Iridium TEXT messages…

You will need my sat phone number which you can get by emailing me. Although the screen will say 160 chars - I only get the first 108 (...its the usual IT screw up)

Archives

Radar

 

 

 

Life in Trinidad

The other aspect of the cruising life is of course fixing stuff. Every cruiser has to spend at least one day a week on DIY.

Whether its a new million pound wonder boat or a 30 year old wooden yawl held together by Rescue Tape. By the way – get Rescue Tape – its marvellous !

 

IMG_8092 IMG_8094
Assorted “useful” o-rings… Engine oil change time…
IMG_8095 IMG_8100
The local rigger – washed up here from Norway ! ….to lubricate furling mainsail mechanism

Life in Trinidad

I have been berated for not posting anything since last August (2016).. its is now Feb (2017)..!

A lot of water has passed under the keel.

Life in the Power Boats boat yard is ..in the words of the late great Robin Williams “..hotter than a snakes ass in a wagon rut”. For 10USD you can get an a/c unit duck-taped to the rear hatch – which is the aft cabin …so yoy can get a decent nights sleep. Since the boat is plugged in to shore power I then set up a main powered fan to blow the cool air around the boat. That is all well and good – except you then become a hermit hiding in the boat in the day and emerging at sunset for the “Happy Hour”. By the way I still haven’t seen the so called “green flash” at sunset !

IMG_8085 IMG_8087
Enterprise moored in the “Creek” A/c unit on the back
Aerial Power Boats hoodcheck_power-boats-wharfside-view
Aerial view of harbour The famous “Power Boats” Marina

Shopping is a matter of getting on to the “Jesse James” mini bus – that runs several times a week to a local supermarket, and a variety of other speciality shops. Unfortunatley its too far to walk, the marina and shipyard areas are way out of town.

 

IMG_8090 IMG_8089
Jesse James bus Pattie shop..
IMG_8088 IMG_8091
Beef Pastelles – meal wrapped in a banana leaf.. Not bad – with support from the pickle cupboard : – )

Carib Great Race 2016…

Saturday 20th Aug 2016…The day of the big race. Hundreds of boats small and big turn out to watch the start of the annual Trinidad to Tobago powerboat race. Leaving the Port of Spain Waterfront at 8:00AM Team Paramount arrived in Tobago at 9:10AM to complete the 116-mile journey in 1 hour 10 minutes to claim first place.


The sea is not always like a lake -  and the spectators show no fear – driving their boats pretty much like they drive their cars…
image
There is even a “Pirogue Class” – just to help the pirates keep up to speed ..!

 

It was a great day. We were lucky to be invited out, together with our neighbours on SV Fenicia, to a picnic with Jesse Gangasingh (the electrician) and his family aboard a pirogue..!

We were told to be ready for a pick up at 0600. So I set the alarm for 0500 and woke up at 0430 in order to make sure the alarm went off….Needless to say we were eventually picked up by Jesse and his family… at 0830….it’s the Caribbean.

We had a lovely day. Jesse nd his family were warm and fun loving. We stopped at Scotland bay and waded ashore with dozens of parcels of food and drink. Including an old car wheel hub that was to be used as the base for the BBQ – Trine style.

Jesse’s family have Indian ancestry and the spices were abundant in the cooking – fantastic food! Best BBQ on a Ford Escort wheel that I have ever tasted – especially after the Trini technique of throwing brown sugar on the charcoal for extra flavour…

 

We went to Turtle bay for swimming, and more “Liming”… accompanied by some very large dolphins who were busy herding fish into the bay for their own picnic.

IMG_8222
Happy crew waiting for pickup at 0600…
IMG_8234
Wading ashore with all the gear..
IMG_8241 IMG_8261
IMG_8284 IMG_8306

A Taste of Trini! …

Thursday 11th August, 0900. We are booked on the “Taste of Trini” bus trip with the famous Jesse James. The tour started right outside the gates of the marina with Jesse hopping off to get us  Fry Bake, Saltfish and Smoked Herring… that was certainly a rude awakening for most of the drowsy cruisers – you have to remember the average age of the 10 guests is well over 55…ahem…perhaps a bit older, but we are 5 hours behind the UK so I think that counts in some strange way.

