July 17, 2006 Monday
Our digital camera has died. Darn thing will not power on. This is very annoying because we took some great photos yesterday of the guy cleaning our standing rigging. Now those photos will be lost unless we purchase another camera that takes compact flash and can read the one from our now-dead camera. Judy had noticed recently that she sometimes had to push the power button several times before the camera would turn on, but she thought she was pressing it too lightly. Guess this is our first equipment failure due to the salt air in and around a boat.
We decided to pay someone to clean our standing rigging – for several reasons. First and foremost, we simply did not want to do it ourselves. We would sunburn too badly doing that job; assuming that we could even manage that exertion in the full sun all day. So we contracted with a guy named Winston to do this job.
Thank you Lewmar for building electric winches and thank you Amel for installing them on this boat!! Winston had to be raised up the masts at least 8 times yesterday. With our electric winches, all we had to do was press the buttons. Usually this is done by hand-cranking the winches, and your arm gets tired; and it takes much longer to raise someone sixty feet up in the air. Then we took turns lowering him by slowing releasing the halyard from the winch by hand. This manual process is very easy.
Winston would first paint the standing rigging with a corrosion remover, then rinse each piece of rigging with a sponge and lots of fresh water. Now all the stranded wire cables that are used to support the masts look like bright and shiny stainless steel. Look like new again. To do this, he was hanging around is strange positions using his feet and arms, sometimes lying out flat to extend his reach to the outer cables. And we had taken photos of him doing some of these gymnastics while sixty feet up in the air. Shame the camera decided to die this morning before we got those photos onto the computer.
Winston then waxed both masts and all shrouds. We decided to have this done because the boat is three years and we are certain that this type work has been previously performed. This is preventative maintenance that we hope will extend the life of both the masts and standing rigging. Keep the rust at bay. This entire job cost us only $180 USD
We have also contracted with Winston to clean and polish all the stainless above deck. Weather permitting, he will do that job this week. Our boat does not have the standard wimpy lifelines and stanchions that are seen on most sailboats. We have a stainless steel solid life rail and heavier stanchions and connections at the toe rail. So there is a good bit of stainless to be cleaned and polished. We planned to do this work ourselves, but he will do the entire job for only $100 USD. Let’s see; sweat in the sun all day and get a backache and blackened hands and sore legs and sunburned, or pay someone $100 to do it for you. Easy decision as far as we are concerned. (But we will do the topside waxing ourselves. That we can do under shade awnings.)
BTW, it is exceptionally humid here in
it is their rainy season. At least we
came here from hot, humid . Those people who came here from drier
climates like Houston
are really having a hard time adjusting.
We are very fortunate that our boat is air conditioned, most of the
boats down here are not. Those poor
people are dying in this heat and humidity. Dallas
Tony and Linda on S/V Amazing Grace, the friends we met in
month, are hoping to leave here within the next week as weather permits and if
they can find someone to buddy sail with them.
They are going to Los Testigos ---- and we are so jealous! No one sails to any part of Grenada
alone; it is just too dangerous. They
plan to visit many of the islands off the northern coast of Venezuela and
the ABCs. We hope that we run into them
again somewhere along that route. Los
Testigos also is our next tentative destination in mid-to-late September,
depending on weather, of course. But we
then plan to spend the month of October in Puerto La Cruz on mainland VZ (near Venezuela ), before we
visit the Aves and Los Roques and the ABCs.
So Tony and Linda might be so far ahead of us by that point that we
might not see them again in the Barcelona . We would leave with them right now except for
the fact that our insurance does not cover us that far north. Caribbean
The insurance companies are making a huge mistake by forcing everyone to this one location. One good hurricane in
Trinidad with all these boats
jam-packed into this area would be devastating to the marine insurance
business. It would be far worse that the
damage sustained by the boats in Grenada during Hurricane Ivan because there
are lot more boats forced into this one area now.
Bill is drilling holes in our boat again. He is working on our plumbing project today to install the new faucet/spigot for the desalinator. That involved drilling holes beneath the galley sink into the engine room, and drilling a hole in my Corian sink to install the new faucet. He is also re-plumbing the drinking water filter that we installed back in May during our haul-out. Now the filtered drinking water will be dispensed by the same faucet that will be used to taste test the desalinated water.
Wish we had a working camera for this project.
July 19, 2006 Wednesday
We only thought we would do our own topside waxing. Winston quoted a price of only $250TT for this job. That is only $38.76 USD, too low a price for us to still want to do the job ourselves. Again, we are so lazy.
Tomorrow we plan to attend a lecture on the ABCs (Aruba, Bonaire and
Curacao) which is being presented
by the authors of the ABC Cruising Guide.
Nice coincidence that these people are now anchored here in Chaguaramas
and are offering this lecture. Of
course, they plan to sell their book at the same time; but we already purchased
a copy when we were in . Grenada
Then we might go see the Pirates of The
The “entertainment” portion of our cruising budget this month is already
way more than we had budgeted. Guess we
will make that up when we are anchored places later in the year. Being docked in a marina in a relatively
urban setting is causing us to spend more money than normal. It is hard to say no whenever someone invites
you to go somewhere. We have decided not
to do any of the normal tourist tours here in Trinidad. We have seen a rainforest before (and there
will be much better ones at other destinations during our travels), and we have
seen hundreds of turtles in the ocean so there is no real appeal to watching
some walk on a beach. The other two
“attractions” here in Trinidad are the pitch
lake and the swamp tours. Now, as two
people who grew up in Beaumont, TX, right on the
border; we are quite familiar with swamps.
