Getting to know Trinidad and it’s HOT!

It’s been less than a week since I arrived here in Trinidad and I have done a lot to get Pandora ready to stay on the hard until next October. She won’t be alone as there will be plenty of work being done to make her ready for another season of cruising next winter. I will admit that the idea of leaving Pandora here for 6 months at least, some 2,000 miles from home is a bit daunting, I’ll admit.

However, the attentiveness of the folks in the marina and the folks that will be working on various aspects of the boat makes me feel like it’s going to progress fairy well. Wish me luck…

On Sunday I spent the morning with Amos, who will be doing a good deal of work on Pandora. He was nice enough to take me on a bit of an island tour and it was nice to get to know him a bit.

And, with regards to the work that is planned, Amos and his partner Tony stopped by today to review the list, both “need to have” and “like to have”. We will see what sort of prices come back and if I’ll be able to do it all. The biggest part of the work needed is deck work where the laminate has failed and water has gotten into the core. I will also have a bit of varnish work down below done and some painting in the cockpit, along with a number of chips in the hull. And, I may have the bottom stripped as there is a bit of a buildup from all the years of paint and it’s now pealing in some areas. And, some of the windows in the dodger need to be re-bedded too.

Of course, there’s plenty more to do as some of the canvas work needs freshening and a bit of metal fabrication too.

Yikes, when I list it all, I am beginning to get a feel for the depth of the pool I have jumped into.

Before Steve flew out a few days ago, we rented a car to do some exploration of the island. One or our destinations is called the Bamboo Cathedral. The bamboo was impressive, draping over the path up the hill.

Above the path was a family of howler monkeys. I think that they howl in part, because it’s so hot during the day. Did I say that it’s hot? Unfortunately, I forgot my camera and had to use my phone so they are hard to see.

To give you a feel for the scale of the bamboo, upwards of 80′ tall, my friend Steve.

On the way to the airport with Steve, we stopped in the capital, Port of Spain. The national performing art center was amazing. Bummer that we could not go inside. Forgive the fingers…

A remarkable building, designed by John Gillespie, a prominent architect in Trinidad.

This photo of the center gives context to the scale of the building.

I mentioned that I was also taken on a tour of the island by Amos, who is working on Pandora this summer. He picked me up at 5:45AM at the boat and we headed up into the mountains. We left so early as it is a lot cooler during the early morning. Did I mention that it is hot?

He wanted to take me on a hike near the Bamboo forest but there was something going on and the police had blocked off the access.

Instead we went to the north side of the island. With the sun still low in the sky, it wasn’t nearly as hot as it gets mid day. What a view.

One view better than the last.

We then descended to the coast where we visited a beautiful beach. Even though it was still early, there were some impressive crowds forming for the day’s activities. It doesn’t show but there were a lot of people milling around, preparing for some sort of swimming race. I am told that this is one of the premier beaches in the country and that it is jammed on weekends.

At the far end of the beach, a small fishing village.

Walking ahead of me…Amos. After the beach we went out for a traditional Caribbean breakfast. It included a few different fish dishes, pickled herring, salt cod, blood pudding and some bread.. Not my preference but I was happy to try it. I think that I like croissants better, actually.

A few days before Steve left, we took the dink out for a harbor tour. We had heard that there was a ship graveyard nearby that seemed interesting. It was.

This is what happens to tugboats and smaller ships when they are no longer useful.

This one had particularly nice lines. It looks US Navy like. I am told that this port is under a long term lease to the US and I’ll have to learn more but by the looks of this boat, it makes sense.

Still life with rust…

There is a small fishing village at the head of the harbor. Probably not a great spot to walk through late at night. I did pass through in the morning and I’ll say that there were some boats that looked like they had been there for years. And, more than a few very mangy dogs.

In the midst of such a “mixed” area, Powerboats Marina has very tight security. When I returned from driving Steve to the airport, I had to pass the security guard at the gate and then was stopped again inside the yard to confirm who I was and were I was going. That made me feel good about keeping Pandora safe.

Directly across the street from the marina is forest, complete with parrots.

Not sure exactly what sort they are. They are certainly green parrots! And they are very noisy when they return to their roosts in the evening. Green and very noisy. Yes, I am 100% confident of that.

I was able to change my flight to leave on Thursday and am working to get details in place for all the work that needs to be done before I depart. I have been systematically going through everything and cleaning out lockers, tossing stuff that won’t survive till fall.

There has been a parade of folks visiting the boat. Outboard in for service and storage. Sails to be cleaned and canvas work. Varnish and, well, lots of stuff to be done.

I even cleaned the bottom of the dink that had gotten quite nasty and brown. Not now.

I understand that they photograph all the boats each day to make sure that all is still right. Pandora’s dink is beside the boat and not locked yet.

At night the yard is well lit.

Today the sails were removed and the boat will soon get covered to keep out the rain while the decks are redone. For sure, when I return in October she will look as good as new. However, I expect that our checkbook will be a little worse for wear 🙁

With the hope of keeping things on track, the plan is to have weekly video calls to review all aspects of the work and how it’s progressing. I hope that I won’t have to make a trip mid-summer but we will see how it goes.

So far, so good and I do feel that everyone is paying attention.

It’s been an interesting time and I feel like I am getting to know a bit more about Trinidad.

Did I mention that it’s hot?

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