Sunday, 19 October 2014

Of birthdays, boat rides and doubles.

Salem had his “fake 8” birthday a month before we left as he wanted to celebrate with his friends.  Many people were kind enough to give him money which totalled NZ$50- the most he has ever had.  To top it off, when we worked out the current exchange  rate, he would receive TT$250, which in his mind, made him a billionaire!  (I didn’t have the heart to tell him things will probably just cost the equivalent in NZ$).

Eden’s birthday is a week later (both in September) and true to form, was not going to miss out, nor would they share a birthday either so “fake 5” was a week later.
It's a plane, in case you're wondering!              


Then there was their real birthdays celebrated in Trinidad with our new friends (and surrogate grandparents) Eric and Cathy, who very kindly offered to take us out for both birthdays on their boat to Scotland Bay, up the coast a little...

We got picked up from the dingy dock early, arriving to a breakfast of muesli, yoghurt, fruit, bacon and eggs buns, juice and coffee while we motored our way down.  Cathy very generously put on all the food for the day so I could have the day off.

Scotland Bay.

Salem enjoying the view, no longer “fake 8”!


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Eden catches the first fish of the day.

Eric cooked it up, compliments to the chef!

video of the birthday activities

Eden at the wheel
Eden very pleased that he can be Captain now he’s really five (not that he didn't try to be Captain before this!)

Home-time, happy and contented.

Buzzards and Frigate birds in thermal lift
Buzzards enjoying the thermal lift.  This island seems to always have what looks like a swarm hovering over it meters into the sky.
         Buzzard close range

The Sombrero brothers are entertained by the chopper that circled the boat.

What better way to finish the day than with Dr Seuss.

“Doubles” is a popular local dish, often sold at road-side stalls.  The boys have been diligently collecting coins found everywhere on the ground, it seems there is very little value in their 1, 5, 10, and 25 cent coins.

Called “doubles” because it has two crepes holding in the delicious chickpea curry mix.  We tried a hot one and our mouths were on fire for a good 10 minutes after!

The stall sets up not far from the boatyard at around 6am (so I’m told) and are often sold out before 8am.  They cost TT$4 (around NZ .88c)!!

Eli and I got to have some practice with Cathy transporting ourselves up and down the Chaguaramas area to various locations, getting doubles, quotes for work to be done, groceries etc.  Salem also had a go at driving but sometimes forgot which way to point the tiller and was easily distracted by all the activity around the harbour!

Here is one of our water tanks lashed in under Eli’s bunk forward, upon closer inspection we discovered it was in need of repair.

Dave spent a number of hours trying to weld up the seams with the gas torch.

Sewing up lee cloths from left over material found in the boat.  These will hold us in our beds when it gets rolly.

Eli has a go.

Eli and Dave work on a more user-friendly galley bench, more specifically, a space where we can stand up straight!

The last bench had no sink and had been totally eaten out by termites.

Massive boat out front.  Eden managed to hit the water taxi on the right shortly after with his fishing line!  Thankfully the driver didn't notice.


Dave makes a drain cap for our head (bathroom).

Mr big 5 year old amping to do some math, and lots of it for that matter.  Long may that last!

Eden very happy with his new berth/bunk.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Week Two, settling into life “on the hard” in Trinidad

In the months leading up to us getting here, people would often ask the boys if they were looking forward to this proposed new lifestyle.  Given the chance, Eden (the 4 year old) would almost always reply “Yes, ‘cos I got a fishing rod for Christmas and I haven’t used it yet!”
Here’s the evidence of his first fishing experience with his new boat rod, (on our friends’ boat) only 10 minutes after dangling the line over the side…
The boys also saw a long tom fish swimming just below the surface of the water (photo by Cathy) and a turtle!
                                  Long Tom around our yacht
Tried fishing just down the road from the boat yard, turns out to be a very busy spot and we only snagged on rocks… and the tree overhead, twice!
Some work on the boat included:
Eric and Dave pulling engine apart, cleaning up parts and cleaning up lots of oil from under the engine.  Found a German guy who’s able to fix the heat exchanger, a hole in the oil filter had rusted through  but now that it's all cleaned up it looks good and fairly hopeful so far...  They have even managed to turn it over by hand!  Very exciting, considering it had sat for six years in a humid climate.

