Thursday, October 21, 2010

Power Boats Mutual Facilities, Chagauramas Trinidad N10.40 W61.37 July 1 to Oct 30 2010

It is hard to go back…it’s a saying I’ve heard often…but it is our experience. Expectations can be high based on you only remember the best of your experience. We began this adventure in this very boatyard and so it will always be the starting point.

We are certainly enjoying being re-united with friends we met here six years ago. As well, the main yard staff remains and with fellows like Brent and Rico running things, you can be assured that your work will get done and you will be looked after. However, we have been 4 months on the hard and can only at best give mixed reviews to the work that has been done during this refit.

The price of most things is thru the roof, and despite the fact that work is slow, the prevailing attitude seems to be, ‘we’ll charge this guy enough to make up for all the ones that got away”. It is always a difficult time having the boat on the hard. The boat is not happy and we look forward to ‘splashing’ this coming week.

Part of visiting Chagauramas is getting to know Jessie James and his Maxi Taxi Service. He is a local Trinidadian and he offers a wide variety of services including weekly hikes, grocery shopping for the gals and a variety of Island tours. One of the highlights of our visit this time was our outing with Jessie to the beach to watch the leatherback turtles come to nest.

I will say despite the ‘schlep’ to get there, and waiting for nature to take its course, we felt it was one of the most incredible experiences of our lifetimes. To hold the newborn hatchlings and feel the strength in their tiny flippers, single minded purpose of getting to the water, and then to be there when a 700 lb turtle digs her nest, hole in the sand, above the high tide mark, dragging her huge bulk thru the shifting sand is a feat that tires you just to watch, but then to see her slowly and with such purpose, dig her nest, to her exacting specifications, with just the correct amount of moisture and temperature to accept the more than 100 eggs she will drop. During the time when she is actually laying her eggs, she becomes quite trancelike, and it is possible to touch her leatherback skin, which on her head resembles the consistency of a helmet, but only inches away, on her neck she is as soft as velvet.

This is definitely as close as I will probably ever get to 750 lbs of reptile giving birth…a truly magical moment and one not be missed if given the opportunity.

Kaija, on the other hand, likes to hike and had the opportunity to go with Jessie and a group of sailors to Rincon Falls. There guide was a gentleman from the military who teaches wilderness survival and is known as Snake Man. The hike was on the north shore of Trinidad , thru the jungle to a beautiful water fall so big that it did not fit in one picture. The trail was slippery in spots due to the shale under the light under growth cover. We saw many tropical flowers, coconuts, plants that could be eaten if you were lost, and plants and rocks that were used for cleansing the face and adding that wonderful red to your cheeks.

The Hike was about three hours up, on skinny paths, up hills, down hills (holding ropes to get there), and ended at the falls with its swimming pool at its base. We swam and ate lunch here and then back we went. Our guide found us “donkey eyes” also known as “hamburger beans” to most of us. They do not grow on a tree but on a vine. So now I know where they come from. He also found us a false coral snake and showed us how he got his name.

This great all day trip ended at Maracas Beach eating Shark N’ Bake at Richard’s. This is a Trini special of a shark burger with many toppings.

Our plan as we enter year 7 is to sail west thru the Venezuelan coastal islands and on to the ABC’s for Christmas.

Keep looking for our updates as we can make them available. Six years has shown us a wonderful world and we are as excited about seeing all of it as we enter our 7th season sailing along the North Coast of South America, Venezuala, ABC's, Cartagena, San Blas & Panama …so please come along and join the fun….who knows…maybe the Best is yet to come.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau, Tyrell Bay Carricou, Prickly Bay Grenada June 17 – June 30

We spent the next couple of weeks with a couple of easy day hops. Salt Whistle Bay is a nice anchorage with a beautiful beach along the NE side.

Tyrell Bay is a busy anchorage offering a few mooring balls, There is a pizza place on shore that I cannot recommend but they do offer wifi.

Prickly Bay has changed tremendously since our last visit in 2004. Spice Island Marina has enlarged big time and there are many facilities and good shopping nearby. We give high marks to the Customs and check-in procedures; they were as nice and friendly as any we have experienced in the Carib.

