13/08/2014, Coral Cove Marina, Trinidad
Our canvas & upholstery guy did turn up on Thursday, a few hours late & a few hurry up phone calls later. He has given us a really good price on washing & resealing our canvas on the dodger & bimini, restitching all, replacing the clears (windows) & adding new zippers. He also will do some slip on covers for our saloon cushions & stitch our old headsail which is in need of some love & attention. Saturday afternoon there was a lot of rain so we stayed on board & chatted with our neighbours - Steve & Pat on OZ from North Carolina.
Yesterday we ventured into the capital of Trinidad, Port of Spain, to find some material for our cushion covers & a general wander around. It's only about a 20 minute taxi ride from Chaguaramus. Taxis are nice & cheap - only 5TT per person (less than $1). We had a good morning getting most of what we needed & were very excited to find some Double 12 dominoes to have aboard. Before we headed home we walked down Brian Lara Boulevard & stopped for a photo in front of the great man! We stopped at "WestMall" on our way back & Ange will be back next week for some retail therapy! Friday afternoon we organised our antifoul paint which will be delivered to us on the 18th when we haul out at PowerBoats & the paint guy also supplied us with some epoxy resin to fix our cracked anchor well & swim ladder hatch covers. At 4.30pm we were surprised to see JOY tied up at the Customs dock. We helped them tie up at the Coral Cove lift dock & had a beer and a chat. They'll be here for a day or two before heading back to Grenada. We had a nice BBQ with other marina guests last night before heading back to PANNIKIN.
Saturday & Sunday were spent doing jobs on PANNIKIN, getting bits & pieces ready for repairs etc. We also had a Mexican Train Dominoes competition on Saturday & Sunday afternoons with Jeremy & Susie with a couple of beers. Susie was the winner & Ange without a doubt the loser - my score would have been a great if we'd been playing Yahtzee!!!!
Monday was spent fibre glassing some small cracks in hatches & other odd jobs as we wait for our bimini & dodger to be returned & our cushions taken for their new covers. Did a tiny bit of grocery shopping to keep us going, but will need to go to a large supermarket really soon, we are running out of everything.
Yesterday we joined 6 other cruisers on an island tour called the "Tastes of Trinidad." We were picked up in a maxi taxi (air conditioned thank goodness) at 9am & dropped back to the marina at 8pm. We travelled over a lot of the island & tasted 68 different foods, fruits & drinks - all from street vendors in Trinidad - even tried cow heel soup & BBQ pig tails! The food was beautiful - mostly from Eastern Indian & Creole origins. We ate something nearly every 5 - 10 minutes!!!! We've had nothing to eat today so far!!!
Again today was odd jobs, cleaning out storage lockers & arranging to have some decking replaced at the stern of the boat. So far it's been the only day that hasn't rained... I'm sure it will later on!
07/08/2014, Coral Cove Marina, Chaguaramus
Sunday we moved around the point inside the reef to get away from one bar in particular that started playing music at 10am & didn't stop until 5am the next day - music is so loud - don't know how they can stand it! We spent the day cleaning PANNIKIN & doing odd jobs. At 4pm however a bar started the loudest music we have ever heard so we moved back to Store Bay for the night; it was a lot quieter here.
Monday we headed across to the capital, Scarborough, to check out with Immigration & Customs. Again you just stand on the edge of the road with your finger out & a local will pick you up (we since have found out that they must have a permit to do this). Only 6TT ($1) per person for a good 20 minute ride into Scarborough - so cheap! It didn't take long for us to complete the formalities so we had a wander around. Not much here for a capital city! Lots of people & vehicles, but seemed to be no infrastructure or commercial buildings/shops to support them. JOY called out to us as they went by in a taxi - they are still at Plymouth. Hopefully we will catch up with them in the ABCs. Sunday afternoon was quiet - we got PANNIKIN ready for our sail to Trinidad on Tuesday & we signed, scanned & emailed our tax returns back to our accountant in OZ - can't get away from the tax man - even over here!
