Thursday 12th November 2009
this seems a suitable date to start of the log for Chapter three in the life of Anam Cara and the crew who are hopefully going to join Christine and me sail her around the Caribbean (again!) over the coming months and then finally leaving Tortola on the 6th May 2010 with the ARC returning back to Spain; estimated time of arrival in Spain, mid July 2010. Well that’s the plan, however there could be a small fly in the ointment; we have decided to put her up for sale. A very hard decision had to be made, however much we loved her, she was getting a little too hard for Christine and I to handle at times, and so if anybody wants a Westerly Oceanmaster 48, in first class condition and ready for blue water sailing, Anam Cara is the girl for you.
Anyway back to the log. At some un-godly hour the alarm went, (we were staying at Tom & Kathleen’s) so we were up and out of the house and on the road by 0530 hrs, hoping we hadn’t disturbed them too much! My how the roads were empty, I don’t remember seeing such empty roads in the UK sine Adam was a lad! A good run up the A3, stopped at Starbucks just north of Guildford for that most important first cup of tea, then on to Gatwick. Christine dropped me off at south terminal around 0700hrs and as the flight wasn’t due to depart ‘till 0900hrs, I thought a leisurely wander through check in and into duty free. Well, check in was fine, very little wait there, security was a nightmare. Only two scanners working, two massive queues, and about 6 other machines not being used! I am surprised the retailers in the duty free area don’t complain because they must lose a lot of revenue due to lost sales! Anyway I was through only to hear my flight being called ready for boarding. I had to go the bank to get Trinidad Dollars and US Dollars, buy a newspaper and toothpaste and then take a 15 minute hike to the gate. Arriving there to note still a long queue waiting to board and across the way a Costa Coffee counter, yes I thought I haven’t had a caffeine fix yet so over I went and bought one, great! I eventually walked through the gate security after I had drunk my coffee but at least I then continued and went straight onto the plane, found my seat and off we went.
A truly un-eventful flight other than the stewardess knocked my arm whilst flying up the aisle and my red wine (1/2 glass) went all over my trousers, such waste!
Arrival a little late but no worries as I had booked a local hotel and a Taxi to meet me.
One of the first out of the airport to see my name up on some chap’s board, good I thought and asked where his car was. Wait here a moment he said and I assumed he had gone to collect said car. Oh No, when I asked him where the car was he said we were waiting for 6 or 8 more passenger, all going to the same hotel I enquired, no, we are dropping you off on the way. After I had explained I had ordered a private taxi, to save time, and that this was not the deal I had already paid for, a few minutes later a car arrived so I was off and away. I noticed as we drove of the other party was still not ready to go!!!
I arrived at this interesting hotel, chalet bedrooms, pool etc., with an open air restaurant, clean, cool and comfortable and a nice light meal in the evening followed by bed. Here we are 4 hours later than the UK
Friday 13th November 2009
Next morning the transfer to the ferry arrived as agreed at 1000 hrs, I said my goodbyes and off I went.
Arrived at the ferry terminal, no queue bought my ticket then waited half an hour for the checking in desk to open. I was stood outside, very hot though managed to find some shade. 1100 hrs and the check in desk opened on time, all this so far looks good for the rest of the day, The ferry is due to leave at 1330 hrs, 2 ½ hour wait, well I can just sit and read. The shed, unlike the one in Trinidad had no air conditioning and by 1230 hrs was heaving with people, my god it was hot in there. 1330 hrs arrived, no ferry it eventually arrived about1400 hrs, took 1 hour to turn around then make the 3 hour trip back.
I have to say at this point, anybody coming over here, don’t be seduced by the cheaper flights to Tobago, pay the extra and fly straight to Trinidad, the hassle is not worth the cost saving.
Eventually we arrived in Trinidad about 1730; yes the ferry made up ½ an hour but still deposited us in the middle of the Trinidad rush hour. Fortunately I managed to get a taxi OK but by the time we arrived at Power Boats, the offices had closed.
Back to the security gate house, ah yes, we have a key for you, pointless asking why when we went through security a few minutes earlier they couldn’t say, “Ah Anam Cara, here is the key to your room”, no too easy! Anyway taxi took me back the block where I stayed before, unloaded my bags, paid him off and went looking, err no, there was no room 7 here. I managed to find someone to ask,’ ah yes she said. You need the other block, across the yard above the grocery store. Thanks, as I trundled right across this yard covered with boats, ziz zaging my way over. Found the block, by this time it was very dark I was very hot, sweaty, and nobody about. I searched and found many empty rooms but no number 7. Again, I found someone only to be told the room was back where I had come from. Welcome to Trinidad!!!
