Tuesday 1st December 2009
Woke up to Channel 68 but nothing other than the weather interested me and that was only telling us it would rain heavily again. I have already got to grips with Mr Gittings and Raymond; they won’t be around until later in the afternoon.
Up to the shower block for the usual then down to the boat: Today I am going to take out the kitchen stove and strip it for a deep clean. The washing machine will also be ready for replacing today, good as I have quite a pile to do!
Getting the oven out and down underneath the boat and into my temporary workshop wasn’t too much of a problem but when it rained, it didn’t make any different. It took me all day to strip and clean it still it will be worth it once completed.
We also got the washing machine into its slot and put in a small lot and watched. Nothing much happened but I think that was us not understanding how to work it! Anyway it worked, and completed the cycle, phew.
Raymond and Gittings and their complete team were back yet again! And after some tinkering announced it would not be running.
A good DVD and a warm environment with toast and marmalade and we were set.
My Trinidad Workshop!
Wednesday 2nd December 2009
Usual call on channel 68 welcoming everybody to the net and again I was only interested in the weather and yes rain is expected again. The good thing is the rain is warm!
Firstly I braved the newly repaired washing machine. I put a full load of knickers, a couple of polo shirts and a pair of shorts, I even managed to press the right buttons first time and bingo, we were up and running. Keeping a watchful eye on it, water went in OK, no leaks, water heated OK, Drum spun both ways OK and eventually it was pumped out OK! The programme went right through its sequence of events eventually spinning fairly dry and the door clicked open at the end OKI what more can a chap want for?
Shower block fitted in between the washing cycle, followed by cereal, Raymond and Gittings are due again but have learnt that they will not be here ‘till afternoon; so, got stuck into finishing the cooker. The difficult part in assembling it is the door. It is a double skin construction made mainly out of glass and held together with 4 special screws and washers but as I started to put it back together I noticed I had lost one of the fittings. I searched high and low I also enlisted one of the (young eyes) local on site contractors to help and when Jeff came along, he helped, but also, the fitting was nowhere to be found. Either there had been some wind in the night which blew it off the workbench (I attach a picture of my temporary workshop situated under the boat!) or it got hosed away when I was washing out the cooker after cleaning it. Bottom line I had to go searching for similar if not the same, type of securing system. After traipsing around the various workshops and chandleries I managed to find a couple of female fittings and a bolt of the same threads so can make a new one up, but first I had to cut the head of the bolt off. This I did but unfortunately I still left the bolt too long so will have another go in the morning.
During this time of searching the heavens opened once again, I asked a local when does the rainy season end, to be told it should have ended several weeks ago. Maybe there is something in this global warming, who knows!
Spring cleaned the fridge and freezer today as well as one of the food cupboards, another job ticked off the list, hopefully we will get to the end soon though more things get added on a daily basis! I wouldn’t recommend anybody leaving their boat, as we did, for 6 months here, in the heat, without some additional supervision and routine inside inspections with action being taken as and when needed. Fortunately we were probably better off than most because we had several jobs done during the time, but there is no better way to look after the boat than by sailing her! Still, once the Generator is finished we can get back to some sense of normality.
Talking about the generator, Messrs Raymond and Gittings turned up late in the afternoon again, spent much time getting the governor to run correctly but still the power dropped off once a load was placed upon it. After a rather lengthy conference on board they now have something else to try tomorrow. Unfortunately this means taking it back out and to his workshop, oh the saga continues!
Over to the Internet café in time to speak to Christine, I don’t know who is the most frustrated, her because of events at home or me because of events here in Trinidad! Anyway kicked out of there at 1700 hrs, back to the boat to join in the discussions re the generator then by 1900 hrs Jeff and I went to Sails for a beer and something to eat. Wednesday night is Kebab night so had a very nice Lamb Kebab with mashed potatoes, salad and Cole slaw with apple in, different but enjoyable.
Back to Anam Cara and low and behold I managed to pick up the internet signal, too late to talk to anybody though so did the log instead,
Bye for now
Thursday 3rd December 2009
Nothing on channel 68 other than rain being forecasted; the seas all around are calm, too calm if you ask me and I am sure they will change when I set sail!!
Anyway, onwards and upwards and get the cooker completed and back in situ. My word it looks a different cooker and the catch to stop the oven door opening also works now. Going to have a go at the gas igniters’ as well to see if we can get those going as well! Had a spot of bother re building the door as it is a cavity door between two panes of glass: Anyway there was a knack and we found it so it went together OK. The work bench under the boat has been invaluable for doing severe jobs and will stay there until we depart.
Raymond’s “Gang” arrived during the day to remove the generator and then the heavens opened, 30 minutes of non-stop stair rods, even being under the boat didn’t help and the forklift was standing by to bring the generator down, very frustrating. Anyway, the rain eased right off eventually and we got the generator down from above and took the oven up. It didn’t take long to re install and yes it works; just got to look at the igniters some time.
I also stripped out the two shelves above the sink and wash surface washed out all the storage containers and wiped down.
Had a second deluge of rain in the afternoon this time it lasted a good couple of hours, most of the time I spent in the internet café.
Jeff & I had a scratch meal, I had cornflakes and Jeff had a Rice concoction followed by Oxtail soup and the latest version of the Italian job, after which Jeff went back to his own boat.
I went to my bunk and low and behold I managed to get the Internet via Wi Fi so sent Wednesday’s log sheet with a picture of my temporary workshop and workbench.
Friday 4th December 2009
More rain forecast on Channel 69 for today, hoping to have news about the generator, but not holding out too much hope!
I contacted several upholsters and eventually found on who had the time to visit and quote for the dropped headlining in the Bunk cabin. This has been bad since we had Anam Cara so it was time to have it replaced correctly
Whilst waiting for news from Messrs Gittings and Raymond, I cleaned up the chart cupboard and flag locker. It was amazing how many old magazines and papers had accumulated; now we have space to spare which is a first.
Jeff also moved into the bunk room today: having had a good few days just clearing and cleaning, we made sufficient room to get him in but filled a few black bags in the process. Jeff then had to tell his other Skipper he was jumping ships!” Judging by the comments we have heard back, the other Skipper is not a happy chap! Still having met him and listening to Jeff, he may struggle to keep his crew; he has many strange ideas to say the least.
