OCTOBER--Obtain a Visa Extension, Medical Issues, Projects and Fun Stuff
Visa Extension: Started the month with a short trip to Trinidad and Tobago's Immigration where we initiated the process to extend our stay. When we returned from the US to Trinidad this past July, we were given a visa from Immigration that allowed us to stay for 90 days. Our 90 day period ended on October 8. The procedure is to go to Immigration ONE week prior to the visa expiration date to make an appointment for a meeting when we would formally request an extension. We filled out a form to request an extension meeting. This form was reviewed by the Immigration Officer who then gave us a date and time (October 14 at 8:30 AM) for the formal meeting. On October 14 we met with an Immigration Officer to explain why we needed an extension. The boatyard provided documentation for boat projects that were not completed. Our documentation satisfied the Officer who then stamped our passports and collected $1,000 TT (Trinidad and Tobago dollars). This cost of the extension has increased this year from $150 TT/passport to $500 TT/passport.
Medical Issues: Sunday, October 5 was an interesting and stressful Sunday for us. I went hiking in the morning with friends. There were only four of us on the hike. We packed a lunch and planned to stay out longer than we usually do--hiked from 7:30 AM until 1:00 PM. When I returned to the boat and stepped down into the cabin, I heard Carl finish a call on the VHF radio. He then rushed to the head where he started to vomit calling out to me that he was "very sick and needed to see a doctor". Arranged for a taxi to take us to the emergency room. Carl has kidney stones. Had them treated here in Trinidad (lithotripsy). His next appointment is November 21 so we are staying in Trinidad longer than we planned.
Projects: The canvas work for the dodger and bimini is complete. We really like it. My friend, Honoree, and I made some sunscreens or suncurtains for the cockpit. The sunscreens will be used at anchor to block out the sun making the cockpit more comfortable to sit in. I am pleased with how they turned out.
Below is a picture of Honoree at her sewing machine working on my sunscreens. I did the cutting and pinning but relied on Honoree to do the actual stitching! You can see our new dodger, bimini and my sunscreen in the second picture. (01, 043)
I started washing and waxing the cockpit. I usually scrubbed the cockpit every Saturday morning. This time, I used Collinite Fiberglass cleaner after washing the smooth surfaces and followed that with a light rubbing of 3M's Finesse. Finally, I applied a new wax (at least for me)--3M's Ultra Performance Paste Wax. The cockpit looks fabulous if I say so myself.
Projects are no longer holding us in Trinidad! As soon as Carl's kidney stone treatment is complete, DISCOVERY will get a wash and wax from Clinton and then Clinton will paint the bottom. Once Clinton's work is done and the sails are back on the boat we can go in the water. Having the rigging tuned will be a last minute activity and then "we are good to go".
Fun: Had two fabulous hikes in October--no pictures from either hike (darn). The best hike I've been on so far in the Caribbean was on October 5. Cindy (TRANQUILITY), Laura (WANDERING STAR), Honoree (WILL of the WISP) and I hiked up a riverbed into a beautiful gorge. We climbed up and over several waterfalls taking time to swim in the pools of water that formed under the falls. The other hike was up and over a ridge on the north coast (great views) , down to the beach and then over to the Bamboo Cathedral and back to the beach. About 20 people were on this hike. By the way, I have new hiking shoes (Merrill) that are great.
If it is Monday night, you will find us at TTSA's (Trinidad Tobago Sailing Association) potluck. They light the grill at 6:00 PM and everyone brings a dish to pass. There is always entertainment. In October, entertainment was provided by Tony on TONIMARA--he plays the keyboard and then the cruising kids put on a show. One night, Jay on SEA WARRIOR did the traditional Highland Fling and a Sword Dance. Jay is from Scotland! Another night the kids did a joke night--telling us jokes from "The Book of Incredibly Stupid Jokes" or a title close to that.
The next three photos were taken at TTSA's potluck dinners. The first picture is Jay from SEA WARRIOR performing the Sword Dance. Jay is from Scotland. She explained the origin of the dance--to celebrate a victory over an enemy. Jay's Dad, Scot, chimes in "It was usually the British" followed by laughter. The second picture is Walt and Honoree (Will O' The WISP). The last picture shows just some of the kids attending the potluck. That evening we were entertained by Noah and Ben (WANDERLUST). Noah played guitar while his brother, Ben, sang. (34, 31,28)
Dave and Michelle on DANIELL STOREY returned to Trinidad after a six week shore leave to the US. One night, we invited DANIELL STOREY and SOJOURN (Rose) for dinner onboard DISCOVERY. Dave, Michelle, Tom and Rose were looking forward to having dinner in an air conditioned cabin. However, about one hour before guests were to arrive, the power went out. So--it started to get very warm in DISCOVERY's cabin from the outside temperature and from the stove where I was making pasta sauce and boiling pasta. Finally the power came back on so all was well. Had a great time. Tom and Rose brought us a gift--one of the baskets they traded for when they were in the Orinoco Delta last month. I just love the basket. Thanks again Tom and Rose.
Below is a picture of the basket Rose and Tom brought me from the Orinoco River Delta. (041)
One morning, Honoree and I caught a maxi taxi to the US Embassy. I dropped off our absentee ballots while Honree requested additional pages for her passport. When we completed our business at the embassy, we caught a maxi taxi to Ellerslie Plaza to do a little shopping and have lunch. Ellerslie Plaza is located in the area of town where the diplomats live--pretty exclusive. Honoree and I spent most of our time in the two bookstores. Met an interesting guy from New Jersey who owned the coffee shop where we had lunch. He talked about the difficulty of living in Trinidad with its high crime and inflation.