Tuesday we were up at 1.45am for our trip to Chaguaramus, Trinidad. This pretty much the boat repair capital of the Caribbean with major haul out yards, moorings & marinas. It also has a number of commercial shipping operations. As the wind was slight, only around 10 - 12 knots we had a great reach using the spinnaker. It has been a LONG time since we've been able to use it. Everything went unreal until 9.30am when the wind completely dropped & we had to motor the rest of the way arriving at 12.30pm. Chaguaramus is huge - the first thing we saw is a container ship up high in a dry dock - BIG! The place is very busy & there are lots & lots of boat yards & also plenty of locals whizzing about in their smaller boats. We found our way to the Customs dock & with the help of a nice local fisherman we managed to tie up safely. We checked in with Immigration & Customs without any hassle & then called Coral Cove marina to advise of our arrival. We were delayed in entering the marina for about 20 minutes as a tug was trying to pull a sunken boat through the water to the travel lift to be hauled out. There were divers, drivers & lots of on lookers yelling out their advice. It was very entertaining! We finally made our way into out berth in the marina - a very tight fit & Steve did a really good job of getting us in. The Caribbean way of berthing in a marina is not our favourite... they have two large poles at either side of the front of the berth which you have to manoeuvre through before heading back to the dock - when the approach is tight you can get into lots of trouble! We had plenty of help from other cruisers though which was lovely - we recognised Mark & Willie on LIAHONA from Hog Island, Grenada & also Kevin & Susie from TEMPTRESS OF DOWN we met back in Rabat, Morocco. We spent the rest of the afternoon getting ourselves & PANNIKIN organised for our stay in the marina. Steve also had a swim in the marina pool - very hot here & plenty of rain.
Wednesday we got our bikes out & had a ride around the boat yards. We have organised our anti fouling paint & also a quote for replacing our canvas bimini & dodger. We are disappointed in the lack of chandleries here - only a Budget Marine & 2 other smaller stores - we thought there would be a much larger selection so will not be able to get the jobs done we were hoping to.
This morning Ange did noodling in the marina pool - only a very small pool, but it was fun. Steve is waiting on the canvas bloke to come & give us a quote on bimini, dodger & saloon cushion covers - apparently he may not come at all! All the tradesmen are very busy & it takes some work to get them to come to your boat... we may be wasting our time?? Hopefully we will get to some shops later on today for some groceries & bits and pieces.
03/08/2014, Store Bay, Tobago
The weather did clear so we went looking down the coast for another bay to anchor in. The first two bays were absolutely beautiful but one was full of local fishing boats and the other the water was murky from rainwater runoff, so we continued on to Englishman's Bay which again was stunning. The hills were covered with dense jungle which ran down to a white sandy beach which had a freshwater stream at one end and just behind the beach was a restaurant which sold local dishes. We had afternoon drinks aboard JOY followed by another of Jeremy's tasty dinners, this time it was fish curry. They really do spoil us!
The next morning we went snorkelling and were rewarded with heaps of tropical fish and some large corals. Apparently Tobago has the largest brain coral in the world we just haven't found it yet, but there were some pretty good ones down there. Later we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the restaurant, then we thought we better do some exercise and went for a walk to the next town which was meant to be not too far away. The hills were steep and the tropical sun and humidity made going pretty hot work, so after a few miles and no sight of the town we headed back. It wasn't long before a very nice man and his wife stopped and squeezed us into their little car and gave us a lift back to the bay. Late in the afternoon we decided to have a fresh water bath in the stream where Ange got to finally wash her hair. The water as a little cooler than the ocean which was refreshing for once making it very nice. Jungle bath - cool! Drinks and a game of Yahtzee with J & S for the evening on Pannikin.
Friday we left JOY as we were nearly out of food and out of beer so we went into crisis mode and ventured south to look for a town with a supermarket. There was a town called Plymouth we had a look at from the water and didn't seem too inviting so we continued on to Store Bay which is at the bottom western end of the island. As we approached the bay we heard the fishing reel start to scream as the line was ripped off by a good sized mackerel only to be lost as he threw the hook as Steve tried to land him. We put the lure out again and within a couple of minutes the reel was screaming again. This time it was a larger fish - 1 metre - and well hooked so he was easily landed, filleted and released.
As it was a public holiday we thought we would leave shopping to the next day and just had a quiet night eating fresh fish.
The area we find ourselves in is a holiday destination with resorts, hotels and bars on the beach with all the tour operators that come with it. There are dive shops and glass bottom boats but the really annoying thing is the jet skis which are high powered and there doesn't seem to be any regulations controlling their use. People hire these things and race through the anchorage and round and round boats at high speed with no regard for swimmers in the water or the comfort of others, it will not be long before there is a serious accident.