We heard from Raymond when one of his sidekicks came over asking for 200TT$ for a bearing at the end of the winding, I hope this bearing is the end of matters, there can’t be much left to do now! Later he came back for the control box, that was promising but it was late in the day so won’t know anything ‘till Monday now!
The roof lining man came around, measured up and quoted. Due to high volumes of work currently being undertaken, I took the executive decision to give him the job. He had been recommended so let’s hope he is good!
Had an interesting time with the washing machine, whatever we did we couldn’t open the door to get the clean stuff out, we even consulted the fountain of this type of knowledge, Christine, but alas she was of little help on this occasion.
Friday night is pool night over at sails, so off I went. Three of us played and for the first time actually had a run of wins, nobody was more surprised than me! We then sat down with their wives for something to eat. Minding my own business when suddenly the skipper from the boat Jeff is leaving and sat next to me, hell I thought, this is going to be an un-comfortable meal. I think he had guessed I was the “Other” skipper, who pinched his crew, but what threw him was he had a totally different boat on his mind; he asked me if I was on boat such and such, o which I replied, quite rightly, no. He then turned away and didn’t speak to me again.
Back to the boat to find Jeff had been fiddling whilst I was away and cracked the opening of the washing machine problem, well done Jeff.
Shower and beds I had a 0400hrs call to make,
Saturday 5th December 2009
Alarm went off at 0400 hrs, yes it was Christine’s birthday, so had to catch her before her day of visiting etc began, being 0800 hrs her time I was sure she would have been awake with a cuppa on her day, but no, I actually woke her up!
Back to sleep and missed the channel 68 net this morning, oh well I am sure there was little to interest me.
Jeff went over to immigration to check about his status here in Trinidad now that he is staying on a different vessel to the one he was booked on, no major issues but should do the necessary on Monday.
We then went off in the local buses to the West Mall to get some food shopping in. This was reasonably successful but then fully loaded had to get the bus back, anyway by paying for an extra person we could put the shopping on a seat. The trip is circa 50 pence per person per trip, so now issue there. Whilst in the mall we had some lunch, a plateful of Chinese vegetables, rather nice though a bit salty for my taste. We then went along to the coffee shop for coffee and a doughnut!
Today was also a very sad day. Christine’s Mum, 93 years old, finally lost her fight to live, she died peacefully in her sleep during the day with Pat and Kathleen at her bedside, Christine had just done the morning shift a little earlier. A very sad day for all concerned, but one must remember Annie was mentally very fit and with it right up to the last couple of weeks, I think we all agree she had a very good innings.
As for today’s weather, we were very fortunate. Each time it rained we were inside and when we were outside it kept dry, that was also a first!
So back to the boat, everything put away in clean fridge, cupboards, and containers etc., then some soup, James Bond and bed.
Sunday 6th December 2009
Woke up to Channel 68 and had a cuppa whilst listening, nothing of any consequence other than the forecast stating that the start of the Christmas winds was fast approaching so those going North should get going ASAP! We will I can assure everybody once we have had all the jobs completed!
Spoke to Christine, she seems OK which under the circumstances is good, I keep asking if I should come back to the UK, but she keeps saying, no, stop out and prep the boat for when she does come out. It is difficult to judge things from afar.
I set about making a Lasagne for dinner, it was going to be a roast Chicken with all the trimmings but the mince beef we bought was looking as though we should eat it sooner than later, so Lasagne it is.
I then set about the nav table and cleared out under the top whilst Jeff was first hanging out the washing and then sorting the cockpit prior to me going to Dominos.
There were 5 tables of players today, a good turn out and I didn’t come anywhere. Whilst I was playing, Jeff took the dingy out for a ride, not using the outboard, he was rowing everywhere. He is feeling decidedly un-fit at the moment and needs the exercise.
Back to the boat, Lasagne onto the oven, Jeff sorting out all the good torch batteries from the duds and also replacing a couple of saloon light bulbs. He is very useful having an electrical background!
Got the Hoover working, that certainly helps especially in the cupboards, whilst waiting for the lasagne. I had forgotten just how long things take to cook in this oven, must remember to make that adjustment next time I use the oven. Oh yes the automatic lighter built into the cooker now works as well, well for the two top burners and the grill; have to work on the oven contacts a little more!
Anyway, I also steamed some broccoli and we enjoyed that with my first Lasagne of this trip. Jeff enjoyed so much he had three pieces, so much for several days’ worth of dinners! Watched “Mutiny on the Bounty” whilst we eat, followed by Washing up and for me Bed. Jeff tried to Skype his girl friend in San Francisco, so late night for him!
Monday 7th December 2009
Had a call on Channel 68 this morning from Vernon, the skipper whose crew (Jeff) came across to me from. By the time we called back, he had disappeared, probably gone for his breakfast, suggested Jeff. We then went over to the internet café to get the invitation I had written for Jeff but they could not print it. I need the software for my printer loaded before we can use it. Unfortunately this very small new laptop I bought just before I came out to Trinidad does not have a c d drive and I have tried downloading the drivers from the internet but to no avail.
To-day we decided to enjoy the roast lunch we had promised ourselves yesterday, so in went the chicken and we had roast potatoes and roasted mixed vegetables on the menu, no wine so had apple tart and custard for pudding, the oven is working a treat though I had forgotten just how slow it was, especially trying to do roast potatoes!!!!!!!!
Anyway whilst the dinner was cooking, we carried on with the various tasks and jobs we had set ourselves, many of them nice to do jobs rather than must do jobs and also whilst the washing machine is working, keep it going. Have caught up with clothes and curtains, mattress covers next,
After such a big roast lunch the afternoon seemed to wiz by so a quick sarnie whilst watching a DVD at tea time was all that was called for, in fact as we started so early, we watched two! Followed by bed just before the bewitching hour!.
Tuesday 8th December 2009
First thing, Jeff went round to Vernon to agree a time when we could meet up in immigration to book him off Jolly Friends and onto Anam Cara. 1300 hrs sharp at the immigration offices,
We carried on doing a number of odd jobs including putting up the curtains after they had been cleaned in our repaired washing machine!
