01/09/2014, Secret Harbour, Grenada
Friday we had a great walk to the "jerk chicken man" who has a stall above Clarks Court Bay. We met Stan & Lann and their friends Flemming & Hells at Secret Harbour & had a 30 minute walk to our lunch spot - it was great to catch up with them & and the conversation didn't stop for some time! We had a quiet afternoon reading & swimming on PANNIKIN and an early night.
Saturday morning Ange walked into Grand Anse to get some last minute fresh groceries from the IGA. It rained on & off all morning, but was still hot & muggy for walking! Steve attended an informal information session on Panama held by another cruiser/delivery skipper who has transited the canal seven times. He found it very useful & picked up a lot of ideas. We had a game of dominoes with Lann, Stan and Flemming in the afternoon & sadly said our goodbyes to Lann & Stan as they are flying back to the US to see their families for a month. It has been wonderful meeting them & we're sure we will keep in contact.
Yesterday we got PANNIKIN ready for our sail across to Bonaire, did some washing & treated ourselves to a cheeseburger & chips for lunch at Secret Harbour marina. Steve played dominoes in the afternoon & Ange had a great phone call with Lesley who is nearing the end of a holiday in Europe. Great to speak with you Mum!
After checking out of Customs & Immigration in Prickly Bay this morning we are on our way to Bonaire. Should take about 3 days we reckon!
28/08/2014, Secret Harbour, Grenada
We are now back in lovely Grenada & another week has flown by again!
The last few days in Trinidad were spent doing our final jobs & saying goodbye to new friends we've met. We had a great game of dominoes with Steve & Pat (our neighbours at Coral Cove) on Saturday that got so out of control Steve (not Webby) fell off his chair! Dominoes can get physical!!!
Monday we were back in the water at 2pm. It was great to be off the hard in the water with a little wind. Our canvas man still hadn't delivered our cushions as promised, so we decided to take Monday night in a berth at PowerBoats marina. It also gave us a chance to stick up on groceries as Grenada is that much dearer.
We were up early on Tuesday... a young South African guy, Shaun, was getting a lift with us back to Grenada, so he arrived at 7.30am with all his gear. We checked out of customs & immigration and then hit the duty free alcohol store & grabbed some beer and vodka. Much cheaper without the tax etc so we should be right for the next month!
Our sail back to Grenada was odd. No wind at first (as expected) then we were cracking along at 7 - 8 knots. We were hit with squalls constantly in which we had to reef then lost all our wind once they passed. It took another 15 - 20 minutes before the wind came back & the current then was pushing us off our course. This went on all day & night as well as thunderstorms & lightning. We arrived into Prickly Bay at 10.30pm tired & wet but safe. A quick clean up of the boat, a beer & then bed.
Wednesday we checked in with customs & immigration in Prickly Bay & put Shaun into a taxi to take him to his boat in St George's. He was not well, complaining of aching, painful joints & fever, so we hope he hasn't contracted one of the mosquito borne viruses! We then spent most of the day chasing up odd jobs that still needed to be done & finally topped up our internet credit. We had a swim back at PANNIKIN & then popped into Prickly Bay marina for a pizza for dinner. We had wanted to attend Bingo at 8pm, but we were both too tired & retired to the boat to watch some TV & early to bed.
Today we ventured into St George's to Island Water World to buy a new dinghy. Mr Slappy is now well past repair & goes flat within a couple of hours. We are worried he will become a safety liability in the Pacific & haven't been able to find a second hand tender anywhere. Our new tender was delivered to the dock at Spice Island Marine at 2pm & we dragged it back to PANNIKIN very proud owners! We yet have to name the new dinghy - we're sure it will come to us over a couple of beers! We have motored around the corner to Secret Harbour to spend the next 3 days before we head to Bonaire! It's too rolly at Prickly Bay! We are catching up with our friends Lann & Stan from BAREFOOT LIFE tomorrow before they head back to the USA for a month. It will be good to see them.
Photo is of downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad
21/08/2014, PowerBoats boatyard, Chaguaramus
Last week was a time of chasing tradesmen, getting jobs done & preparing PANNIKIN for her haul out on the 18th. Ange had an afternoon of retail therapy on Thursday afternoon at WestMall - not much to buy, but it was nice wandering in the air conditioning. Another grocery shopping trip on Friday. We did manage a dominoes match with Kevin & Susie from TEMPTRESS and Paul & Jill from ELEVATION (Aussies) on Saturday, with Ange being the runaway winner. Sunday we had a lovely lunch with Paul & Jill at Cafe Feel Oh at Coral Cove marina & a good chat.
Monday we were up early & away from Coral Cove marina at 8.15am. We motored down to Power Boats where we tied up in the lift dock & waited for our hoist. Once we were up we waited for an hour & a half as the yard crew attempted to stabilise a trimaran we were to slot in front of. We spent the time trying scrap off all the shellfish that had attached themselves to PANNIKIN's underside - there were heaps - thanks to Hog Island, Grenada. Once we were settled on our props PANNIKIN was pressure washed Ange began the huge task of scrapping her bottom with a metal scrapper & Steve followed behind with the sander. We achieved 2/3 of her hull on Monday before calling a halt to the day. We let down our anchor & all chain to sit in the sun while we are here to get rid of any growth. We also cleaned out the anchor well - smelly!
Tuesday we finished scrapping & sanding and applied some epoxy primer to patches where the old antifoul was a bit thin. Ange also sanded back the propeller & sail drive ready for new paint. Mel at Majestic Coatings has kindly given us a new product called Prop Shield (apparently similar to Prop Speed) to try out. All he asks is we send him a photo of the propeller each month so he can record the effectiveness of the paint against growth.
Yesterday we applied the first coat of antifoul. We are using a hard paint again, this time Pettit Trinidad Pro. We are hoping it will hold up better in the Caribbean waters as the growth here is savage. After cleaning up (we were both covered in black paint) we had a delivery of our bimini from the canvas guy & also took our saloon cushions for covering - FINALLY!!! The bimini looks good after its wash & reseal - we still don't think it will be waterproof, but you never know. We had a great dinner last night at the Wheelhouse Pub at Tropical Marine. Swordfish & side salads for 100TT ($17) & the piece of fish large enough to feed both of us. It was grilled in garlic butter & then smothered in a mushroom sauce - YUM!
Today we will apply another coat of antifoul & will reconnect our solar panel & LED cockpit lights after taking them down to remove the bimini. But important things first - doubles for breakfast!!!! Doubles are East Indian in origin. They are a small roti filled with spicy chick peas. They are very popular here in Trinidad for breakfast. They are served at roadside stands from around 6 - 9.30am so you have to be quick.
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?