Monday, 22 September 2014

Our first week in Trinidad and Tobago

After wrestling with sleeping almost upright on three flights, zig-zagging back and forth across a room amongst hundreds of others awaiting U.S customs, sleeping on airport floors of L.A and Houston, we finally popped out of Piarco Airport late Sunday night into the sauna that is Trinidad and Tobago.
Eden and I had a window seat the last flight and I pointed out what I thought were the lights of Chaguaramas, where our boat is stored on the hard.  He let out a small squeal, clapped his hands with a big cheesy grin on his face, wrapped his little hands around my neck and planted kisses on my cheek, saying, “Yay, we’re almost in Trinidad!”  Then yelled across the aisle and two other helpless yet gracious, people: “Salem, we’re almost at the boat in Trinidad!”
First impressions, Chaguaramas
Eric and Cathy were waiting for us at the hotel (their boat was about 20m from there).  They had the air-con on in our rooms, wine and some groceries for us and an inflatable world globe.  Not to mention helping us lug our very heavy bags upstairs.  Very nice way to enter a foreign country with so many unanswered questions in our minds.                                                                       
I’m guessing you’re all wondering, how is the boat.. really?!
Eric and Cathy did a HUGE amount of cleaning, clearing and tidying for us which made it actually live-able and nice to come on-board.
     Ws Picks 009 (Medium)            DSCF5762     

     Before Eric and Cathy cleaned up..                                 A little sample of rubbish on-board. .

                                                  Eli sorting out the tools up front.

All this week has been spent pulling out everything, from under floor boards, behind wall panels etc. to see what’s on board and how the hull is looking and Dave’s remark was that he was pleased with it and the amount of extra gear discovered. not previously listed e.g. loads of plumbing parts, Hawaiian sling, bosons’ chair, loads of containers for storage, charts, extra tools… 
                                                   Saloon overtaken with stuff !

                              Insulation all through engine space, filled two large rubbish bags

The first few days we kept wondering what the funny smell was, it was confirmed when lifting up the floorboards in the saloon (living area).  There were three large-ish containers stacked , mostly with canned food, one container was very strong smelling the moment we opened it.  Lots of canned food at one end, all in-tact and a bag of something.  Upon closer inspection I discovered over 20 canisters of…. parmesan cheese, easily six years old!
Boat tour video
Further discoveries on-board:
-the only standing room for Dave inside is in the saloon (and flat piece of floor, for that matter!)
-it’s not as big as advertised.  Another great find was the original plans of the boat, stating the boat is 43 ft. long as opposed to 56 ft.  Which means it’s easier for us to work with and will be a lot cheaper for materials, berthing, canal passage, travel lift etc.
-no power hooked up yet till we get batteries ordered in and check over all the connections etc. but we do have a lead and extensions for power from the boat yard
-our only cooking at the moment is the outside bbq, taking one pot or pan at a time, as long as it’s not windy, gas still needs to be connected to our new cooker inside (probably too hot to cook inside anyway)
-a lot of very impractical spaces that could be better utilised for storage, but can work for now till we’re ready to deal with it
-water yet to be dealt with, we have tanks but plumbing and probably draining of the tanks needs to happen first.  We do have a hose and the use of the boat yard taps which comes from the main town water supply and is fine to drink, which is great; same applies to the bathroom, yet to be connected but we have use of the boat yard facilities
         DSCF5783         DSCF5788       
         Eden having a swim in the cockpit.             I’m going in to clean….

                     the head; apparently the whole boat was like this, Cathy ended up finishing this too!

    DSCF5821             DSCF5823  


The first night was almost unbearably hot and up all night trying to plug any holes where the mozzies might be getting in.  So it was a huge relief getting the air-conditioning unit which Dave built in to the butterfly hatch the following day using materials he found about the place. 
The boys have all had a good go at scraping off the barnacle shells from the hull and helping with other jobs.  The workers in the yard call them by name already and are all really friendly, not so sure about the monkey in the workshop though!

 First night on the boat, bbq dinner on deck.

Overall, we are still very happy with our boat.

Fun new discoveries:
    DSCF5826         DSCF5827         

-iguanas in this fenced in industrial area
-buzzards (bird picture) that warn of rain coming, they like to fly by the hundreds
-tiny fern looking ground cover plant that closes up when you touch it
-zebra fish and tong fish in the marina
Cathy showed me around down town in the main centre of  Port of Spain.  From the maxi taxi station it is a block radius to the bank,  pharmacy and shops.  There are also supermarkets closer to the boat yard, as pictured.  So far I have found everyone to be very friendly and the drivers are very courteous.

                           DSCF5831             DSCF5830

We were able to get out on the water for a bit with Eric and Cathy..


The big red and white ship (pictured above) had massive spools of cables all along the top deck.

Road-side stalls are close to the boat yard, this one sells cow heel soup, pig tail soup and other delectable nutritious treats!


Customs and Immigration building for sailors entering and leaving Trinidad and Tobago; Viking ship built for a movie contrasts one of hundreds of oil rigs (background).

Some local flora and fauna.

Other new experiences: you know it’s hot when….
  • you feel like your whole body is cascading a river
  • you make a salad for dinner and look forward to leftovers for lunch next day, only to find there are mould spots all over it
  • an avocado is rock hard in the morning, yet ripe for eating at dinner
  • you drink loads more water than usual and go to the toilet less
  • you sleep on towels to save on washing                                            
                                                                      Thanks for reading, bye for now.


  1. P.s I do apologise for my lack of research, I have since found out that the bird pictured is in fact a frigate, not the buzzard. Also, the fish in the marina the boys saw is called a long tom fish, not a tong fish!!

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