Light Pasta lunch so as not to be late for our meeting and away to be at immigration for 1300 hrs. Jeff, knowing Vernon a lot better than me decided to walk via his boat only to note Vernon was still there then to be told by Vernon he would not be over there ‘till after 1330 hrs earliest, as he was busy. Jeff noticed just how busy he was going to be, he was eating his lunch! So we did a detour via Budget Marine.
Naturally this took additional time and didn’t get to Immigration until about 5 mins after 1330 hrs to see Vernon coming out the door! Still this didn’t stop me booking Jeff onto Anam Cara. The girl in immigration was very helpful.
I then had some business with the mobile telephone man and bought a few groceries then back to the boat for dinner.
Again a day of fiddly little jobs and time wasted in Budget Marine trying to buy small parts etc., otherwise not much else to report
Today we feasted on the last half of the Lasagne I made, followed by the last half of the apple pie we had left over, we washed this down with a bottle of plonk,
Again a DVD night, but with a nautical flavour this time, “Master and Commander” just makes me want to sail even more!
Wednesday 9th December 2009
Channel 68 was busy this morning but again nothing interesting for me, so up and breakfast then straight into various jobs such as putting a stitch into the restraining strap of the rain shield. We also made a permanent fixture of the cockpit lighting arrangements. Jeff spent several hours sorting out the lighting in the engine room. With the generator gone he could get at the lights, probably for the first time since the generator was fitted. Whilst delving down in the bowls of the engine room, we cleaned the filter leading from the shower room, not before time either, it was 90% blocked!
Met up with Raymond and he told me the generator was now performing as it should, even under load, so finally it was the bearing. The play caused sufficient movement in the armature for it to not centralise under load hence the drop off in Voltage as the use went up. Probably it has been happening over a period of some time and therefore has not been working correctly, and we didn’t know about it, oh well we can make up for it now!
So Raymond, when? I asked, well says Raymond, we need to organise a crane and normally the man needs 24 hours notice; so hopefully it may go in tomorrow but who knows, this is Trinidad!!!” Watch tomorrows log!
After a rewarding day, we went out to the local spaghetti shop for a meal, not too bad but as for attentive service, well there was none, but the food was passable.
Dingy back to the boat and I introduced Jeff to Dominoes, I am not too sure how impressed he was, but as he was very tired I will try again. This was followed by shower and bed and hopefully, fingers crossed, will wake up to goon news about a crane driver and a generator! Sweet dreams!
Thursday, 10th December 2009
We were up for breakfast of cerials and if Jeff can get bread toast, and then straight into various jobs.
I have decided today to wash all the sheets and warps so searched the hard for a clean, empty, 40 gallon drum. Currently they are scattered around the yard and used as dustbins. After much searching found one relatively clean, so a good scrub and we were ready for clean water and a little soap and we were ready to soak them.
The generator arrived back this afternoon and they started putting it back in but though it was producing the correct voltage, hooray, it was not reaching the power changeover switch. It was late by this time so called it a day. “Tomorrow” Raymond said “I will bring the electrician” “good” said I. Oh well it seems the generator is now working properly, that’s good news.
The hinges on the wall cabinet in the fwd shower compartment finally gave in (old age I guess) and the door fell off so we replaced the hinges, and another job job’d, at least that was a cheap cost to bear!!!!!
Emptied out the Bunk Cabin ready for the men to come tomorrow to fit the new headlining around where, over the years, it has come away. It will make the bunk cabin more hospitable I think.
Last night emptied the chain locker, I have to say I was very impressed with the condition of the chain in general so hung it all up and sprayed it well with WD40 and hopefully it won’t rain over night (normally it only rains during the day) and have another inspection tomorrow. The worst part was first meter and a chain joining link about 75 meters along. So we replaced the chain link and will replace the first meter in due course.
A couple of beers at Sails followed by a very poor and unusual tasting Sweet & Sour Chicken. I do not think I will not do that again! It was late by this time so shower and bed, No DVD!
Friday 11th December 2009
Up as usual; breakfast out of the way as we were expecting the visit from the electrician to find out why the power the generator was putting out, wasn’t reaching the selection switch. Naturally we had to wait, Trinidadian time! Still he did come about 0900 hrs. It didn’t take him too long to discover that there was both a short and a failed capacitator on the circuit board in the amplification box of tricks mounted half way between the generator and the selection switch. That was the good news, the bad news was he didn’t have a new capacitator and would have to go to Port of Spain on Monday, the saga continues. The good news appears to be the generator is now in first class condition, it had better be by all the time spent on it!
This morning also saw the head lining and trimming man turn up with his two lads. They got stuck into the bunk room removing the existing headlining and cleaning up everything ready to fix the new headlining next week. I hope it is early as I am hoping to be in the water by the end of the week.
We also took the time to take the side window right out, clean it up and when the new head lining is in place, then re fit it.
Whilst this was all happening, the boat was full of people, Jeff and I hung all the sheets and warps across the rear davits to dry off, taking the chance to inspect them in detail for damage etc. Apart from one they are all serviceable and the one that needs replacing when cut where the damaged area is, will do to replace the main sheet and the traveller sheet. So only one to buy to and that is for the Genoa halyard,
In addition we continued with those small jobs that sort of get left in normal circumstances, such as replacing the odd bulbs in reading lights, sticking back loose trim repairing a cupboard knob, all worthwhile jobs but nothing substantial that affects the sailing of the boat.
Oh yes, on channel 68 yesterday another boat was clearing out his rubbish and in his “treasures of the bilge” was a pasarelle gong begging. Well those of you who have been reading the Anam Cara Log from the beginning may remember that after Vince carried out repairs to the old pasarelle on the pontoon in Las Palmas, we promptly left it behind when we set off! Anyway we have this freebee so will adapt it if possible: again it is homemade
We also took the covers off the bunk beds and the cushions and put them through the Power Boats washing machines, they came out OK I am pleased to say!
