Unique Experiences in Trinidad

Guide at Pitch Lake, Trinidad, West Indies

  • Driving a rental car with 300,000 kilometers on it (about 190,000 Miles).
  • Seeing an outdoor cremation during a Hindu Funeral near the “Temple in the Sea”.
  • Seeing what looks like a huge parking lot but in reality is the “Asphalt Lake” or “Pitch Lake”.
  • Watching the colorful Scarlet Ibis and Flamingos in the “Caroni Swamp”.
  • Viewing the humming birds at “ASA Wrights Nature Center”.
  • Wandering everywhere in the capital city, “Port of Spain”.
  • Eating fried Shark with baked bread called “Bake and Shark” at Richard’s at Maracas Bay Beach.
  • Having lunch in the “Woodbrook Restaurant District” after seeing a wonderful doctor and a dentist.

We will remember all these wonderful times. We are heading north to Grenada today. I will miss all the Trinidadians we met during our stay, especially at the boatyard, “Peake’s Yacht Services”.

Pitch Lake, Trinidad, West Indies

Pitch Lake, Trinidad, West Indies

Scarlet Ibis Birds at Caroni Swamp, Trinidad, West Indies

Scarlet Ibises on the Trees at Caroni Swamp, Trinidad, West Indies

Richard’s Bake and Shark Restaurant, Maracas Bay Beach, Trinidad, West Indies

Maracas Bay Beach, Trinidad, West Indies

Humming Bird at ASA Wrights Nature Center

Bird Nests on a Tree, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies

Clear Water Pool at ASA Wright Nature Center, Trinidad, West Indies

A Person Posing before an Event, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies

A Rally Nearby Court House, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies

People Crossing the Road by Bus Terminal, Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies

Downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies

Wall Display at Hindu Temple, Trinidad, West Indies

Hindu Funeral Service by the Temple in the Sea, Trinidad, West Indies

Piled Wood for Cremation, Trinidad, West Indies

The Temple in the Sea, Trinidad, West Indies

Rental Car Odometer, Trinidad, West Indies

Display in Maxi Taxi Bus, Trinidad, West Indies

Public Bus Nearby Peake’s Yacht Service Marina, Chaguaramas, Trinidad, West Indies

Posted in Caribbean Islands, Sailings

Boat Repairs in Chaguaramas, Trinidad

Peake’s Yachting Service Travelift in Action

The craziness in the tropical heat is about to end. John’s boat working fever finally has calmed down. Bad Bunny looks really shiny and sharp from the rub rail down. Unfortunately according to John, this just means we have to do more work on the deck to make it all match! (?)

We have been staying at Peake’s Yachting Services (boatyard) for almost three months. We like the ample space and friendly employees in Peake’s Marine. Bunny got a new paint job (Hull, Mast, Bottom, and Dinghy), also miscellaneous repairs and upgrades (Gelcoat Repair, Welding, New Bow Protector, Dodger Vinyl Replacement, Cockpit Cushion Fabric, Jib Furler Parts, etc.) We now plan to explore Trinidad and visit the Leatherback Turtle hatching sight at night before we depart Chaguarmas, Trinidad.

Peake’s Yachting Service Travelift

The closest distance from Venezuela to Trinidad is about 7 miles (about 11 kilometers). Due to the Venezuelan Crisis, I originally was hesitant to come to Trinidad. John has been happy with his decision to repair Bunny in Trinidad. Chaguaramas offers extensive boating related businesses. It is like a one stop boating service zone. Some parts are expensive due to tax and shipping costs from another country. Most parts and materials are easily available. Locals said that the yachting business has slowed down compared with previous years.

Our paint job came out very satisfying. We hired Classic Yacht Services (the owner’s nick name is COW as he is a vegetarian.) His crew’s prep work was excellent and the painter, Newton is one of the best painters in Chaguaramas in the opinion of other painters in the yard. We hired Jonas for rigging (Trinidad Rigging) and we liked his meticulously planned work and how he delivered everything on time. We liked Ammsco machinery and their superb aluminum welding job on our mast head crane. We also had a great experience with the woodworker John Francois here in the Peake’s yard.

Bunny has been scheduled to go back to water today. Our 90 day stay expires soon. We plan to leave here in a week and not to renew our visa permit.

PS: We found a last-minute disturbing problem. Our mainsail is totally rotten. We can grab it and rip it by hand at any fold (two layers of cloth) without much force. We have used it for six years and sailed about 25,000 miles with it. We religiously covered the sail with the sunbrella cover when it is not being used. Both main sail and Genoa (Jib Sail) were made by North Sails about seven years ago. The Genoa is still good. The ‘Main Sail’ means so much because it is MAIN element on a SAIL boat. We want to know what if anything North Sails will do about this. While figuring out why and how, and also what company to order, we have decided sail to our next destination with just the Genoa (Jib Sail). Once we order a new mainsail, we will get it delivered to our future destination, most likely Colombia.

