Like the migrating red land crabs that travel down from the hills to get back to the shoreline, we slowly prepare for our journey back to the sea. Dave has taken 7 weeks to ready the boat for this season. We have a new HARD dodger and bimini that will give us shade and rain protection. Sails that were 15 years old are now retired and new crisp white ones lay ready to catch the wind. The new rigging will make us all feel safer and help us get the most from our new equipment. A new autopilot is still in the box as Dave works on other projects that need to be completed before we leave the boatyard.
I arrived in Trinidad a week ago and last Wednesday our niece, Annabelle from Texas, joined us. She will be traveling with us for a bit. In order to get our bearings, we signed up for a tour of the island that included tastes of Trinidad foods. The record was broken on our trip as we hit 57 foods in a mere 11 hours--that's right a taste about every 10 minutes. Our guide drove us around the north west and northeast side of the island pointing out the sights, culture, practices (Hindu prayer flags), wildlife, vegetation, and stopping at all the little food stands/holes in a wall that he had checked out before. Barbeque pigs tails was one, cow foot soup another, and chicken foot soup the final dish that some of us passed on, but all the rest were flavors and delights that blended Trinidad and its cultural influences into delightfully tasty foods. There are hills, plains, mountain ranges, and many rivers on this small island. Our equivalent to Christmas holidays has just passed for the Hindus and their decorations and lights are still up and on display each night. I missed the world famous Festivals of Lights, where oil lamps are hung from every nook and cranny and the people walk the town sharing gifts of food and goodwill with any and all they meet. Open doors and arms are prevalent on that night--all people are one and treated with great respect and reverence.
Daily the rain comes, usually in the afternoon, and washes the accumulation of dust off the boats. It falls heavily for 10 minutes, pauses, and follows up with another short shower. Humidity is high and then higher after the rain. We have just started sleeping with a sheet over us. The temperature here is 86-90 and the night drops to 75 every night. Beats Oregon weather right now, which is 38 degrees. Our fellow cruisers span the world from Brazil, Europe, Canada, Australia, and a few from the US. Dave's Thanksgiving Feast was 3 foreigners for every 1 American. All had a great time trying different dishes and reenacting the pilgrim/Indian holiday.
After many trips to the stores we now have our food supplies for about 3 months. The water tanks will get filled on Monday and the boat will get fitted for traveling--tying down all the essentials that sit on the decks. With man's three basic needs met we will add on the fourth basic need of all cruisers--boat in the water. On Tuesday the boat will be lifted off the hard and gently dropped into the sea. Before we can leave port, however, the new rigging must be tuned to how the boat sits in the water, customs must be visited, and checking out must be accomplished. Then we look to the sky, to the radar images, and weather reports to time our leaving with the weather gods gifts of wind. With luck we will be able to leave on Thursday and head to ????
Well, we were thinking about Grenada and then the Grenadines, others have suggested heading to Tobago and then hit Carriacou. All we know for sure is that we will not be going to Venezuela but rather head north and a bit northwest after we get to the leeward islands.