Nov 29 - Update

As you'd expect from a "sticky" place like this, there is an active cruisers VHF net at 0730 on ch 66. Lots of goings-on, commercial ads and typical yachtie stuff. We ate 1/2 price pizzas at Prickly Bay Marina restaurant with Paul & Gina; most restaurants run specials on various days of the week to entice business. Finding our way back to the boat at night is always a bit of a challenge, but no drama. This morning, we re-anchored closer to the hub of things; it's calmer, we anchored in 25' instead of 35', and it's a closer dinghy ride to shore.It appears that boats are arriving and departing all the time; we're planning a sight-seeing excursion soon.

Nov 28 - Safe arrival Prickly Bay, Grenada

Pos: N11deg59.7min/ W061deg45.8min. The seas were running about 6' and we rolled quite a bit with the wind and seas off the quarter and behind us, but the hardest part was slowing the boat down to make a daytime entry into Prickly Bay. Overall, it was a good passage, our first overnight since arrival in Trinidad. The island of Grenada showed up where it was supposed to...and entry was straight-forward. There's a flotilla of boats here, but we found a place to anchor without a problem. After breakfast and a brief rest, we dinghied to Budget Marine and I walked about a mile to the closest ATM to get Eastern Caribbean currency; present exchange rate is 2.67 EC/1 USD. I'm on the hunt for a boost pump for the watermaker. The Jabsco Water Puppy died, and the plan is to replace it with a March centrifical pump. Finding one is a challenge, and it looks like it will have to be shipped to Grenada, incurring an additional modest tax and charges. But, sometimes if you can just find the right item, it's worth all the hassle.
Pic: Wow, we'll have to get used to crowded anchorages from now on! We knew Grenada was a popular space, but my goodness!

Nov 27 - Departure plans

We went into town for last minute stuff and a good lunch at the Suckhole (ya, really...that's the name...) Bar & Restaurant. After, we bought some wahoo steaks, 4 for 40TT. Returning to the boat, we stowed gear and planned for a late afternoon departure. It's about 83 nm to Prickly Bay, Grenada, so makes for a (hopefully) easy passage.
Pic: the view from our lunch spot.

Nov 26 - Happy Thanksgiving!

We had purchased a small turkey in Chagauramas, and had Paul and Gina from sv Solace for dinner. Paul was kind enough to loan us his BBQ bottle of propane, which was a good thing as we had run out of propane and that turkey would surely have languished. The girls did an admirable job, and Paul made his famous margaritas. Good times. Prior to that, I had a hard time getting the dinghy thru first gear, so figured I had stripped the thrust bearing. Sue helped me pull the motor up so I could lay it down in the dinghy, and it was quickly apparent that the propeller had stripped its hub. Replaced, problem solved. We managed to Skype and exchange emails with family, and felt blessed to share another beautiful day.

Nov 25 - Pirates Bay

Pos: N11deg19.769min/ W060deg33.198min. We motored up to Pirates Bay, Charlotteville, at the north-west corner of the island. The anchorage is deep, 55-60 feet, but holding is good and there’s plenty of room for everyone. We’re getting slow wifi a long way from shore. The dinghy dock is at the main dock in front of the small town, but use a stern anchor to keep the dinghy off the dock. Several small stores, bars and restaurants line the bay. The local fisherman’s coop and gas station is nearby. I bought a few jerry jugs of gasoline, but no diesel was available. Propane is not available here; get it in Scarborough. Actually, not too much is available here; one of the charms of this small place. Potable water is found at the end of the dock, available from a yellow hose. Customs and Immigration are at the rear of the small Health Center, but hours seem a bit erratic and no one seems in any hurry. Small town living; relaxing, but not that convenient for cruising needs, should you have any.
Pic:The quaint small village of Charlotteville is the fishing center for the island.

Nov 23 - A quick trip to Scarborough

It’s been windy, squally, and rolly here at Store Bay. Finding the dinghy landing was a bit exciting. You motor around a rock breakwater, leave a black buoy to port, avoid any swimmers in the water, and hope the tide’s out a bit so you can beach the dinghy. Then, lock the dinghy thru a chain link fence around a post and there you are. When the surf’s rolling, it’s impossible, as one of the French catamaran’s captain explained to us as he stopped by looking for an alternate landing place. He was thoroughly soaked, but didn’t realize we were first-timers here, so unable to give him any better suggestions. Once ashore, trash bins are around, and a short walk up to the road allows you to point your hand downwards, thereby signaling to any “share a ride” vehicle that you need a ride to wherever; in our case, Scarborough. The ride cost 7TT each, one way, the radio is loud, but the view and company pleasant enough. We cleared in, and out, with Customs and Immigration, had a quick snack at the Ciao Coffee shop up the hill near the Customs office, bought some fresh fruit, stopped at one of the local grocery stores, and did the entire find a ride thing in reverse. We don’t really trust any moorings, as maintenance is always the issue; with the wind gusts hitting over 25 knots we were glad to be back aboard. Our plan is to move further north along the coast tomorrow morning. Tobago is set up in two distinct districts, so checking in and out in Scarborough, then Charlotteville, is necessary should you be coming this way and planning on seeing a bit of the island before pushing off.
Pic: Map of Tobago, approximately 7 miles wide, 22 miles long. We're in the SW corner by the airport. We'll travel the north coast eastward.