Anyway to cut a long story short, yes it was above the grocery store with its own staircase tucked around the corner off a slipway.
In I went, Aircon on, dumped bags and off to the bar. Thirsty and hungry I enjoyed a pint of Carib and hot chicken salad! Back to bed and the sleep of the just, Friday 13th said it all.
Saturday 14th November
I woke up not appreciating it was Saturday morning as I walked into the office to start to kick some butt as I had hoped the work we commissioned had been nearly completed. No said Simoné, only me here today being Saturday and all the contractors have the weekend off. Oh another bad decision should have come out on a Sunday or a Monday! Anyway she handed over my boat key and onto her I went. First the good news, she does not appear to be in a bad shape with mildew, or creepy crawlies etc., yes the cockpit is completely full of sails, warps, sheets and mattress from our main cabin, There are dirty greasy marks where the mechanics have been moving the generator from the engine bay to under the bunk but nothing a good clean with Mr. Muscle will not deal with. I was really pleased but of course will know better once we have cleared the cockpit.
I eventually caught up with the guy who is doing the outside of the hull above and below the water mark. What he has done so far is first class, just wish he had done more but says we will be in the water by the end of the week, yeah let’s wait and see. I also spoke to the engineer regarding the movement of the generator, he says that part is completed OK but has a couple of other outstanding issues; no doubt these will be sorted with money. Monday I will also have to organize the new batteries and sort out the rigging as it has to be moved to accommodate the boat lift and at the same time re fit the sails. No all in all not too bad, I was expecting a lot worse.
If I can get her back in the water, I am hoping to place her on a buoy near to Power Boats so if there are any unforeseen issues I will be here to deal with them.
Rest of Saturday consisted of walking about the hard, meeting several people including a couple who are retired (early) schoolteachers; they have a Westerly 35ft centre cockpit, built in 1975. They sailed the Atlantic a week after I did 2008 and are off later to Panama and across the Pacific, the power of Westerly’s!
Still unable to access Internet other than between working hours from the local internet café, the unfortunate thing is after Martin’s trying I am still unable to access the i player. I was hoping this would be my source of entertainment whilst out here on my own, oh well can’t have everything. At least when I am back on Anam Cara and she has batteries, I can get back into watching DVD’s
Sunday 15th November 2008
Yes you have got the picture, Sunday, nothing happening here today. The locals having their power boats put into the water for a day’s fishing etc., and no doubt at the end of the day the same thing bringing the boats back in.
I had a nasty shock in the night, I was woken up by a ‘phone text at 0400 hrs from Christine, fearing the worst I opened it, nothing to worry about other than to remind everybody we are 4 hours behind you!!!!!
Sun shining but stuck here, the water taxi that used to work the harbour doesn’t any more or if he feels like it, too unreliable to risk. Tomorrow when I can get help, I will get the dingy off the boat with the outboard and at least I can go over to the hotel complex, shops and another eating place etc., across the harbour.
Total waste of a day today really, sitting in the sun, reading, writing the log, and of course, being Sunday had a glass of vino!
Clean start Monday Morning, 0900 hrs at the office and get things moving, I can then start the clean up.
Had a reminder of Spain this afternoon, it rained heavily for about 10 minutes!
Early to bed to-night.
Monday 16th November 2009
What a day, firstly in the office to see the IT lady to know why I wasn’t receiving Wi-Fi anywhere but only in their office after three subsequent visits we all gave up and I now have reverted to going to the internet café on the harbour wall, it works but inconvenient, especially as they only work office hours! Never mind it could be cold and wet!
Met up with Raymond the mechanic, he has re-positioned the generator under the stern bunk, a very tidy job I must say and it still leaves half the locker for normal use. The outstanding issue is it is charging too high at idle, this could have caused the new battery charger we fitted last year to fail so quickly, well spotted Raymond. I also noticed on Sunday the Cutlass bearing had too much play in it so there’s another job for Raymond!
Now to finishing the hull below the water line: This is looking good, all preparation work done except to fit a couple of anodes then re-paint just leaving the anti foul to be painted on.
I also met with the riggers who loosened the front stays etc to allow the boat to fit onto the cradle for lifting out of the water. Whilst doing this they noticed some damage to one of the steel rigging lines so have had to arrange for this and the opposite side to be replaced, rather sooner than I would have expected bearing in mind they were all supposed to have been replaced 4/5 years ago.