Then it was 1700 hrs, and I was off to play pool, a Friday ritual at the moment, like Sunday afternoon is Dominoes. I was back to the boat for about 2030 just in time to join Jeff in watching another DVD. Oh yes, life is so exciting around here!
Saturday 12th December 2009
Another day like any other except I slept through the Channel 68 net today; you could knock me over with a feather when I woke up at 0830 hrs. I suppose mentally I know there was no one coming to do work for us today. We had a leisurely breakfast then decided on what we wanted to do today as the shops don’t stay open too late, well that is if they are actually open at all!
Budget marine was our first port of call for a selection of screws and washers as we are using them up at a fast rate. We also bought sealant as we have also decided to take out the hatch from the Bunk cabin and re-seal it; after all with new headlining we don’t want to find leaks around!
Then we dinged to Crews Inn as we needed some supplies from the supermarket. As we arrived the heavens opened so stopped in the fancy coffee shop on the way and got talking, as one does, to a couple from Yorkshire. He has retired from the work but taken on a two year consultancy position here, but he spends much of his time in Spain, not more than 20 minutes from us, on the Mar Menor, strange who one meets! So, onto the supermarket then the off to the local off licence; according to the couple we met, this off licence is the cheapest on the island and comparing some of their prices to the supermarket, they are right!
Anyway back to the Jeff got on with taking the hatch out whilst I cooked dinner; Chicken thighs, garlic and onion flavoured mashed potato and stir fried vegetables, went down very well must say.
James Bond was the DVD for tonight.
Sunday 13th December 2009
Mark telephoned my just after 0800 hrs for a chat that went on for about 40 minutes, mind you it is the first really good chat we have managed to have recently. Most of the time when not working he is running his girls about. They both do so many activities which are good but that and the 4 hour time delay; there is not a very good window of opportunity. The upshot of this was that I missed this morning’s channel 68 net. I have since heard there wasn’t much about so nothing missed.
Unfortunately my new very small and handy, laptop does not have a built in CD Rom so I have been trying to download the printer drivers via a stick that has had them loaded onto, but with very little success; I did have breakfast this morning with a local IT Guru I know, but even he was unable to help: I suppose I need a remote CD Rom; I will have to ask around!
I did a few e mails whilst Jeff did some more cleaning of the hatch we have taken apart and then it was off to Dominoes for me. Jeff took me across to Crews Inn where it all happens then went off in the dingy, rowing, yes rowing to try and keep his fitness up. I was collected around d 1700 hrs and back on Anam Cara set about tonight’s meal, Spaghetti Bolognese. This meal was accompanied by James Bond.
Following Bond and the washing up, we played Dominoes, Jeff is new to this but is a quick learner, he won 3 games to 2, Revenge another time I think!
For the first time today we didn’t experience the rain, well not during the day, it came down about 2200 hrs, still an improvement from the norm. When it rains in the day so many jobs get left! The poor people painting their boats are the main sufferers.
Anyway another weekend gone, we shouldn’t be here; hopefully we will be in the water by end of the week, please, please, please.
Monday 14th December 2009
Listened to channel 68 today as I am now thinking about the weather for the trip to Grenada, after all we have to be in the water by end of the week or stay for Christmas, and I know one other person who would not be very happy with that!
Potentially a busy day today so had fried egg sandwiches for breakfast and even before we had finished we had a call from the battery man telling me the batteries were on the way. So, rush rush to clear breakfast and clear out the saloon cushions ready for them.
No sooner had the battery men arrived that the headlining men also arrived, that meant there were 6 people working at once, so Jeff and I went outside!
Decision taken, I have booked the lifting crane for the “splash” on Thursday 0900 hrs, I have booked the rigging men who are coming to sort out the stays etc., at the same time. I only need to organise a drop of anti foul for the bottom, where the keel is resting on the bottom and we are set to go.
I had to go across to Crews Inn to the Bank and collect a voltage tester I had ordered and place an order for some duty free wine, most important!!
Back to the boat and the battery man was just finishing fitting the new 7 domestic and one engine. I was hoping we could at least save one for the generator, but no, under load it also failed so tomorrow another will be fitted. We did of course know last year we had to do this so not unexpected.
Took the windless to pieces today and will change the chain around tomorrow so what was in the locker and never used will go into the sea and what was in the sea will have a rest in the locker.
I have also changed the main sheet but used the best end of the Genoa halyard; it is like new it was just that there was snag right through to the core in just one place. How that got there I do not know!
I have now also organised the man to conclude the anti fouling when we go into the water on Thursday. He is also going to give her a final brush and polish as it got rather dirty whilst on the hard, here in Power Boats. What a kind man!
It is dark around 1730/1800 so can’t do much in the evening so again tonight we watched Bond, well that was after I had played for about 2 hours trying to download my printer drivers onto this new laptop I bought. I am beginning to wonder if I bought a “Pig in a Poke”
All being well our intention is to clear out of immigration on Friday afternoon, clear customs Saturday morning, load the duty free and away heading overnight to Grenada, sailing at last!
I went to bed with that thought on my mind.
Tuesday 15th December 2009
Up just after 0700 Hrs this morning as I was meeting Raymond first thing and he was going to take my anchor chain across to have some new links fitted and also weld the join where the rusty joint link was before. We got there and the boss said yes but the chap who does it said no, so no it was, being a boss around here doesn’t mean a thing!
We had to fit a new coupling link instead, still the old one has been there for some time and we didn’t know about it so it will be OK.
Talking to our next door neighbour (Paul from South Africa, another single handed sailor!) he was telling me about this warehouse / supermarket and amongst other things sold gas cylinders. So he lent me his card and I was on my way, well after an interesting journey I eventually got there but of course they had run out so that was a waste of time; however, it was like a Macro everything was in bulk or catering and too bulky for us to store, still it is there should we need it in the future, so back to the yard.
Did a couple of loads of washing, after all I have got to get up to date as we splash tomorrow! Washing machines still performing well especially as we now know how to work it, interesting finding out though!
Finishing off several jobs during the day ready for tomorrow still can’t get printer to work even after putting printer drivers into a remote CD Rom though something got loaded but can’t find the printer on there, I think I have a duff lap top!
