August 28, 2006 Monday
Just thought we would give a weekly update. We are both looking forward to flying home at the end of this week, and then on to
for our wonderful
vacation. A vacation from cruising,
isn’t that a hoot! Peru
The cruisers meeting with the US Embassy that Bill arranged was held last Thursday night. Bill wrote the agenda and chaired the meeting. We felt that it was successful and that eventually there will be a positive impact. Also present were representatives from the British, Canadian and German embassies or consulates. Between 180 and 200 cruisers attended. One cruiser even translated what was said into Swedish for the few Swedish cruisers here who aren’t fluent in English. There were also short speeches by representatives of the larger marine-related businesses in the area about what they are doing to try to curb the crime against cruisers here in
Trinidad. The US
Embassy already had a meeting with the Trinidad Immigration officials about
their inconsistent application of immigration laws, and one of the local
Immigration officers was immediately reassigned to another location.
The day after the meeting, Judy was on a maxi-taxi with several British cruisers and overheard them talking about the meeting. The Brits were insulted by the YSATT representative saying 3 times “this is not your country” and that things move slowly here in Trinidad and that if people “did not like the way things are being handled in Trinidad then they are welcome to leave.” The cruisers were insulted because they have cruised all over the world and certainly do not need anyone to remind them that they are in a foreign country. And they also know they can leave, which they plan to do as soon as hurricane season is over. If Trinidad does not get their crime against cruisers under control; and, more specifically, change the attitude of some of the local officials and businesses; then
will be losing a huge amount of money as cruisers decide to go elsewhere. YSATT is a trade representative
organization. They are supposed to
represent the businesses with the higher authorities in the government. YSATT does not seem all that effective in
this regard, in our opinions. We hope
that the US Embassy carries more clout. The
Embassy will then follow up with the police and verify that the cases get
worked on and not ignored or swept under a desk.
An interesting fact was learned because of this meeting. We spoke with a reporter from the
Caribbean Compass, a magazine
that is distributed throughout the . When the reporter first arrived here in
Chaguaramas, he visited the Carenage Police Dept and asked to see all crime
reports involving cruisers. He was shown
reports for only 4 dinghy thefts. There
have been 20 dinghy thefts here so far this year. These have been reported both to YSATT and to
the Carenage police, yet the police only have formal reports for 4 of those
20. The other reports have
disappeared. One of the security
representatives of the US Embassy was a police officer here in Caribbean Trinidad for 23 years.
He said off the record that the police are being paid under the table by
the local businesses to make sure that the crime reports don’t find their way
into the official police records. The
local business owners actually think this will keep the reports of crime from
affecting their business. Man, are they
living in a fantasy world! The internet
cruisers websites and discussion boards are full of reports of how bad the
crime has become down here. They aren’t
hiding a thing; they just think they are.
On Friday Judy participated in a local blood drive for a fellow cruiser. He needs 10-12 units of blood to be donated in his name so that he can have an operation. Poor guy had a heart attack about 6 weeks ago here in
Trinidad and had a stent
inserted. Then he and his wife flew to so he
could recuperate at a friend’s home there.
While in Grenada
he experienced pain and underwent abdominal surgery for a tumor at the site of
the appendix. He was then in critical
condition and Grenada Grenada has no
critical care hospitals, so he was transferred back to Trinidad. He is in a private hospital with unexplained
internal bleeding and now needs an operation as soon as he becomes stable
So 13 of us went to the blood center to donate. Of the 13, only 3 of us were accepted as donors. Since cruisers travel worldwide, everyone else was unacceptable as a blood donor because of the countries visited. They will not allow you to donate blood if you have visited the
basically anywhere in South or Central America, Africa, the Middle
East, or the South Pacific.
Really narrows the donor pool.
Another group of 7 people are going today to try to donate for this
guy. He has already received 2 units from
the 3 units donated last Friday. They
can’t operate on him until they receive more blood. Hope the people today manage to get enough
donated to see him through.
Bill went up the mast yesterday for the first time, with Judy handling the winch. He actually went up twice. The first time the bosun’s seat became very uncomfortable and the safety belt came unclipped. So Judy lowered him down and we got out our new bosun’s seat. Bill likes the new seat much better; thinks it is more comfortable. Turned out that the light bulb that we had replaced in July was defective. This is for the anchor light at the top of the mast; the one that you are supposed to turn on whenever you are anchored somewhere so that others can see you. While he was up at the top of the mast, Bill also removed the windex and inspected for corrosion and then reconnected it. Judy has no intention of ever going up that mast because she does not like heights. Doesn’t bother Bill at all.
Bill has completed all the confined water dives for his PADI training. He also must do 2 open water dives, but the weather has not been cooperating. The dives keep getting rescheduled because of bad weather or low water visibility. They have rescheduled again for tomorrow. Sure hope he is able to get these last 2 dives completed this week. We really do not want to have to hang around here after we return from
just so he
can complete divers certification. Bill
is scheduled to take the final written exam this afternoon. Then he just needs to do those 2 dives and
he is finished. Wish him luck. Peru
Chuck and Pam on S/V Helen Louise want to buddy-boat with us to Los Testigos, Isla Margarita and Puerto La Cruz,
. They are on an Amel exactly like ours, so
that would be an ideal buddy-boat arrangement as we would be sailing at the
same speeds. They also want to leave
here as soon as we return from our Venezuela trip. We are all ready to move on to a new
Judy has been stocking provisions for the past week. Trying to get organized and have the boat well-stocked to last 4-5 months whenever we leave Puerto La Cruz at the end of October. When we are in the San Blas Islands, there will be nothing whatsoever to buy. So this does require a bit of planning. Off to another supermarket tomorrow; for canned goods this time. Trying to fill every little hidey-hole on the boat with foods that will last a very long time. (and don't forget the toilet paper
Judy and Bill are looking forward to sailing again soon. And being back in crystal clear water. Oh, how we miss that beautiful water. And the feeling of sailing!