Saturday, July 19, 2014

In Between Beautiful Sunsets and Umbrella Drinks

Non-cruising friend or acquaintance - "Oh, I would love to do what you are doing?"
Me - "What exactly is it you want to do?"
Non-cruising friend or acquaintance - "You know.  Swim with dolphins, sail to exotic islands (in perfect conditions is implied), walk on sandy beaches and drink rum drinks with little umbrellas."
Me - "Oooh-kay....and in between?"
Non-cruising friend or acquaintance - "In between?????"

There are many rewards to the cruising life.  However there are also some realities as well.  If you dream of cruising and want to make that dream a reality, by all means do it.  Just know it's not all umbrella drinks.  These realities can sometimes be pretty far from the palm tree lined beach postcard in your mind.  

Our Realities to date
1.)  We walk everywhere.  When we aren't walking, we are generally riding in an overcrowded mini van that doesn't have air conditioning.
2.)  We walk to the grocery store, which may be more like a small mini mart with a limited selection.
3.)  We can only buy what we can carry which means no stocking up and more frequent trips for provisions.
4.)  If we run out of milk, coffee, or whatever, we can't just dash out for more.
5.)  Laundry is done either by hand aboard or in a very small laundry facility where most certainly one or more machines is not working and all washers only work on cold water.  
6.)  Most of our clothes have permanent stains and all are wrinkled.
7.)  We wear the same clothes for several days before putting them in the laundry.  It doesn't matter that we might see the cruising friends day after day.  They are wearing their same clothes day after day as well. 
8.)  Most showers are taken in the cockpit or off the back of the boat.
9.)  We don't necessarily take showers each day.
10.)  Land showers are few and far between.  The few taken are generally taken in marina showers aka semi- public showers.
11.)  When we are in a marina, we use the marina toilets.  This means walking up from the boat, remembering the key card, AND they are public.
12.)  If something breaks on the boat, we Tom must fix it or come up with an alternative until we can get somewhere to have it fixed.
13.)  Everything on a boat is trying to breakdown ALL the time.
14.)  Boat maintenance is non-stop.
15.)  While sailing, things always seem to break at night.
16.)  When sailing, even with an enclosure, you will get a wave in the face or down your back or both.
17.)  Dinghy rides usually involve salt spray of some sort, even if minor.  
18.)  Ice is a luxury most of the time.
19.)  Cooking involves propane.  Refilling propane tanks may or may not involve a cab and a long walk.
20.)  We are together 24/7!  Okay, 23.5/7 in a very small space.  

Now I am not complaining.  I am just stating the facts (at least as we are living them to date) for those who think they might want this life.   

If you've read this blog at all, you know there are many, many up sides to this unique life.  There are dolphins (however, we DO NOT swim with them), crystal turquoise-blue waters, lovely sandy beaches, exotic islands with wonderfully warm people, beautiful sunsets and oh yeah....rum drinks with little umbrellas in them.  We love it even with the realities! 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Special Note - Contact Form On This Blog

July 16th
Recently I was contacted by someone via the Contact Form on this blog.  I want and need to respond back to this person.  However the email address I got for them has an error and I am not able to respond back.  

If you use the comment form to contact us and you do not hear back from us in a reasonable amount of time, please leave a comment on one of the blog postings with your email.   

Monday, July 14, 2014

Work and Play in Trinidad

A few of the cruisers at the Wheelhouse swordfish night
It hasn't been all work and no play.  We have manged to do a little bit of exploring and socializing along with boat work. 
Neal Peterson
Evening with South African Around the World sailor  Neal Petersen - "No Barriers"" is his book.

Port of Spain trip with Nancy of s/v Fawkes as our guide -  Custom swim suits, fabric stores, notions, home stores, etc....
The Textile King -Jimmy Aboud's fabric store

World Cup Futbol with English, German, and Netherlands cruisers as well as locals.
Carving the swordfish

Grill is ready for the swordfish
The food - oh the food!  Really good and really cheap.  Roti Hut, Doubles, Buss Up, Ladies selling lunch from their tent outside Powerboats Boat Yard (they don't have a name for their booth/tent), swordfish night, bake shark night, grill out by the pool, etc.....
Paul and Tom enjoying the pool
But mainly we just sweat.  With 98 degrees, 120% humidity and rain showers most days.....we sweat a lot!  And therefore......daily dips in the pool have become standard for us.  

Market Day in Port of Spain

Katie getting some good ocean salmon - yum!
I wanted to visit the big market in Port of Spain before departing Trinidad.  After some initial confusion about various transportation options into Port of Spain, I was set to board a Maxi taxi (mini van) at 6:45AM.  Luckily, fellow cruiser Katie on s/v Mezzaluna wondered up looking for her first market trip as well so we teamed up.  We let the driver know that we wanted to go all the way into the market.  For one extra TT ($6 total), we arrived at the Port of Spain market 30 mins later.