Still attending self defense classes on Tuesday and Thursday. One day after class, Walt, Honoree and I walked into the fishing village for fresh fish. This was quite the experience---very few cruisers wander into the village. We were greeted by at least 20 turkey vultures fighting over a dead snake--those creatures (vultures) are horrible. There are several structures around the village--corrugated metal roofs over a dirt floor with hammocks filled with Rasti's smoking joints. Most of the time there is a pack of nasty dogs walking around the village but none were in sight. Jason, the fisherman, has sold fish to Walt and Honoree before. Jason is friendly guy. He catches the fish at night and then sells the fresh fish in the morning. You select the fish you want from a huge container filled with ice water and fish. Jason cleans them for you (your choice--fillet or steaks). I ordered a red snapper which I prepared for dinner--it was delicious. I would never go into the village without Walt who is the self defense Hapkido instructor.
Not sure this fits into the "fun category" but on October 19, Carl and I were on board DISCOVERY when we felt a tremor. The mast was a shaking for just a few seconds. We both looked at each other with looks of bewilderment. According to the University of West Indies Seismic Research Center-"On Sunday afternoon 19th October at 3:42pm local time, an earthquake occurred north of Trinidad. The preliminary magnitude for the event is 4.3 and the preliminary location is 10.84°N 62.23°W. The focal depth was 76km. The event was reported as felt in Port of Spain, Santa Cruz and Chaguanas, Trinidad. Thus far there have been no reports of damage or injuries." We are at 10.50°N 61.38°W!
On October 28, I attended a Divali celebration in Felicity. Divali is the Hindu Festival of Lights. Houses, shops and public places are decorated with small earthenware oil lamps called deyas. The lamps are lit to help the goddess Lakshmi find her way into people's homes. Divali is also a time to celebrate an Indian legend which tells of the return of Rama and Sita to Rama's kingdom after 14 years in exile. Divali celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. People clean and redecorate their homes to mark this occasion. Divali includes a period of abstinence or fasting.
When our tour group arrived in Felicity, we first went into a temple. A program had been arranged for us that included an overview of the gods and goddess involved in this celebration, a group played the tassa drums for us and a beautiful young lady danced for us. During the program, numerous worshippers came into the temple to light a deya and perform a small ceremony before each of the statues representing the celebration's gods and goddesses. After the program we attended catered dinner---the traditional foods served on a big leaf. At sunset, people light their homes with several dozens of deyas and distribute Prasad and other delicacies to their families, friends and the community--as we walked around the streets, people offered us sweets. Divali is known to bring about positive feelings in the community marked by unity, cleanliness, harmony and festivity.
The next group of seven pictures were taken at the Divali celebration. The first picture is the altar taken inside the temple we visited. The second picture is another temple. I stepped inside this temple to listen to some beautiful music being sang by two young woman backed up by a small band. The third picture shows the traditional deyas which are clay pots filled with coconut oil. Next is a picture of deyas displayed in the front patio of a home I walked by. Picture 5 shows a unique way to display the deyas--a bamboo plant cut way back. Picture 6 and 7 show some of the beautiful traditional Indian clothing--a lovely young girl and a young woman. (04, 24, 23,17,14,22,18)
Much to our surprise (we had about 4 hours prior notice), we had Halloween "trick or treaters" visit DISCOVERY. There are three boats with children ranging from 5-14 years of age. Actually there are more boats with children but these are the boats that we have gotten to know--one American boat, one Scottish boat and one Australian boat. Because one of the boats planned to leave Chaguaramus on Friday, 10/31---the kids celebrated Halloween on Thursday night. I prepared little bags of treats for each of the seven kids. Carl invited them up the ladder into DISCOVERY's cockpit where he planned to distribute the bags to each child. However, just like at Christmas, the kids were so excited that one of the kids helped Carl pass out the bags! Before leaving the kids sang us a song written by Katie "The 12 Days of Halloween". Carl and I probably enjoyed this exchange as much as the kids did.
The next 5 pictures show our "trick or treaters". The children are from ALLUETE (Katie and Wil), ALL THE COLOURS (Jack, Monica and Ali) and SEA WARRIOR (Jay and Sam). Aren't they cute! (39, 38,37, 36, 35)
Last activity in October was a trip to the Caroni Swamp with Jake & Carol (OFFLINE), Carl &Cheryl (MYSTIQUE) and Michelle & Jean Pierre on BLUE MARIE. The Caroni Swamp is a bird sanctuary frequented by flocks of white flamingos and egrets as well as populations of scarlet ibis— which is Trinidad's national bird. Saw a caiman (a member of the crocodile family), a boa constrictor snake and lots of beautiful birds. We had to keep our distance from the roosting scarlet ibis so that we would not disturb them. The scarlet ibis would never fly directly over us so it was impossible to get a good picture other than a sky with a couple of red specks--very frustrating. The tour guide, Shawn Madoo said he would e-mail his photos of the scarlet ibis---Shawn has a fantastic camera with a telephoto lens. If Shawn sends me the pictures, I will include them in the November log.
The last photos were taken on the Caroni Swamp tour. Michelle and Jean Pierre (BLUE MARIE) take the front seat of our skiff. In the second picture Shawn, our tour guide, shows us a tree crab which is what the scarlet ibis eats to produce their beautiful red feathers. Yes, that is a boa constrictor sleeping in a tree in photo three. Picture four shows the northern range of Trinidad off in the distance and the back of Cheryl and Carl's (MYSTIQUE) heads. Photo five shows Shawn driving us back to the landing where the tour started. (49, 50, 57, 65, 67)
November 1 , 2008