Then it was a trip to the electrical shop to talk batteries. This was un-successful will have to try again tomorrow.
In and amongst all this going on I managed to get the sails and ropes etc out of the saloon, also get the dingy off the coach roof. I also retrieved the power cable to have mains on board, that’s working so is the de-humidifier again. The battery charger is working with the sole remaining reasonable battery so are half way to checking he lights and water pumps etc., but it got dark so will finish that tomorrow, but it is looking good so far!
My target is to be living aboard, albeit land bound, from midday Wednesday.
Tomorrow when there are some people around I will get them to help me lower the outboard (so at least I can cross the harbour), carry on empting the saloon, that’s if Raymond has finished the generator and get the floor boards and carpets back down
And last but not least I got into the internet café to get the previous log away; reasonably successful day I think
Quiet night in tonight enjoying the air conditioning, I will miss it in Anam Cara, so am making the most of it now.n
Tuesday 17th November 2009
Met up with Raymond (Mechanic) at 0800 hrs he had thought about the problem overnight and had concluded the rack in the injector may be stiff and causing it to stick at high revs. He took it out and yes it was a little stiff but not enough to cause to stick, any way a rub with very fine emery that but unfortunately didn’t solve the problem. So, after the best part of a day’s trying he had to give up and turn to the Pander Fisher specialist on the Island, the result is the generator had to come out of the boat and set upon a special test rig on the work bench! Anyway Raymond said he will not charge me for all the work he undertook but couldn’t solve. So the rear cabin is now in even more of a mess, so don’t think I will be in it tomorrow. I will now have to try and empty out the front cabin and squeeze onto the bed there! I think it is just as well Christine is still in the UK, Trinidad time and speed of work would send her right wobblers; it has to be something to do with the heat, much hotter than Spain in August at the moment!
Managed to walk the dingy and outboard to the dingy dock, Engine started OK after fuel had got through the lines so have put the service on hold for the time being, it was done only a few weeks since I laid her up. Went to pump her up and couldn’t find the small piece that fits between pump pipe and the dingy valve. When we purchased the new dingy earlier this year they pumped it up with their machine. I have never had to pump it up! I found the new plastic bag with the new pump and Valve adaptor, fine, unfortunately the piece between was not in the bag! So tomorrow off to the chandlery for a tiddley piece of pipe or in their speak, a “connector” it will no doubt cost more that way!
Underneath nearly finished now and because of the misunderstanding with the quotation etc., he has also put on 2 coats of anti foul, Thanks Clinton, that’s saved me a job! 2 Anodes replaced and a new one fitted to the prop shaft.
We should not have to worry about the underside for some time now and hopefully as it is like the preverbal babies bottom, she should fly through the water; well, do and extra knot anyway!
Met up with the battery man, had his quote, now looking for another quote to compare. The only problem he has to order the batteries in, at least they won’t be old stock!
Thought I would have seen the riggers today, but no they didn’t turn up so will go chasing tomorrow, but they did say the job should be completed by the end of the week, it was the start I was concerned with first!
Last night of comfort tonight well for the time being, no rooms available and all the portable air conditioners are also booked out, ouch!
Wednesday 18th November 2009
Another very hot day here in Trinidad there doesn’t seem to be any rest bite still shouldn’t complain, it could be like you back in UK!
Put out another message looking for crew on this morning’s net, not a very successful way. I am going to have to print some slips and stick around all the notice boards but I am wondering Trinidad is not quite the centre of the yachting universe to pick up boats!
I moved out of the Power Boats hotel room I was renting, enjoyed the air conditioning ‘till the very last moment before moving into Anam Cara. Fortunately I had cleared a way to the front cabin yesterday so was able to drop everything and get out. Exposed to the sun, the inside is about 80 degrees, you just can’t stay in. I went back to the office to see if any of the portable air conditioners had become available, no she said, but have you tried so and so, no say’s I so she rang them and yes they had one. “Book it” I said and it was fitted by 1900hrs last night so I actually could have a good night’s sleep, watch this space.
Not a lot to report on the work front, they started dismantling the rigging to measure for the new rigs etc., the new cutlass bearing is in place, a couple of anodes are replaced and the bottom looks good, picture attached. Still waiting for the generator to come back from the specialists then once that is back in place we can start the big inside clean up, can’t wait.