It was huge. This is the biggest market I have been to yet in the Caribbean.  It was fairly clean, organized and the vendors were mostly friendly and not too pushy.

We took an initial spin through to get a lay of the land and then started zeroing in on a few items.  It was really hard as there were SO many vendors.  My guess is that after a few times a person would find their favorite stands and then just stick to those vendors.  As it was, we found a wonderful lady selling spices that took the time to explain all the spice mixes she had.  We learned what was in each one and how to cook with it.  We each bought a spice bundle.  I chose the Geera.  Later, after purchasing fish, Katie bought some more spices from her. 
Locally made - Delish
Another woman insisted we try her various chutneys and hot sauces - V"n" P.  I mean....peppa.  Hot sauce is HUGE in Trini.  Each cook takes pride in their own homemade hot sauce.  However, it's not called hot sauce.  It's just called pepper or "peppa."  Only foreigners say "hot sauce."  When ordering food, locals will ask you "Peppa?" or if you are a white girl like me - "Slight peppa?"  In the market there were many, many stalls with tons and tons of peppas.  Trinidadians were buying them by the giant bags full.  And these are HOT, HOT peppers.  There are several types but the most common is the Congo, a close cousin to the scotch bonnet, with a scoville rating of something like 30,000 for one Congo pepper.  I think the average jalapeno is something like 2500 to 10,000.  Now imagine a sauce made of a big bag of these Congo babies.  Whoo wee!  FYI -The Trinidad Scorpion pepper ranks as one of the worlds hottest pepper.   
One of the small peppa stands
The veg and fruit stands surrounded the entire outside of one of the market buildings.  These vendors were three deep with barely enough room for a single car to weave through.  The meat market was in a building all of it's own.  Chicken, pork, beef and fish were all represented.  I got some wonderful shrimp.  *Thanks Heather on s/v Asseance for the suggestion.  Katie got a lovely ocean salmon.  The fish/shrimp vendors were really nice.  
What a pro.  Katie's fish was cleaned and ready to go in no time
We wrapped up our market visit with the best double in Port of Spain....according to Don on s/v Asseance.  I would agree.  The flavors were awesome.  More to come about Doubles on Beyond Burgoo   
Left to right - salt fish, bowl of pigs tails and cooking oil

Now we just had to figure out how to get back to Chaguramas.  Maxi taxi's at the market don't go directly to Chaguaramas.  We needed to get to the main maxi terminal to catch one of those.  After some confusion and then clarification, we boarded a maxi to the main station.  The driver dropped us off and made sure we got on the right bus to Chaguaramas by stopping right next to the Chaguaramas bus and rattling off a sentence or two - in Trinidadian English (at the speed of light) to the other bus driver....of which I understood zero words!    Exhausted, we arrived back in Chaguaramas 30 mins later.  

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Special Note

Tom and I will be at the Blue Moose in PV KS for happy hour Thursday, July 10th if anyone wants to come join us.  5'ish.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Anchor Windlass

Salt kills people!
We knew we needed to do a full blown maintenance service on our anchor windlass.  We had hoped to do that prior to leaving the states but we just never got around to it.  I did cleaned the connections completely and gave it a good wipe down prior to casting off.  It worked before and kept working so off we went.  Hey, we were busy prepping for our passage to the Caribbean.  There wasn't a lot of need for it on our passage to the BVI's.  For you don't anchor in the middle of the ocean.

A couple of windlass hiccups lately pushed this up on the TO DO list here in Trinidad.
This is NOT a salt bowl for rimming your margarita glass
A guy from a shop called Dynamite showed up today to take the anchor windlass out for servicing.  Good thing the name of the company was Dynamite because it did NOT want to come out.  Parts of it were seized up to other parts making it really tough to get out.  Finally, after using various tools and methods to get it out, the guy got it pried loose and took it back to the shop for analysis and hopefully repair.
Rusty - not good
Now we wait to hear back how bad and how much.

Dinghy Repair Number- Whatever

We continue to nurse along our old dinghy Nick Nack.  It's a really good dinghy, just old.

The hull is a double hull.  The lower drain plug has been leaking, allowing water to get in between the hulls and thus slowing us way down.  *Yes my fellow cruising friends.  That is why we putt along behind you on dinghy rides ashore and such.  That plus....what's the hurry?  We're cruising.  At least that is our story and we are sticking to it! 

With the help of Paul off s/v Sonic Boom, the guys were able to hoist it out of the water and onto the dock.  *Last time we did this, Tom hurt his back badly so we are grateful to Paul for helping us.  

After a thorough cleaning with Snow Bowl, Tom dug out the old dinghy plug and re-bedded a new one in there.  This should stop the water leaking in.  FYI - Turns out the bottom of our dinghy is white.  Bright white.  Who knew!

Our outboard is getting a checkup as well.  Soon we will be zooming all around.