Our retirement on Island Time as liveaboards.
We returned to Chagauramus just after Christmas. Island Time had been on the hard for 10 months and she was very, very dirty on the outside. Fortunately we had rented an air conditioner so the inside was cluttered but without mold and mildew.
In past years we learned to use good quality bags from the states and not to let the bags touch the hull which gets hot from the sun as they would disintegrate the bags leaving a pile of black confetti.
Aft cabin – not quite ready for guests yet
We spent several days cleaning the boat and finished putting the boat back together at the Marina at Crews Inn. This year we had new canvas made for the boat and hung out until the canvas was done. By the time the canvas was completed our guests arrived. Jay and Priscilla visited us in Trinidad with the plan to help us move the boat to Grenada.
At this time of year Trinidad is preparing for Carnival. We had time to visit some Mas (Masquerade) camps where the costumes are prepared for Carnival. To join in the parade you would join a band (group of people who dress in accordance with the theme of the band). The bands range in size from less than one hundred to bands with thousands of members.
If you wanted to join the band you would pick out one of these costumes and it would be made for you. The small bands make their own costumes while the larger bands buy their costumes from China. Each individual would need to purchase their own costume that ranges in price from 400 TT to several thousands depending on how elaborate the costume. Each band competes for prizes with awards in small, medium and large band categories.
These are not the costumes worn by those participating in the king and queen competition. Those costumes are very large and elaborate some of which need wheels to hold up the parts of the costume. The folks wearing them need to be very experienced. The contests are held outside and the wind can blow them over if they don’t know how to turn with the wind.
After the mas camps we visited several pan yards (steel bands) where they were practicing for their competition. It is difficult to describe the sound – it definitely is not the twinkling pan played for tourists at resorts. It is all the players playing songs fast and loud and in total coordination. The pan competition is for single players up to large pan bands.
We also had a night out at the Normandie. This is an outdoor theatre where we listened to extempo (short for extemporaneous). The participants call it socio politico calypso. The participants usually 2 -4 will banter back and forth with each other in rhyming song about various social or political issues, part of this banter includes insults at each other (no foul language is allowed – buts lots of innuendos). If you read the local paper you would understand a lot of what they were saying. The banter is made up on the spot and to show that this is not rehearsed the participants will ask for topics from the audience that they must debate in rhyming song. The show picked on Patrick Manning, the prime minister of Trinidad, who just happens to live next door - over the Berlin wall as one of the extempo performers mentioned. There is also an extempo competition as part of carnival where the two antagonists come on stage and a topic is picked out of a hat that is the topic of the extempo.
There was a great debate about when to leave Trinidad- now in addition to the debate about whether we have the issue of pirates between Trinidad and Grenada. In the past two years there have been 4 incidents along the rhumb line which is a very low percentage considering the number of boats making that passage. The latest incident was Dec 21, 2009 so it was fresh in everyone’s mind. All four incidents happened during the day so the conclusion is to make the crossing at night. The assumption is that the pirates are from Venezuela and they need daylight to find their way home. Once it was decided to travel at night – which we usually do anyway as the distance is too far for a totally daylight crossing – we were back to weather. One group was leaving on Saturday and the second group of boats on Tuesday. We opted for Tuesday. As Tuesday approached they changed to Thursday – we got tired of waiting and left by ourselves on Wednesday at 5 pm. The wind direction was perfect for sailing - when I came on watch at midnight we were hitting 7 knots and was concerned we would get to Grenada too early. We only saw a few other boats – especially around the gas rigs where a patrol boat followed us for a while. The rest of the boats who left on Thursday had to motor sail as the wind had shifted a little more northerly.
Once in Grenada we anchored in Prickly Bay and checked into customs and immigration. We spent the next few days relaxing at the de Big Fish or the Tiki bar or on the boat before Jay and Priscilla headed home. After three tries Jay made the crossing to Grenada. Yea!