“Welcome to The Daily Morning Cruisers Net! It’s 8AM on channel 68 and we give you the latest security, safety, weather, arrivals, departures and the week’s social calendar”. Think AM New York! The listeners call-in section offers help and advice on all sorts of questions. The Treasures of the Bilge section allows cruisers to exchange, barter or trade items from their boats. Hosted by a rotating cast of cruisers, of which I am one, I also give the weather twice a week. It’s the Morning AM show for cruisers in Chaguramas!
Kalunamoo has been on the hard for about a month. We picked our spot in a quiet cul-de-sac deep in Power Boats land. We haul out because we will be in New York for about 2 months for Maureen’s hip operation and it is easier to work M&R in a boatyard. We also needed an out-of-the-water insurance survey, and bottom paint. Mike, the travel lift operator, did a great job positioning us so we could use stairs. Living aboard is not difficult as stairs are provided in lieu of a ladder to get on or off the boat. We do, however, need to buy a bag of ice a day to keep the “refrigerator” cold. An air-conditioner keeps us cool.
The storage area is on the edge of Northern Range where you can see and hear the late afternoon parrots retuning to their evening nests. One of the first things we did, after being hauled was to make sure we don’t drag. We put out 200 feet of our anchor rode and made sure the anchor is well set. Even with an occasional midnight squall, we don’t move an inch. The only time we might get jostled out of our bunk is when the occasional earthquake rattles the boat. Not often, but it does occur.
A well set anchor
Our neighbors, from the U.S., Canada, Germany and places far and wide, are similarly situated. Many are off their boat, after securing it for the summer, and head home or to continue their travels by land.
Others are here for an extended stay with major work being done, either by themselves or with the abundant contract workers. A few others make Trinidad home. Ian (from South Africa) is on a very long term plan to refit his boat (it will take years). Peter (from Germany) and Helena (from Mexico) have been working a total refit of their boat including grinding off the bottom gelcoat to repair blisters. They have been here since March after purchasing their boat in Grenada and sailed here for major repairs. Remember my previous blog regarding the movie “The Money Pit”? They are still not finished. Their latest saga is that the hull paint they ordered and mixed (they do all the work themselves) is darker than anticipated and is not curing properly. Always something.
Other boats are in various states of M&R...
... some more than others.
Other nearby boats include Allegro, Roxy, Meander, Liahona, and Exbury – all cruiser friends we met in the islands. They are on the hard for the hurricane season and don’t stay aboard long term in the yard. By late September they start migrating back to their boats to start the winter cruising season.
We are between the two extremes. We will spend about half the summer here and half back north visiting family and friends including scheduling Maureen’s hip operation. For Kalunamoo, the work this season is mostly inside the boat. Tony Penn will be stripping, sanding, and varnishing our floors and other interior work while we are away. He and his son have been doing this work for years and was recommended to us by several other cruisers. We should have great varnish teak floors when we return in September.
In the meantime, I am doing some outside teak work. Although I am very disappointed in Cetol, the oil-based teak finish, that I have been using for years. I think it has been “reformulated” to “improve” it. It seems it is picky about its use and application as it is failing to cure. We’ll see how well it stands up over the next year.
Chaguaramas is a small community of cruisers and commercial fisherman. Venezuelan Fishing boats come here to trade fish for goods that are brought back to Venezuela. The port is also home to large industrial shipyards that service the oil and gas drilling operations around Trinidad. That is the base of the local mechanical talent and income. Gordon, the surveyor I hired to do our insurance survey was very thorough as he mostly does commercial vessels. The survey turned out fine, a few minor issues which were easily fixed. But I did dispute his understanding of some required life saving equipment. Specially, he said the boat needed to comply with IMO/SOLAS signaling devices above what the USCG requirements are for U.S. recreational boats because we are “offshore”. That was news to me as I still haven’t found anything written about this. More investigation is warranted.
But it is not all boatyard work. Thursday’s potluck BBQ gathers those around to share stores and food. July 4th was celebrated at last Thursday’s BBQ. Friday nights bring out the non-professional (!) cruisers and some locals. Noel, who works in Power Boats, comes over with sound equipment and guitar and has a good voice. Ian, another local, also comes along at times to join the cruisers who are around. I have come to enjoy these and have learned a lot about playing with others! It is a lot of fun and believe it is somewhat entertaining. And of course, Sunday Dominoes.
Of course, there are activities outside the boatyard which I wrote about previously as Trinidad is large enough to offer many places of interest and things to do beside restaurants. In a few days we will not be Boatyard People as we will spend time up north until mid-September. It is an odd feeling that our northern boating friends will be out sailing while for us it is the “off season”. No problem. As long as it is warm.
Boat Yard People, of Kalunamoo, Leahona and Shadow Fax
To the tune of Rainy Day People (Gordon Lightfoot)
Boat Yard people always seem to know when it's time to drink
Boat Yard people don't talk, they just listen till they've heard it all
Boat Yard people don't lie when they tell 'ya they've screwed up just like you
And Boat Yard people don’t mind if you spill a drop or two.
Its not easy being green?