Published: July 19th 2011July 19th 2011
This resort had a beautiful location but was damaged by hurricane unfortunaately
On the night before we planned on leaving for Trinidad one of the other boats organized a movie night which we took advantage of. Transportation was organized for a trip to the local movie theatre to see the newest Pirates of the Caribbean film with Johnny Deep. Some of the cruisers came to the movie complete with pirate costume. Unfortunately we didn’t get photos of most of them as they were in the other vehicle, but it was obvious that many came cruising with many of the makings of a pirate costume. One of our friends even had the boots! We all teased that she had the room as she sails on a catamaran!
It seemed as everything was set for us to leave Grenada on Thursday, July 14th for our crossing to Trinidad. It is about 80 nautical miles and we estimated that it would take us about 14 hours so planned on leaving at 5:30PM so we could get to customs for checking into the country after they open at 8AM. The weather predictions were for east winds of about 15 knots with seas of 3-4 feet with a 7-8 second interval (for those of you who are
A view of Prickley Bay
This is the view that we could see from the resort that had been destroyed
unfamiliar this is the time between the top of each wave, short time uncomfortable ride, long time, 7 to 8 seconds comfortable ride). The calendar also confirmed that we would be crossing with a full moon which we enjoy. That afternoon we received an excellent going away gift from Mike on Happy Times. He is now known for the fabulous bread that he bakes and luckily for us we received a warm loaf from him. Thanks Mike! Fortunately for us friends that we met on Livin the Dream planned on crossing the same night. Everything went well and we arrived at the customs dock in Trinidad 15 ½ hours after we left Hog Island, Grenada. The biggest surprise of the crossing was the currents that we ran into. They were significant and had us thinking our chart plotter was not working properly at first. We even called Livin the Dream and luckily they confirmed that it was the currents “messing with us” and not our chart plotter. We were definitely thankful for that. During the night we received a call from them that they had hit something very hard but luckily they were not taking on water. They questioned if
L for Learner
They use the L on the car to show that the driver is just learning - a nice warning to other drivers
it could have been a submerged container as it seemed to be quite solid, but in the AM they checked it out and found that it did not do any major damage to their boat thankfully. Needless to say they did not get much sleep during their crossing after that happened. These are some of the dangers that can be out here, but luckily it does not happen very often. The full moon made for a great crossing as it made it much easier to see the numerous ships that were out that evening. You definitely have to keep your eyes peeled while on duty as we had a sailboat cross in front of us with no lights on at all and a couple of large ships with less lights on than we had on our boat. Over the course of the trip we were treated to a great sunset over Grenada, a full moon rising and a fabulous sunrise as we got closer to Trinidad.
Your first stop in Trinidad must be at the customs dock. We realized when coming in that the last time we had been to a dock was when we picked up fuel in
Another way to refer to a children's crossing
the British Virgin Islands. Luckily even though quite some time had passed we did remember the drill. Extra hands at the dock provided by friends on Arctic Tern that we had met recently in Grenada were very much appreciated.
After the official paperwork was completed we took down the yellow quarantine flag and put up the Trinidad courtesy flag and moved around the point to Carnage Bay where the TTSA (Trinidad & Tobago Sailing Association) is located. We had been told this was a great place to anchor as they have good facilities (showers, washers & driers, swimming pool, restaurant & bar, a good dinghy dock, free Wi-Fi (when it works) and a security guard at night. In this area there is a cruisers net as well which we listened to when we were still in the process of arriving. We heard that they had a trip planned to the fruit/veg market on Saturday AM so once we got our anchor set we found out the details. We signed up for the trip but had second thoughts about it when we had to get up early the next AM due to the fact that we were going to be
What is it??
We saw this very unusual tree with the flowers and fruit coming from branches straight out of the trunk. We have asked around but no one could tell us what it is. Do you know??
picked up at 6:30AM. We both were glad we made it as this market is the best we have been to so far. They have the typical fruits and vegetables, but they also have the fish market and meat market located here as well. The market seemed to go on forever so it was good that we were limited to one hour at the market. Even with only an hour, we came away with two full bags of veggies and fruit. The market was amazing with every conceivable fruit and vegetable you can possibly think of and all of them an excellent condition. We had to be very careful with our purchases as we will be putting the boat on the hard a week from tomorrow so must eat all the fresh food we have on the boat. Last night we were invited to go to a local restaurant to try a local dish called “shark and bake”. We hooked up with some others that we had met in Grenada and a few new ones as well. No one could tell where the “bake” came in to the title of this dish as it is fried fish served on a
Someone said it may be a cannonball tree - anyone heard of it??
fried dough roll. What makes the dish are the numerous condiments used – garlic sauce, hot sauce, and tamarind chutney. What an enjoyable dinner! We are finding out lots of great information on these events from the many cruisers that have been doing this for years and have been here before. We are truly feeling like the beginners we are when we met people that have been across the Pacific, in the Western Caribbean, in South Africa and all points in between. After spending time with people who have done so much traveling you realize the almost unlimited options open to you. This of course makes our decision of what we plan to do for next year even more difficult. Luckily we have a few months to decide.
