Chaguaramas, Trinidad: August 26 - September 6, 2012

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

Coral Cove

While we were still in Crew's Inn, we attended their weekly cruiser potluck.  On one such occasion, friends from Coral Cove crashed the event.  So at the next opportunity we reciprocated and crashed Coral Cove's "heavy hors d'ouvere" night.

Queen's Park

Before Steve (Receta) left Trinidad for a few weeks, he decided he needed a fix of the local food provided at the Savannah Park in Port of Spain.  He invited Barb and I to accompany him, and we eagerly accepted.  Dinner at one of the stands, and then delicious smoothies at Dr. Fresh's stand. On Steve's recommendation I had a combination of barbadine (a local fruit that looks like a cross between a papaya and starfruit) and Guinness! Delicious!

Interesting spelling on the front of this stand

The congenial Dr. Fresh makes delicious smoothies

He cut open a Barbadine to show us the interior; the fruit looks like passion fruit on steriods!

Just enjoying our smoothies

Occupants of the next bench down

Across the street from our benches was the impressive new concert hall

Later we stopped at the panyard of the Silverstars and watched them rehearse

More Repairs

We had Carlos at Alpha Canvas repair our dinghy skirt..  A pleasant man to work with, and a major player in the effort to make Trinidad a good destination for cruisers; he has spearheaded projects to impress upon Immigration and Customs officials how important it is to be friendly and courteous to folks arriving in Trinidad on their own boats.

We had Maxwell Inflatables apply some patches to a few scuffed places on the Hypalon of the dinghy, and also replace some spokes and a shifting cable on one of our folding bikes.  Another extremely cordial and fair Trini.

Posing w/ Carlos after he installed the refurbished dinghy skirt.

Celebration of 50 Years of Independence for Trinidad and Tobago


Early in the morning of Aug. 31 Jesse's drivers took a number of cruisers to the vicinity of the Savannah Park so that we could watch the military parade.  There were quite a number of vehicles at the head of the parade.  Then came group after group on foot or horseback; it seemed as though just about every governmental agency had its own uniforms and marchers.  Army and Navy and Coast Guard and Police and Fire Department and Prison Guards and Reform School Personnel and Nurses and Red Cross and others all marched in separate battalions. 

This flew over the grandstand in the Park

Outside in the streets large crowds waited for the parade to appear

Red and black everywhere!

With just a few iconoclasts in the crowd ...

... and later just a few in the parade

National Emblem on the arch over the main gate to the Savannah Park

Not everyone cared about the parade

Journey to Jubilee -- 50th Independence Celebration

After the parade Jesse's driver took some of us back to our boats so that we could rest a few hours before returning to downtown to attend the evening celebration at Queen's Park Oval. The gates for the free event were supposed to open at 5 PM, so we timed our arrival to be there at 4:30 in order to get good seats.  At 5:30 we were finally admitted.  The show was supposed to start at 6 PM.  Then 7 PM.  Then 8 PM.  Finally, at 8:15 it "started" with a sputter. The first act was to be a set of selections by the pan band "Silverstars", and they were announced with a flourish.  But some of the band had wandered off because of the long delay, and so they could not start. Another delay, and then a couple singing ballads.  The crowd is irritable by this time, and begins chanting "anthem... anthem...anthem". When the couple finishes, the Silverstars are again urged to gather and begin, and canned music is played over the sound system to fill the gap.  The crowd is incensed.  Someone stands up and begins singing the national anthem -- which is ALWAYS sung at the beginning of any gathering.  The entire crowd stands and sings the anthem, drowning out the sound of the canned music.  Finally, the Silverstars are ready.  The Queen's Park Oval is a huge stadium, and a stage has been erected at the far end. The pan band is in the middle, but is still so far away that the players cannot be seen, except by viewing the two inadequate screens that are on the ends of the grounds.  The microphones to pick up the band are badly placed -- maybe there is only one? -- and the performance is deeply disappointing.

