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s/v Skylark
It's Always An Adventure
We Need a Sponsor!
Elizabeth (photo by Mark s/v Liahona)
08/12/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

OK, who wants to donate money for our matching ball caps? And color-coordinated noodles? I believe Sarah from Wales calls them woggles, or some such thing. Then, all we need is a larger swimming pool, but what we'd rather have is clean water around our boats. Team Aerobics is ready to roll as soon as someone with big bucks steps up to the plate. Waiting....

Water Aerobics Team
Elizabeth (photo by David s/v Persephone)
08/12/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

These are some of the women who enjoy Willie's water aerobics. "Team Aerobics" is what you might call us, except we don't have matching caps and we never know who will show up for the morning workout. Willie has organized aerobics all over the caribbean islands, which everyone seems to appreciate. I have especially enjoyed the opportunity for a good workout, especially given that the walking around here is problematic, and we all enjoy the social time with each other. From l-r, Lori (US), Karena (Norway), Willie (US), Sarah (UK) and yours truly with the grey hair on the end make up our current group. We miss our two Aussie friends who have come and gone, Annie and Gail. We haven't seen our French representative, Kathy in a few days and miss her as well. The tiny pool can be rather challenging when everyone shows up, but we get creative and carry on.

Friday Night BBQ at Coral Cove
Elizabeth (photo by Willie s/v Liahona)
08/12/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

Each Friday night some of the cruisers at Coral Cove Marina have an informal BBQ. We bring what we want to grill and a dish to share. It's always fun, with different people coming and going. This is a photo of me and David on s/v Persephone who arrived that morning with his partner Lori. They are in the slip next to ours. We got to know them in Saltwhistle Bay and spent time with David in Grenada as well but missed Lori who was back in the US at the time.

I will probably add one more post tomorrow and then I'll be busy traveling to the US. I'm not sure what I'll do with the blog during my 5 week absence, but maybe Ed will take over if I don't keep up with it. Luna will stay here with Ed, except for a brief interval when a friend from Coral Cove will take care of her, allowing Ed to join me. Since I enjoy writing for the blog and taking photos, my guess is I'll periodically check in during my shore leave.

08/13/2012 | Kathryn Sain
won't be long now...!
Muddy Water
Elizabeth (photo by Willie s/v Liahona)
08/12/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

Another photo showing the change in water color from all the runoff. There were calls on the radio about whether conditions were safe to come into the harbours, with someone responding that there was a lot of debris in the water and caution should be taken. All in all, it was a pretty dramatic day. We hope those who were negatively impacted will get assistance and we of course offer our sympathies to the family of the two residents who were killed.

Flooding in Trinidad
Elizabeth (photo by Willie s/v Liahona)
08/12/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

Yesterday we woke to hard rains, thunder, lightening and general wetness. Water aerobics was postponed until the afternoon and in the meantime, the city flooded in many locations. Two deaths in the city were blamed on the conditions, the roads broke apart, houses collapsed, mudslides occurred. The cruisers were advised not to take taxis/buses into town, to stay put. Outside the Coral Cove fence, which runs along the double lane road, water was rising making it difficult for passing traffic. I watched as the overflow poured like a waterfall into the boatyard (which is about 3 feet lower than the highway) with the ground quickly looking like a swamp. It was disconcerting seeing all those boats on the hard with the soil underneath them getting muddier and unstable. I heard this morning from a local man that the Chaguaramas, which used to be a submarine base for the American military, was dredged after the US left and filled with coral. That made me feel a wee bit better. This man, who owns a business in the Coral Cove Marina said the boats on the hard don't have to worry since the coral will remain stable. This photo shows the rising water next to our dock. The color, as Willie described it was like coffee. Latte, to be more specific.