Battery man was back to discuss his prices etc, I said I would be getting comparison prices after he told me he couldn’t give discount other than zero the VAT.
My neighbours Jeremy & Kathy (other westerly owners) are due to launch tomorrow so we went to the “Sails” (the onsite restaurant and bar) and had a farewell beer. They are off to Panama and beyond in their 36ft, bilge keel Solway, built in 1975. They are on a three year world tour before they get too old. Good luck to them I am sure they will have a great time.
So back onto Anam Cara, nice and cool in the cabin, and comfortable except I couldn’t find and pillow cases or sheets/duvet covers. I have no doubt Christine will walk straight in and put her hand on them, so will continue to hunt them down!
Picture enclosed: “Her nice new slippery bottom”
Thursday 19th November 2009.
Good night’s sleep with the air conditioning above my head, I know the noise will upset Christine, but hey, I am here and it’s very hot at night still!
Great activity by my neighbours this morning as they make the final preparations for the boat to be lifted back into the water; they are going to hitch up to a buoy (they can find one!), good luck to them.
Very quiet today, the last patches underneath where the props were have now been completely, just waiting for the actual prop to come back. It was in such a state it needs a workbench to clean it upon.
Nothing more happened on the rigging or the Generator fronts, so as I said, a quite day. So I had a good day at the internet Café getting up to date, moving things about to finish taking photos etc., and getting them away.
I also started on the cupboards, did the two most important ones in the evening, the booze cabinet and the games locker minimal mildew I was pleased to find but the nonslip mats we put down look and smell awful
Then watched a couple of DVD’s and then to bed.
Tomorrow it’s about putting posters up looking for crew and hoping Generator will be back.
Bye for now
Friday 20th November 2009.
Thank goodness for air conditioning, another comfortable night but seems strange without my usual neighbours!
As usual I switch on channel 68 at 0800hrs to get an update on what’s happening in and around Chaguaramas and what the weather has install for the day etc etc. This is where I posted crew wanted, twice now but don’t hold up too much hope!
Got the oven working, boiled myself a kettle for a cup of coffee, great I thought and ½ later went to boil again for another and yes you guessed, I ran out of Gas. Now that would not be a problem in the UK (or even Europe) but here, well a different story. My Canister has to be filled and the only day this can happen is on a Tuesday, so 5 days ‘till I can brew up again because you can bet your bottom dollar it will be 1700hrs Tuesday!
Managed to get “Crew Wanted” slips printed at the Internet Café ready for all the notice boards I can find.
The last of the masking tape came off from the line between the Anti Foul and the shiny hull, so it’s into the water as soon as the generator is installed and the rigging is finished: Hopefully next week! Then Raymond can return and test the engine and generator with water flowing through their cooling systems.
Another night in watching DVD’s, there was a Jazz singer last night a Sails, I didn’t need to go there to hear it, I had a front line spot!
Weekend round again, this time last week I was so sure I would be in the water by now, but it wasn’t to be so here’s hoping for this time next week, I wonder!!!!
Bye for now, until tomorrow
Saturday 21st November
Woke up and switched on channel 68 to hear about a wine testing at the Crews Inn Hotel from 1100 hrs to 1500 hrs over at the hotel, so that set up my day! The Crews Hotel we know well. We were staying there a couple of years ago when Christine caught Pneumonia!!! I had been meaning to pump up the dingy for a couple of days but hadn’t got round to it, but today, well added incentive!
I thought I would also spoil myself and have breakfast the lighthouse restaurant, (part of the hotel), which I did. I then went to see the Electronics place at the back of the hotel for Battery prices only to find all the boat shops around there close on Saturdays! Anyway I got a “Crew Wanted “Poster up in the Customs office and the guy in the Immigration office also said he would ask his boss if it could go up in their office. I won’t know that until I visit some time!
Anyway, time was now about midday so off to the wine tasting, very disappointing, only 4 bottles to taste, all from Argentina and all very nice and without tax very reasonable; un-fortunately we can only buy tax free when we have checked out of the country. I will get a case or so as the dry white, Christine will enjoy and they are very affordable prices here.
Back to Anam Cara via Budget Marine for their prices on batteries; I hope to have three comparisons when I finally decide; after all they are all the same Make and rating! Only to find Raymond (on his day off) checking up on a couple of things. As he was “not working” I offered him a drink, he had a whisky with water and during the conversation, it transpires there is no breathalyser here in Trinidad, well not ’till Monday. I think there will be a lot of drinking and driving over the week-end!
