OCTOBER---Trinidad to Grenada

DISCOVERY is on the hard at the beginning of the month. Have until the 19th to get her ready to launch. Had some canvas work done--small covers and hatch screens using David's Upholstery Shop. Mitchell from West Coast Fabricators did some stainless steel work for mounting new solar panels that we will pick up in Vero Beach, FL next spring. Clinton is fixing some fiberglass cracks, washing and waxing the hull and painting the bottom. Carl did basic preventive maintenance on mechanical systems to make sure all in working order. I took responsibility for washing and waxing the cockpit. I also scrubbed the deck but it still has to be waxed.

Carlos from Alpha Canvass who did our dodger and bimini last year sold us tickets to a pan event at the Starlite Pan Yard in St. James. It was a benefit for the junior orchestra that both his daughters play in. Brenda and John (WILLOW) made arrangements with Jesse James for a maxi taxi to pick us up and give us a ride home. Also attending the event--Susie from SPIRITED LADY and Roger & Margaret from GOLDEN FLEECE. The Startlite Junior Orchestra played first followed by four award winning bands. My favorite group, the Silver Stars, did not start until after midnight. They were fantastic. I am not a huge fan of pan but I would go hear the Silver Stars again and again. Not only did they sound great--they had showmanship. The last band, the Renegades, started around 1:15 AM---stayed for one song. This was a very late night for us but well worth it. Oh, the Trinis love to party late at night.

Below are pictures taken at the Starlite Pan Yard. The first picture is the group from Westbrook Angostura Bitters and the second picture is my favorite band--The Silver Stars.

When we arrived in Trinidad in late September, we found out that a group of 12 people were headed to Angel Falls. Ann on FREYA of C:LYDE organized the tour I would have loved to go but all slots were filled. I attended their planning meetings just in case someone had to drop out. . The group left for Angel Falls on October 7. To me, this is one of those chance of a lifetime tours. I am very happy for them but wish we could have gone. They had a great time. Bill and Leona (VOYAGER C) will be writing an article for Compass magazine.

Besides getting the boat ready for launching we fell into a weekly routine. Every Wednesday evening except for 10/28, we met John and Brenda at Wheelhouse Pub for swordfish. I made several trips downtown with friends to shop for fabric, DVD movies and other stuff. Usually picked up a salada roti for breakfast from Grace at the Roti Hut--the bread is sort of like pita and it is filled with either cooked pumpkin, potato or eggplant along with some hot pepper and chutney. By the way, one salada roti cost $6.00 TT (approximate $1.00 US). I did pick up doubles for breakfast a couple times but Carl prefers the salada roti to doubles because the salada roti is easier to eat (not as messy). The highlight of the week continued to be Monday night TTSA Potluck--although the entertainment was only offered every other week.

All went smoothly for launching DISCOVERY on 10/19. John (WILLOW) helped Carl with the headstays and then stayed on board to help us dock. I was a little concerned about getting into the narrow slip at C-Dock. Robert on BRISTOL ROSE was waiting for us so he could take our port bow line. Two cruisers, Beat and Mike, were standing at the sea wall ready to take stern lines and Lee on TRANQUILITY who just happened to be going by in his dinghy stopped to help us get our starboard bow line around a piling. I would have been difficult to squeeze into that space without the additional help. Stayed at the dock for 5 nights. Mark from SOCA Sails modified our jib so it won't luff when we go to weather.

The first picture below is Mitchell working on mounts for our solar panels. Picture number two is Carl on deck with the travel lift as we were taken off the jackstands. The third picture shows the narrow space we had to squeeze into after we were launched. It was tight. The last picture is all the stuff I purchased at PriceSmart. Oh provisioning is so much fun....not!!!

Left the dock Saturday around noon joined John and Brenda (WILLOW) for a weekend cruise to Chacachacare and Scotland Bay. Chacachacare is the site of an abandoned leper colony. The leprosarium, established in 1924 by Dominican Nuns, was known as the “Hansenian Settlement.” It included wards for men and women patients, a doctors house, a chapel and a nunnery. The leprosarium operated until 1984 when the patients were moved to the Port of Spain General Hospital. DISCOVERY and WILLOW dropped anchor in Sanders Cove. Later in the afternoon when it was a little cooler, John, Brenda, Carl and I took our dinghies over to the government dock for a hike to the lighthouse (built by the British in 1896). The lighthouse is approximately 800 feet about sea level on the north point of the island. The road to the lighthouse is paved but very steep. The view at the top is outstanding--to the north you see the Caribbean Sea, to the west is Venezuela (less than 6 miles away), to the east you see the Monos Island and to the south the Gulf of Paria with the huge LNG tankers. Next to the lighthouse is a radar tower probably used by the Trinidad & Tobago Defense Force to watch Venezuela for military activity and drug traffic/smugglers. The lighthouse and radar tower were covered by roosting Corbeaux (black buzzards). There are so many buzzards on the island---I wonder what they find to eat???

