Tuesday, May 28, 2013

We are in the Halifax airport, we travelled all day yesterday and then over nighted at the Holiday Inn, there was a 8 hour stop over.  I am too old to sleep in the airport so we were very happy with the room and the complementary breakfast.  Our trip so far has been excellent, no hitches, all the connections, one in Houston and one in Newark went off without a hitch.  
In Newark we got off the plane and got on one of those little airport buggies and were dropped off at an airport bus stop.  The bus took us to a different terminal and we walked right to our gate with a 3/4 of an hour to spare, wonderful.  We saw the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty from the plane as we went into land in Newark, that was great.  We only had to wait 15 minutes for the shuttle to the hotel once we got off the plane.  
According to Canadian Immigration, we are only visitors this time, since we don't have a home and are not going to stay in one place during our stay here we are classified as visitors.  Oh well, it didn't mean anything for getting in and out of the country but it was strange to be classified as a visitor in your home country.
The only sour note of the whole trip was on the way to the airport.  We had a guy from the travel lift give us a ride to the airport.  It is about an hour drive.  He had an older car with dodgy steering.  It was all good until some guy cut us off at about 90 km on the highway.  We were only about 2 meters away and we swerved into the other lane.  I saw my life flash before my eyes, no kidding, I have never been so scared.  Fortunately all ended up well and we made it to the airport.  I was thinking, we should carry cards in our wallets with who to notify in case of an accident because it might take a while otherwise.  Nor something a person wants to contemplate.  
Just another hour before I get to hug Leeland, William will be in school, so I will have to wait to see him. It is great to be back in Canada, although the +7 degrees out there this morning felt a little fresh.  I love seeing the spruce trees again. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Barry contemplating what might have been!

We have arrived in Trinidad after a week of liming down the west coast of Tobago.  Liming in a Tobagan term for hanging out and relaxing.  We were not able to get the shroud repaired properly so Barry lashed it up with some spectra line and fastened the halyards to where the shrouds attached and it has held.  We motored a couple of miles from Charlotteville and found some very isolated beautiful little spots, that were a bit rolly, but we thoroughly enjoyed them.  There was great snorkelling in both bays we stayed in, some of the best since the Chagos.  There were wonderful  lilac fan corals everywhere and fish I have never seen before.  We headed ashore one day and for the first time in this rigid bottom dinghy we were pooped, the wave at the shoreline came pouring in over the back and almost swamped us.  In the picture Barry is trying to figure out how we didn't get flipped.

Part of our liming experience was a great BBQ ashore with the crew of Mr.Curly.  We don't do enough of having dinners ashore, cooking over an open fire.  It was great fun, we had chicken and veggies done in tin foil as well as a lentil salad and a potato salad.  After the main course was finished we ate watermelon while watching the sun set with our rum punches close at hand, oh my, it is a tough life!!!

It was over 80 miles to Trinidad from where we were so it meant an overnight trip.  With an unstable outer shroud we had to motor, it was a shame.  There was a great sailing wind and we had to putt along, rolling about in the swell, the sails would have made the trip a lot smoother.  To get to Chagaramus where we were going to haul out we went through a narrow passage with high cliffs on both sides.  We must have hit the tide right because we did not have to battle a big current and our trip through the gap was painless and very safe.

Looking to the left of the back of the boat

Looking to the right off the back of the boat.
We are at the dock of the boatyard where Cat's-Paw IV will spend the next four months.  Looking to the left you would never know that you were near a boatyard, the bouganvillia is stunning, the upstairs deck perfect for a break from boat work and there are hot showers to be had. To the right is the slipway and the boatyard.  People are cleaning their bottoms with electric sanders and the eternal hammering is not music to my ears. Today is our first full day at the dock, we hosed down and scrubbed the staysail, I cleaned the cockpit cushions and wiped all the salt I could off the boat  Barry fixed the galley fresh water pump, something that has been driving me crazy for the last six months (we just needed a new pump, imagine that),  the oil and put a new solar panel regulator in.  That is a few tasks I can strike off our very long to do list.  The boat comes out of the water on Wed. so we will be busy fixing and cleaning until then.  Good thing we did a good bit of liming last week, there won't be much this coming week.

Monday, May 06, 2013

The best of both worlds, beer tasting ice cream, ummmm!!                         
We arrived safely in Tobago, Friday afternoon about 1430 hours.  We had nice steady 1 knot current from about noon on pushing us nicely around the top of the island so we landed on the leeward side of the island at a town called Charlotteville.  It is a sleepy little town, very laid back.  We managed to get checked in and wandered around the town.  One particular sign said you were not allowed to tether your goats on the local soccer pitch, shows what is important here.  
Yesterday we bought a couple of lobsters and went back to the boat and had a lovely lunch and then laid around the rest of the afternoon just catching up on our rest.  We are going to take the bus into the capital tomorrow and arrange internet access. 

After coming back from checking in I saw one of the shrouds just hanging loose off the boat and told Barry he had better do it up.  He took  a look and it was broken, it is one of the main ones that holds on the mast, so we are extremely lucky that it didn't give way when we were sailing or we could have lost the whole rig. 
On the port side, completely broken apart

On the starboard side, ready to sheer off at any time.  THIS IS REALLY SCARY!!

A month of pounding up the coast and the damn things breaks when we are at anchor just after we arrive, we must have some patron saint watching out over us, I tell you we are some lucky.  We had those fitting replaced in Aus., so they are just two years old.  Barry checked the other side and the other fitting has a hairline fracture all the way around, it is ready to give out any moment as well.  We are going to get in touch with a rigging shop in Trinidad and get two new fitting sent up. isn't life grand.

We saw this as we came around the corner into Charlotteville, are there pirates in the Caribbean??

Thursday, May 02, 2013

At sea  08 54' n  056 58'w
We are just whizzing along, it is actually unbelievable.  The Guyana current has got us in her grips and we are going faster than we have ever gone before. We are like that turtle in Finding Nemo, just grooving along while riding the current.  The current occurs at the drop off from the coast at the continental shelf.  At times there is a 3 knot current and we are experiencing 15-20 knots of wind on the beam so the boat is going over 6 knots on her own and then the current is pushing us up to speeds of 9 knots, crazy. What a feeling, the boat just picks up her skirts and dances.  Once we were going along about 7 and 1/2 knots, wallowing a little as we were wing on wing.  The wind picked up 5 knots and the boat was just skimming, she felt so light and still in complete control, the wind vane, Bob, valiantly steering away, the wallow was gone and the boat seemed to just float over the water,zzzoooommmmmm  what a feeling. Yesterday we did 203 nautical miles in one day, that is an average of 8.4 knots an hour for 24 hours, the boats theoretical hull speed is 7.75 knots so we were flying. We only have 260 miles to go to Scarboro, Tobago, we are hoping to arrive on Friday. We are heading further offshore at the moment to angle up towards Tobago, so we have lost the good current, we only have about 1/2 knot now, but the winds are still great and the angle is a bit better.  We only have to make 130 miles each day in order to get there in the daylight so hopefully we should be able to make it, if not what is another day at sea after the last month.  Caribbean here we come.
The A is there position if it is plotted correctly.