Saturday, August 5, 2006

Straaange food

August 5, 2006   Saturday
Chaguaramas, Trinidad

“Do It, Do It;   Little Sparrow”

“Alleluia!, Alleluia!;   Heresy”

“Cantana, Cantana;  Encantada”

See what we mean about some of these boat names sounding funny on the VHF raido when they hail one another?  And it gets a little confusing when there are duplicate names in the same area.  There are several boats here named Traveler and a couple named Liberty.  They waste a lot of radio time trying to connect with the correct boat.  Since we are the only idiots who named their boat Security, we never get confused with another boat.  BTW, last week Bill was talking on the VHF with Tony of S/V Columbine when an unidentified man butted in and said that Security is a very bad, bad name for a boat.  Judy said that the next time that happens that we should tell that person that his opinion will be given the full consideration that it deserves.

We have no internet for the weekend.  The local WiFi office changed some settings and now it doesn’t work, so they went home for the weekend.  We only hope that it is repaired Monday.  This is getting a bit ridiculous.  Bill already contacted the president of the WiFi company in Canada and obtained a free month of service in consideration for all the outages we have experienced prior to this weekend.

August 6, 2006   Sunday

We are coming home for a visit!!!!!

This was totally unexpected.

We had been sort of half-heartedly considering going with several other cruisers on a tour package trip to Machu Picchu October 2-11.  We were not very serious about the trip because we truly want to leave Trinidad mid-to-late September to start across northern Venezuela.  We must plan our passages between here and Panama by predictable weather patterns.  We need to make the 650NM passage from Aruba to the San Blas Islands at Panama BEFORE the winter winds begin in December, and we will be spending the entire month of October in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.  So, if we stayed in Trinidad an extra month in order to do a group trip to Machu Picchu in early October, that would throw our schedule off weather-wise.  We need to be in the ABCs by third week of November, and enroute to Panama no later than first week of December.

On Friday afternoon Judy visited the local travel agent with the person who is trying to organize this early October group trip.  The really, really bad part about flying to Lima from Trinidad is that one must sit in the Caracas airport for 12 hours, arrive Lima at midnight and sit in that airport until 6:00 a.m. for the flight to Cusco (Machu Picchu area).  That very much did not appeal to us and there are no other options.    But, and this is a big but, we found that we can fly Continental Airlines direct from Trinidad to Houston and then direct from Houston to Lima – AND WE GET TO USE OUR AIR MILES!!!!  (You know, those frequent flyer miles that you need to either use or lose because they become more worthless each year.)  And we will arrive in Lima at 10:45 p.m. and not leave on the flight to Cusco until 1:15 p.m. the next day.  A far more leisurely paced trip and much more to our liking.  Who would want to fly and sit in airports for more than 24 hours and then go hiking around a city where most people are affected by altitude sickness when they arrive.  We want more time to slowly adjust to the altitude.

And, it gets even better.  We were able to arrange our flights so that we arrive in Houston on Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend; then our flight to Lima does not leave until Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.  So we will have 4 days to visit with friends, family and grandkids.  Basically, we are getting two trips in one.  Judy is very excited about getting to see Zachary and Elisabeth again.  We will be able to pick up some cold weather clothing from our stash of clothes at John’s condo on our way down to Lima.  And we will have a seven hour layover in Houston on our return trip; and that will give us enough time to drop off those cold weather clothes (certainly do not need them where we sail), and possibly we will have time to shop at Sam’s for some of those hard-to-find items.

So we will be spending our 37th wedding anniversary touring Peru – Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, and Tambopata (at a small hut on stilts in the Amazon Jungle; how romantic is that!).  This is the kind of travel that we hoped to do while cruising.  We won’t do very many of these special inland trips, but Machu Picchu and Amazon Jungle were on our list of places to see.  We had originally thought that we might sail to Ecuador next year and do this inland trip.  That would have delayed our trip to the Galapagos Islands, so this is a much better idea.  And after four months initial separation, it is time for Judy to visit Zachary and Elisabeth (the grandkids) so they can see that she really hasn’t abandoned them forever.

August 7, 2006    Monday

There are now three Amel Super Maramu 2000 boats here in our marina, plus another one on the hard in the storage boatyard.  S/V Lady Annabelle from Nice, France arrived over the weekend.  The owners are Pierre and Ellen; he is obviously French and she is Dutch.  They recently were in Brazil, where they ventured up a river and badly stained their hull.  Their boat is now a yellowish color and Pierre is most unhappy about it.  He keeps his boat immaculate, so we are sure he will have that staining removed post-haste.

Poor Tony and Sandy on S/V Columbine now feel like they are surrounded by Amels – and they are!   Docked next to them is S/V Lady Annabelle (hull #339); in front of them is S/V Helen Louise (hull #355); and behind them docked at a 90-degree angle on the travel lift dock is S/V Security (hull #387).  Considering that the Amel factory only produces about thirty boats per year, it is somewhat surprising that three boats with hull numbers so close together would find themselves docked at the same marina.

We had dinner with Pierre and Ellen on Saturday evening at Sails Restaurant.  The grilled grouper and steamed fresh vegetables were delicious.  Pierre and Ellen have been living on their boat for a little over three years.  Bill learned several maintenance tips from Pierre, so now our list of boat chores has grown.  Pierre advised us to remove the wind anemometer (we call it a windex) from the top of the mast any time the boat will be sitting unused.  He already had to replace his (to the tune of more than $1,000) because it was locked in place by corrosion.  So Bill will be making a trip to the top of the mast to check the condition of the windex before we leave Trinidad.

August 10, 2006   Thursday

We attended the monthly cruiser’s breakfast this morning.  Normally, this monthly breakfast is just for SSCA members (we are members); but as of this month they have started inviting any cruisers who wish to attend.  There was a presentation from the Pointe-a-Pierre Wildfowl Trust here in Trinidad.  Sort of interesting film and short talk.  It is the only wild fowl sanctuary in the world that is located surrounded by an oil refinery.  Beautiful birds there, but we aren’t interested in touring a swampy area and get eaten alive by mosquitoes while bird watching.  We will save that experience for the Amazon jungle part of our Peru trip next month.

They served a traditional Trini breakfast this morning.  Straaanngge food!  There was some sort of very spicy cooked tomato mixture that was served with wedges of thick Indian flatbread.  That was the best item on the buffet.  They also served a roasted eggplant mixture; some cheeses and boiled eggs served together; and a “salad” that consisted of sliced Vienna sausages and onions and pepper slices marinated in a slightly vinegary sauce and topped with sliced avocadoes.   And some kind of salt fish dish with sliced peppers and onions, which was truly horrible, horrible, horrible.  Bill tried a bit of every dish except the salt fish.  Judy took the tiniest taste of the salt fish and ruled it vile.  Will never try salt fish again regardless of how it is prepared.  How did all those English sailors of yesteryear survive on that stuff?!!  There were a lot of bread rolls with butter consumed this morning, but it was a nice opportunity to sample local food in a nice restaurant setting.

Bill registered today for diver’s training.  He wants to be PADI certified so that he will be able to do work under our boat should the need ever arise.  You cannot purchase air tanks or get them filled anywhere unless you are PADI certified.  DiveTNT is located here in our marina and is offering classes now.  Bill should be able to complete the study materials and pass the written tests and finish all the required dives before the end of this month. 

We also have 13 items on our boat chore list that need to be completed before the end of this month if we want to be able to leave here as soon as we return from the Houston/Peru trip next month.

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