Did the usual e mails but early dart on a Saturday and no e mails on a Sunday! I received all the information for the Rugby World Cup in 2001 being held in New Zealand, have to start saving, the whole tournament takes 48 days, should be good, especially if we make the finals again! Remember 2003 in Oz, we want a repeat!
Had a couple of beers at Sails, well it is the weekend! And got talking to another yachtee stuck out here on his own, (his wife has had o go back to UK) anyway a couple of beers ld to a very nice Steak dinner. Eventually off to bed and guess what, the steak sat heavily in stomach, will I live & learn!
Sunday 22nd November 2009
Usual channel 68 at 0800 hrs and firstly another boat put out an announcement looking for crew, I jumped straight in and gave out my announcement for crew. Also, apart from the normal weather5 and other regular features, they gave out about the Dominoes group, and said they were looking for new players. Right I thought I like Dominoes so I would go along, start at 1315 hrs but beginners at 1300 hrs. Not too sure about how they played out here I decided to get there for the tuition.
Next thing over 68 comes this voice asking for the boat A….C…. looking for crew. I was onto that like a shot to be told there was a chap looking and would be with me in 5 minutes. Next minute there was a knock on the hull and this chap arrived. We had a long chat and then went to have some breakfast at Sails. He is 40, slim, and fit as a fiddle, as for the past 12 years or so has been an instructor for Kayaking, sea and rapids, and other water sports in South America and other parts of the world. Though not a very experienced at sailor, he will be more than suitable for Island hopping, and more importantly moving about the boat and working the
Winches! We left it for both parties to have a think over the next 24 hours: Watch this space tomorrow!
Heavy rain this morning, had to close everything down, still it didn’t last too long so managed to get over to Crews Inn where the Dominoes was being played.
I arrived to see, unlike our boxes of dominoes we know with 49 tiles in, the ones out here have 144 tiles in the set and a totally different game! I will buy a set before I leave as it is a fascinating game and as a bonus, I won the day! No prizes but maybe beginners luck! Apparently the result will be published tomorrow morning n Channel 68! A beer after dominoes then dingy back to power boats for evening meal of a corned beef sandwich, no other food on board (I hope to lose some weight) washed down with a glass of wine whilst watching a DVD!
Monday 23rd November 2009
Channel 68 announced the result of the Dominoes this morning, very embarrassing.
Nothing happening today and raining very hard, so decided to go to the big mall about 5 miles down the road towards Port of Spain, I wanted to buy a set of Dominoes and visit a travel agents. I am going to look at flying to the Angles falls in Venizwailia, and also to suss out the big supermarket I keep hearing about!
Went to the showers, but into a different “block”, in one of these cubicles you can put in tokens and have hot water!!! All this time I had been showering in Cold water! Anyway, went to the office, collected three tokens, back to the shower, stripped off and under, tokens into machine, yes you got it, still cold water! Still, in this weather very invigorating.
Dumped my stuff onto the boat, then walked to the Power Boats Entrance and waited at the bus stop. Here in Tobago, like most of the Caribbean islands they have these maxi buses. These are small people carriers that pick up and drop off virtually anywhere. A couple of minutes later and along came a maxi taxi. A reasonably comfortable ride later we arrived at the Mall. Arrived at Lunch time so went upstairs where there was the usual food mall and as normal we had vast choices; you could eat around the world. I selected roast chicken with Chinese mixed vegetables’ and mushrooms. Apart from being accosted by a very smart beggar woman looking for a hand out, (as usual I told her to get a job!) I had a very enjoyable lunch. Along the corridor was an equivalent to Costa’s or Starbucks, so enjoyed a nice cup- of fresh coffee with my pudding, a custard filled doughnut, yumyum! But, whilst enjoying this fresh coffee I spilt down my shirt! Very inconvenient and I looked a right mess, even I felt embarrassed about it so had to buy myself a clean shirt. With it being a Mall it had all the fancy names etc and at very fancy prices: Very expensive but managed to do a deal on two polo shirts, they’ll do for the Caribbean!
No travel agents to be seen and the shops that sold the big sets of dominoes had all sold out, so don’t now know where else I can buy them. I haven’t seen them anywhere else than here in Trinidad.
Found the supermarket, bought a couple of things then called it a day, there is only so much you can do in a shopping mall especially when you are only looking for one thing!