We left Prickly Bay for an overnighter along with our friends on Djarrka, Sanctuary, and Discover to where it all began for us 6 years ago, Chagauramas, Trinidad here we come.

Admiralty Bay, Bequia N 13.00 W 01.14 June 13 – June 16

We had planned to stop in Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent which is where we purchased KaijaSong.  However, after a beautiful day of sailing down the Island coast we approached Blue Lagoon as the winds were picking up and saw that it was ‘chocker full’…with hardly enough room to squeeze in anywhere and more boats looking abandoned than we cared to anchor near. So with Bequai in site and enough daylight to make it, we sailed on and arrived back in Admiralty Bay, the home of the great Canadian Pizza.

We have lots of good memories of Bequai and so we were destined to add a few that maybe weren’t so good. Our dear and beloved Windlass decided to pack it in. Of course they don’t talk to you to tell you what the problem is, so you just start pulling things apart, (along with pulling your hair out) as you try to determine, electrical, mechanical or misc elements to your dilemma. Finally after a lot of grunting and sweating, I determined that I should not be getting gas exhaust out of the back of my electric motor….but that’s what happens when the seal between the motor and the gearbox fails…another lesson learned, but not soon enough as this windlass is now history…we will limp to Trini for repairs or maybe even a NEW windlass…along with a long long list of other things needing to be repaired or replaced. I can feel the chequebook wining already.

Marigot Bay, St. Lucia N 13.58 W 61.01 June 11 – 13

It is a blast returning to many of these small inlets on islands so many never get to visit or see.  This is the place during our first year heading north that we stopped and met Bushman and his wife with their new baby.  Bushman purchased our first old hard dinghy when he was trying to do business from his half sunken hull.  Well, he has prospered, and now is running 25 ft Pirogue running cartage from his little spot in Marigot Bay to places all over the island.  He and his wife have also had their second child.  It was great to get reacquainted and we were reminded of their call to us ‘You have friends in Marigot Bay’ as we weighed anchor and sailed away.

La Marin, Martinique N 14.28 W60.52 June 1 – 11 2010

This is great spot for Yachties with any kind of needs including a floating drydock in the anchorage capable of lifting larger catamarans. It was quite something to watch. There is excellent shopping for the ladies, very expensive and some inexpensive French wines and virtually any kind of mechanical service required. It is also the home of one of the best Raymarine Technicians I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. His name is Jacques (the Genius). If he can’t fix it…it can’t be fixed…He is good, but you will have to put up with his French humour which can be somewhat brutal to the initiated…be ready to laugh at yourself cause he can make you feel a little ‘stupid’….in a nice kind of way :o) Jacques is located directly above Customs.

This island has a rich history and the architecture is old world. The people are friendly and the scenery is island idyllic. Doc enjoyed his daily swims to shore and back, then he dons his Tilley and hangs out on his boarding ladder. It’s all good!

Deshaies – Ilse de Saints, Guadeloupe N15.52 W061.35 May 25 – June 1 2010

Deshaies is located on the NW corner of the Guadeloupe Butterfly. It is a quaint old fishing village and a reasonable quiet anchorage. It is however, a stopover for those coming and going from Guadeloupe. We found the anchorage got quite busy in the early evening with boats vying for too little space and some not giving enough swing room to those around them. This was our experience when we were awakening in the wee hours with all hands running on deck (it became night of the naked man) as we stood toe to toe fending off each other’s vessels (lesson here is sleep in your shorts). We were lucky and the offending steel boat was very apologetic and we were able to laugh about it…not always the case. We waited till dawn to rush ashore to the renowned bakery, only to discover to our chagrin, it had closed…with nothing to keep us there, we weighed anchor and headed for the Saints.

After a lovely day of sailing we arrived at this beautiful spot which is another revisit for us. We are familiar with this little Island group and really enjoy the laid back attitude and rustic setting populated by the Island French and all their wonderful bakery delights.

The only drawback on this return visit was the so called progress…which meant a lot more people, and a lot more ferry traffic. The Saint’s however, still retain the unique island charm with friendly vendors and bakery owners selling their wares with amidst a cacophony of smells that warms the tummy and smiles that warm the heart.