Had a few beers with Paul, (next door neighbour) this evening followed by Bond, James Bond! And bed. Busy day tomorrow and last day on the hard, hooray!!
Wednesday 16th December 2009
I listened to the weather forecast this morning on channel 68 as part of our preparation, sounded promising towards the end of the week so keeping everything crossed.
Last of the batteries arrived this morning. I had hoped at best to save two batteries for the Engine and Generator or at worst one for rather but no such luck. Both so called good batteries failed under load and the last thing we need is to find we can’t start the engine or generator, so had to have those as well. Still we now know we have a complete suite that should give us several years, I hope! Paid that bill in cash to get an extra 5%
The headlining chaps also came today to finish, the bunk room now looks nice. Jeff is now putting the window back so he can now move in there. Again he also wanted paying so another trip to the bank as, yes I had negotiated cash, to save the 15%
Anchor re-installed and looking good having had a coat of paint and hull also had a spruce up as well, so it only leaves the generator. Chris the electrician returned with the part, fitted it and , and, still didn’t start though there was an improvement, the circuit board clicked so he has taken it away to see if it is broken and see if he van solder it up again.
Confirmed we are still on for Thursday with the rigging people, the anti foul man to touch up the keel where she has been resting, Raymond to ensure the engine has no unexpected issues following his servicing several months past, so 0830 we should be hanging from a t60 ton crane being slowly dropped into the water.
I took Jeff out to dinner as a thank you for all his sterling work over the past few days.
I found a lady IT wizard who reckoned she could solve my printer problem. Well after several tries, she has got the drivers onto my computer but that is as far as it went. We now think it is the printer that is causing the problems!
Looking forward to sleeping on the water again, the gentle rocking movement whilst in bed, oh yes. Also, the pressure is off now. We can take our time going North and go when we are ready.
Thursday 17th December 2009
Splash day, I was awake waiting for the alarm to go off, there’s a first! We tidied up the last loose ends on the decks I had already sorted the lines out, one on each corner, yesterday. Fenders after we were hoisted onto the crane (pictures attached) we then waited whilst the anti foul man touched in the spots around and under the keel that were inaccessible whilst on blocks. The journey down to the dock commenced, a very steady driver but when lowered into the water I was gobsmacked just how much of the dock we took up, our beam was about 2/3 fender thicknesses away from the concrete walls! Very hairy, though the crane driver knew exactly what he was doing and instructed me and all the helpers what to do and when. It is not until you are in an area like that, that you appreciate just how beamy Anam Cara is.
1100 hrs, Chocks away! and then the engine man turned up to ensure everything was in order and that the cooling water was getting up from the sea cocks OK and the riggers also arrived on time to set up the correct tension. Once we were happy with the cooling system working, at 1130 hrs Anam Cara took her first few meters under her own steam to the emergency dock alongside the lift. We couldn’t be a more convenient position.
In all this excitement I had forgotten I had not had anything at all to eat or drink, the rumbling in my tummy probably gave it away so popped to the small shop, along the dock from us and bought a couple of cooked chicken pieces, that with a slice of bread and a tomato inside us we were back at work.
Chris the electrician then arrived, he had mended the circuit board and when put back in the boat, we had the required 220/240 volts we also put the kettle on and under load it still performed! Yes, yes ,yes, we had generator lift off. All we needed now was Raymond to come and fix the generator down, box it up, clean up and present the final bill, oh just as I thought life was now going to be easy when Chris announced that for some quite inexplicable and totally unconnected reason, the starter solenoid had chosen this time to pack up! Would you Adam and Eve it! Now I am sweating on Raymond finding one on the Island. Any way I have told him this will not stop me from sailing away, we will just leave without the generator able to start. Christine can then bring a new solenoid out from UK and I will retro fit it; a simple job for January.
With all the messing about with the water cooling systems etc, engine oil change and filter change, the bilge was full of nastiness and while Anam Cara was on chocks, she was leaning backwards so all the muck had drained towards the stern, today was the first time I could attack and clean the bilge only to find the automatic switch was not functioning. The pump is working fine just the switch. Whilst messing below decks! We also took the trouble to renew the joining block that connected the cables as it was obviously worn and rusted. Being dark by this time we decided to wait ‘till the morning but not before we saw what looked like a loose wire coming out of the underwater switch. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?
The riggers came back after lunch and put up the sails, they are reasonably clean still.
Met up with Paul again this evening and introiduced him to the spaghetti house then back to Anam Cara for a game of dominoes and a good night’s sleep.
Jeff for the first time on the boat will have abed to sleep in tonight. The bunk room is finally clean and tidy, and he has full confidence he has beaten the window into submission, if it rains, it will not enter his room now, I wait with bated breath and trepidation.
Friday 18th December 2009
After the euphoria of yesterday, today was a bit of an anticlimax. I suppose the weather forecast on Channel68 was the best news. Everything was in perfect place for the trip up to Grenada, pity we aren’t ready! Story of my life here in Trinidad.
Anyway, day started with visits from a number of contractors, we had some people starting the clean up whilst others wanted paying. It’s quite funny, whilst I was on the hard contractors were quite happy to be paid at my convenience but now I am on the water, they are sniffing for their money; they probably think I might do a runner!
Anyway, the bottom line is it was an uneventful day and not too productive either as still we cannot button off the master cabin. It is still in turmoil as the generator is minus its starter and solenoid. At least we have cleaned up the head so we can use that and also the shower is in use as well, We went to work on the front head only to find the plunger completely seized, fortunately I had expected this to happen and I had bought a repair kit before sailing from Spain. I put my hand straight on it and Jeff did the honours; we now have a fully functioning front head!
Spent some time at the internet Café after hearing about Doris Henson a 96 year old relative (by marriage) who has now succumbed to a hospital bed, and this so quick on the heel of Annie, Christine’s mum: we wish you all the very best Doris.
Friday night is pool night. I have to say I am improving; I managed to stay on the table for several games which is a first! This was followed by spicy chicken wings and chips washed down with a Carib (local brew), I haven’t managed to get back into rum punches, probably just as well! Followed by a shower and bed, bye for now.