Jesse BusJesse roars off in his van. As we leave the confines of the two lane, potholed road that connects Chaguaramas to the suburbs of Port of Spain the road widens and turns into a 4 lane freeway. Suddenly the traffic lights ahead change to flashing red, this is the signal for Jesse to put down his phone for a moment, put on his seat belt and accelerate “to beat the red”. You have to get in to the spirit of driving in the islands!…

The day progresses, and Jesse stops at a variety of roadside stalls, huts, cafes, street vendors … all the time trying to surprise and delight his captive audience.

I counted 32 stops during the day and and even greater number of Trinidadian delicacies. Some were fantastic like “Doubles” – a roti filled with curried chickpeas. Some were not too bad…like “Cow Heel Soup” – take a soup and float some gristle in it. Some were a challenge – BBQ’d pigtails. Yet others were absolutely revolting – “Chickens Feet” – served in a cup neatly manicured. Only one of the party managed to get these anywhere near his mouth – he was an old rugby player so that explains it. Jesse informs us that he will take the feet home, apparently this will impress his wife.

Here is the list of what we ate between 9am and 7pm.

Stop Description Link
1 Fry Bake image http://www.cookingwithria.com/2011/05/trini-fried-bake.html
Saltfish image https://www.google.tt/search?q=fry-bake-and-saltfish&oq=fry-bake-and-saltfish&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58j69i60j0.1489j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=bake+and+saltfish+recipe
Smoked Herring image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/fry-bake-and-smoke-herring/
Chicken liver image http://caribbeanpot.com/caribbean-style-chicken-livers/
2 Cheesy potato pie image http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/tag/trinidad-cheesy-potato-pie/
3 Trini beef pie image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/trinidad-beef-pie-pastry/
4 Sada Roti & Baigan Choka image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/sada-roti-and-baigan-eggplant-choka/
Bitter Gourd image http://ameliawilliams20.blogspot.com/2012/09/caraille-bitter-gourd-or-bitter-melon.html
5 Cow heel soup image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/cow-heel-soup/
6 Beef pie – pastry image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/trinidad-beef-pie-pastry/
Chicken pie – pastry image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/trinidad-beef-pie-pastry/
Fish pie – pastry image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/trinidad-beef-pie-pastry/
Coconut bake image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/coconut-bake/
7 Chenet image http://www.hgcaribbean.com/outdoors/chenet
8 Doubles image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/doubles/
Saheena (Sahina) image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/saheena-i/
Kachori image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/kachourie/
9 Pomerac image http://thehealthnutcorner.blogspot.com/2011/07/tropical-fruit-pomerac-or-rose-apple.html
10 BBQ Pigtails image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/barbecue-pigtail/
Macaroni Pie image http://www.cookingwithria.com/2013/08/cheesy-and-creamy-trinidad-macaroni-pie.html
11 Goat curry image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/curry-goat/
Green fig

(Green Banana)

image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/green-fig-pie/
Cassava image https://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2658630
12 Goolab Jamoon image http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/recipe/goolab-jamoon/
13 Preserved – red mango image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/red-mango/
Preserved – five fingers (star fruit) image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/preserved-five-finger/
Preserved – Pommecythere Kuchela image http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/recipe-type/preserves/
14 Drink – Sorrell image http://caribbeanpot.com/traditional-caribbean-sorrel-drink/
Drink – Mauby image https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mauby
15 Roast corn image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/roast-corn/
16 Mango anchar image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/mango-anchar/
17 Barfi image http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/recipe/barfi/
18 Kurma image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/kurma/
19 Coconut finger image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/coconut-turnover/
20 Fruit cake image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/sugarless-fruit-cake/
21 Bread pudding image http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/recipe/bread-pudding/
22 Coconut rock cake image http://caribbeanpot.com/coconut-drops-with-your-tea/
23 Star fruit image http://www.whatocook.com/trini-fruits/
24 Chickytoe (baby) banana image http://wiwords.com/word/chickytoe
25 Soursop image http://wiwords.com/word/soursop
26 Pholourie Balls image http://oliveandruby.com/recipes/pholourie-balls-recipe-trini-style
Geera chicken image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/geera-chicken/
Chicken feet souse

