Grenada and Trinidad: July 7-19, 2011

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period


On Thursday afternoon, July 7, we moved over to Prickly Bay in preparation for our trip to Trinidad.  We were going to leave around midnight for a 13 hour overnight trip to Trini.  The weather forecast predicted good cruising until Friday evening when a weather system was to come through.  But squalls started arriving about 7:00 pm.  We had internet access and could see that the weather was rapidly changing and it looked like the system had arrived earlier than expected.  We were rethinking our plans when we received an email about daughter Lara.  She had taken her own life while on a camping trip near Yosemite.

[I will write a separate blog entry about Lara when I can face up to the task.]

We could not believe it.  We were in shock and spent the evening talking with family and trying to understand what had happened.  The weather continued to deteriorate, so there was definitely no trip to Trini in the cards for us for a couple of days.  Fortunately, it looked like there was no immediate need to return to the States since we would have to plan a memorial and family would be traveling in from all over.  On Friday we went back over to Hog Island where we stuck our heads under our pillows and grieved for Lara while we waited out the weather.  We didn't leave the boat or do anything while there, except try to get through each day.  By Sunday evening the seas had calmed down again and the wind was light, so we left for Trinidad at midnight.  Five miles off of Grenada we hit something that caused the boat to shudder and then something started banging against the boat.  We slowed down while Chuck investigated the engine room and then some of the lazarettes.  The shuddering had stopped but we still couldn't figure out where the banging was coming from.  After a short time the banging stopped and all was well again.  We must have caught a trap in one of our stabilizers and dragged it along until it eventually came free.  We decided to continue on, and all was well for the rest of the trip.  We fought a sideways current most of the trip though and didn't make it in our usual 13 hours.  It took us almost 16 hours since we often were making less than five knots.  We still arrived before 4:00 pm and thought all was well until we tried to check-in with immigration and learned that their official hours end at 4:00 pm and it was now 4:15 pm.  Thus, overtime fees were required.  Since we had not checked back in to Grenada when we were delayed, Trinidad immigration did have some concern about why it took us four days to get from Grenada to Trinidad.   But in the end, what can they do?


We were surprised to see how few cruisers there were in Trinidad.  The morning net used to be over 30 minutes long with announcements for social events and business happenings, but now there was very little said, often lasting no more than five minutes.  Although Crews Inn seemed to have fewer boats in the marina, we noticed that the boat yards were reasonably full.  We concluded that for many, Trinidad has become a place to park the boat and leave.  Many of the cruisers that used to hang there for the summer seem to now be stopping in Grenada.  Certainly if we had a choice between hanging in Grenada or in Trinidad, we would choose Grenada since it has many lovely bays to anchor and you can mostly swim off your boat.  In Trinidad the water is pretty polluted, so no one swims in the Chaguaramas area (which is where all the cruisers are).  Of course Trinidad has nice beaches and clear water on the north and east side of the island, but both are a distance by car from Chaguaramas.  The concern about hanging in Grenada though is that it is still in the hurricane belt, although at the southern edge.  There are a lot of boats there and few places for them all to go if a big tropical system heads their way.  Devi (Arctic Tern) calls it "collective amnesia".  Everyone has forgotten about the effects of Hurricane Ivan that devastated Grenada and the boats that were there just a few years ago.  After that happened the cruisers started using Trinidad as their summer home which was why there used to be so much happening there.  Now the action has moved back to Grenada where it will probably remain until a storm comes through in the next few years and teaches another lesson about hanging in the hurricane belt during hurricane season.  Our insurance requires that we be below 10 degrees 50 minutes north during hurricane season if we want to make a claim caused by a named storm.  Thus, we could and have hung around Grenada and Tobago during hurricane season with the plan to head to Trinidad at the first sign of a tropical storm heading our way.  During our first season in the Caribbean we stayed in Tobago until August 28th when the second tropical storm of the season headed our way and we decided we had pressed our luck long enough and headed for the safety of Trinidad.  Many people dislike Trinidad because of the dirty water, heat and humidity, and high crime rate, but we like it.  The people are friendly, the boat yards are first rate, the food is delicious, the music is great and things are relatively inexpensive. 

We arrived back to the Crews Inn Marina in Trinidad to be greeted warmly by the staff who surprisingly are mostly still there.  We had a pleasant few days there before we moved over to Peake's where we were hauled out.  We were accompanied on the short trip by Billy Wray, marine surveyor, since our insurance company, like most, requires that we submit a survey every six years or so.

We didn't do much in Trinidad since we were focused on getting getting back to the States to better help manage Lara's affairs and arrange a memorial service.  We also have a number of doctor appointments to see if any more surgery is required for the two gimps aboard.  Both have knee problems with their left knees.  Barb has not been able to do much walking for some time and is limping pretty badly.  Chuck's previously good left knee is now causing him a lot of pain.

In water survey on the way to Peakes

Tusen Takk II being lifted out of the water

Temporary home in the main yard of Peakes

Survey continues after we are on the hard

Resting w/ other trawlers in the "secure" yard (we got caught in the daily afternoon rain)


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