Saturday 19th December 2009
Up and awake fairly early to attack the bilge. We knew we had an issue with the float switch operating the automatic bilge pump as we could see the wire hanging off. So this started a sequence of events.
This morning I also found out Auntie Doris had passed away yesterday evening, after visiting time. Our condolences to all her family from everybody associated with Anam Cara.
Back to work and we removed the float switch, cleaned it up, and repaired it but before re installing decided to clean out the pump inlet, after all the chances are it needed it. Removing the bilge pump is now an everyday occurrence! We gave it a good clean and returned it, chucked a bucket of water into the bilge and switched on, fine so then decided to swill out the bilge right through. We connected the hose and started flushing from the engine compartment only to find the way through blocked! Also, following the engine service, oil and filter change etc., there was rather a larger an amount of oil under the engine in the sump than should be.
The scene is now set. We started cleaning the bilge out at around 0900 hrs, in the process used a good litre of de greasing fluid, goodness knows how many gallons of fresh water, and collected half a bucket of junk out of the bilge, it was no wonder we had blockages when we used the hose. With the amount of water produced by the hose it just backed up and under these circumstances there was no chance it would find its way through to the sump and pump.
We had all the floor plates we could get up, both of us were grovelling around the floor and in the bilge; we eventually found and cleaned out the entire compartment connecting tunnels. Whilst in amongst it all we relocated and re-positioned two pumps, one, a second bilge pump can now be used in two separate bilges.
The long shot was, I realised the time and did some quick pasta at 21.00hrs and finally put the floor plates back by 0300 the next morning. Neither of us has been so filthy, oily and generally dirty in our lives and when we eventually got to having showers, we had to shower in washing up liquid to clear the grease!
Still a very productive day and very nice clean empty bilges.
Both being very tired we skipped the usual James Bond DVD and went to bed.
Sunday 20th December 2009
I would like to say we enjoyed a lie but no we didn’t, Yuck! Never mind I treated Jeff to Breakfast at Sails, the very least I could do after his very long and hard day’s work yester day.
After breakfast I had a nap but Jeff continued doing much cleaner small jobs! IU on the other hand, being Sunday went over to play Dominoes. I did try and persuade Jeff to join me but declined shame as we have a laugh!
Back to the boat, nothing much to eat as we had missed the supermarket but as neither of us were very hungry at that moment we decided to Watch James Bond. Well we kept dosing off and by 2/3rds the way through nit I said this was stupid so got up and went to bed. 2030 hrs I was in bed for and no regrets should have gone earlier, I left Jeff just quietly sleeping in the background.
That was the log for Sunday, short and sweet!
Monday 21st December 2009.
Firstly I chose to telephone Raymond to get an update, nothing doing, still scouring the country side for a replacement Starter motor and solenoid, Right, next onto Customs and then onto Immigration to suss out the procedures and time scales for departure as well as Xmas opening hours . It is a curious thing here. Following clearance from Immigration you are allowed to stay up to 24 hrs, but after customs you have to be away after 4hrs, strange but an important fact for me as I had ordered wine and gin from the tax free shop and I had to clear out with customs before I was allowed to collect it, and of course, yet the shop is also closing down for Christmas; an interesting dilemma!
Back to the boat for a few jobs but got talking to Paul, a fellow “cruiser” from South Africa, we had a few beers etc., by which time something to eat was called for followed by James Bond. A thoroughly frustrating day really just waiting and there is only so much you can do bobbing about in the water next to the boat lift!
Tuesday 22nd December 2009
Channel 68 was a wakeup call this morning. One of our fellow cruisers left yesterday for Grenada but was high-jacked in the middle of the day travelling the direct route from Trinidad. As you can imagine, this piracy caused quite a furore in Chaguaramas Bay area. The boat was boarded by 7 heavily armed men with the usual equipment, systematically emptied the boat of everything, clothes, Electronics, Food, Money and anything else there happened to be abroad. The occupants were left unharmed thank goodness, still a very nasty experience. Following that announcement, all that was talked about all day was the pirates and the fact they were moving northwards from Venezuela and the effect it would have on the Chaguaramas Bay area, after all the commercial part is very small compared to the vast number of yachatees about.
The rest of the day followed much as the day before, few jobs, internet, waiting for the return of the starter motor with solenoid but still no news.
Jeff and I took the time today to head off to the local BIG supermarket to provision the boat, we bought most things we needed, and we filled two rucksacks and had two to three bags each as well. Fortunately when our Maxi Taxi arrived, we were the only passengers on it so could spread our bags on the seats
Then late in the day I had a phone call, Raymond was going to collect it but needed the money to pay for it, so I shot over to Crews Inn where there is an ATM, drew out the cash and he met me there, great should be fitted next morning. We can clear out and all will be well
Tonight was also the last night “Sails” was open as it closed for Christmas later, so well trouped across for a farewell drink etc., as several hoped to be away before they re opened in the new year. Can you imagine a pub with a captive audience as well as a good passing trade closing for Christmas and the New Year?
Back to the boat, I am hoping for an early start tomorrow. Raymond has said he will try and get to Anam Cara around 0700 – 0730 hrs, seeing is believing here!
Wednesday 23rd December 2009
Awake at 0700 hrs waiting for Raymond, 0730 came and went 0800hrs and the 68 net started, that usually lasts an hour with today being no exception, still no Raymond! What did happen was a meeting with all interested parties including the CEDO of Power Boats was arranged to discuss the Pirate situation and the best way of moving North. I didn’t go as I had to book out of Immigration today.
Regarding the Pirate situation, I really think the cruisers have built up such a head of steam regarding the worst case scenario that they are believing the sea is littered with them just waiting to be picked off, rather like Don Quixote and chasing windmills! The meeting suggested anybody going it alone should go eastwards then turn north to the Eastern end of Tobago. Then travel North West up to Grenada thus being off the usual route. Alternatively they would travel in a flotilla/convoy; unfortunately the first one would not be leaving till early January. Going via Tobago has many problems not least beating eastwards against the trade winds coming straight off the Atlantic, more than doubling the mileage and adding an extra day.
