MAY--Trinidad to Michigan

Taking a break from cruising during hurricane season. On May 1, DISCOVERY moved to a dock at Power Boats where we started to get the boat ready for long term storage. Clinton arrived with our air conditioner--he stored it for us while we were cruising the Windward Islands. Oh, that A/C was appreciated. The sails were rinsed with fresh water, dried, folded when we were over at TTSA (Trinidad and Tobago Sailing Association) so all we had to do was bag them and then stowe them below. Budget Rigging completed the spartite work for the mast and Carlos repaired the dodger where the sheets rubbed a hole in the Sunbrella.  Went through every storage locker and cubicle looking for items to give away and then wiped the surfaces down with vinegar- water before putting all the items back. Washed and rinsed lines (sheets, docklines, halyards, etc) and dried them before stowing in the sail locker.

I volunteered to read the local and offshore weather for the daily Cruisers' Net.  Since I check a number of weather sites every morning so it was no problem for me to read a summarized report over the VHF Radio. When we left Trinidad to head to Michigan, no one was lined up to do the weather but I am sure someone eventually stepped forward. I will volunteer again when we return in September.

Attended a farewell potluck at The Wheelhouse Pub for Dick and Jane on JARENDEB. JARENDEB has been in Trinidad for over 7 years. Dick and Jane have to leave Trinidad because Immigration refused to extend their visa one more time. Some cruisers are upset with Immigration because they Jane is too frail to sail. However, Dick and Jane hired someone to move their boat to Puerto Rico while they take a big silver bird to meet the boat. Dick and Jane are supposed to show up at Immigration on May 12 with airline tickets in hand to leave Trinidad.

The following pictures were taken at the farewell party for Dick and Jane. Carl at the grill in the first photograph. The second picture is Jesse (Members Only Maxi Taxi) and Jane. Jesse looks like he just bit into a lemon! The third picture show Dick and Jane sitting in the crowd while John the owner of Tropical Marine is "roasting them". (004, 006 and 008)

DISCOVERY was hauled out of the water on May 4 and placed on jackstands in almost the exact same spot she sat through the 2008 hurricane season.  While we did some work getting DISCOVERY ready while we were anchored at TTSA and at the dock, this is where the REAL work begins.  Used fresh water to run through the Yanmar diesel engine and the generator engine to remove the saltwater. Dropped the anchor and all the chain down to the ground to rinse then brought the hose into the anchor locker to rinse out all the mud, sand and stinky salt residue. Budget Rigging helped Carl adjust the two headstays--they have been too loose for years.  Inspected and rinsed the life sling and all the life jackets.

One morning while I was working on the weather report, I noticed the bilge pump was running so I notified Mr. Fix-it (AKA Carl). The switch was defective. Carl found a replacement but the new model had a different footprint than our model so the replacement took a little longer and a little more effort!

The morning of May 12, we went to Immigration and Customs in Chaguaramus to "sign off the vessel".  Dick and Jane (JARENDEB) arrived shortly after we did.  We heard one of the Immigration Officers ask for their airline tickets. Well--Dick and Jane did not have tickets. They wanted to stay for an additional week or so. Words were exchanged between the Officer and Dick. The result--Dick and Jane were told to sit down and wait. They were still waiting when we left Immigration so we don't know the outcome.

The first picture below shows Carl riding DISCOVERY on the lift the morning we were hauled out. The second picture shows our white cover that hopefully will protect DISCOVERY from the rain and sun during hurricane season. The third and fourth picture show a new catamaran that was just moved out of the production area. It is one huge baby. ( 013, 027, 029, 031)

By 1:30 PM that afternoon, DISCOVERY was ready for long term storage. We locked the boat, turned in one set of keys to the Power Boats office and headed to one of the Power Boat's apartments where we stayed the night. Jesse James (Members Only Maxi Taxi) picked us up at 4:30 AM for a traffic-free ride to the airport. Our flight out of Port of Spain was at 7:10 AM which was an "on time" departure. Somehow, we were late into Miami where we passed through Immigration without any problems. Then it took a long time to get our luggage. Customs welcomed us home (no inspection of luggage) and then we ran for our connecting flight. Flights from Miami to Chicago were running late because of weather in Chicago. All that rushing only to sit for more than an hour. When we arrived in Chicago, we once again ran to the next gate---that flight was delayed too. Flights were backing up in Chicago causing three gate changes for our flight to Grand Rapids. Finally on a plane the last leg to Grand Rapids. The ride over Lake Michigan was so bumpy that the Captain requested that the Flight Attendant remain seated during the entire flight.