Anyhow, off to the supermarket to replenish our dwindling supplies. This is always an adventure in a new country and we weren't disappointed. The public transport system is a little different here, you just stand on the side of the road and put your finger out and a private car stops and if they are going in the right direction you hop in and pay them the going rate which is extremely cheap. After stowing the supplies aboard Pannikin we headed back in to town for a wander and find wifi to check a few things online. We found a place on the public beach where we were able to grab a bite to eat and do a bit of people watching which is always fascinating, while Ange checked things out on the ipad.
We haven't had the best sleeps the last couple of nights as the anchorage is a little rolly and the beach bars pump up the music till dawn. We are hoping it is only because it is a holiday weekend. Maybe everyone will head back to Trinidad after the weekend?
30/07/2014, Pirates Beach, Charlotteville
Saturday we had a long sail (in hours, not miles!) against wind & current to Petit St Vincent where we anchored in a lovely little bay off a large resort. It was very rolly here so we decided to head over to Union Island & anchor behind the reef there. It was a very pleasant night's rest & we had a wander through the town of Clifton on Sunday morning, followed by lunch at the Anchorage Yacht Club. We picked up anchor at 2pm & headed off towards Tobago. It was very slow going at first - we only averaged around 4 knots for the first couple of hours - then at 9.30pm the wind picked up & the current against us was not as strong. We managed to sail 7.0 - 7.7 knots for the rest of the way to Tobago. It was a lovely sail, comfortable and quick.
We arrived into Man of War Bay off the town of Charlotteville around 7am on Monday & dropped our anchor off Pirates Beach. It is absolutely beautiful here - the jungle is incredibly thick & tall rainforest covered mountains run down to the sea. The town is tucked into the top of the bay in the only flat area. After a cuppa we took Mr Slappy into Charlotteville to check in with Immigration & Customs. Customs was fine, but Immigration wouldn't be in their office until midday. We had a quick wander around town, then back to PANNIKIN for a swim & a rest. Later check in with Immigration went well, although we did have to wait for 45 minutes for the officer to show up. She also tried to charge us 400TT each for an entrance visa, but this is not paid if you arrive by boat, only plane. After we pointed this out & a few phone calls later we were checked in free of charge. A celebratory lunch of chicken roti & a beer was in order at one of the very small bar/ cafes along the main street. Everything here so far has been really cheap - beer is 10TT ($1.50) & the roti 25TT ($4)!! It's wonderful after struggling on our budget through the rest of the Caribbean. A relax & reading for Ange that afternoon while Steve had a sleep. An early night then for both of us.
Tuesday morning we woke to see JOY anchored behind us in the bay. They arrived around 7am that morning after an overnighter from Carriacou. They also had a great run with strong winds & calm seas. They weren't able to check in as Tuesday was a holiday (which we were unaware of), so off to our cafe again for another roti & beer lunch. It was good to catch up with Jeremy & Susie again. Another slack afternoon for us - we took Mr Slappy to Pirates Beach, had a swim and a lie & read in the sun. We headed over to JOY for afternoon drinks & checked on the depression that is sweeping across the Atlantic from Africa. It has been forming for the past 3 days & at this stage it is not a hurricane, but heading north towards Puerto Rico. We are well away from its path, but it is still scary to know for the next 3 months, these will form regularly & quite possibly turn into tropical depressions or hurricanes.
Today we had planned to head off down to one of the bays south of here. But it has rained continuously for the last 5 hours. If the weather clears we may head out, otherwise we'll stay here for another night.
26/07/2014, Tyrrel Bay
Last week at Hog Island was quiet - just noodling, washing, walking, jobs on board PANNIKIN & another wander to Nimrod's Cafe for chicken roti. We had dinner on board JOY with Devin & Liz from MOOSETRACKS on Friday night. Absolutely beautiful cooking J & S!
Saturday we headed north to the island of Carriacou for a change of scenery. It was a long day - 9 hours of sailing to cover just 36 miles with the wind & current against us. We were very happy to arrive into Tyrell Bay at 4.30pm, where we anchored & had a well deserved beer. We slept well that night!
Sunday we had a lazy day reading & swimming in the beautiful calm clear blue water.
Monday we ventured on shore for a walk & caught the local bus to the village of Hillsborough - the main town on Carriacou (Carri-a-koo) which we found to be fairly quiet but very friendly. There is plenty of nick-nack shops and bars with a couple of supermarkets and in between and not much else. We caught another bus back to Tyrell bay and walked along the road which has the beach on one side, and bars, dive shops, laundry and markets on the other. It has a real laid back feel about the place which we enjoy.