Raymond did indeed arrive and duly fitted the starter and solenoid and she started immediately, we have a generator at last so can now finalise our departure plans.
Diesel fuel here in Trinidad is 5 TT Dollars to foreign vessels, but only 1.50 TT Dollars to locals. We had found out that about ½ a mile along the coast foreign can take their jerry cans and fill them up at local’s price! So Jeff loaded all our jerry cans into the dingy and off he went to find the fuel dock to get this locally priced diesel Well the Trinidad jinx kicked in again, our outboard motor has been a super little 8 hp engine, starts first time, idles without cutting out, revs well in fact one to be proud of, until now. She just cut out and nothing Jeff did wo0uld entice her to re-start, so out came the oars and Jeff rowed back. Here we looked at the usual water in the fuel, fuel getting through, spark and the safety cut out switch still worked, no luck, so the dingy with 11 empty cans returned to the boat!
I came back from Immigration having been booked out. I intend to do Customs tomorrow and then pick up my duty free booze.
Cleared up and made fast all loose objects etc ready for sailing tomorrow. Filled the water tanks and let my air conditioner go back then off to bed ready for an early start.
Thursday 24th December 2009
Up at 0700 hrs, finished off the odd stowing jobs and cleared up etc., removed shore power took the 11 fuel drums to the fuel dock to start the filling process but one thing after another I soon realized we wouldn’t make a reasonable departure time. We then slipped our lines and also motored to the fuel dock and yes had to pay the going rate of 5 TT dollars a litre. Having said all that about the pricing, 5 TT’s is still only just under 50p per litre, cheaper than UK and most other places here in the Caribbean. By the time we had fuelled up and stowed the drums on deck, time was marching on and I still had customs and duty free oh yes we hadn’t had time to eat anything.
Left the fuel dock and went over to the customs dock (they have their own here!) went into customs and sent the best part of an hour there; now armed with the necessary paper work I went into duty free to collect my order, along with several other boats!!!
BY this time we had lost too much morning and had to re-evaluate what we do etc, so whilst waiting for the duty free, we went to have some breakfast. We eventually collected and stowed away everything by about 1400hrs so no I said we would stopover and go next morning just as light was coming up. This turned out to be the right decision as when we got back onto our mooring we discovered several things we still had to do, one of which was to sort out the sheets. When the riggers put everything back together they didn’t spend the time on the detail of how and where the lines ran, I had to re-sort them and also the wind had got up and it would have made a rather uncomfortable sail.
The next decision was the hardest, which way do we go, around Tobago or go for it due North, after much thought and discussion Jeff and I decided to go for it after all lightening doesn’t strike twice in the same place and being Christmas day they may be home with their loved ones or drunk somewhere with all their ill gotten gains! We had both come to the same conclusion that the issue had been hyped up too much here in the harbour and that in the cold light of day, it was a fair risk to “GO-FOR-IT”
We cleared up all our dirty washing as we didn’t know when we could put the washing machine on again
So, we went to bed early with alarm set for0430 hrs.
Friday 25th December 2009
The alarm sounded and we were up, all we had to do was a final top up with water whilst we had a cup of tea.
We slipped our lines a little after 0500 hrs and threaded our way through the yachts moored on buoys and at anchor as well as the commercial vessels waiting to go into the dry docks they have here. At last we are free, what a long time it took but I must point out that the people I met when I first arrived told me that my plans to leave Power Boats so quickly were going to be just wishful thinking: By God they were all right, Trinidad speed is slower than slow!!!
We had tried and tested all navigation lights and they worked I had also checked the chart plotter several weeks ago and that worked, then! Today it decided not to work, the screen keeps flashing bright white then off continually, I can’t even switch it off using the on/off button on the chart plotter. The only way I can switch it off is at the mains. Still we are old hands at navigating without a chart plotter, in fact I am wondering if they are worth having bearing in mind the trouble I keep having with my Raymarine E Series! Anyway we were off with passage chart and GPS plus hand held as back up: I was however a little apprehensive as apart from taking Anam Cara to and from the fuel dock and customs dock, I had done nothing else of a trial following all that time on the hard and been serviced etc.
We picked our way through the moored boats etc and found clear water upon leaving Chaguaramas bay, we then throttled up as we went through the Boca de Monos, a narrow passageway between steep cliffs on Trinidad and a very high rock/Island and then it happened, the emergency alarm sounded, and after checking found it to be the main engine was overheating, so straight off to let her cooled down. Firstly we checked the dirty water filter, clean as a whistle. Next the fan belt, ah yes looser than it should be and by the time that was done we checked the water coolant in the engine itself, it needed quite a lot! So, hopefully we will be OK from now onwards.
We kept the revs down and as soon as practical flew the jib though there was very little wind as we were still in the lee of Trinidad. After a couple of miles we un-leased the main, but still minimal wind so had to carry on with the engine for a bit. At this point we were picking up the Tobago effect on the Atlantic Trades, still not too long when we will get better winds and so it happened, clear of anything, direct Trades from the east/south east , we were motoring. Her clean bottom allowed her to just glide through water reaching 10 ½ knots at times but mainly running between 8 and 9 knots. Fast by Anam Cara’s past standard but alas not fast enough if any pirates decided to come to us. We had our eyes out on stalks, scanning the sea an d imaging anything we saw as a potential threat. Then we came across the drilling rigs and felt a certain comfort zone here as we were at least within Radio Contact if needed, but as we travelled further north, we started to relax. Jeff tried his hand at fishing but failed to catch anything, Anam Cara was travelling far too fast to fish but never mind. The direct route recommended was to steer 10 degrees but what with the wind and more importantly the current we were having to steer 30 degrees most of the way and as we drew closer to Grenada were up to 50 degrees; there was one hell of a current coming around from the East of Grenada. One thing I was very glad about, I didn’t go around Tobago!
Apart from a very fast passage, we had no more hitches and covered the distance 80 miles in 11hours.
