September 1994 - Trinidad

1 September 1994 Chaguramus, Trinidad
We got hauled out at about eleven o’clock and had someone scraping the bottom by two o’clock. It’s amazing how efficient they are here. We’ve had a quote of $900US to tart up the topsides, but that’s too much money. I spent the day trying to sort out where everything is. We ate out at the bar.

2 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I went into the Highland Plaza shopping mall to look around in the morning and then spent the afternoon ripping the workshop to bits to get the battery charger out. It took 4 hours to get it out and then 5 minutes to discover that a circuit breaker inside the case had tripped! Glenys went to Westhall in the afternoon. It rained very hard today and there were lots of power cuts. We had a Chinese takeaway and then had a beer in the bar in the dark. I tried to run the my air compressor, but for some reason the electric motor keeps tripping out (maybe it’s the wrong frequency?)

3 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I spent an hour on the phone trying to find a 5HP engine for the compressor. I didn’t have much luck because it’s Saturday. I took a bus into Port of Spain and had a look around. Very busy up to midday and then everything shut. I spent 4 hours putting the battery charger back and reassembling the workshop. Glenys cleaned the dinghy. We went to the bar for dinner - Brett has invented a concoction of ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard to dip his chips into - yummy!

4 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I checked the specific gravity of the batteries and found that one cell in one of the batteries is dead. I took out the back half of the gearbox, so that I can get the half coupling off. I replaced the packing in the stern gland. Glenys removed and replaced the front hatch. The hull is being scraped back fairly quickly. They should be putting on paint on Tuesday. We still can’t decide which antifoul paint to put on. Hard or Ablative?

I tried to design a new wooden box to house the compressor. The trouble is, that I don’t know exactly how big the compressor will be when it has a petrol engine fixed to it. It was very, very hot today - even the locals were commenting on it.

Craig’s spots are finally getting better after a concerted effort of washing his face and putting on calamine lotion and Savlon. We’ve even had him going to bed with socks on his hands to stop him scratching during the night. We went to “Rubiyat” for a beer and ended up having a communal dinner. I loaded lots of games on their PC.

5 September 1994 Chaguaramus
The mosquitoes and no-see-ums are murder. We have up mosquito netting and our 12V mosquito killers running all the time. The little monsters seem to love my ankles. Glenys went into town with Kirsty from “Tekaroa” to buy material for upholstery, bedding, etc.

I had a Tufnol spacer made for the rudder shaft. The guy started at $100US for 2 and came down to $20US for 1. I eventually got 2 for S20US + S20TT for the spare because he mistakenly made two. I got a quote of $500US to make the compressor box – he’s going to look at the price again! I greased the max prop.

I had a workshop remove the half coupling from the gearbox. I got it back to the boat and discovered that there was loads of play in the shaft. I suspect that they have damaged the bearings when they took off the old coupling.

The labourers put on the first coat of Antifoul. I decided to use Pettit Trinidad which is a copper based semi hard antifoul. We used 3 gallons for 3 coats.

6 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I took the gearbox back and they fixed it. The shaft runs on tapered bearings and they just needed to press the shaft into the body a bit more. Thank God for that, I thought that it was going to take days to get new bearings and seals. I removed some decking planks from the cockpit and bought some new pieces of teak.

Glenys went and bought some material for a new spray hood. She’s decided to do it herself. I went into town to get the cost & size of a new Briggs and Stratton engine and picked up some odds and ends. The gang has finished putting on the antifoul and started polishing the topsides. There is a bad oil/deisel stain at the waterline which is taking them ages to remove.

7 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I dropped the skeg shoe on the rudder and fitted the new spacer. The spacer is made from 4mm thick Tufnol and it’s a tight fit. I hope that Tufnol doesn’t swell when it’s underwater. I refitted the gearbox and coupling.

Glenys bought a new battery which I fitted. Glenys painted the anchor chain and repainted the name on the dinghy. We ate out at the bar again – I’m sick of chips now!

8 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I bought a zinc anode and fitted it onto the propeller shaft, I don’t know why I haven’t put one on before. Glenys went into town and got loads of cash to pay our bills. I went into town in the afternoon and bought a new 5HP Briggs & Stratton for the compressor.

Everything is finished and we’re ready to go into the water. I took some photos of a Corbeau which are local vultures. They are quite brave and apparently if you go to sleep on the beach they will come to check you out. I managed to persuade Glenys to cook an evening meal.