Tuesday we did jobs on PANNIKIN - Ange has started polishing all the fibreglass in the cockpit - one less job to do when we reach Trinidad.
Wednesday we motored around the point to Sandy Island in the middle of Hillsborough Bay. The snorkelling is great with very clear water and with plenty of hard coral & lots of fish- we had a great time. Ange even saw a BIG moray eel and didn't jump out of the water! We decided to stay Thursday night as well, so motored over to Hillsborough town & got a few groceries & some petrol at the service station. Then motored back to Sandy Island for another snorkel.
Thursday morning we were woken suddenly by a huge storm at 1.30am. There was plenty of thunder & lightning & the scary part...50 + knot winds. PANNIKIN's anchor held though & she did plenty dancing on the chain. Our only real problem was a hatch in the aft cabin was open & everything got thoroughly soaked, even in the cupboards.
Friday we went back around to Tyrrel Bay & began drying everything out. Mattresses all on deck & the boat looked like a Chinese laundry with clothes & cupboard bits & pieces hanging everywhere. Friday night we had drinks with Mal & Carol from the Gold Coast on board their Jenneau DANCIA which they had bought in the BVIs. Their plans are similar to us so we may see them in Panama as well as Costa Rica.
Today we are checking out of Grenada/Carriacou & heading around to Petit Martinique where we will begin our journey to Tobago. We will leave around 2pm on Sunday & arrive into Tobago sometime on Monday.
14/07/2014, Hog Island, Grenada
Another week has flown by on PANNIKIN.... Tuesday was again shopping bus day & Wednesday was odd job day with Mexican Train dominoes in the afternoon.
Wednesday night & most of Thursday it absolutely poured. Rainy season is definitely here. Thursday afternoon Ange caught a local taxi service run by a local called "Shademan" & visited a local cooking class run by two lovely ladies, Esther & Omega. They cooked a lovely Grenadian dish of pan-fried fish & sauce which we all had a plate of accompanied by deep fried plantain - a local vegetable. It was a nice afternoon & great to get off the boat after all the rain.
Friday the clouds cleared a little so we decide to get a bus to St George's for a look around. Even though it is the island's capital, it still is not large, but there was plenty going on & we managed to waste a few hours wandering around. Lunch was a chicken roti for Ange & a goat curry for Steve. We also found a new ipad charger which was a bonus.
Saturday we were up early & joined Mike from PORCELAIN at the bus stop, heading back to St George's. We had tickets for 2 x Twenty20 cricket matches at the start of the Caribbean Premier League. After a short walk following the crowd from the bus stop in town we found ourselves at cricket stadium. Not hard to miss with steel bands playing & loud music booming from the stadium. First match was between Trinidad Red Steel & Barbados Tridents. The crowd was great with lots of music, horn blowing & dancing. Cheerleaders constantly entertained as did the live DJ playing music every time a 6 or 4 were hit or during the change of overs. We were spoilt with constant give aways of sponsor products from icecream to rum & a liquid called 'Limacol' which serves as anything from makeup remover to deodorant!!! The second game was between St Lucia Zouks & Jamaica Tallawahs was a little more exciting with some great batting & running between wickets. Chris Gayle (ex International WI player) came on for Jamaica & smashed the ball all over the ground which was great. He completed the game with over 100 runs & barely ran between the wickets! It was an absolutely top day & has fulfilled Ange's long time dream of attending a cricket match in the West Indies!
Sunday was again a quiet day - laundry in the morning at Secret Harbour marina & then a couple of beers with Jeremy & Susie in the afternoon with the World Cup final on in the background.
Today Steve has stayed on board while Ange went to noodling & then put in some kilometres walking with Lann from BAREFOOT LIFE to Grand Anse shopping mall to top up our internet credit!
The days are still hot with the occasional shower to keep us refreshed and the breeze constantly blows off the Atlantic keeping the temperature around 28 to 30C. When the wind does calm down we certainly notice it as the humidity shoots up to 80 to 90 percent so we are in and out of the water all day, not that the water is all that refreshing with the temperature at 29C as well. You can spend hours in the water and not get cold which is pretty nice. Weather permitting we are planning on heading up to Carriacou at the end of the week for a change of scenery & some snorkelling. Should be a nice day sail!