Our next challenge was to get into Prickly Bay without either a detailed chart or a chart plotter. I put the GPS co-ordinates into a way point on the entrance of the bay and steered holding my hand held and watching the Lon Lat until they both read correct to where the way point was, so far so good! We entered the bay and Jeff was on the bows looking for a mooring buoy. It was very dark but we eventually found one, got right up to it , hooked it and, Jeff let go of the boat hook, so after a couple of additional failed attempts, we gave up and dropped the Anchor. Worked a treat first time, nav lights off, anchor light on, gin & tonic in hand and the apple pie we had bought for our Christmas and a hearty congratulations on a successful sail from Trinidad.
We then flopped into bed after the apple pie and custard looking forward to a restful Boxing Day.
Saturday 26th December 2009
We woke up late; it is a glorious day hot and sunny. Breakfast of eggs and toast, checked our overnight anchor position, looking good, swinging well and clear of everything about us.
Basically being Boxing Day we decided everything was closed so left our yellow “Q” flag up and didn’t move from the boat. We had our first swim of the season, one couldn’t swim in Chaguaramas due to the high pollution levels kin the sea, but here it was great, just what we have come to expect from the Caribbean this time of the year!
This was the first time I had tried out my new prescription lensed goggles, and they worked well. Jeff hadn’t heard of prescription lensed goggles so we watched Notting Hill DVD that night. Those who saw the film will remember goggles like mine were featured in the film.
A couple of siestas during the day plus more swimming followed by an early night after the DVD of the night, we should be OK tomorrow
Sunday 27th December 2009
Not a lot to report as again we decided not to book in until tomorrow, one has to pay overtime rates when booking in or out at weekends!
Decided to move the boat to day nearer to the shore line where the activities are, good move as it will save much rowing whilst the dingy engine is not working. Good swimming again and still fiddling with small jobs and the time passed so quickly, quite unexpected for a lazy day.
A couple of DVD’s in the evening followed by bed. Keeping up the log, just! Will be easier when we are doing things,
Monday 28th December 2009
Up and at ‘em by 0800 hrs and after toast and cereal we were across waiting to book in, they were very nice not like the customs and immigration people in Trinidad! I have to say I am not un happy to have left Trinidad.
After booking in we found where we can get gas so Jeff went back to the boat and fetched the gas bottle. It should be ready for collection on Wednesday.
Several of us checked in and all came up singly from Trinidad so we had a few beers to celebrate getting here unharmed. I also arranged for the outboard to be fixed, it was taken this afternoon I wonder how long I will have to wait!
Found the internet café and they had good Skype so no excuse for not keeping up with the Log!
That was the day, well first half was immigration, second the bar. DVD tonight is Hildargo; I haven’t seen that one for several years so I am looking forward to that.
After the DVD I stayed up and tried to get up to date with the logs, did some but the eyelids fell so after dozing several times over the computer, decided it was time to give in and get to bed.
Tuesday 29th December 2009
Not a lot to report today. We listened to channel 68 it was very similar to the one in Trinidad but seemed to me to be more professional, maybe it is because the man from the chandlery is the anchor man anyway I asked where I could get my chart plotter looked at and he told me.
Charles, a fellow cruiser from Chester on his boat named “Nomad” a very appropriate name as he has been sailing for 12 years, oh yes, he is a young 70 year old! Anyway he had his dingy stolen in Trinidad but managed to replace it but the replacement has an outboard with it. I am hoping to strike a deal to have it off him, get it going and use it on the dingy we still have from Annie’s Girl. WE collected the engine and set about it. Firstly we removed the fuel tank and scraped out the grunge, when we eventually came across the filter we had to scrape that as well. If I get the motor, I will replace this filter. We drained out and washed the float chamber and last but not least, replaced the spark plug. This took most of the day but the VHF sparked into life at 1500hrs saying our dingy motor was ready and would be delivered at 1600 hrs to the dingy dock. Fantastic, after Trinidad service, this is unbelievable; now let’s hope it works well!
I waited until the outboard was mounted on the dingy and running before I let the mechanic go, it worked. What I must start to do is measure more carefully the oil content of the two stroke fuel. I usually poor it in a little more freely than I should: I always make sure there is more, than less; I tend to sacrifice performance for safety!!!!!
After the engine was fitted we went to the internet cafe but didn’t realise it closed at 1700 hrs, so didn’t get much done.
Happy hour at the bar (but we didn’t realise that at that time!) so had a beer and met Neil. I first met Neal last year in Antigua, another westerly owner, so we exchanged stories etc and I had my first Rum Punch of the trip. Darkness fell upon us, so we ordered and eat a Pizza. Later we went to the boat and I went straight to bed, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, I was totally knackered. No DVD!
Thursday 31st December 2009
Current Position, Prickly Bay, Grenada
11⁰ 59,91N 061⁰ 45, 64W
New Years Eve today but everything seems the same, sun, sea, and heat maybe I should be feeling guilty not sharing the snow and cold etc with you.
Listened to 68 as usual this morning and heard all the various activities going on today and selected the Pig Roast. So we called up Paul to see if he was interested, he was so we then booked 3 places. Something to look forward to and whilst there saw the pig being roasted, poor little thing, still I am sure it will be good to eat tonight.
Rest of the day much of a muchness, few jobs, Siesta to keep us going tonight. One thing we both notice is how the heat seeps out our energy.
We managed to catch the internet café before it closed for the holiday and make those “Happy New Year” calls but to those who I didn‘t get to, I am sorry and happy new year to each and every one of you.
We washed etc collected Paul and dinged over to the big fish for the New Year celebrations. Because the Big fish was full of Europeans and the vast majority were from the UK, The owner had the New Year brought in at 2000 hrs, midnight UK Time which was rather nice. Unfortunately I hadn’t managed to get my computer running at that time so as to share a real time celebration via Skype, maybe next year.
We saw the New Year in after the roast pork dinner, nice, but not much pork I have to say. Then Neal a fellow cruiser who has a 34 foot Westerly who I met in Antigua last year joined us and we saw the New Year in together at 2000 hrs.
As the evening was just passing us by we decided to see it in at the local Midnight celebrations, fireworks and all which we also did; two for the price of one you may say, that’s what I call a Party, two celebrations.
Back to the boat at about 0130 hrs, but still hungry so had some toast and marmalade, lack of Pork I think!