16 October 2015

Milly on the hard

Milly in the Peake parking lot, looking like a fish out of water.
Well, we have been in Toronto for five weeks now and soon will be returning to Trinidad where Milly has been waiting on the hard - actually in a huge, fenced lawn space surrounded by barbed wire fencing supplemented with guard dogs at night.  We are sure she is secure at Peake Yacht Services in Chaguaramas, Trinidad!

The days leading up to our departure were full, busy and so hot that it looked like we had just come on board from a refreshing swim - no such luck.  We spent a few days at dock and, for the first time since our one nighter at Frade, near Angra Dos Reis, nearly four months before, we had unlimited fresh water to desalt, scrub and polish Milly.  We were like kids in a water park.
Approaching the slings.  A diver placed them in just the right spot under her hulls.

 We were also able to plug into shore power - although one of our two lines was not working and must be attended to on our return.  We had enough power to use air conditioning which we used with wild abandon throughout each hot night.  Unlike an anchorage which most often has a breeze even on a hot night, marinas are sheltered with no cooling afforded by moving air.
Hung and coming ashore via the travel lift.

Our two days at the dock were spent replacing oil and oil filters on our three engines, flushing the raw water coolant on four engines (including our outboard on TomTom), spraying and taking down our screecher and genoa, and other odds and ends.
The power sprayer guy has been doing the job for years.  He's an expert, getting into all sorts of contortions to get into every nook and cranny.

Two months worth of corrosion on anodes and barnacle growth on propellor.  Doesn't take long!


Set up for the next leg of the journey on a flat bed truck with six huge legs holding Milly up and level. 

Off she goes

Then Milly landed and we followed her to the pen.  I made friends with the head of security - wise move since she handles the dogs and we did not want to be in the pen at the same time.  And an incredibly sweet woman once you acquiesce to the very seriously followed rules.  
Arrived in new home.  Note rickety ladder that slid back and forth on Milly's sugar scoop as you climbed aboard.

Propped.  Solid?

Milly on land is a different beast.  You climb up an unsteady ladder, spray water from the hydrant below, work with no breeze but lots of humidity and look down fifteen feet to green grass.  Knowing that salt would be our primary foe once away, drawing moisture, mildew and mould to all surfaces, we cleaned everything!  I have never washed floors as often as on Milly but this time it was not just floors - all cushions, wood and leatherette-covered walls, tables, counters, mirrors, head fibreglass - everything was wiped with vinegar and water.  The bilges were cleaned and dried.  Heads were filled and covered with plastic wrap.  Mattresses were flipped and propped so they aired underneath.  All bedding, towels, clothes that were remotely salty were laundered (at the laundromat) and packed.  The freezer was defrosted and fridge and freezer cleaned and dried.  We have a dehumidifier on constantly with multiple extra dehumidifying devices.  A caretaker is looking in on Milly and cleaning her deck of bird poop each week.  
Ant grease applied.
Peter spread a thick coating of grease around every strut or cord that went from land to boat to discourage the ants that forage for food on Milly.  He meticulously covered every through hull and hull drain - and there are many more than you expect - with a plug, tape or mesh to stop flying insects like bees or enormous cockroaches from nesting or coming aboard.  Hopefully, rats will also be deterred.  
Scuppers covered with mesh and tape to keep out critters
Over the last days aboard, we had madly attempted to eat our overabundant supplies which I had so diligently collected.  Tinned or well-sealed food that was left, was binned and placed in storage under the settee.  All cupboards and anything that had been touched by food - pots, pans, cooking utensils, sinks, oven, stovetop - were cleaned of all crumbs.
Ready to go!
All this was done in sauna-like heat and humidity over five days.  I picked up lunch at street vendors who set up shop outside the gates - home-made Trini delicacies like rotis and curried stews with lamb, beef or chicken stew.  Each week day there were seven or eight vendors who brought only enough food for that day.  Once the food was finished, the hard-working mostly women, went home to cook for the next day.
Nightly entertainment
After working from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. - we made sure we were out before the dogs came in at 5 p.m. - we sat on our marina hotel terrace watching the iguanas and boats while enjoying a cold beer and some take out.  Often other working cruisers would come by and share their stories.  Bedtime was about 9:00 p.m. for all!

It was a great but exhausting week.  We left Milly in good shape and good hands.  And are looking forward to our return.

4 October 2015

A Visit From Our Boy!