 

OMG !

image http://caribbeanpot.com/how-to-make-caribbean-chicken-foot-souse/
27 Pork cutters image http://caribbeanpot.com/tag/trinidad-cutters/
28 BBQ Chicken image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/barbecue-chicken/
29 Cocoa pod seeds image http://sweettntmagazine.com/tasty-cocoa-pod/
30 Tamarind balls image http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/tag/trinidad-tambran-tamarind-ball-recipe/
31 Toolum image http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/10610-tooloom-trinidadian-molasses-and-coconut-sweetmeat
32 Fish image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/fried-fish/
Jerk pork image http://caribbeanpot.com/the-ultimate-jerk-pork-recipe/
BBQ Pork image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/barbecue-pork/
Macaroni salad image http://www.simplytrinicooking.com/macaroni-salad/
Bhaji rice image http://www.simplytrinicooking.org/recipe/trini-bhaji-rice/
Lentils image http://caribbeanpot.com/stewed-lentils-caribbean-style/
33 Home made ice cream –

Soursop; peanut; vanilla; chocolate

image http://caribbeanpot.com/tag/caribbean-ice-cream/

Chaguaramas…

Enterprise is moored up in a small creek off the main bay at a place called Chaguaramas. The marina has a large area for storing boats “on the hard”. Most cruisers leave their boats here and go off home for a few months coming back for the season in October/November.

The marina is very well served by tradespeople and the standards of workmanship are very high. Its interesting to note that Trinidad has its own extensive teak plantations, so getting wood work repaired or teak fittings created for a boat is also very easy and of the highest quality.

We have almost completed our to do list since arriving on the 3rd August. Including such delights as servicing all the winches (I have only ever done one myself in the past 5 years); re-cutting the main sail (too baggy for words) ; getting a new boarding ladder (fell off in Martinique) ; fitting a new ignition switch (died en route Trinidad); fitting a new remote panel for the Victron inverter (died en route Trinidad); ; and the usual cleaning and fixing jobs all over the boat.

The mainsail has been due for replacement for ever since the Atlantic crossing – maybe before!. The sail loft here is called Ullman Sails. They did such a good job on re-cutting the old, baggy sail – it now goes in and out of the in-mast furling … that I decided to talk to them about a new sail. Luckily, they are having a quiet time so I managed to get a great price for a new sail and it should be delivered and fitted next Wednesday. They even threw in some go faster stripes and the “Moody” yachts logo.

That means we are only waiting for a parcel of spares from the UK (c/o son Joe) – then we can make tracks for Tobago.

We have had a briefing for the Nereids Rally that sets off on Sept 5th and we are really looking forward to the next adventure. It appears that many of the participants will be starting from Tobago rather than Trinidad since it is a much nicer place to anchor.. and the sailing angle for Guyana is favourable.

Pirogues of the Caribbean…

Enterprise set sail from Port Louis, Grenada at 1230 on 2nd August, bound for Trinidad. We had taken on board the growing sense of insecurity from the Caribbean Safety & Security Net (CSSN) bulletins and decided that discretion was the better part… so we were to join two other boats – Aztec Dream and Nautilus – as we crossed South of Grenada – they were departing from Prickly Bay.

The CSSN publish “Passage Precautions” and we had heeded their advice – travelling in company; creating sacrificial goodies to hand over to pirates (money in a credible wallet; defunct credit cards; assorted electronic items; older phones and so on) – all these had to be “hidden” in credible places too, to give the appearance that they were “discovered”. What with hiding of real stuff as well as “fake” stuff – I somehow knew that I would probably lose 50% of the things I had hidden simply by not remembering my brilliant hiding place !

We also published a “Float Plan” to the Trinidad Coast Guard; the Ocean Cruising Club Rep in Trinidad – who by the way is arrestingly called Jesse James… you couldn’t invent this !