9 September 1994 Chaguaramus
We were launched in the morning. We checked out the stern gland which seems OK now. I had to spend an hour getting the fridge working – just dirty and loose connections. It rained hard for a couple of hours which stopped us doing a lot.

We had a nice quiet evening, had Cassoulet for dinner accompanied by a nice bottle of Cote De Beaune Villages which we have kept since Gibraltar. Our last bottle of wine!

10 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I had a bit of a frustrating day – I bought brackets for the spray hood frame, but they were 1” instead of 7/8”. I took them back but they don’t have any 7/8” ones and I’ll have to wait 2 days. I pottered around doing nothing in particular. Glenys worked on the spray hood. Pete and Kirsty from “Tekaroa” came for dinner. The fridge has stopped working again – it just blows fuses.

11 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I had another lethargic day. I stayed in bed until half past eleven finishing off a good book. I took Craig out exploring some caves around the corner. We went for a snorkel – visibility 10 ft, Yuk! Glenys worked like a Trojan on the new spray hood, while I messed about.

12 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I spent the day running around buying a pulley and key steel and other hardware. Glenys spent the day working on the spray hood. We went to the bar for dinner and ended up discussing the meaning of life. We are considering selling the house and going through Panama. I reckon that we can live for another 3 or 4 years on the money we’ve got – very tempting!

13 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I put the spray hood frame together and got the engine bracket made for the compressor. The compressor runs and I filled a 10 litre tank in 20 minutes which I am pleased about. Glenys took the boys to a toy shop – they spent their savings on a vast array of plastic swords, knives, bows, guns and ninja weapons!

I talked to Geoff on “Friendship II” which is a yellow catamaran which he uses for day charters from PSV. He reckons that the diving scene in the Tobago Cays is all tied up and they would strongly defend their territory!

14 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I repaired the clamp on the forestay roller reefing with JB Weld – it hasn’t worked very well. I think the epoxy has gone off as it’s a bit soft. I’ll probably have to do it again the future. I spent loads of time trying to get the fridge working, but it keep blowing fuses. All my tests point to a fault in the controller.

“Marina Em” arrived – it sounds like Tony has decimated the lobster population in Grenada! Glenys has nearly finished the spray hood and we gave it the first fitting – I’m going to have to adjust the frame because the new fittings have made it a bit bigger. The boys continue to run wild.

15 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I finished off the forestay and then spent 2 hours trying to figure out the cause of the fault on the fridge. The compressor coil resistance was fine but when the controller was connected to the compressor it blew the fuse. I eventually decided that the output power MOSFET for one of the compressor coils had gone. I went over to see Tony on “Marina Em” on the off chance that he had a spare “IRF540” - to my amazement he did! I replaced the component and the fridge works. I’m rather pleased with myself.

Glenys pottered around making blank flags and making some letters to put the name “Glencora” on the mizzen cover. Glenys has had some interest in her paint-your-own-flag idea and has ordered 20 sets of fabric paint from a place in Port of Spain. I measured the running speeds of the compressor – engine 3400 rpm and compressor 2130 rpm which is just about right. We had dinner and lots of beer at the bar.

16 September 1994 Chaguaramus
A bit of a hangover and a very bad swell made me evacuate the boat in the morning. I finished the bracket for the compressor and painted it. I fitted two new decking planks to the cockpit hatch and then started to scrape out the old caulking to leave grooves for recaulking the whole panel. What a time consuming job. Glenys did a mega shop and I bought teak corner pieces for the new box on the aft deck which will hold the compressor.

17 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Craig’s 5th birthday party. We had a really nice day with about 14 children and a gaggle of parents. The kids entertained themselves and the parents drank beer. Dave from “Rubiyat” did a few magic tricks with silks, a thumb and a changing bag. After the party Brett, Craig, Ian and Jason caught some fantailed guppies from the stream running through the boatyard. We now have an improvised fish tank full of guppies, which is hanging from the boom in the cockpit. It’s a huge mayonnaise jar - I’ve banged my head on it twice already - it doesn’t half hurt.

