Alan and Jean sharing our cruising news with friends, family.

20 July 2015 | Rabi Island Fiji
29 June 2015 | Suva Fiji
18 December 2013 | Auckland
05 December 2013 | Auckland
27 October 2013 | Vavau Tonga
12 September 2013 | Samoa
24 July 2013 | Moorea, Tahiti
19 July 2013 | Papeete
19 June 2013 | Nuka Hiva
02 June 2013 | Pacific Ocean
29 May 2013 | Pacific Ocean
24 May 2013 | Eastern Pacific Ocean
19 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
16 May 2013 | Western Pacific Ocean
13 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
06 May 2013 | Isla Isabella
08 April 2013 | Shelter Bay marina, Colon.
28 March 2013 | Belize
27 March 2013 | Belize
03 March 2013 | Panamarina, Panama

Boat work in Trinidad

11 November 2012 | Trinidad
hot and humid
Batteries safely on board

Sunday 11th November, Remembrance day also 4 years since we started life on board Tuatara. We have come a long way together. Tuatara has looked after us well, so we don’t begrudge the few weeks on the hard looking after her. As we tick one job off the list we often add another to the bottom. The big things stopping us returning to the water have nearly been completed. The rigger found cracks in a couple of major fittings on the top of the mast and the furling forestay had two broken strands. Gary and his mate have been up and down the mast in rain and sun, the stainless steel welder came to the party and produced new fittings in a short time, which here in Trinidad is nothing short of a miracle.

Everything takes time, Trini time. We have given up on two things we wanted to get done here. A bimini over the cockpit and re-chroming of our winches. We had been told there was a place for the re chroming but when we made enquiries the answer was there is now nowhere for chroming. So cross that one off the list. Our Red Sea sand blasted winches will have to wait until NZ. When we put the sheets back around them they wont look so bad..we hope. Two Stainless steel firms have come to see us and discuss our bimini but 2 weeks( nearly 3 weeks for one guy) later still no quote so we have decided to cross that one off the list too. We have had successes though, as mentioned the rigger gave brilliant service, the cutless bearing man came …three days late when Alan chased him up…but he did come and finish the job. Ricki and his boys sanded the hull as well as cutting and polishing the top sides about when they said they would.

Getting new batteries was a bit of a mission and the whole episode tested our patience and faith in Trini service. After establishing 2 of our 2 year old Turkish batteries had died we contacted the Electrical company here in the yard to see if they had our brand choice of batteries, Trojan. They had 4, 12V batteries giving us slightly more power than before. Great. There were also 6V batteries available but Alan thought we could only fit in 4 which would give us less power. There was room under the floor for 5 but of course with 6V batteries even numbers are needed. So the 12V batteries were to be delivered on Wednesday then that was changed until Thursday. We were off on a tasting tour of Trinidad (more on that next blog) that day so Friday was definitely battery day. At about 9am, Friday, David from the company called in to see if we were still ok for battery delivery.

“Yes, definitely, the block and tackle have been ready since Wednesday.”

(We are several metres off the ground so carrying heavy batteries up the ladder is not possible.)

10 minutes later, David appeared looking a bit apologetic and informed us that in the short time he been out of the shop seeing us another staff member had sold our batteries to another yachtie!!! We were a little upset, surely a sold sticker would have been a good idea! David assured us there were 4 more arriving in a shipment as we spoke and he would pick them up from the Warehouse on Friday for delivery Monday. Being an island everything is shipped in, mainly from the US, the imperial measurements causing some niggling difficulties for the metric sailor and his tools. That other yachtie must have thought all his Christmases had come at once, 4 batteries available immediately no waiting weeks. Same thing we had thought several days before. We still had two batteries working being supplemented with shore power so ok we weren’t happy but we could wait until Monday. Monday came and David appeared again…..minus batteries!!!! I said a very unladylike word when he informed us that there were no batteries. The batteries we wanted were not in the shipment as he had thought. We would need to wait 3 … maybe 4 weeks for the next shipment which could also mean up to 6 weeks!! We could wait until we got to Grenada but the same thing there everything is shipped in and at this stage we felt we could not trust anyone. Our delightful day out tasting Trinidad delights looked to have been a costly day. So we decided either we had to try and trust David( the only Trojan Battery supplier…he said) to deliver at the end of the month or early December, revisit the 6V issue or try and get other batteries elsewhere in Trinidad. We have a date with Sarah and Bryce in Grenada mid December so not much time to spare.