Jumped into a maxi taxi again but this time got out at Crews Inn. Behind the hotel there was the third electrical supplier that I wanted to bench mark battery prices against as I had been told he had been known to be very competitive: Someone was having a laugh, he was the most expensive out of the three I went to!
I then went to the dingy dock to scrounge a lift back to power boats. I was fortunate; I didn’t have to wait long when somebody gave me a lift and then straight up into the internet café to send usual log etc.
I was pushed against time as the shop was closing and I was rushing and in doing so pressed the wrong buttons and managed to set the screen, desktop etc at 90 degrees and at the same time stop the keypad moving the mouse in its usual way. Christ what have I done this time, and Skype not being any good out here, I couldn’t contact Martin, our IT Guru!
I remembered seeing a business card on the notice board in the office about a chap repairing PC’s and Laptop’s so decided first thing in the morning to go and get his number and ring him.
So with nothing else left to do, I watched 2 DVD’s and read a couple of chapters before falling into bed, by which time the rain had started falling once again.
Tuesday 24 November 2009
I woke up in plenty of time ready to listen to Channel 68 when I had a thought. It wouldn’t cost anything to put out my problem on the net and see if there were any IT yachtee’s around. So, when it came to asking if anybody had a problem and wanted help, I was straight in and blow me the fellow who had given me a lift in his dingy yesterday came straight back saying he should be able to help and to contact him after the net around 0900 hrs. Blow me I thought, can this be true, still i went to the office to get the ‘phone number of the computer repair man just in case. We spoke at 0900 hrs and arranged to meet in Sails at 1330hrs.
IN the mean time it suddenly occurred to me the shore power wasn’t working, the battery charger wasn’t charging, my laptop wasn’t charging etc etc., so as it was working before Raymond started the engine yesterday I thought it was probable he had done something, so I was in the phone chasing when he suddenly turned up. As it had been raining all night and most of the morning, he looked into the Power Boats distributer box and found a trip switch had tripped, oh than you Raymond. I had visions of not only being on board with no gas, no toilet I could add no lights a flat laptop and mobile. Anyway all was well and whilst he was here he put the prop back on; I had to look at it carefully as it looked to be a brand new one!
1330 and off to Sails where I met up with Mike, we switched on, “oh” he said, he hadn’t seen this before .My heart sunk, I was probably off to the computer repair man. Anyway he played around for a few minutes and bingo, it was back to normal! It appears on this laptop you can set the screen in Portrait and landscape and upside down, why one would want to do this I have no idea nor did my benefactor. Oh well, it was well worth the 26.TT$ for 2 beers he had: Thank you Mike from Canada. So today I managed to get the logs away.
I also found travel agents just next door to Power boats; I went in to see if they could help me with a trip to the Angel falls. Yes, they could get me there but couldn’t get flights to get me back! Apparently Thanksgiving (USA) spreads down to these parts and there is Christmas around the corner, so I have to watch this space.
I went to collect my gas bottle this evening as well but no, the bottle is not good enough to fill. They are so fussy in Trinidad about filling gas bottles. Of al the issues surrounding yachatees and the like around here is GAS. It is the topic of everybody’s conversations. The regulations are so severe that most people have no gas. I am lucky that I have some reserve but still want to get my American gas bottle filled and keep my GAZ for when I need it most, across the Atlantic.
Another quiet night in, hope it isn’t raining too much tomorrow.
Wednesday 25th November 2009
Nothing much on channel 68 this morning, well that is as far as I was concerned; So Cereals for breakfast, followed by a cold shower then off to Crews Inn as I am fed up with my UK mobile being inconsistent and my Spanish just plain not working out here!
Looking out across the harbour, I noticed the Royal Navy had come to town. HMS Iron Duke, here I expect as all the heads of the commonwealth are here and her Majesty the Queen also flies in for the procedure.
I then went across to Crews Inn firstly to have my customary haircut, sorry Christine it is short but hey I only had a number 3 this time. By the time you come out in January there should be some growth there!
I also went to buy a sim card for my Spanish hand set (this is the one that is unlocked!)so hopefully ring out with ease. Unfortunately I am still having difficulty ending texts so will have to go back tomorrow to see why.
On the way back by dingy I stopped at another boat, Jolly Sailor to have a chat with a fellow I met (also called Jeff) and we walked round to Budget Marine to see what they had in the way of Gas Tanks available. They were selling new, aluminium and tested tanks without gas for £190.00. The local gas supplier said my American tank was not fit enough to re-fill, we’ll see when we get to Bequia, they are not so fussy! I am hoping Jeff is going to join me take Anam Cara up the islands, he may even stay until we arrive in Spain. Just have to wait and see as his boat is already in the water.