Getting rid of batteries, the previous ones were very dead.  Dave and Eric hooked up a car battery to our electrics and we have lights, vhf, electronics for navigation in the cockpit, water pump and fans working, woohoo!!  All powered by our solar panels.  This was a real bonus again, having sat for so long.
Dave and Eric also managed with a good amount of effort, to free up the prop.
Eden took this photo of us straining to get these 73kg batteries out of the bilges.
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Eli was a big help with the pulleys to get the batteries up on deck and down to the rubbish below - they disappeared in minutes!

Cathy went through all the first aid equipment left on board and explained what it was all for and what needed to be thrown out.  I then got a hands-on tutorial on how to administer anaesthetic and how to stitch - hopefully I will never have to use it.

Cathy, Eden and I went by dinghy up the way to the sail-makers’ loft with boat plan to get
a quote for sails to get made.  This lady came and showed Eden around.
The workers are on the side, sewing at their machines, half-way under the floor boards.

We found some left over paint and an area that had not been finished of the previous owners’ artwork so let the boys have a go.

Boys figured out how to hoist the fold-able dinghy up and over the side of the boat and lower it onto the ground.  They put it together and cleaned it up, then filled it with water to check for leaks.

So we tried it out...
o.k, we got towed...
but no leaks, yay!
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Took the boys for an ice block down the road as the guys in the yard were grinding a boat
 next to us and the sound was horrendous, not to mention the toxic-smelling welding.

I love this word “liming”.  I have never heard it before and didn’t even realise the sign was there until after Cathy had told us, and after a photo!  
Pelican found a sweet fishy boil-up.
We have discovered a drink made from the Sorrell plant, which makes it feel so justifiably healthy not to mention yum.  I must admit though, it’s not a lot different from any other sugary cordial!
Turns out termites have a weakness for paper towels!  This had been bored right through to the cardboard roll-just as well we got the boat exterminated after we bought it!

Took the boys into the Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago.
Souvenir shop had top to bottom shelves of tee shirts along a whole wall and then some!
Eden tries out the age-old “pan”, made of steel, there are notes written around the edges to 
play the correct tune in the correct spot.  Looking forward to hearing the pros play this.
Markets down town.  The man below made these very intricate sandals.

Fruit and vege stalls, got a bag of approximately six limes for all of NZ $2, same with cucumbers.

Hanging out at Independence Square.

Some shots I managed to nab of our drive into town.

Our neighbourhood:
Bananaquits' enjoy the view from the top of the boats.
The Greater Antillean Grackle has a slight deep blue within its feathers; it was very particular about getting it’s berry nicely washed in the puddle.

First Avenue South, Chaguaramas (boat yard on right).
Pirates' Cove opposite driveway into IMS boat yard.  End of the road where we tried fishing.
Coconuts and papayas growing out the back of the workshop, yet to sweet-talk someone into picking anything for us, there is even a ladder up to one of the other trees.
The view from our deck, IMS boatyard a busy place. 

Nice view from our deck in the other direction out to the hills.  “On the hard” means up on land.

One night Eden and I were walking down to the bathroom and were greeted by the security guard, he asked Eden what his name was and where we were going, then took Eden’s hand, walked us to the door and said, “Have a good evening.”

Had my first experience of doing dishes out in a thunderstorm, admittedly, under cover, but still, it's the most fun I've probably ever had doing dishes!  Tried to set up our water catchment system, and was drenched in about a minute!  So nice to enjoy the rain without the cold.  Boys loved it too, being able to play in the rain, for as long as they wanted... no surprises there!  Until next time, thanks for reading.