Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Farewell Trinidad

Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad
10 40.6N 61 38.3W

So exactly 3 months after we arrived in Trinidad we are leaving today bound for her sister island Tobago, and some clear water, sandy beaches and snorkelling.

It's been a hectic 3 months here, first slipping the boat and heading "home" for a month, and then returning for 2 months of boat maintenance and upgrades.

Boat wise we have achieved a lot, Linda spent weeks stripping off the varnish that simply couldn't cope with the endless round of sunshine and salt water, the varnish had looked lovely for a month or two and then been a pain ever since. We are now trying teak oil, it will need to be applied to the natural teak about once a month, but takes maybe an hour for all the external woodwork, it may work it may not, but it will be a break from varnish. While she did that I worked throug a list of hundreds of small jobs, oil changes, rewiring, improvements here and there etc etc.

The biggest change to the boat was installing our new arch at the back and mounting solar panels and a wind generator, this gives us alternative power to supplement the diesel generator and we cam hoist the dinghy up at night with the motor attached to keep it safe from thieves and barnacles, the latter more of a problem so far in the "crime ridden" Caribbean!

So what are our reflections on Trinidad:

  • A great place to get boat work done - all the facilities are close at hand, the workmanship excellent and the prices reasonable, of course all that boat work means dirty polluted water and lots of noise!

  • Wonderful people - Almost without exception Trinidadians are friendly, helpful, fun loving people. We have both travelled a lot and have never been anywhere where not once did someone try to overcharge us because we were foreign. At the market, on the bus, in a taxi same price for everyone and they even force change on you when you think the fare is more than it is!

  • Party Central - Trinis love to dance, (or have sex with their clothes on to music is perhaps more accurate) each time we went out we met lots of locals of all ages dancing, grinding, singing and most of all laughing. We went to a very trendy new club in Port Of Spain all ages from 20-60 were there all dancing together and sharing a beer or cocktail. We are very tempted to return for Carnival in February, it's the 2nd biggest in the world behind Rio, 4 days of non stop being Trinis!

  • Safe - all we heard before coming were warnings, based on the murder rate here. Sadly for Trinidad there is a drug and gang culture here with attendant shootings, this gives it a murder rate on a par with a medium sized US city, eg Charleston but of course the cruising community thinks that makes it dangerous for us. The reality is if you avoid certain suburbs at night, and don't try to set up your own rival drug gang on someone elses turf you are as safe as anywhere and a lot safer than several other hurricane destinations eg Venezuela. One dinghy theft in Chaguaramas in 3 months versus 3 boats arriving from Venezuela having been boarded by armed men and robbed of eveything en route, plus the huge number of attacks in Venezuela in that period - I know what I prefer.

We have had a great time, made some good friends and got a huge amount of boat work done in a safe, happy place. But we can't wait to jump in the sea and not wake up to diesel and plastic bottles floating in the water!

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