We spent a restful week in Tobago in slo mo, snorkelling, hiking, and watching the depressions crawl across the Atlantic becoming “more organized” - sounds good, but it’s not for the likes of anything in it’s way - into tropical storms and then into hurricanes.  For our first few days, we kept an eye on Hurricane Danny. This new threat had me logging onto NOAA hurricane centre about four times a day.  At first Danny was pointed disconcertingly south toward Grenada.  Over time he veered north.  Great for us but not so much for islands in his path.  About a week later, Dominica was badly damaged by Tropical Storm Erica, with mudslides leaving many homeless.  Storms are ruthless and prove once again that Mother Nature deserves respect - complacence is not allowed.
Those little sails way off in the distance are the lasers - and I can hardly wait.
Our final destination of our first season was Chaguaramas, Trinidad.  We had timed our arrival to coincide with our son, Tom’s, laser training session with Trini olympian, Andrew Lewis, and coach, Vaughn Harrison.  As we neared the Boca or cut between two islands on our way toward the harbour, Peter spotted two laser sails about six NM away.  As we got closer, we could see one had a CAN on it.  There was Tom on the great blue sea meeting us.  I was jumping-up-and-down excited on the bow, blowing kisses!  Peter was too distracted to take pictures.  Lots of shouting, laughter, smiles and a few tears.  As we continued along, dolphins came to celebrate with us by dancing at the bow.  They must have sensed our exuberance.  Such a great way to put a big exclamation mark at the end of our first season!!
The dolphins were telepathic.  They celebrated and accompanied us for at least ten minutes 

Jumping for our joy!

We spent the next few days docked at Andrew’s family island house dock.  Milly looked terrific in front of a lovely villa.  The boys joined us for coffee before and drinks after training all day.  Wonderful!
Looking pretty in front of the "island house"
This was Tom’s last laser training camp.  He has decided to switch to the Finn class on a five year campaign for the Rio and Tokyo olympics.  Earlier in August, a few days of training for the first time in Finn, he won the North American championships which convinced him that the move from laser to Finn was a good one.  You can follow his journey on twitter @tomramshaw, on Facebook Tom Ramshaw Sailing or on his website tomramshaw.com.  Donations can be made through his website.  He has two irresponsible, non-employed parents so all donations to his much more costly campaign are very welcome.  Please consider it.
Checking out the rigging

R & R

Dragging at 6-8 knots.  

Cooking up a storm

We didn't catch anything but were presented with two fish by local fishermen as a gifts.

Bimini doubled as chin up bar
After his training camp, we had the pleasure of Tom’s company for a four day cruise on Trinidad’s north coast and islands - beautiful, mountainous and lush.  We snorkelled with sea turtles, swam, hiked, flew the spinnaker, fished without luck, sailed and sailed some more. Tom climbed the mast twice, jumped off the bimini, did flips forwards and backwards over the lifeline, and expressed approval of our new home.  

Approval!  From a dinghy sailor who sails to go fast, this was appreciated praise.
Trinidad is known for it’s industry rather than for tourism like neighbouring Tobago.  For the short time we cruised, we found a wild and undeveloped coastline.  Although not all that protected, the few anchorages on the north shore, were peaceful and beautiful.  The islands closer to Chaguaramas offered greater protection with easily accessible hikes.  Unfortunately, the litter on shore - comprised mainly of plastic water bottles and many flip flops - from partiers on shore or garbage brought by ocean currents was sometimes knee deep on otherwise beautiful beaches with coconut palms. 
A tiny section of an entire, otherwise beautiful, bay.
A little investment in clean up or, better yet, some care taken by humans with their debris would make Trinidad a lovely cruising destination - safe from hurricanes, English-speaking, fantastic boat repair facilities and very friendly people.  Nothing has made us more avid followers of the three R's, then the plastics we have seen in the ocean.

After docking at Peake Marina where we were taking Milly out of the water for a few weeks, Andrew took us on a tour of Port of Spain.  We ate jerk at a local eatery, saw Fort George and the Magnificent Seven mansions and were given advice on speargun purchases and fishing.  Our fishing definitely needs fine tuning.  The boys were kind and generous tour guides especially given that they had been out the night before.  It was a new experience for us to be introduced to a country by someone who lived there and spoke English.  We were grateful to Andrew, Trini celebrity who strangers stop to speak to because of his sailing success.
The sailor boys - view of Port of Spain from Fort George
 Thanks for joining us, Tom.  We loved having you aboard.  Come back soon, please!  
Now we just have to get our darling daughter down to see us.

Some kids never grow up!