We truly cannot imagine why anyone wants to visit a swamp and be eaten
alive with mosquitoes. And neither of us
wants to see a huge lake of tar; stinky stuff. Louisiana
And, speaking of stinky stuff, we had to replace the seals on the sea water pump for the forward head today. It had developed a tiny drip; took Bill four attempts to finally get it working correctly. It is an electric pump with a macerator instead of the usual hand-pump toilet that most boats have. Luckily, we had several repair kits as spares; because the first kit contained a defective seal. Time to order more to keep on hand for the next leak.
Tonight we went out to dinner with Linda and Tony from S/V Amazing Grace. It was Tony’s birthday. Had a lovely Italian dinner and enjoyed visiting with them. Their departure to Los Testigos has been delayed a few days because the weather is predicted to be less than desirable for that passage.
July 21, 2006 Friday
Yesterday we attended a lecture about the ABCs. Didn’t really learn much more than is written in the sailing guide, but glad that we went. Always good to hear first-hand knowledge. They did tell us about a good hurricane hole on the northern coast of
should we need to run from a storm while in either Aruba, Bonaire or Curacao. And they
gave us good info for what wording we want to get on our zarpe when we leave
Puerto La Cruz. (A zarpe is the
departure clearance papers when you leave a port, specifically a Spanish
Bill was off running errands today while Judy sat in the cockpit, immersed in yet another book, when the sea water alarm sounded. The alarm quit before she could even get to the electric panel to turn off the air conditioners, but she then turned off everything anyway. When Bill returned, we spent the rest of the day cleaning out the sea chest. Rather than having a separate thru-hull for each device that uses sea water, our boat has only one large thru-hull that services a sea chest, which then sends the sea water to the various devices that require sea water. This includes all three air conditioners and the two heads (toilets) and the generator and the desalinator water maker and the engine. So, we have only one sea water intake hole in the boat instead of eight separate holes in the boat below the waterline. This is considered a very desirable thing; fewer possibilities of water intrusion due to thru-hull valve failure. But it also means that if that one sea water intake is unusable, then obviously you cannot use anything that requires sea water.
The sea chest intake was totally clogged with barnacles. We cleaned the strainer and the walls of the intake/chest, but we had to hire a diver to clean the outside part of the intake below the ball valve. He also found a plastic bag clogging the intake. No wonder we were receiving insufficient water flow! Good news is that the diver cost us a whopping $15.50 USD.
Chaguaramas harbor is absolutely filthy. It is the dirtiest harbor we have ever seen. There are plastic bottles and plastic bags and just trash floating everywhere, like these people just don’t know how to use a trash can. It certainly isn’t the cruisers throwing all this plastic crap into the water. There is also an oily sheen floating on the surface almost every day. Don’t know where that is coming from. Yesterday a cruiser was on the VHF asking where to report a diesel spill. No one responded. Guess no one down here reports diesel spills to any regulating authority (and as Bill says, no one here gives a darn about it). In the states you are required to report even the most minute diesel spill immediately to the Coast Guard, even before you begin to clean it up. This is strictly enforced and the fines can be tough. You can lose your captain’s license if you even see someone else spill diesel and you don’t immediately report it. Here, no one cares and no one wants to hear about it; and certainly no one wants to deal with cleaning it up.
On Thursday there was a robbery of a maxi-taxi nearby. Two cruisers got on the maxi here at our marina, headed toward the city. The maxi stopped at the biggest marina and picked up two more cruisers. When they reached the little village between the harbor and the city of
, two island guys on the maxi pulled out guns and
robbed everyone. Supposedly, one of them
had a TEC-9 with an extended clip. Then
those two guys exited the maxi and were picked up by another guy in a small
car. Port of
This is the second robbery in the area since we arrived here on July 8. The other robbery was an older man walking alone on the main road. A car with four guys pulled up and jumped out. They beat him up a bit and stole his bag, containing his wallet and passport and boat papers. Poor old guy barely spoke English. There are also dinghies and generators stolen about twice a week around here. The saying is "lock it, lift it, or lose it."
We have decided not to carry wallets any more when off the boat. Judy hasn’t carried a purse or wallet since
but Bill has continued to carry his wallet most of the time. But he is going to start carrying some cash
in one pocket and a single credit card in another pocket. No point in carrying several credit cards and
a debit card unless you plan to use those on a particular trip to a specific
store or bank. No reason to carry them
all the time. St. Thomas
Oh yeah, after we cleaned out the sea chest yesterday, then Judy started hearing a beep every 30 seconds inside the main cabin. Bill couldn’t hear it, but it was driving Judy crazy; and she couldn’t find what was beeping. After opening every cabinet door and floor locker (and waiting at least 30 seconds), she eventually found a carbon monoxide alarm with low batteries. It was inside a cabinet beneath a few dozen kitchen towels; not sure we even knew we had a carbon monoxide alarm. Anyway, we replaced the batteries and mounted it on the back of the wet locker near the nav station and companionway.
We bought our first Trini DVDs. These cost $10TT ($1.55 USD) each. We bought the Da Vinci Code, Flight 93, Good Night Good Luck and Once Upon a
………?... We watched the Da Vinci Code last
night. Way too much French for us, as we
don’t know a word of French. And the
subtitles were in Russian!!!!! If Judy
had not read the book, we would have had no idea what was going on in that
movie. She tried to explain the plot to
Bill as the movie progressed. Now we are
curious to know if the film contained all that French dialogue when it was
released in the states, or did they give English subtitles for the French (all
the detectives). The only subtitles we
saw were in Russian and that was only whenever the language was Latin (the monk
and the priests). All in all, a very
confusing movie. Texas