18 September 1994 Chaguaramus
The fridge stopped working again. The same output mosfet again. I had to go over to “Marina Em” and borrow another component – I’d only just given him one back and hadn’t had a chance to buy a spare! I cleaned the contacts on the compressor socket and recleaned all the others – I hope that that is it now! I finished scraping out the caulking on the hatch cover in the cockpit. I started to pull the box on the aft deck to bits – fortunately, I think that I’ll be able to rebuild it without removing the base. Glenys finished the spray hood which looks good.

19 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Glenys went to the zoo with Dee and Marina. I caulked the cockpit panel and bought wood for the box on the aft deck. I discovered that the fridge had stopped working again so I sent a fax to Penguin Engineering in England. We went to the bar and I drowned my sorrows!

20 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Hangover again. I spent the day building the box. Glenys worked on the new upholstery for the front cabin.

21 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Glenys started the Calvert third grade course with Brett. I spent most of the day building the box. We went out with a group to a restaurant which does “as much shrimp as you can eat” for 40TT (£4.40). It was very well presented and tasted wonderful. We had a very nice night out for £20 including drinks and taxi.

22 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I went into town to get some electronic bits for the fridge. I finally managed to get a 12V adapter for Craig’s game gear which has been eating batteries. I got a good deal on a new Microsoft mouse for £25. When I got back to the boat, I was frustrated that the display on the computer wouldn’t work, so I took it to pieces. I found that there is a very delicate IDC ribbon cable which has a couple of dodgy connections. I ended up drilling two holes in the top of the case so that I can push a screwdriver in and wiggle the cable. What an animal, but it works! Glenys did school work and finished the upholstery for the front cabin.

23 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Rained most of the day. I rewired the circuit for the fridge controller and it appears to work OK. Glenys did schoolwork and we stayed in all day. We ran out of water and decided to fill up with jerry cans because we don’t want to go to the trouble of finding a place to re-anchor! The boats in the anchorage swirl around a lot and we’ve got a place where we are established.

24 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Raining again. I did a cash flow and a bit of admin in the morning and played with the computer in the afternoon. Glenys visited Linda and kids on “Destiny” at TTYA. We all went to a jazz jam session in the evening at Powerboats Bar. The fridge controller blew up AGAIN!

25 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Raining all day, rolling and hangover. I spent the morning looking at the plan and timing for going through Panama. I lounged about feeling sorry for myself in the afternoon. Glenys and the boys went to Jessica’s birthday party on “Rubiayat”.

26 September 1994 Chaguaramus
The same MOSFET has blown up on the fridge. I sent another fax to Penguin Engineering. I worked on the box all day while Glenys dug out the rusty ballast out of the bottom of the aft wardrobe - it’s expanding and splitting the woodwork. I rang my mum and dad – they still haven’t booked anything to come out and see us.

The boys spent most of the afternoon ashore with Ian from “Lilymaid”. When they were at Peake’s dinghy dock they saw a man struggling in the water. Moments later the man disappeared under! They called for help. I arrived about two hours later just as police frogmen went in the water to search. A couple of minutes later, they dragged out the body. The boys were fascinated and I had to drag them away. We told Brett and Craig that they were heroes for calling for help. They don’t seem to be too concerned about the event.

27 September 1994 Chaguaramus
I finished the box and fitted the compressor. Glenys went to West Mall shopping. We put 40 litres of fuel in the tank from two old containers.

28 September 1994 Chaguaramus
We’ve decided to clear out and go to Tobago on Friday (30th). We spent the day tidying up and doing last minute jobs. We went to “Tekaroa” for a “Wok and Roll”, then onto another children’s birthday party in the afternoon. I filled 1 scuba tank which took 20 minutes.

29 September 1994 Chaguaramus
Hangover. I checked the sails and made the spray hood frame a bit shorter because the main boom hits it when it’s fully sheeted in. Glenys went into town to buy materials to re-upholster the back cabin. There’s a cholera alert in Trinidad – I hope that the water we are drinking is OK.

30 September 1994 Chaguaramus to Scotland Bay
I went to Port of Spain to clear out. I then called in at TTYC and bought 8 metres of blue sunbrella canvas to extend the awning. We said goodbye to “Tekaroa” and waited to get fuel. It was total chaos as boats queued. We ended up rafted next to “Seahorse” and finally got away at about 3 o’clock.

We motored out of the harbour and anchored in Scotland Bay which is very nice. We opened a small bottle of champagne to celebrate our escape from Chaguaramus. I put some water purification powder in the water tanks to get rid of the bad taste and protect us against cholera.