One thing about Trinidad that has surprised us is that 49% of the population is of African descent and 49% is of East Indian descent. Also this is an island that has recently discovered oil and has benefited significantly. On our sail from Grenada we got within two nautical miles of one of their many drilling platforms. The southeastern and southwestern coastal waters are covered with large numbers of drilling platforms.
Not sure if we are spelling it correctly, but this is what is sounds like when we asked the name. The inside "seedpod" has a white coating that you eat which taste like a lychee
The result of this is that there is a thriving economy and a great deal of development going on. The capital Port of Spain has several tall buildings and is a thriving major city. On our way back from the market we visited a supermarket which was well-stocked with many familiar products from the US and a fair number of products produced in Trinidad. Prices were quite reasonable and in some cases were even cheaper than the United States. The highway we traveled on was a four-lane major highway in excellent condition. Where we are currently anchored we are close to a Coast Guard station where there are seven large (80 to 100 foot) Coast Guard vessels that are produced in Trinidad. We are looking forward to a return in October so we can spend some more time exploring the country. Our first impressions though are extremely favorable.
This morning we had a great breakfast on Livin the Dream. They pull their boat this Friday and Ann wanted to use up her eggs, bacon and sausage. We contributed a pawpaw to add to the breakfast menu. Trinidad is outside the hurricane box (as defined by our insurance company) and
Mangrove seed pods
The seedpods of the mangrove are very long & sharp. When they drop they stick into the ground and re-plant themselves.
therefore large numbers of people bring their boats here and have them pulled (put on land) for a few months while they go home. Trinidad is also an excellent place to have your boat worked on because the labor is inexpensive and very professional. Of course with all of these cruisers leaving their boats refrigerators and freezers must be emptied. Every morning on the cruisers net you can hear people offering food from their freezer or refrigerator to any of the cruisers staying. Tomorrow night a pot luck is scheduled on shore so will be able to empty out more of the freezer with taking something to grill. This is Trinidad's rainy season so therefore prepping the boat to be hauled out is very different than what we used to do in upstate New York. Here the problem is not freezing but mildew and critters. For this reason some interesting steps have to be taken to prepare your boat. All of the stanchions that support the boat must have a thick layer of grease placed around the stanchion posts to keep cockroaches and other creepy crawley's from moving on board during our absence. Also all your thru-hulls (holes in the
We told them to look "mean" but knew that our friends from Unicorn weren't capable of that as they are too nice!
hull where you intake water or expel water from sinks, bilge pumps etc.) must all be plugged to keep things from moving in. Additionally it is recommended you washdown all the walls, countertops and cupboards with a light vinegar solution to discourage mildew. The more modern solution to this problem is either a dehumidifier or an air conditioner both of which can be rented from the local boat yards. Of course as with everything when a group of sailors get together one of the many discussions that occur is whether an air conditioner is better than a dehumidifier or vice versa. This is a topic that can eat up significant amounts of time during any after dinner conversation. Another topic of heated discussion during any cruisers get together is whether to remove sails and store them in the boat or leave them up. It's a lot of work as we have three sails on our boat and folding them and storing them is no easy task. Unfortunately after the most recent discussion it looks like we are going to have to take them off. One surprise about Trinidad is that these past several nights have been quite cool and comfortable
What a great going away gift from Mike - it definitely didn't last long!
for sleeping. The days are very hot with over 90 degree temperatures with high humidity, but the evenings and mornings are quite pleasant.
We are making our list of things to get done before we haul out, what work we would like to get quotes for and those things that must be done once we are out of the water. A few things we are looking at this point besides getting the bottom painted are having our stern safety rails extended forward replacing the vinyl covered cable with 1 inch stainless tubing. Another is to have our current refrigerator and freezer door replaced with a more sophisticated double seal arrangement. It will be hard to balance our time between the “must do” and the things we’d like to do. There will be a night turtle watching trip this week and we are going as this is an excellent opportunity to see the hatchings come out of their eggs and move to the water. There is also a large gorge with some spectacular waterfalls in the rain forest nearby. Everybody we talked to say this is another trip well worth taking because we only have a week and a few
A great sunset over Grenada
days before we have to leave so we will put this off until we get back at the end of September. At that time we will have over a month to get the boat back in the water and prepare for the second year of our trip.
Arriving in Trinidad is completing the first major goal of our retirement travels. The big question now is what we do next year. As we said earlier the options are endless. Our current thoughts are that we will set sail in November and return to Puerto Rico and then take a much slower trip going through all the eastern Caribbean islands we missed this past year. Then next summer instead of coming back to Trinidad go over to the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) and then end up in Columbia this time next year. This followed by a slow trip through Central America visiting Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. Of course there is the other option that says go to South America. Like we said we have a lot of thinking to do over these next three months.
Our biggest challenge right now is finding out if
we can get our cat, Sailor back to the US with us. Trinidad is rabies free and therefore is very strict with any pets that come into the country. The problem we are having is that our flight home leaves here at midnight and the quarantine office must escort the cat to the plane. Unfortunately for us they only work until 4PM. As a result we are checking into other options. The latest one is that Sailor may spend the two months on our boat in Trinidad without us. We are looking for someone that is staying in country to take care of her. We have a person that we will be talking to later today so we are hopeful that will work out. We hate to leave her here, but it may be less traumatic then taking the flight home!
There are more photos below