Back to my home dingy port and up into the internet café where I got up to date and even take a call from Martin via Skype. That was the first time Skype had worked since I have been out here. I then had a brief call to Jane but had to break off. I said I would ring back but couldn’t get another connection, so sorry Jane if you sat by your computer all night!!!
Back to the boat after the Internet café had closed a couple of pieces of toast and some cheese for tea, another DVD then bed. Bed at the moment with the portable air conditioner on the hatch is the only place to be in this heat; still it gives me the opportunity to read a bit as well.
Thursday 26th November 2009
Nothing to report on Channel 68 this morning but woke up with a stinking head ache instead so didn’t rush off for my shower. When I poked my head out no HMS Iron Duke, I presume she has gone back round to Port of Spain for the conference, or more probably, for the Queen’s getaway from “Brown”!
The customary cold shower cleared my headache, I think! So, it was back to the boat for a bowl of cereal and coffee. Jeff (proposed crew) looked in, he still seems very keen and we discussed His Girl Friend visiting for 14 days from San Francisco when we are in St Lucia: No problem with that! She is due on the 16th January and hopefully on the 28th Christine will also fly in; though in her case stay ‘till we meet up with the ARC on 2nd or 3rd May. Christine also mentioned in an e mail to me that David Bates (one of the cross the Atlantic crew) may come out last ¼ of February for 3 weeks, that will be nice especially as he has always wanted to visit the BVI’s. It means that for the not-so-nice leg of St Maartin to Tortola we will have a full crew!
Bit of another wasted day as generator, though ready, Raymond is in Tobago today, back tomorrow morning, hopefully!!!!
I had a go at the washing machine today, got it going OK, did a full very hot cycle to try and clean it out. Water came in OK, water heated OK, washing machine drained OK, so thought all was in order. I opened the door to expose a clean gleaming drum but went to turn it manually and it jammed, then freed itself but was rubbing on something, so will have to remove from boat and take back panel off. I am sure it will be something silly, I hope!!!
Still unable to send texts today, but as the shop closes at 1500 hrs, I didn’t leave sufficient time to get it sorted, well there is always tomorrow.
Did a bit more boat clearing, over to Sails for a meal today.
Huge mussels with garlic sauce to start and a chicken salad to finish, back to the boat where I met up with Jeff for a bit of bonding and watch a DVD. Very hot still in the evenings, I am looking forward to moving North for the cooler breezes we will encounter. Mind you I expect we will then complain it is too cold!
Last year we had severe Christmas Winds, especially over Christmas in Antigua. This year I think Christmas may be in Bequia, a very nice small island with an excluded bay with few amenities but many restaurants and hopefully no strong Christmas winds. Last year we liked the place and especially the “Ginger Bread Man” the local bakery, small and homemade bread and cakes!
Into bed, yet again thank you “Air Conditioning” and off to sleep.
Friday 27th November 2009
Generator day today I hope! Will ring Raymond after the net, to make sure we are on plan!
Nothing as far as I was concerned on Channel 68 today, still have to listen if nothing for the day’s weather!
Hung around ‘till mid morning, no Raymond, why have I no got round to realizing that this is Trinidad speed and in their own time! So I phoned him, “Ah” he said, “Got held up but am on my way now and to save time can you arrange to pay the specialist” so went into office, they phoned the specialist for the cost, I agree to pay it so the scene was set of Raymond to get the cheque and get my B….y generator back to the boat,
Around 1300 hrs I ring Raymond, where is my generator, “Oh, I am in the office now” he said. I was up the hard to the offices like a rat up a drain only to see him disappear up the road in his truck! Must have known I was on my way!
I went over to Crews Inn to the ‘phone shop to see why my local sim card wouldn’t allow me to send Texts. After several telephone calls by the chap in the shop, we sorted it all out and I was back to being able to send texts, then back to the boat.
Eventually the generator arrives but of course as the rigging and stays are all loose, he couldn’t use the main halyard as a crane! As it so happens and luckily for us, there is a big “Pilot Boat” having a new engine fitted and as luck would have it he truck had a “Hyab” on it to lift the engine in: So with some local negotiating we managed to persuade the truck driver to also lift our generator to the top of the boat and also drop it in through the Hatch above where it is being fitted. Naturally by this time it was nearly dark so little more got done Friday!