I rang all the marine battery suppliers in the Boaters Directory, no luck. Their batteries were too big, too small, or still somewhere 4 to 6 weeks away in the US. In the meantime Alan got out his trusty tape measure and after some pondering, writing down measurements and drawing battery plans we got in Brian( Davids more technical partner) for a consult on the whole issue. Thankfully he agreed with Alans plan of making the battery box under the pilot berth bigger to accommodate 4, 6V batteries linked to 2 under the floor on the other side of the pilot house, that would work. There would also be more amp hours than previously for fridges, computers etc. So the next question was did we want them to keep the batteries until Alan had enlarged the box.

“NO, definitely not, we want them on our back deck where no one is going to sell them on us.”

The next day we lifted them carefully up onto the deck and covered them to protect them from the afternoon deluge. David said, “don’t worry just sometime this week”, when we said about paying the bill. Brian’s on board consult was free, a saving of 375TT/$75NZ an hour. The situation ended up well but for a few days we were not happy cruisers. By Friday, after a lot of work on Alans part, some holding of tools and torch on my part, the batteries are happily running.

The jobs we do ourselves we have more control of. I have been polishing stainless, polishing the topsides with another couple of coats of wax, cleaning the propeller, varnishing , re -gluing handles on the dinghy, passing tools etc etc. Alan does the more technical things (manly) like fitting the new drinking tap and filter, batteries, repairing the water tank lids and refitting, fixing and refitting the hand bilge pump, new LED lights, engine filters, cleaning the toilet waste pipe (definitely a blue job) and many more things. His jobs often mean squeezing into small spaces or as with the bilge pump lying on his back draped over the lumps and humps of the engine. Often ending the day with bits of skin missing. All part of the cruising life. Although not all boat owners here in the yard do their own work.

The yard is quiet today but during the week it is humming with workers washing, polishing, antifouling, getting boats ready for when their owners fly in. Many of the 6 month cruising 6 month home North American cruisers organize for their boats to be ready to step on to when they get back and within a couple of days they are in the water. Some wives fly in when the boat work is done. A couple of days ago I watched a German couple arrive back to a beautifully prepared boat. Ricky and his crew had been working for days. While the husband consulted with Ricky and did some last minute organizing of ropes and fenders his wife sat in the cockpit with nothing to do but read a book. Oh to be so lucky!!!! But we are not alone, long term cruisers mostly do their own work or at least are on hand to supervise. There are around 1500 cruising yachts here in Chagaramus spread between the four major yards, the anchorage and a couple of small marinas, plenty of work for owners and local businesses.

We have had great weather since arriving back, although this week we have had a couple of afternoon deluges with the accompanying thunder and lightning. By the end of the week Tuatara should be floating again, leaving us more time for a bit of sightseeing. The time back has not been all work. There has been some socializing, shopping and the Taste of Trinidad tour. On Tuesday we are off to Divali Celebrations, Hindu festival of light, it’s also a public holiday as Divali is important here, 40% of Trinians are of East Indian descent. I have run out of words here so next time I will write about more interesting things than boat work, people, food and places, the delights of Trinidad.
Vessel Name: Tuatara
Vessel Make/Model: Alan Wright 51
Hailing Port: Opua NZ
Crew: Alan and Jean Ward

Sailing in the Pacific

Who: Alan and Jean Ward
Port: Opua NZ