Al and Laurie Forte picked us up at the airport---we were only 20 minutes late. Had a great dinner at the Forte's and a comfortable bed. In the morning, we headed for the cottage making a stop in Montague to make arrangements for Cable TV and high speed internet. The cottage was in good shape---dust in the interior and tons of leaves on the lawn, deck and flower garden. Our summer rental manager, Paul, had turned on the heat so the cottage was nice and warm when we arrived. No food so we went out to eat for a couple days.

Returned to Grand Rapids on May 17 to celebrate Al and Laurie's wedding anniversary at Pam and Brian McLenithan's home. Brian prepared beef tenderloin steaks on his grill. Jamie, Al and Laurie's daughter, listened to us adults reminisce the good times--especially Al and Laurie's wedding.

Drove to Kalamazoo to see my Oncologist on Monday--I am healthy and don't have to return for a full year. In other words, this coming December I won't have to fly back to Grand Rapids , borrow snowboots and warm clothes, borrow a car and bum a room from friends. YIPEE. Monday night we stayed with friends, Sue and Jeff, who live on Gull Lake catching up with their life. The highlight of the evening--relaxing in the hot tub under the stars. Returned to Grand Rapids where we stayed with Pam and Brian Tuesday night. I went with Pam to a camp associated with the Lansing school district Tuesday night. Pam conducted a leather workshop for the kids that were attending camp for the week. I helped her along with a number of parents who were also at camp as chaperones.

Pam conducted two workshops with about 20 kids in each session.  It was fun to help her and interact with the kids who were quite excited about taking mallets and pounding on leather medallions. (045, 046)

Carl caught a flight to Minneapolis on May 20. His sister, Beth, met him at the airport. From Minneapolis they (Beth, Erling and Carl) drove up to York for Bill Thoreson's Memorial Service. Carl and his siblings were together for 2 days. He returned to Grand Rapids on May 26 with a bad cold.

While Carl was in North Dakota, I stayed at the cottage. Worked four days on the flower garden removing oak leaves. Started leaf removal around 9 AM and worked until 4:30 PM. Then I would shower, have dinner and watch 1 or 2 DVD movies before going to bed.

Some kind of "political statement" on the road to our cottage. The bomb says Obama-1. I don't quite understand what the message is here. The second picture shows my flower garden which is packed with oak leaves. The third picture is of Jeff and Sue taken in front of their home on Gull Lake. (039, 050, 040)

Sunday (May 24) I drove to Grand Rapids where I stayed with Al and Laurie until Tuesday morning. Sunday afternoon, Laurie and I did some food preparation for the Memorial Day dinner then we sat on the deck talking and sipping wine. Monday morning it was "rib time". Initially the plan was rib dinner for Al, Laurie, Jamie, Pam and Brian but the party grew to 16 guests. Five racks on ribs went on the grill (250-275 degrees) at 10 AM. Guests started to arrive around 1:30 PM and dinner was served at 3 PM. What a feast and wonderful party--only wish Carl would have been there with us.

The last set of pictures were taken at the Memorial Day dinner.  The first photo shows the 5 racks of ribs after the rub was applied.  Picture number two shows Al with his new green egg grill. Next is Pam tossing her salad. Picture four is Al and Greg checking out the ribs. Picture five is Laurie getting ready to cut the ribs. Picture six shows the kids table--all the kids have now graduated from high school or in their second year of college. Picture seven is the deck table and the last picture is Kim and Greg. (053, 054, 055, 056, 058, 059, 060, 062)

The weather was perfect for Memorial weekend--"the native Michiganders wore shorts,but I wore capris". Tuesday, it started to rain and continued until Friday. The rain was needed badly--it was bone dry prior to Tuesday. Now, the grass is very green and the plants in the garden are looking good. However, the temperature is too cold for shorts and flip flops!

Pam and Brian McLenithan came up to our cottage on May 30th. The guys located Brian's mooring chain, lifted it to the surface and put on the mooring buoy. While the guys were working on the mooring, Pam and I checked out the shops in Pentwater. Had an early dinner then watched two DVD movies.  Pam and Brian left shortly after breakfast on Sunday.  I read a little Sunday afternoon and then we watched another DVD movie Sunday night.

It is nice to be back to the cottage. It sure could warm up here in Michigan. Since arriving at the cottage on May 14, there has only been one day when the temperature reached 70 degrees. The local weatherman says the temperatures have been 10-12 degrees colder than they should be at this point of time. Getting a lot of use out of our denim jeans and long sleeve shirts!

Submitted by:
Marilyn Thoreson
June 2, 2009