With our air-conditioning unit blasting away during the day, we are very comfortable on the boat. We keep the hatches shut, so no bugs get in and were so cold 1 night that we had to find a fleecy blanket. Be looking for the duvet next, still in its original wrapping 3 years on.
We thought the 12 years of anti-fouling should be stripped off the hull but several opinions from the professionals have persuaded us that the hull is still in good shape and the work is not needed. So, with saving money on that, we are going to have the topsides (shiny bit of the hull) painted with a couple of coats of Awlgrip 2000 to cover the scratches the boat boys have added. The big scratch we made in June will be repaired and the white plastic strip at the waterline removed and then painted in instead, as it will be more durable. All the preparation, materials and labour is costing us 1875 GBP (3000 US$).
Having work done here is easy and good value, especially as we now get 11 TT$ to the pound instead of the 10 we got in 2012. A day worker will charge 5 GBP an hour and most are willing to do a variety of semi-skilled tasks, such as sanding, antifouling and polishing. Rob had to see the orthopaedic consultant yesterday and a 1 hour round trip into the city cost just 9 GBP and took up 2 hours of the driver’s time. He went back for a MRI scan, costing 309 GBP and the appointment with the consultant cost 54 GBP. With health insurance being so pricey, over the 3 years we have just paid as incidents happened and been quids in so far. This will have to change soon, as the US will no doubt insist on insurance of some sort and we would be crazy to go there without it. We got a local phone for 28 GBP and calling the UK at weekends costs less than half a UK pence a minute.
The social life is good here as well, with several gatherings each week. Wednesday and Saturday we all go to the Wheelhouse bar and have a fish and bake. This is a lovely local dish of tender fish with a round, fried bun and coleslaw or green salad, costing just 4 GBP. Thursday is a BBQ at the Powerboats Yard’s Roti Hut. We bring a dish to share, our own drink and some meat to grill. At least 20 cruisers attended last week and it was a really good evening. On Sunday 8 of us played Mexican Train Dominoes at Crew’s Inn and used our new present from Howard and Wendy from ‘Blue Moon’. They left us a set of little trains and a cream centrepiece with ‘Beyzano’ in gold letters, very smart.
Our friends Ken and Judith from ‘Badger’s Sett’ are here and have been hauled out since March to do a lot of work on their boat. They have rented 1 of the apartments to make life easier and have a long-term rental car. They used to live in Trinidad anyway, so it’s a good place to have the boat painted and she is looking amazing. Ken went fishing on Sunday and brought us some delicious red snapper ☺
Our list of tasks is being attended to every day and isn’t too onerous. We are only doing what is essential before we leave or what Rob may not be able to do if he has his shoulder fixed when we get back. With labour being good value, we can always call on others to do the work I can’t do but for now I have changed the owner of a few tasks from ‘Rob’ to ‘Rhian’ in the hope that I will have recovered a bit more from the Chikungunya and have the strength to do them.
We have already taken the genoa down but need a very calm evening to hoist the mainsail up, then lower it to the deck for folding and taking the battens out before storing. It needs to be dry so it doesn’t go mouldy in the heat whilst we are away and the decks are usually wet with dew in the morning, then the wind gets up a little, hence evenings are best.
Jesse, who now has his own company, J&J Boat Care, is looking after Beyz whilst we are away. For 80 US$ a month he will check the boat for leaks, top up the battery fluid and fill up the water tank so the watermaker can do the weekly flushing of itself. He is the young man I mentioned 2 years ago, who got up at 3am for years to get to work and was never late. He is still working for Caribbean Electrics and getting married next year ☺
Our prop had to be removed as no tool we had was up to the job. That cost 18 GBP. Next our dinghy chaps needed repairing, as they get a lot of rough treatment alongside splintered docks. This will cost 18 pounds as well. Then the cutlass bearing just disintegrated when Rob started taking it out, with plenty of it stuck inside the prop shaft. Again, one of the yard’s contractors was round to the boat within the hour (it is quiet season here with so many boat owners at home) and this won’t cost us much either. He will have to take the shaft out of the engine, so it sounds like a miserable job and it also means digging a big hole so the rudder can be dropped out to get the shaft removed. Always something to fix, leading to something else, on a boat!
Another cruiser wanted our rusty chain as he intends to use the better part of his and ours to make a half decent one. The anchor locker was filthy with rust everywhere and Rob had to get right into it with the hose to get it cleaned out. Hopefully our new chain will give us a few years before it gets to that state.
So you can see we are keeping busy with friends and boat work and time is passing very quickly. We are going to catch a ‘boogie bus’ into the West Falls Mall on Thursday for a look around and rest from work. We don’t need much food as we are leaving on Tuesday but have given away anything we won’t use by leaving it on a shelf in the laundry room. It is gone in minutes to a good home. Jesse James runs shopping buses 3 times a week to different malls and the fresh produce market. That bus goes at 0630 on Saturday, an early start.
I read some statistics in the local yachting magazine showing that the number of yachts arriving here in 2000 was far more than double the number of 2012. No explanation of why the big drop though. Perhaps they stop in Grenada instead but it would be interesting to know the reason.