I briefed the mathematician and the philosopher as best I could… we revised VHF procedures; safety equipment; man overboard procedures… and decided on a simple watch keeping system for the 100nm – 20hr – passage. As advised by the CSSN and others we would leave at midday and travel through the night making landfall in the morning. There was some tricky pilotage at the end of the journey to since we would be passing through the famous Boca Monas passage. Most importantly we stocked up with Ginger Nuts.

image

The passage started well, with winds F3 to F4 and sea state slight. As we rounded the SW tip of Grenada we tried to make as far East as we could so that we would clear the oil platform South of the island and also get a better angle for Trinidad – given the prevailing easterly trade winds. We actually went further east than the Float Plan indicated.

I took the opportunity to have an hours nap, anticipating that the planned watch rota would probably have to be ditched if the crew needed help. As evening drew on, the weather deteriorated to F5 to F7, and sea state moderate to rough – not a good introduction for the crew, experiencing their very first night time passage. Luckily we had all taken our mal de mer tablets.

All three boats had kept their AIS transmitters on. We had originally planned to turn these off since they give the precise location, direction and speed of the vessels – very handy for a pirate. But, in view of the conditions we all felt that an unwelcome encounter was highly unlikely and it was more useful to warn commercial shipping of our existence than worry about an encounter with Black Beard.

Our buddy boats had started further east, and were able to stick to the Float Plan, passing about 3 miles east of both Hibiscus and Poinsettia – the two oil rigs – but we couldn’t head into the wind as well as our buddies and passed between the rigs – a gap of about 10nm – about 3nm east of the Hibiscus platform. I was getting more and more frustrated with the pointing ability of the boat – it looked like I would have to fork out for a new mainsail sooner rather than later. The current sail has delivered over 15,000 nm in my ownership alone, which amongst other passages, includes 3 Biscay crossings and the Atlantic. A fair bit of work I would say.

We managed without mishap throughout the night. Enterprise delivering the usual solid performance. A bit like driving your Bentley, laden with a massive Harrods Hamper strapped on the boot lid – across the fields behind Ascot. Not ideal – but – well – “solid”.

The crew were allowed to sleep off their slight mal de mer (actually 3 bags full of it) … and join me occasionally in the cockpit to get a feel for what its like to career along in the pitch black with the radar screen and the starlight canopy for comfort. On one such occasion we actually did hit the perfect angle on a wave, with the result that it completely covered the boat and managed to put fresh cool sea water down everyone’s neck and soak everything in the cockpit even my ginger nuts (biscuits you understand).

As the day dawned. We had an “incident”. This is the report now listed on the CSSN. You can read it here. I don’t want to overegg the situation – but you will probably realise that we were pretty rattled by the experience. I will be forever grateful to Steve & Lynne aboard Aztec Dream for their quick thinking and unhesitating and courageous reaction in turning towards us and contributing to the eventual happy outcome.

image

The rest of the passage went according to plan. But, I must say that the sinister and powerful currents in the Boca – that had all three yachts crawling at 1knot even with engines at full power was pretty awe inspiring. Much respect to 18 century schooners that plied this passage with only sails to power them and steering that would have made a sloth on ice skates look graceful.

imageApproaching the Boca image
imageOld leper colony – not a Sandals Resort.. imageA Trinidadian pirogue…
imageHoliday homes in the islands… imageSwirling currents – not waves – in the Boca..

…Zika

 

Well what was there left to do..? oh yes , catch Zika virus.

The crew of Enterprise has caught Zika.

We went to the Dr. Jenny Isaacs today – Anne and I… both have a rash; pains; hot eyes…etc etc

She agreed we have Zika. http://www.cdc.gov/zika/

The only remedy is lots of water, and paracetamol for pains – not Ibruprofen – forgot why…. She said symptoms will subside after a week. Mine are on the way out already – Anne’s are more recent so her rash is getting more pronounced – luckily not on her face or neck – just all over everything else.

Two other similar infections in the area, are

– Chikungunya https://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/ and

– Dengue Fever http://www.cdc.gov/dengue/

Both are more virulent and will recur over a long period….

Apparently it isn’t taken that seriously here unless you are pregnant. Luckily I have avoided that malady, and so too has Anne.

It’s carried by mosquito. It’s not a contagious disease between people. Once you get the rash it’s on the way out. Your body then is able to defend against any future infection.

