  It took us an hour of bad tempered shouting and pulling and pushing to drag the cable 18 inches up and out of the arch.  Flushed with success, I went to Kiss Energy to have a look at what was going on, but my wind generator is still in bits and the guys there are still waiting for Doug to show up.

Fishing Boats in Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Glenys spent a couple of hours patching the dinghy to cover the damaged areas caused by the savage dock in Los Roques.  She also bought some grey Sunbrella to make a cover for the tubes of the dinghy to protect it from the sun and abrasion.

I checked the engine and started it for the first time in a week.  We’ve got a mysterious rattle coming from the front of the engine around the timing belt cover.  It seems to come and go and it may be dependent on the engine revs. I wandered over and had a chat to Falco and he says to check the catches on the timing belt cover or it may be a bearing on an alternator.

There’s a Tropical Wave moving past the Windward Islands today and we had thunderstorms and heavy rain for most of the afternoon.  It was dark enough at half past four that I had to wear a head torch to read in the cockpit.

5 November 2011   Chaguaramas, Trinidad 
The local power boats motoring passing us are driving me mad.  They start just after six o’clock in the morning and roar through the anchorage causing large waves, which slap hard against our "sugar scoop" transom.  In the back cabin, it sounds like something solid has hit us.  By half past six, I’m wide awake. The bow waves continue all day and make us rock at inconvenient times – like when I’m trying to get a small screw into a fitting, grrrrr.  They only stop speeding past when the sun has gone down and even then we are left with the residual waves bouncing off the shore in the bay.  It calms around eight o’clock in the evening.  It’s all getting to me now - it’s time to go.

I had a quiet morning, reading and playing the clarinet, while Glenys made some fitted sheets for the aft bed.  We were planning to go walking with “Amelit” but Kaj has hurt his back, so Plan B was invoked and we went to the movies instead – we love being cold instead of sweating through the afternoon.

6 November 2011   Chaguaramas, Trinidad 
It’s Sunday again, so we went walking in the area around the anchorage.  Once again we were frustrated by closed areas.  We first tried to walk up a valley to the west of us, but the road led to an army training area, with a big sign warning of the restricted area.  We retraced our steps and walked a mile down to TTSA to try to walk on the peninsula to the east, but again came to a gate across the track with a sign saying restricted area.  It’s very frustrating – God knows what they have up these tracks.

Back on the boat, Glenys did some more sewing - the mattresses on our bed are a very weird shape and she’s struggling with making the fitted sheets tight enough.

I created a short video of our trip from Curacao, which has some good footage of dolphins, and published it to YouTube and our website.  I noticed that YouTube has cleverly detected that I’ve used commercial MP3 tracks on my videos and has marked them as infringing copyright.  One of the videos has had the sound disabled, but the others just have a warning.  I’ve had to replace the sound track on the skydiving video with some horrible "plinky plink" instrumental track.  It’s pretty spooky - Big Brother is always watching you.

“Smidge” came for a beer or four and gave us some good information on Chesapeake Bay.  It sounds like we could spend six months just exploring Chesapeake Bay.  I think that our plan of making large jumps up the East Coast of the States and then coming back slowly is correct - if we try to take our time going up the coast, we probably won’t get as far as New York.