Then, after the usual delay, the performance by virtuoso designer Brian McFarland -- who every year wins the prize for having the best costumes in the carnival -- begins.  No voice.  Just music and fantastical colorful vignettes depicting the history of Trinidad. Magic.  If only the crowd could have seen it.  I saw it through the lens of the extreme telephoto lens on my camera, but most folks only saw small dots at the far end of the grounds.  At the conclusion of McFarland's portion of the show, a huge and spectacular fireworks display.  But since we were all seated in covered grandstands, most of the bursts occurred up out of sight!  Then, an inexplicable 45-minute delay before the start of the second half, which was to feature a variety of soca and calypso entertainers.  Most of the crowd left.  Finally, at about 11 PM, the first entertainer:  none other than The Mighty Sparrow, not withstanding the fact that we had earlier, just before we left Grenada, attended a performance billed as his "last performance before retiring". Then, a performance by a young kid -- we didn't catch his name -- who is an up-and-coming soca star.  Note in his picture below that just behind him is a "monster" of the type found in costume contests during carnival.  We left as the third act began -- there were many acts to follow but the evening had gotten too late

Rules are meant to be broken, especially if one is part of the staff

This drone flew back and forth high over the field during our long wait for the entertainment to begin

Finally, the opening act, which did not please the crowd (see text above)

Only way to "watch" the pan performance was via the screens at the ends of the grounds

McFarland's performance begins!

Finale of the fireworks

The Mighty Sparrow

Young soca star backed by carnival monster

Bake and Shark

We have been going to the Wheelhouse Pub for Bake & Shark each Saturday night.  The attendance was fairly low at first, but then Barb started announcing the special on the morning cruisers' VHF-net.  Made quite a difference!

Oh, and Barb has also been doing the weather on some mornings for the net.  She had to get up extra early in order to gather information from various sources on the web.

Saturday night "Bake & Sharkers"


We hauled at Peake's on Sept. 3...

... and a few days later the bottom was sanded in preparation for the application of anti-fouling paint when we return

Anchor Galvanizing

Our favorite anchor, a 110 lb Bruce, has started to get rusty.  We tried treating it with Ospho and Cold Galvanizing paint a couple of times, but soon the paint would get scratched off and it would start rusting again.  We needed to either get a new anchor or get it properly hot galvanized.  We had had our chain galvanized when we were in Venezuela a few years back but hadn't done the anchor because it was then in good shape.  It was our understanding that there were no places in the eastern Caribbean to get galvanizing done.  And then one day we found a posting on the Trinidad Facebook about a place that does galvanizing here.  Anchors only, because they do not have the required equipment to shake a chain -- a required operation to get the zinc in between the links but prevent them from getting stuck together.  Barb called the company and learned that it would cost $3.00 US a pound to get an anchor galvanized.  That was not cheap but would beat buying a new anchor, especially since Bruce anchors are no longer available.  Of course, things are never easy.  The plant is down in the south of the island and we are on the north.  Also, an anchor needs to be sandblasted and then carefully wrapped to keep it free from contaminants until it is galvanized.  We thought there might be some economies of scale possible, and so announced on the morning VHF net our plan to get some galvanizing done.  We got a lot of interest from cruisers.  But it turned out that for those with small anchors, it would cost almost as much to have an anchor galvanized as to buy a new anchor.  For those with larger anchors, it would cost more to buy a new one.  And so, for the four vessels in the latter category, we starting checking on places to get the sandblasting done and with companies who could do the transporting for us, and found one place (Jay Blast) who was willing to do both.  Their main driver lives near the galvanizing plant so they were willing to drop off the anchors at the plant after sandblasting them and then later bring them back to us.  We dropped our anchor at noon on Monday and had it back on deck by noon on Friday.  It looks great and we hope to get a number of years of service out of it.

Chuck attaching our newly galvanized anchor to the anchor chain that we just reversed

Joe's Pizza and Yard Goings-on

What does a boatyard to when their massive travel-lift gets a flat tire?  They jack it up with their massive trailer-lift!

What does a couple do when they are tired of cooking on the boat?  They meet with friends for pizza!

Changing a tire on the travel lift

Enjoying a meal with Patricia & Roger (Iriana) and Lena and Larry (Hobo) at Joe's Pizza

Special Movie Night at Sails Restaurant

German Thorston Bohnke has produced (and showed on Sept. 7) an award-winning ecologically-oriented film "Hitchhiking across the Atlantic".  He also explained to the overflow crowd at the restaurant his plans to produce a new film about the Caribbean and showed snippets of scenes he has already taken here.  It was fun to see so many of the places we have visited as we have travelled up and down the Lesser Antilles.

Thorston in conversation with his companion

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