And they're offThis is Mike's first post on arrival in Trinidad, on Sunday, 13th January 2013.
Didn't sleep too well in the airport hotel last night - room too hot. Got up and went down for the 'last breakfast'. Fresh fruit salad plus the full works. Bus to Gatwick North Terminal where we met up with Chris and checked in. Chris had two seats right at the front of the plane and Simon and I were in the very rear row. Ten hour very noisy flight with quite a lot of turbulence. Arrived at Port of Spain at 11.30pm, eventually collected pre booked hire car and drove to Chagauramas in the north west of the island. Put bags etc on board, went for a drink (two iced beers) then back to boat and bed (0130hrs).
Monday 14th January
Got up once during the night but woke up several more times with mozzies buzzing around my head. Despite this I slept well but kept the others awake with my snoring. Got up at about 06.30, went for shave and shower and back to boat before the others were up. Once Chris was up we got electrics connected up and had mug of tea. Chris went off to buy anti foul etc and when he returned Simon and I applied two coats, finishing work at about 12.30. Went for another shower then out of boatyard to buy 'rotis' for lunch - like a nan bread wrapped around beef and other bits and pieces - very nice but very filling.
Eventually we headed off in the car to a beach further up the coast and our first swim. Water not quite as warm as I thought it would be but still very nice and refreshing after all the morning's hard work. Big swell rolling into the little bay making it quite interesting with big rollers coming in and then very strong back tow as the waves went out again. Back in the car and into Port of Spain to get diesel for the boat, petrol for the car and food for us. Chris couldn't remember the way to the garage so we ended up having a tour of the town. Eventually got about 70-80 litres of diesel for 100 Trinidadian dollars - about £10! Next to the supermarket for some provisions - food for tonight's meal and breakfast in the morning, plus cans of beer and bottles of tonic.
We hope to be launching the boat on Wednesday and moving to a marina just a short distance along the coast, where we will continue preparing the boat and loading up with provisions.
No photos today, although I wish I had taken the camera with me to the beach when we went swimming.
Tuesday 15th January
Covered in bug bites!
Wednesday 16th January
Another reasonable night's sleep - sweating buckets and completely buried in duvet cover to evade mozzies. Haven't used any of my spray yet but Chris has been spraying the boat with his. Up about 07.30 and made mugs of tea. Started doing maintenance work on boat then stopped for breakfast - cornflakes, banana and paw paw - before hosing/scrubbing down topsides of boat. Got soaked to the skin but it was not unpleasant because of the heat. I think we are going to be doing some more jobs on the boat this morning and driving round to the next marina to sus out where we are going to be moored. Launching this afternoon all being well. Will be nice to get on the water at last.
Simon and I came down here to the internet room after breakfast to look up the weather forecast on the u-grib site. Fortunately a member of staff was present and he showed me how to get onto the site; wind strength and direction look okay for the next five days. Four photos taken today of the boat in the boat yard. Here's one of them:
1315hrs and no sign of boat hoist/trailer which should have been here at 1300hrs. Chris went off to locate hoist crew and they turned up at 1330. A very impressive operation of 'big boy toys' got the boat in the water and we set off around the corner and into Coral Cove Marina. Tied up to our pontoon by about 1400hrs. Chris went off to book us in and I took some more photos and made cups of tea. Chris and Simon walked back to collect hire car from Peaks Boat Yard while I stood guard and wrote up this diary. We then headed in to Port of Spain to get more diesel but were thwarted by a long traffic queue so turned round and went to a local supermarket for food for tonight plus wine and beer. Back to boat then to small swimming pool to soak in cool water. Lots of osprey (sea eagle) and frigate birds circling around overhead but too high up to get decent photo. Chris is cooking dinner tonight - Pembrokeshire spaghetti bog!
Thursday 17th January
Air con all through the night allowed me to sleep right through without waking in a pool of sweat. No mozzies either. Got up at 0630hrs and made mug of tea. Simon up but Chris having a lie in. Playing around with i-pad but none of the photos I tried sending yesterday has gone. Will have to try sending them one at a time later today.
Managed a Skype conversation with Jackie but connection not brilliant.