Zika – should not recur…but in a few cases there is evidence that you may develop Guillain-Barré syndrome….oh happy days….

From Zumba to ……

Well the “Spice Island” chapter is drawing to a close. Enterprise has been here since March, and the crew and the boat are fully rested and ready for a new chapter.

What have the crew go up to..? It seems we have done everything. We have visited the rum factory (& sampled), the chocolate factory (& sampled); the waterfalls (& swum); we have completed 2 hashes (& sweated); we have been to the sculptor park (& snorkelled); we have endured loud loud LOUD music on very bus, food stand and beach party (& danced)….Smile

….having done all this what have we left……damn hot days – too sweltering to do even one simple job – and damn, damn, damn HOT nights – again – too hot to do anything – I mean anything ! …. then the rainy season came upon the flock. Rain doesn’t begin to describe the feeling of having an ocean turned upside down over your head…. then the sun comes out – everything dries up …. and your flip flops melt.

Unfortunately, we will not be here for Carnival which starts next week.

I am sorry that I wont get to see the Jab-Jab.

This is the commemoration of the end of slavery signified by the Jab-Jab rituals

…..and then of course the LOUD music, and Oil Down.

 

 

 

 

A few memories, from the thousands, that we modern travellers inevitably hoard…for no known reason…

Grenada Hash House Harriers Port Louis Marina
image
Grenada Music Festival – at Port Louis Marina Oil down – everything goes in from pigs trotters to you know what….
IMG_1756 IMG_7852
Motley cruisers under an appropriate sign… Esther & Omega – cooking demo at True Blue Marina
IMG_7318 IMG_7314
Enterprise at rest… My neighbour appears to know one end of his rod, from the other….
IMG_7561 IMG_7568
Visiting crew – very welcome ! Hard work this crewing…..

Grenada Hash …never again..?

Ok, I forgot how knackered I was the first time…and decided to do another hash…

IMG_7584This time in the lovely lush mountains of Balthazar. It had been raining for at least 4 hours every night for the past week… the rain forest was green, the mud was brown, the rivers were in flood….oh boy this hash delivered…

Yours truly at the end waiting for my beer and chicken,…

 

 

 

 

This video was shot by one of the runners – they did the 6km course in 45 mins – I took 2 hrs…. one guy fell in front of me and I had to break a branch to make a splint for his leg while the philosopher went down the hill to find a steward…

 

Early morning wake up call…

PricklyBay Pilot

Each day, the local cruisers anchored or moored in various bays around the Island tune in to a “Cruisers Net” on VHF 66.

There is a strict format of Safety & Security Issues; Weather; Treasures of the Bilge (stuff to buy/sell) and so on…

The net starts at 0730 !

“Goooooooood morning Vietnam!…Its 0600…What’s the "0" stand for? ….Oh, my God, it’s early! …”

Click here to  remember Robin, in Good Morning Vietnam?..

RobinWeather…”Well, thank you, Roosevelt. What’s the weather like out there? "It’s hot. Damn hot! Real hot! Hottest things is my shorts. I could cook things in it. A little crotch pot cooking." Well, can you tell me what it feels like. "Fool, it’s hot! I told you again! Were you born on the sun? It’s damn hot! I saw – It’s so damn hot, I saw little guys, their orange robes burst into flames. It’s that hot! Do you know what I’m talking about." What do you think it’s going to be like tonight? "It’s gonna be hot and wet! That’s nice if you’re with a lady, but it ain’t no good if you’re in the jungle..”

Or, …”The weather out there today is hot and shitty with continued hot and shitty in the afternoon. Tomorrow a chance of continued crappy with a pissy weather front coming down from the north. Basically, it’s hotter than a snake’s ass in a wagon rut….”

Of course the US sailors use the correct CB lingo …very entertaining and amusing…

For example, when the net controller asks listeners for a sound check, one guy comes back with “you’re wall-to-wall and down the hall…”

>>>>>  Listen here – the actual Cruisers Net – Grenada….

Of course it’s best if you have a voice like Jerry Reed first!

…click here for a quick tutorial…”Snowman, What’s Your 20?..”