Nov 20 - Safe arrival in Tobago

Pos: N11deg09.456min/ W060deg50.594min. We anchored near Chupara Point last night at N10deg48.21min / W061deg22.11min and awoke early for a 0530 departure to Tobago. With Mr. Perkins humming along at 1700 rpm, we generally saw 4 knots. That means some of the time we were doing in the 3's; occasionally (but not too often) in the 2's, but no 5's. Hmm. Winds on the nose the entire way, 10-15 knots, occasionally higher in the gusts; swells about 2-3'...but the current was something to reckon with. It had to be anywhere from 1.5-2.5 knots, on the nose (of course), and made for a long day of motoring. We had the mainsail cover off - wishful thinking. It was a motor trip, pure and simple. The good news is that we pulled into Store Bay at 1530 and took a mooring ball. It's possible to anchor in deep depths, but there were a few available mooring balls, free wifi and our friends nearby. Our first eastern Caribbean island; we can't wait to explore. All's well.
Pic: Arriving at the mooring field in Store Bay. We'll have to catch a ride to Scarborough to check in with Immigration and Customs. We were so entertained by a pod of dolphins swimming alongside us as we hugged the north coast of Trinidad for over 2 hours.

Nov 18 - Preparation for departure

I was in the dinghy at daylight inspecting the pee hole; no obvious blockage. I started the engine; it kicked in immediately and had good water discharge. My guess? I probably picked up something that partially blocked the water intake yesterday (the water here is not too clean), and by this morning, everything was back to normal. The exhaust riser was wrapped in exhaust wrap, and things are looking good. Sue went on a shopping excursion with Members Only (Jesse James) to Pricesmart; we plan to check-out with Customs tomorrow morning.
Pic: The many boats here at TTSA (Trinidad & Tobago Sailing Association), are seasonal on moorings with bow & stern line .

Nov 17 - Details

We noticed a water leak near the exhaust manifold attachment to the heat exchanger while motoring yesterday. I tightened up the nuts and hose clamps, and put a bit of high-temperature gasket sealant around, but nothing changed. We dinghied in to the office at TTSA to inquire about things, and caught up on wifi. There's a bar and restaurant here, and many rows of boats on moorings, but Infini is too big, and too heavy to consider a mooring, not that we wanted one anyway. The showers are good; a bottle of Stag beer is 11 TT. In the afternoon, Falco, the mechanic, came by and discovered a split hose and loose hose clamp right near our leak. How I missed that one is a source of embarassment. Fortunately, I had a length of 1" heavy duty hose that we cut to size, fitted, and voila, leak solved. On the way back from dropping Falco off at the dock, I noticed the Yamaha pee hole wasn't putting out water; something else to look into. Otherwise, all's well. Most all systems have been checked; the water maker will have to wait until we get to clean water to service. We bent on the jib early in the morning when there was no wind; also, the staysail was hanked on as I anticipate we'll be using it. The new snubber line was put in service, and we settled in for the night; it gets dark at about 1800 hours.
Pic: So lovely to be back in the water! Sunrise is usually calm. The routine afternoon winds make the anchorage a bit more lively.

Nov 16 - We're back in the water!

We launched a bit later than planned, but it's island time, right, mon? Tightened up the stuffing box, checked all the thru hulls and strainers; all's well. Had a hell of a time getting the headstay and backstay re-attached; thanks to Steve of sv Slow Flight and Greg of sv Serenade for all their help; beer's on us. There were no moorings available in the bay so we motored around to TTSA and anchored; it was late afternoon. It's wonderful to finally be back at anchor staring at the low hills, with the city of Port of Spain in the distance.
Pic: The view from Infini as she's carried to the haul out slip.

Nov 12 - Update

We're making progress. Bottom painting is just about complete (the support pads need to be re-positioned, and then the bottom of the keel where the boat is resting will need painting when we're in the slings). We're scheduled to splash Monday morning and are looking forward to being back in the water. Life in the boat yard - not for the faint of heart.
Pic: I was able to get the captain to join the group trip to Macqueripe Bay that Robin from Heidi organized. The hike let us know we were out of shape. The views and walk through the bamboo forest and jungle were invigorating. Submarines used this picturesque bay to refuel during World War II.

Nov 5 - Update

The cutlass bearing, shaft and transmission coupling are all in. I've learned that here in Trinidad, it's necessary to stay as close to the top of the work list as possible; if not, your place in the queue falls dramatically and your job, no matter how important it is to you, falls precipitously in importance to whatever contractor is doing the work. Not unlike other places we've hauled and had to have work done. I've walked my old pair of Crocs into repair going back and forth to the machine, welding and prop shops; they needed 5200 on the soles to hold together. I'll be looking for some beat-up bicycles to buy from another cruiser; it would save time and shoe leather. At any rate, the prop shaft and propellor were in fine shape, so the machine shop drilled a hole for the cotter, Chris from the prop shop (a prince of a guy) dropped everything off to the boat, and we were ready for install. The exhaust riser needed a new gasket and piece of vertical pipe. You'd think those parts would be easy to source; think again. Wazied, at the machine shop, had to drive across town for the pipe and then had to thread both ends; Falco, the mechanic, had to drive over to a supply shop downtown to source the exhaust gasket. There are several yacht boat supply shops locally, but they're more like a West Marine in the States; availability and selection is often lacking. The good news is that you really can source most, but not all, of everything you need here. If it's not available locally, you can have items shipped without too much hassle. The really good news I've saved for last. The Admiral flew in today and is now busy unpacking and reorganizing aboard. I had hoped to have all the major work done before her arrival, but things didn't quite turn out that way. Close, though! Weather permitting, it's possible that bottom paint will be applied next week.
Pic: A view from Infini's deck while on 'the hard'.