Chris eventually managed to get his satelite phone linked to his computer so we can get weather forecasts when we are at sea and he also got the chart plotter working so he is now a happy bunny.
Went into Port of Spain for a final purchase of diesel so we should now have sufficient for the whole trip and then went to Macqueripe Bay again for a swim (picture below).
Back to the boat for afternoon tea and Jackie's Christmas cake. Chris seemed to really enjoy it but then complained he had not been given a warning that it contained nuts - despite the top of the cake being covered with them!
The life-raft is not going to be ready for possibly another three weeks so the current plan is to dash up the Caribbean chain of islands to Martinique then back here to Trinidad to pick up the liferaft, and then head off again towards Panama via a route yet to be decided.
Strombolis for dinner (pizza base wrapped around filling -vegetarian and ham) then spent evening discussing plan of attack. Latest plan is that we may go down to Guyana. We have until Monday to decide on plans B, C, D, E . . .
Friday 18th January
We sat up quite late last night discussing plans A-Z.
Good night's sleep but woke up cold and put T shirt on. Air con in the boat works really well: having cooled the interior down from 27 to 18 degrees, it is also keeping the mozzies away. Up at 0630hrs and down-loaded Jackie's photos of the snow at home - looks horrendous. Now sitting in cockpit drinking second mug of tea of the day in warm sunshine.
Chris and Simon (the picture of sartorial elegance below) went off to Port of Spain to get food shopping while I stayed on the boat waiting for gas man and reading up passage plans to Guyana. Once they returned and we'd stowed all the food away I made corned beef, tomato and chutney sandwiches for lunch. Still no sign of the gas man so Simon volunteered to stay and wait while Chris and I went off to the beach again for a final swim before returning the hire car. The gas man turned up after we got back from the beach.
Spent the afternoon just sitting in the cockpit reading sailing guides.
Huge pizza for evening meal followed by an early night as we are going to check out the boat (rigging etc) tomorrow - me being the lightest going up the mast.
Saturday 19th January
Good night's sleep but feeling stuffed from too much pizza last night! None of my photos have gone home via the ether so I walked down the road to Peakes Boat Yard to see if they would go from there. Back to the boat and a lesson from Chris on how to use the all singing and dancing Raymarine. A seal on the starboard side saloon hatch has gone so Chris is trying to replace it with a spare but the spare looks as if it will break if stretched too much!
Corned beef, tomato and pickle sarnies for lunch. Swim in the pool followed by afternoon tea and more Christmas cake. We just sat around on boat for the rest of the afternoon/evening waiting for the gas man to bring the cylinder back but he didn't turn up. Adjusted bow mooring lines, one of which had got caught up on a nail sticking out of the pile. Huge pizza for evening meal again.
Sunday 20th January
E-mail from Coral Cove is hopeless. It's 0740 here and I've walked back round to Peakes Boat Yard where I am sitting in the shade outside their internet office. I hadn't received anything yesterday and I don't think any of my emails have gone anywhere except for the ones when I came round here. Switched on my i-pad and there were seven waiting for me (some from Jackie and some from Helen for Simon - he's been using this i-pad to contact her).
Been out here a week now and we haven't had a sail up yet!The plan still seems to be that we'll move out of the marina tomorrow or Tuesday and move over to one of the small islands just off Chagauramas Bay to wait till we find out what is happening with the liferaft. I'll send this now and have one more go at sending one photo from here before I go back to the boat for some breakfast.
Latest pictures, showing sunny Caribbean views - received in a frozen Wales on Sunday evening, 20th January.
Sunday, 20th January - final message of the day!
It rained early in the morning and my deck shoes, which had been left on the pontoon, were wet inside but they soon dried out. Enjoyed a Skype call from David and Faye Underhill in the Canaries - pretty good reception. Made Skype call to Jackie - nice to see and hear her although reception is not brilliant and there seems to be quite a delay in transmission and reception.
Spent rest of morning pottering about on boat, inflating dinghy and playing around with spinnaker pole.
Simon made cheese,tomato and onion sarnies for lunch.
More lounging about in the afternoon plus a quick swim in the pool before it clouded over and started to rain. Tea and the last of the Christmas cake. Chris is cooking dinner again tonight - chicken I think.