Even Doc found a new girlfriend. Now it is probly fair to say that he does have a ‘girl’ in every port, but on this occasion it turned out to be Lyla the Goat….uhuh…you read right…he would sit patiently by the fenced yard and wait until she came nose to nose…perhaps they were doing the Vulcan mind meld…but it sure was cute.

We learned something the hard way here, and that is the enough water splashed back into your ship’s exhaust system from large ferry wake will stop your boat dead in the water…this unfortunate incident became our experience, and lucky for us, we found an angel in the form of David of Sv Guardian Spirit along with wife Elaine, were there at the rescue, David being a former diesel motor engineer and faster than I can write this, he had the injectors removed and the water sea water pumped out and the engine started….Thanks David and Elaine.

One of the treats here a local baker named Michele who came out to the anchorage each morning with croissants, Pain au Chocolat and fresh banquettes hot from the oven…a person could get fat here (or should I say, fatter).

Fox’s Bay, Montserrat N16.43 W 062.14 May 24 - 25

This was not a planned stop as it is unusual for the winds to blow in ever present ash north away from the anchorage.  We were the only boat in the anchorage which required a stern anchor to minimize the roll.  We walked along ½ mile moon shaped beach covered in volcanic ash, sand and natural pumice.  All of the many homes located throughout the adjoining hillsides were vacant, beautiful big villas completely empty….like stepping into another time…but the Volcano is still active and as we sailed along the west coast the old capital is only partially visible under the volcanic ash and ruins.

Saba N17.38 W 63.15 May 21 May 22

This is must stop must see for the un-initiated. Kaija was determined to stop and climb the 400 stairs to the customs house…Doc and Kaija did it (I watched from the safety of the dinghy with a good book in hand). For all you Vancouverites…Kaija says it reminds her of ‘the grind’.

We grabbed a mooring ball and didn’t stop rockin and rollin till we dropped the line the next day. The water was rough and even getting Doc ashore proved challenging.

With pictures taken and the climb finished, we were only a little happy to finally turn the corner south as this we about as far east as we needed to get before finally getting the wind on our beam for the ride to Trinidad and parts in between.

Christiansted St. Croix, USVI - N17.45 W64.41 May 10 – May 20 2010

After an overnight sail from Puerto Rico we arrived at this quaint island located south of the British Virgins by some 50 miles.

The architecture is Danish with European seaport influence abundant to the first time visitor. There are many quaint shops and historical sites located throughout the island. It is a full day car trip to see the eastern dramatic coastline overlooking the Caribbean and adjoining reefs along the south coast to Fredrickstad the Capital of St. Croix and is the main Cruise ship port . On the way back to the Christiansted anchorage, you will drive thru a spectacular old wood rain forest and stop for a cool beverage with the local beer drinking pigs (non-alcoholic)

While in St Croix we met up with old friends from Cartagena, Dave and Shardq Sv Morgan and met new friends GB and Sarah Sv Djarrka. The more of the world we see the more we realize just how small. It is one of the great pleasures of our sailing life to meet so many wonderful helpful people along the way.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gilligans Island Peurto Rico - N17.56 W066.52 May 7 – May9 2010

This is a revisit of a great stopping place to rest up after our overnighter from DR.  It is already filled with fun memories for us from previous visits.  There are a number or reefs close by for fun diving.  The official name of this island is Cana de Corda but it is for all the world a replica of the island used for the popular TV series in the ‘70’s Gilligan’s Island.
What a Terrific place to stop and rest!

Las Palmillas, Dominican Republic – N18.14 W068.45 May 3 – May 6 2010

This is a short trip from Campos, our last stop on the SE side of the DR.  It is a wonderful anchorage with crystal clear water and several areas to go gunk holing with the dinghy.  It is a favorite day stop for the many resorts close by, but short of a few hours daily, you can have it all to yourself.

Welcome back...We've been away too long...

stand by for updates from Gary, Kaija & Doc alive and well in Trinidad

If you are interested in what's been happening to KaijaSong and her crew over the summer check back for updates in the next couple of days.