After Sanding

After Three Coats of Primer

After Two Coats of Base Paint

Yellow Stripe Water Line Painted

New Stainless Steel Bow Protector and Green Stripes Painted

After Bottom Paint

After Dinghy Primer

Ready for Welding on Mast Head

New Mast Head Crane Welded

New Code Zero Plate Welded and Painted on Mast Head

Old Electric Cables Before Replaced with New Ones

Parts and Lines Reassembled on Mast

Putting Mast Back on Bad Bunny

Posted in Boat Projects, Caribbean Islands, Sailings

Brightline, Fast Train Ride in Fort Lauderdale

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Brightline Train at Fort Lauderdale Station, Florida, USA

Taking a short break from the boatyard, I am visiting Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Flying from Trinidad to Fort Lauderdale is about a 3-4 hours trip, nonstop. Each time I visit my home and meet friends, I immediately see the fast-evolving technologies in our lives. It makes me feel somewhat outdated. However, I don’t mind living low-tech lifestyle because I have been practicing to live simple. I still prefer calling to texting on the phone.

Waiting Room, Brightline Fort Lauderdale Station, Florida, USA

It appears Fort Lauderdale is growing very fast. Traffic seems much heavier than before. One day, a friend recommended me to try the fast train ‘Brightline’ from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach. I made a roundtrip to West Palm Beach. I was told that “Brightline” started to run a couple of months ago, only from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach for now. It will start to run from Fort Lauderdale to Miami in two months. Then, in two years, all the way to Orlando. Unfortunately, it will impact the boat traffic and boating industry in Fort Lauderdale. I cannot imagine how neighbors alongside the route handle the sound. I admit though I enjoyed riding the fast train.

I will be flying back to Trinidad tomorrow. It looks the boat projects will be completed in a month. Shortly after, our adventure will continue… I am looking forward to watching the sun, the stars, and the moon, not minding living low-tech lifestyle… It’s for sure though I miss friends and families, as always.

New and Clean Brightline Train, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Bicycle Rack in the Brightline Train, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Brightline West Palm Station, Florida, USA

Colorful Building in City Place, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Movico Movie Theater, City Place, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA

Street Near the Brightline West Palm Beach Station, Florida, USA

Posted in Florida, USA, USA East Coast

Boat Repair and Life in a Boatyard in Trinidad

S/V Bad Bunny in Peake Yacht Services, Chaguaramas, Trinidad, The West Indies

We are living in a boatyard in Chaguaramas for now, to get “Bad Bunny” repaired and enhanced. This place is a main boat repair center in the Caribbean. All is easily accessible by walk or bike-ride here. We hired contractors for painting, pulling out the mast by a rigger and a crane, welding, repairing sails and new windows in the dodger, making a new stainless bow protector, and more. We haven’t seen the final results yet but we feel optimistic.

Life in a boatyard is somewhat dusty and sweaty. To improve it, we rented an A/C to stay cool and bug free when we stay inside of the boat. All of the plumbing system on the boat has been disconnected. No freezer. We keep drinks cool with ice.

The Calypso “Rum and Coca-Cola” was written, composed, and sung by Calypsonian Rupert Westmore Grant in Trinidad in 1943.

Not cooking, we often order take-out food from the excellent food vendors just outside the boatyard. Unlike John, I have tried a various type of Trinidadian food: Oxtail Soup, Cow-Heel Soup (literally), Provisions (Boiled Root Vegetables), Callaloo (made with okra and dasheen or water spinach), and Doubles (flat fried bread with curried chickpeas). I liked it all but I limited myself to eating the oxtail soup or cow-heel soup because of the high fat contents and cholesterol. I want to look good and healthy at my age.

Fresh Produce Market, Port of Spain, Trinidad, The West Indies

Every Saturday morning at 6am, some cruisers go to a produce market together in the capital city, Port of Spain. When returning, everyone carries a handful of vegetables and fruits.

Last Saturday, I bought the best Spinach Leaves from a happy Rastafarian man. The Spinach Miso Soup I made, transferred his happiness to me. One Saturday, I felt so sad seeing many baby hammerhead sharks for sale in the fish market. I was relieved I didn’t see them again on the next Saturday.

One day, we took a break for a bike-ride to Chaguaramas National Park. Going up the hill passing through the “Bamboo Cathedral” we were out of breath. On the way down, the sound of Howler Monkeys stopped us. Later, we visited a “U-Pick Vegetable Field”. In there, John met an ex-neighbor by accident, who used to live next to his house in Florida, decades ago. Wow…

We were also happy to meet some cruisers whom we had seen before here. We previously met a couple in Saint Croix and another couple in Curacao, about three years ago. On Sundays, a group of cruisers play Mexican Train Dominos. On Thursdays, we go to a Cruiser’s BBQ. I am off for two weeks visiting Fort Lauderdale, carrying a luggage full of stories to share if anyone is curious.

Bamboo Cathedral Trail in Chaguaramas, Trinidad, The West Indies

Macqueripe Beach, Chaguaramas National Park, Trinidad, The West Indies

U-Pick Farm in Chaguaramas, Trinidad, The West Indies

Historical Building in Port of Spain, Trinidad, The West Indies

Port of Spain, View from Fort George Historical Site, Trinidad, The West Indies

Posted in Boat Projects, Caribbean Islands, Sailings

Watch – Pulling the Mast out of S/V Bad Bunny

Posted in Atlantic Islands, Boat Projects, Caribbean Islands, Movies on YouTube, Sailings