The next group of pictures were taken during our first hike to the lighthouse Saturday afternoon. First picture is Brenda, John and Carl at the bottom of the climb. The second picture is Brenda and Carl resting on the swing. Picture three looks east toward the Chaguaramus peninsula . Picture four looks west toward Venezuela. Pictures five and six show the radar tower and lighthouse with roosting buzzards.

Sunday morning, Carl and I took the dinghy over to Stanislas Bay to visit the Nun's Residence. Landed the dinghy at the Nun's boathouse and then climbed a few steps to the look over several abandoned buildings--an administration building, chapel, dormitory and miscellaneous outbuilding (laundry, toolshed, etc). Returned to Sanders Bay where we tied the dinghy to the dock at the Receiving Building. Walked around the abandoned village, peeked into the chapel and various building. These buildings have not been preserved so vandalism and the jungle have taken their toll. Took a second hike up to the lighthouse for the exercise and the view.

The next group of pictures were taken Sunday morning during our tour of abandoned buildings. The first picture is DISCOVERY sitting at anchor with the Receiving Building and dock in the background. The next five are pictures taken of the Nun's Residence. Picture six and seven are the Receiving Building and the Church at the Abandoned Village.

Around noon on Sunday we left for Scotland Bay which is located on the northwestern tip of Trinidad in the Chaguaramas peninsula. In the 1870's Scotland Bay was a little village where fishermen lived. The village grew in the 1920's and 1930's with the construction of holiday homes. In 1941,when the Chaguaramas peninsula was leased to the U.S. government for the construction of an army base, all residents were required to leave. The peninsula now belongs to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago---still no homes or roads to the bay. All access to the bay is by boat and is a very popular spot for the locals on weekends and holiday. Scotland Bay backs into the hills. When WILLOW and DISCOVERY arrived the bay was full of local boats and cruisers. Found a spot to drop the hook. John and Brenda came over for a fantastic dinner onboard DISCOVERY--fresh shrimp I picked up at the Fresh Market Saturday morning.

Monday we were up at the crack of dawn. Heard the howler monkeys before we pulled the anchor and headed for TTSA for one last Monday Potluck. The anchorage was quite full but we found a place to drop the hook way in the northwest corner. This week's potluck included entertainment with one special song "Happy Birthday Marilyn on DISCOVERY".

Below are pictures from the TTSA Potluck. The first four pictures are of the various musical performer. Picture five is Katie reciting one of her poems. Picture six is Brenda, Ruth, Margo and Clive sitting at a table.

Tuesday morning we moved from the anchorage in TTSA to their courtesy dock where we filled the water tanks and charged the batteries. Gathered our passports and boat documents to clear out of Trinidad in the afternoon. Thought seriously about anchoring in Scotland Bay after clearing Customs but decided not to after hearing war stories regarding Americans anchoring there and getting caught by the T&T Coast Guard. Most countries give you 24 hours to physically leave once you have checked out (assuming you stay on your boat and not running around shopping, dining, visiting etc.) Instead, we dropped our anchor in the Chaguaramus anchorage for the night. Thought this was one place where they would not be looking for boats that had cleared but not left the country. Had one scary moment when a Custom and Excise Boat turned their blue lights on and blared their horn at a boat behind us. The Customs and Excise boat eventually went away.

Left Trinidad on Wednesday at 4:30 AM.....poking our way through the commercial ships at anchor. The winds were NE--our course was just about directly into the wind so we motorsailed all the way. Encountered three squalls....winds to 30 knots (not bad) with lots. Carl commented that two years ago I would have been terrified--this time took it in stride. Carl put his fishing line out about 5 miles out of Trinidad when something grabbed it, the shock cord (3/8 inch thick) on the hand line went tight and then slack. Pulled in the line and the fishing hook was completely destroyed--assume it was something big and strong. About an hour out of Grenada, he caught a barracuda which went back into the sea. One of these days he will pull in a tuna, wahoo or mahi mahi. I can hardly wait.

The following is a picture of the hook that we think caught the big one that got away!

Dropped our anchor in Prickly Bay around 3:30 PM. Decided to wait until morning to clear Customs and Immigration. Grenada has initiated an interesting procedure to prevent foreigners from bringing in "swine flu". You can only clear into the country at St. George Yacht Club where you first meet with a nurse. The nurse gives you a questionnaire regarding symptoms--you check the box either yes or no. Then you are given a certificate which allows you to see Immigration and Customs. I question the usefulness of the procedure because the incubation period is 2-5 days so one could enter the country infected but without symptoms. The Cruisers Net reports efforts are underway to get a nurse at Prickly Bay so cruisers can clear there.

Saturday, 10/31 we moved DISCOVERY over to Clark's Court Bay. Attended the Cruisers' Potluck at Carks Court Marina. It is great to be cruising again. Both of us liked Trinidad and found it sad to be leaving knowing that we would not be back. Oh well, it is another cruising season with new places to explore and people to meet.

The following pictures were taken at the potluck at Clark's Court Bay--a rather small but interesting group.

Submitted by:
Marilyn Thoreson
November 1, 2009