Another Day in Paradise
Elizabeth (technical assistance by Ed)
08/10/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

Yesterday was one of those eventful boat days. The kind of dreaded day which occurs far more often than we'd like, but is a normal part of cruising. While Ed was draining the coolant from the engine block (that was on his chore list, remember?), he went underneath the aft berth (where we sleep) to drain the reservoir next to the water heater and noticed everything we stored there was wet with antifreeze. Evidently it's been leaking without our knowledge and explains why we had to add coolant more often than we thought was normal. We had a mess on our hands. My favorite yellow hat is ruined, which is not the worst thing in the world, but still... Ed had to remove the hoses and tank, and then go back to the engine to remove the opposite end of one of the hoses to drain the antifreeze in an environmentally safe way. As he was pulling the hose out of the fitting, the fitting cracked off the engine, leaving a threaded pipe stuck inside and antifreeze all over the engine room. Now we had two messes to clean up. This is what we live for. We cleaned up the mess in the berth first, Ed removed the tank, took it up to the cockpit for an "operation" and once that was cleaned up he figured out a fitting was leaking. He went back to work on the part that was cracked off in the engine, using a large easy-out and wrench to back the broken fitting out of the engine block. I was giving him my input throughout this procedure, like "Why did that thing crack off like that? Now what are you going to do? Oh shit, look at this mess! Damn, my hat...." Just kidding. I try to offer assistance and help where I can. He walked down to the Budget Marine store, bought new fittings and proceeded to put everything back together again like Humpty Dumpty. Oh wait, Humpty never did get back together again in spite of all those horses and men. There seems to be no drain under the berth so all the water that collects there leaks out onto our floor. It's classic. You go to do something routine, discover a problem, fix it, put it back together, break something along the way, put it back together again only to discover a terrible flaw in the boat that demands a prominent place on your ever-expanding chore list. As Ed says, "It's a pain in the ass." That it is.

08/11/2012 | Betty Hutcheson
So sorry you ran into such a mess. I am so impressed that you both take things like this in stride. Even your writing about the big mess was entertaining!
Herb of a Thousand Names
08/10/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

Ed and I love food. Cooking for or with each other has been a central theme in our relationship since the beginning. We're both adventurous and curious about local specialty items wherever we travel and going to the large open markets up and down the Caribbean islands, we ask questions of the vendors about how to use different items in new dishes. I've told you about callaloo and breadfruit (I can't actually recall whether I wrote about the breadfruit so if anyone wants to know more, leave us a comment). Now I want to introduce you to my favorite herb, except that I don't know what to call it. I could call it shadon beni which is one name for it. But I could just as easily call it by its numerous other names, such as chadon, shado bennie, shadow benny or bandhania. Then again, you might know it as Mexican coriander, culantro, spiritweed, Recau, fitweed, spiritweed, duck-tongue herb, sawtooth, saw-leaf herb or sawtooth coriander. Don't care for any of those names? Fine, let's settle on the Thai name for it, phak chi farang except that name is rarely used. I suggest we settle on the Vietnamese name ngo gai, just to keep it interesting. Totally confused? Imagine how long it took me to figure out what to ask for! Our American friends kept calling it cilantro, which though similar in flavor, is not it. I refer to it as shadon beni but if you look at bottles of local green sauce you'll see it spelled every which way. It's a local herb that grows like dandelion weeds along the road and sells for a song in the markets. Mostly it's used for seasoning and marinating. One bunch lasts a week or more; a little goes a long way. The photo is a full bunch, which sold for .40 US. It spices up everything but rarely overpowers the food. Last night we cooked up coconut shrimp with it. Today I made chicken salad for lunch and it was front and center. We also love the spring onions. They too are dirt cheap, last forever in the fridge and get thrown into everything. They're far more flavorful than the ones we get in the States.

Saying Goodbye is Hard for Dogs, Too
Elizabeth (photo by Ed)
08/08/2012, Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad

While Luna and I were at the pool yesterday morning, our friends on s/v Spirit, Bob, Holly and Annie left the docks for Tobago. They were accompanied by other friends Gail and Pete on s/v Jabiru V. Luna went to look for them after water aerobics, as is her habit, but they were gone. I quickly got dressed to distract her with a walk over to see her new friend, Morgan, an 8 year old, handsome Border Collie mix who is always eager to see Luna trotting down his dock. We've been stopping by their m/v Hobo on a daily basis. Morgan whimpers and alerts his people that Luna has arrived, then jumps off onto the dock to say hello. Lena (Morgan's mom) and I stroll around the boatyard to let the two dogs play. Which they do by ignoring each other completely, eating grass until they wretch and sniffing discarded boat parts. Yesterday, on our return back to Skylark, Luna went over to look for Bob, Annie and Holly again before reluctantly boarding our boat. It's sad saying goodbye, especially for Luna who doesn't understand this "here today, gone tomorrow" concept among cruisers. We'll miss the gang around the docks and hope to run into them again someday.

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