Jeff & I had already removed the washing machine whilst waiting and taken the back off but hadn’t identified what was wrong by close of play, so left it.
Back to the boat and bed
Saturday 28th November 2009
Nothing on 68 this morning and no Raymond so Jeff & I started to strip out the washing machine. It wasn’t too long before we found the fault but it took us the rest of the day to get the offending broken bits out. They certainly don’t build these machines to be repaired, everything seemed to be crimped etc., and as the problem was between the inside drum and the outside drum, and the only access (apart from the front) was where the element went in at the rear through a hole about 3 x 1 inches and you can’t get much through that. Anyway Jeff had the patience of Job and preserved all afternoon, slowly getting the bits out one by one.
Whilst this was happening I got stuck into a number of minor jobs that needed doing and that rather took up all the day until around 1800 hrs we went for showers. After which, Both being hungry, we went off to “Joe’s” an Italian of sorts in the next marine and had a pasta dish each. Not bad though I think I could have done better and would have certainly cost less. Roll on when I can get a clear run at the galley and do my own cooking.
Tomorrow there is a slim chance Raymond may come and do some more on the generator, keeping my fingers crossed. Bad!
Sunday 29th November 2009
Channel 68 reminded us about Dominoes at 1300hrs and the weather forecast warned us of heavy rain.
Well they certainly got the rain spot on. I haven’t seen rain like that since I don’t know when
Anyway Raymond did come and got the generator going but unfortunately it still needs some more tweaking. This time it should be able to be done in situ, the last thing I want is to take it out again! The specialist, Mr Gittings I hope will come over in the morning and carryout the tweaks so that we can put this never ending saga to bed once and for all. While this was going on Jeff came over and continued fighting the washing machine. He got all the loose bits out and then started to repair the drum, thank goodness for fibre glass! Tomorrow will be the test day, keeping our fingers crossed.
At 1230 I went to the shower block to wash ready to go over to Crews Inn for dominoes. It was raining so had my lightweight waterproofs on. When I came out at around 1240 hrs the heavens had opened. The walk from the shower block to Anam Cara is about 100yds, in that time the rain had penetrated my waterproofs, and all my clothes. It was coming down in stair rod and worse; in that short time my money was soaked but worse so was my mobile ‘phone. At the time of going to bed I still couldn’t get it to work! Anyway, I changed into dry clothes and waited until the rain stopped, which it did at around 1400hrs.I went over to the dingy dock and my goodness all the dingy were full of water, so after about 15 minutes of bailing I was on my way. I had to be there to defend my crown of last week! Needless to say being late I was given penalty points from which I never recovered, never mind it was a good game again.
Back to the boat, clear up and out for a beer, something to eat and into bed. Raymond said he would be here early tomorrow, he said about 0730 hrs, I will set the alarm and see!!!!!
Monday 30th November 2009.
Up at 0700 hrs waiting for Raymond, ha, silly me! Jeff was the first over to complete the washing machine at 0800 hrs. Raymond didn’t turn up ‘till nearly 1100 hrs and then only to tell me “Mr. Gittings couldn’t get to the boat ‘till late this afternoon! We’ll see, judging by what has happen4d before it could well roll into tomorrow.
The good news is we have hot water at last. We checked the immersion and it was found to be faulty, so fortunately we had a new spare one so fitted that this morning as well as re-build the washing machine, only to find it leaked so have had to take the back off again!
Had terrible trouble with my mobile; It got so wet yesterday all the drying that took place over night through ‘till 1200 hrs wasn’t enough, another 24 hrs I expect. Onto of that the internet café didn’t open ‘till early afternoon. Trinidad, whatever else can happen, this must be the most frustrating time I have ever had in my life, can’t wait to get out of here.
Still another bit of good news, I managed to cook some pasta for the two of us this lunchtime, the first meal I have cooked.
Jeff still working on the washing machine and has made a good job of it, better than having to buy a new one!
Cleaned out the spice jar cupboard and the cinnamon from last year is fine!
Walked over to Budget Marine to buy a tab lock washer for the prop; the old one should have been replaced but at the time of fitting the prop, a new one was not available. Another one off the list!
Had a ham and egg sandwich and then Jeff joined me and we settled down with a DVD and a drink. Hoping again! Raymond or Gittings will arrive early to complete the generator job! My plan for tomorrow is to take out and give the cooker thorough clean and get the washing machine back into its slot and working.
Bye for now