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October 2007

August and September were spent in the U.S. visiting with family and friends while Livin the Dream was stored on land at Peake’s boatyard in Trinidad.  Late on October 1, we returned to Trinidad to find that Livin the Dream had faired well, even though she was stored in the middle of a large mud puddle.  Much of October was spent getting maintenance work completed, getting the boat back into the water and readjusting to life on the boat.  We spent more money in October on boat maintenance and refit than we have since owning the boat.

During our absence, all the paint was sanded and scraped off the bottom of the hull (it may have been 22 years worth or 44 coats of paint) in preparation for us to apply an epoxy barrier coat and new anti-fouling paint.  The job was estimated to take two weeks, but the worker was still working after two months.  We usually do our own work on the boat, but we were happy to make the exception in this case. 

Rigging Inspection

 

Life in the boatyard is hot and dirty.  We waded through mud and water each time we returned to the boat.  We hosed off our feet before we climbed onboard, but it was impossible to keep the boat clean.   After three days of requests, several loads of gravel were delivered to provide a thin cover of gravel.

Our insurance company requires an out of water survey every three years.  We will need a new survey by May 2008, so we hired a surveyor while we were out of the water.  The day we were scheduled to go back into the water, the surveyor found problems with our rigging (the wire cables that run from the mast to the deck of the boat and hold up the mast).  We don’t know how old our rigging is, since there were no records on the boat when we purchased it.  We had about half of the rigging replaced, a large expense we had not anticipated, and delayed our return back in the water for a week.

 

 

John inspects our new rigging

New berth cushions

 

 

Trinidad is filled with many qualified and experienced yacht tradesmen.  We arranged to have the settee in our saloon rebuilt in hopes that our seating will be more comfortable and we are getting new saloon cushions and new mattress cushions for our forward v-berth.  The v-berth cushions have been finished, and we are very pleased with the results.  We will pick up the saloon cushions when we return to Trinidad.

 

 

 

Our new v-berth cushions


On October 18, we got back in the water and all seemed well with Livin the Dream.  We had arranged to stay at a marina for a couple of days to get our freezer operating and cold before we stocked it up with our provisions for the coming months.  On our first night in the marina, John returned to the boat in the dark, stepped on a boat part that had not been put away, and sliced open the bottom of his foot.  We decided that a trip to the emergency room was required, and arranged to have a taxi take us to a private hospital that was recommended.  To help control the bleeding, we put a large bandage on the bottom of John’s foot and wrapped silver duck tape tight around his foot.  Based on emergency room experiences in the U.S., we had prepared ourselves for a long wait in an “island time” environment.  John was immediately taken to a treatment room where they began to work on his foot while asking him the minimum of “admission” questions.  They cleaned his wound, gave him two stitches, and dressed and bandaged his foot.  We were at the emergency room about an hour and paid about $100 US for the service.  We returned in three days to have the wound re-bandaged, which was another efficient and inexpensive procedure.  Perhaps the U.S. health care system could learn a few things from Trinidad!

View from Asa Wright Veranda

 

 

We had planned an adventurous hike in Trinidad, but after John’s injury, we had to adjust our plans.  We extended our stay at the marina and decided to experience more of Trinidad while we were waiting for John to recover.  We attended a steel pan and choral concert in Queen’s Hall, a beautiful performance facility in Port of Spain.  The concert featured local choirs and steel pan bands performing jazz.   All the performers were very talented and we were amazed at the talent from a catholic girl’s high school.

 

 

View from veranda at Asa Wright

We also visited overnight at the Asa Wright Nature Centre which is on 1,200 acres in the rainforest of Trinidad with numerous plants, animals and birds.  This is a prime destination for bird watchers.  The property is centered around an old plantation house and has several small bungalows for overnight guests.  A large covered veranda on the back of the house provides a beautiful view of the valley and never-ending visits by various birds visiting the feeders.  Accommodations include home-cooked meals prepared with many ingredients grown on the property (they even roast and brew their own coffee).  There are numerous trails you can explore on your own or with a guide.  Our hiking was limited to two short ones due to John’s injury, but we had a wonderful, relaxing visit and would recommend it to everyone – even beginner bird watchers like us.

Asa Wright birdAsa Wright birds

 

 

Asa Wright Nature Centre birds

 

 

Mot Mot at Asa Wright


Food provisioning

 

Trinidad has well-stocked grocery stores, so we loaded up three grocery carts with provisions and stowed them away on Livin the Dream.  This is Ann’s third major provisioning trip, and it took her less time to get things organized and put away than before.  Maybe she is gaining experience at some of this boating stuff.

On October 25, we filled our tank with diesel fuel at 91 cents per gallon.  Trinidad is one of the Caribbean islands with oil and cheap prices.  We anchored in Scotland Bay for the afternoon and pulled up anchor around sunset for a trip to Tobago.   We arrived just at sunrise the following morning and anchored in beautiful blue water off a white sand beach.

Trinidad and Tobago are the same country, but the islands are worlds apart.  Tobago has beautiful water and beaches, extensive coral reefs, and a slow pace like many of the other Caribbean islands we have visited.  Every day we are here feels more like the cruising lifestyle.  It was great to get to Tobago and catch up with several cruising friends that we haven’t seen since leaving Grenada.

 

 

 

 

One of three shopping carts

 Tobago rainbow

 Tobago rainbow