Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kay's Talking Trini

     Unfortunately, Atalanta’s demand for repairs has been keeping us onboard for much of our time in Trinidad – especially poor Richard who is well acquainted with lots of mechanics.  When possible, I have been exploring a bit of the island and trying to learn about it from a local perspective.  I still remember 15-year-old Jason being annoyed that we looked like “dumb-ass tourists” while traveling in Spain. I strive not to engage in ethnocentric behaviors frequently attributed to American tourists. . . I like the differences in our cultures!  
Not a look we plan to replicate!

  So, here are a few impressions, observations and understandings of those cultural differences:

• Africans and East Indians are almost equally represented in TT’s population.
• Of the 295 ATM machines on the island, only about 10% are working at any one time - the waiting lines are really, really long.
• Depending on the time of day, a shopping trip could be a 20-minute drive or 2 hours stuck in traffic. Driving is on the left, hire a “maxi-taxi” instead of a “cab”, and appreciate the price of gas at the pump -  $4.00TT/liter or $ 2.38 USD/gallon.
• You have to eat a double.

• There is a Trindadian dialect and yuh know yuh met a real Trini when:

yuh have a hammock in every room of yuh house
yuh put bat-trees (batteries) in the torch (flashlight)
yuh mudduh and fadduh raise yuh with broughtupsy
roti tastes good but “buss-up-shut” is bettuh
yuh good friend is yuh paliwal
de bone taste jus as good as de meat
yuh don’t say “three” or “thing” . . . yuh say “tree” and “ting”
yuh think steak is a waste of good meat, better to cut it up and make stew
yuh always ax, “Buh whey de gravy?”
yuh wear washie kongs, not sneakers
yuh point with your lips
yuh say "whappenin" even at a funeral
yuh on time when yuh get dey, and yuh leavin when yuh ready to go
yuh have at least one relative living in England, Canada or the US . . .

 . . . and those Trini’s with relatives living abroad might require translation from North American English to Trini:

NAE: Would you care for hors d’oeuvres?
TnT: Wah is dis lil piece ah ting yuh trying tah give meh?

NAE: Here kitty, kitty. Get down from the roof.
TnT: Eh yuh ole dutty cyat, come orf de bleddy galvanize before ah stone yuh tail!

NAE: Aren't your pants a bit too short?
TnT: Yuh expekin ah flood or wha?

NAE: Sir, please don't throw my luggage around like that.
TnT: Buh wha trouble is dis? Boy, stop flingin meh grip so.

NAE: Don’t worry about it.
TnT: Doh hot yuh head.

NAE: Lord, we have lost electricity again.
TnT: Jeezanages, current gorn again.

NAE: I love you.
TnT: Ah rell check fuh yuh, yuh know.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Leaving Trinidad

Its hard to believe that we are leaving Trinidad after being here for just over 2 weeks.  That seems like a relatively short time.  I wish I could say that we explored the island extensively but our focus has really been more on boat repairs and provisioning in preparation for our next leg in the journey.

While here, we had the pleasure of the company of good friends for a birthday celebration (Kay's and Tony's) at a fabulous Italian restaurant in Port of Spain.  We hiked in the Chagaruamas National Park and swam at the Crews Inn Pool almost daily.  Repairs were extensive with our engine having the rear main seal replaced, injector pump rebuilt, and generator put in working order again.  We worked on the hull, fueled up, and provisioned.

Now its time to move on and consider the most remote part of our journey,  Heading to Suriname is an adventure that few boats take.  It is a country that has only limited infrastructure for tourism.  The same could be said for Guyana, a country we will visit after Suriname.  Our route to Suriname will be to about 500 miles, passing north of Trinidad, east into the open Atlantic, and then down the coast of Venezuela.  It is important to stay well off the Venezuelan coast for a number of reasons.  First is security.  Venezuela presents significant security concerns and yachts need to be well off shore to be beyond the range of potential problems.  Second is wind and current.  There is an optimum place to sail relative to the continental shelf for maximum wind and minimum current.  All in all, we anticipate a five day trip, hoping to average 5 knots or about 120 miles per 24 hour period. 

Once in Suriname, we will once again have internet connections.  Communication will be difficult until we arrive as our SAT phone has not worked as advertised in this part of the Caribbean.  Because we will be out of communication for close to a week (and for other reasons as well) we will be traveling with our friends Ann and Tony who are on Argosea, their 47 foot Moody. 

Below are a few links to sights that may be of interest relative to Suriname.  Hope you enjoy them and again, thanks for following our adventures.

Best always

Richard and Kay

Stock Images of Suriname

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Trinidad and Venezuela

After nearly 3 months in Grenada, we lifted the hook and sailed out of Prickly Bay.  Bound for Trinidad, 80 miles to the south, we “buddy boated” with friends who were on their steel sloop Margie.   Leaving about 5:30 PM, we enjoyed 15-knot winds out of the ENE for the first three hours. Then the winds settled and we motor-sailed the rest of the night. At sunrise, oil rigs that dot the lower Caribbean came into view. Trinidad is within 7 miles of Venezuela and like Somalia, the coast is populated with those who may choose to engage in aggressive acts against yachts.  This threat, the highest in the hemisphere, requires that you do not enter the waters of Trinidad too far to the west.
Approaching the coast of Trinidad, we were taken with the islands’ rugged beauty.  Rounding the northwest corner, we entered Chagaruamas Harbor, checked in to customs and immigration, and then anchored in TTSA for one night. 

We are now safely docked at the lovely Crews Inn Marina.  We are enjoying being plugged in to electricity and water, using our air conditioner, swimming in great pool and accessing a wide range of yacht services. We will be restocking the galley, repairing some engine issues, exploring the island, and liming (relaxing).   

Trinidad, the southern most island in the Caribbean, is a hub for industry and commerce.  There is a vital economy here, energized by the oil industry and its growing reputation as a vibrant and dynamic destination with a rich cultural diversity, abundant natural beauty, and fascinating history will make our two weeks here enjoyable.

Our plan is to leave at sunset in early September and sail along the northern coast of Trinidad.  Once east of the island, we will turn south for a five-day/night sail to Suriname.  This trip will take us to a little visited country just south of Guyana.  We hope to spend most of September in Suriname and most of October in Guyana before heading north again (maybe?)

Tonight we say good bye to our friends and mates from Margie as they fly off to the US for a few months of touring in an RV.  We will miss them and hope they have the time of their lives visiting the east coast.  

Thanks for following.

Richard and Kay

Having WIFI is a treat

Hiking NW Trinidad

Richard looking for monkeys and Parrots 

Entering the Rain Forest

Tony in the Bamboo Cathedral


Kay at home in the jungles of Trinidad

Life Guards at
Chaguaramas National Park