Our extended stay in Trinidad is rapidly coming to an end. The boat has been here since May 9, and we have spent 3 months in New York, but now it’s almost the end of October and we are ready to cruise again. The boat projects have been completed, although there is no end in seeing other projects looming on the horizon. Already a short “to do” list for next summer is already forming.
We launched from Power Boats and motored over to Crews Inn after Stephen finished the hull and anti-foul bottom paint and Raymond put the engine back together. We took a slip, plugged in and started up the reefer and A/C. It’s so luxurious not to have to get a bag of ice for refrigeration every day. Between splashing and docking we gave the engine a good workout to ensure all the work that was done on the engine actually worked. It did exceedingly well. At full RPM’s, we were motoring at over 8 knots through the water. Although diesels like to run flat out, the fuel consumption is something we watch carefully but it is reassuring how fast it can go. Under sail, we can also hit 8 kts if conditions are perfect.
We call our stay at Crews Inn a “vacation” as the Inn has a great pool and is a very convenient marina. It is the only time we run our air conditioner on the boat as this is still Trinidad and during the day the sun is very hot. At night we don’t need to run it. But it is also the rainy season, so clouds and afternoon rain showers are a daily occurrence which makes it more bearable. Some of those showers dump a lot of water that leads to flooding. Living on a boat, the only flooding we are concerned with is if the bilge gets flooded.
And that was a concern after we docked. As soon as the boat is launched, a routine check of the bilges to make sure there are no leaks is done. There were none and we motored away from the launching well. After we docked, I checked again, and all was well. In the evening I checked the coolant level of the engine (after it cooled down) and was surprised to see the bilge filled with water. At first, I thought a thru hull was leaking. If that was the case, we would need to be hauled out the first thing in the morning to get it fixed. It was not a big leak but I did check it a few times during the night to make sure the bilge pump took care of it. The next morning, after looking closely at the thru hull, valve and strainer, it was actually just the strainer cap that was leaking. A simple fix of cleaning the gasket solved the problem.
As far as the “vacation” goes, the first week in the water is taken up with putting the boat back together again and cleaning things that can’t be cleaned when on the hard. We are also waiting for our new mainsail cover to be completed and the new mainsail installed. This should be done in the next few days. We already mounted the new jib. The new chaps on our car (dinghy) look great, thanks Sean of Superb Canvas!
As I have mentioned many times before, we enjoy our time here in Trinidad as it is a good mix of boat work, meeting other world traveling cruisers, friendly locals, and experiencing the Trinidadian vibe. Where else can you meet and talk to a sailor who was born in the Far East but adopted by a Swedish couple and lost his boat to an Orca attack on the way to the Canaries from Spain. He survived and is looking for another boat.
Trinidad is not your typical East Caribbean tropical island, set up to cater to the northern visitor’s all-inclusive vacations, but it is a tropical country set up to cater to its inhabitants. We have yet to stay for the big Trinidad Carnaval in February but we try to celebrate other events, one of which is Diwali – the Hindu festival of Lights. On Monday, Jesse James will organize a trip to the town of Felicity where we will visit a Hindu Temple, eat some roti, and walk the neighborhood with all the Deyas lights decorating the houses. We did this a number of years ago and was impressed with the displays. Pictures will be posted on Facebook after we return.
This year, because we spent more time away, and had plenty of boat work to do, we didn’t take many road trips in Trinidad. Maureen, along with other cruiser friends, did go on shopping trips into Port of Spain and we actually organized a small Meet and Greet for the SSCA with Jesse James. He invited two locals, an officer from the T&T Coast Guard and Naturalist Photographer Roger Neckles to give us some local knowledge of Trinidad. Roger pointed out the diversity of birds here as equal to any in South America. Next year, if we have an opportunity, we would love to go on one of Roger’s tours. It was a good evening and added to the gatherings the cruisers have between their time doing boat projects.
Gordon, on COHO, had an interesting project going. He built a composting toilet for his boat as he and Louise are heading back home to New Zealand and with all the sanitary and pollution regulations, composting makes sense on a boat!
We will miss the Trinidadian Meat pie or Doubles for breakfast, the weekly jam session with Ian, a local guitar player, Shake and Bake at the Wheel House Pub, Thursday Night’s Pot Luck at the Roti Hut, the flavorful water melons, the bountiful mangoes in the early summer and the other traditions that Trinidad offers. It is time to depart and head north, well not too far north, as we keep within the warm Trade Winds and clear topical waters. Thanksgiving will be spent in Antigua and the plan is always to fly to New York for Christmas. After that our sailing will be weather dependent. Eventually we will be back in Trinidad next summer. I hope the boat project list is much shorter than this year!
“It’s only when the Trade Winds blow that I wish my hair was long…” Joan Baez