Grenada to Trinidad

Wereda with Maciek at the helm approaches Grenada

May 18, 2010. Instead of stopping in Dominica and Martinique as planned we had to hurry to get Maciek to a good ophtalmologist on Grenada. He had developed an acute infection in his eye due to not removing/changing his contact lenses. We have made an excellent progress due to brisk winds, only to find ourselves becalmed early morning on May 16, about 8 nm West off Kingstown, St.Vincent.                            
View of St. George's Harbor from GYC
As soon as I've finished washing and showering, Maciek took his turn in the cockpit and that is when we have noticed a pirogue fast approaching Wereda from our stern. Our attention was drawn to a large, bazooka like gun mounted on a tripod on the pirogues' bow. They stopped at about 200 yards away from
 Fort George - built by the French in 1705
Wereda and sat there for a long time while we were watching them terrified, thinking what will happen next. Calls on VHF 16 to Coast Guard and to general audience went unanswered. After having initially hidden all portable comm devices, I decided to dig out my sat phone and called the USCG 
Nutmeg is one of the main spices exported
relaying the situation and asking if they could raise someone in ST. Vincent.
After the longest twenty or so minutes in my memory, we had St.Vincent CG on the phone. Can you believe my relief when  told that St.Vincent has a considerable whaling fleet and that was one of their whaling boats. So the bazooka-like thing on the pirogue's bow turned out to be a harpoon launcher. I had no idea anyone has been whaling these days and age. I looked at Maciek who was still sitting in the cockpit repeatedly scraping the same part of his chin with the razor and snapped him out of his stupor with the good news. Despite an early hour, a bottle of vodka was emptied to relieve the stress of the past hour, and as a breeze picked up we sailed south. 
Grenada is a fun place to be. Spice Island as it is also called, offers a multitude of places to visit. We hired a taxi driver to take us to places we wanted to see and we ended the trip at the driver's family home where we were given all kinds of fruit ...
We were given all kinds of fruit.

The tallest of the Seven Sisters
Bad political and economical situation
in Venezuela gave rise to a wide spread acts of piracy along her shores and quite recently a yacht sailing the waters between Trinidad and Grenada was brutally attacked. Sailors  in Grenada and in Trinidad were encouraged to make that passage in groups of boats for added security. We have joined a newly forming group planning the passage in the next few days. So in the afternoon of May 31st a convoy of six sailboats, five from Prickly Bay and one (Wereda) from St. George's,  left Grenada and set course for Trinidad. The weather was fine. For about 6 hours the group stayed fairly close together but after that, we've noticed the 
distance between Wereda
Planning a group sail down to Trinidad
and the rest of the group was rapidly growing. We were conserving our use of motor but the rest of the group did not have such concerns. So, for the remainder of the night we were sailing alone. Night attacks by the pirates were not that frequent, we wanted to believe. Early morning saw us passing close to the Poinsettia and Hibiscus oil rigs. Around noon we were were just a couple of miles from the Bocas de Dragon when a heavy squall blocked the entrance for the next hour and a half. By the time we tied to a mooring in Chaguaramas it was already 4PM. Two hours later, after checking in with the Immigration, we joined our convoy group for a drink at the Crews Inn marina pool. 
Click HERE to see all pictures from Guadelupe to Trinidad.
A video of this segment is available here: GRENADA

Maciek at Cruise Inn, Chaguaramas, Trinidad

June 1, 2010 Wereda arrived in Chaguaramas and the very next day we were busy getting to know 'who is who' as far as the boat services were concerned. Power Boats was selected as the place to haul and store Wereda while certain repairs were to be performed 
Enjoying the pool at the Cruise Inn
and during my stay in Houston
At the Members Only with Jesse James and Chris Doyle
where I was to re-join my old place of work.
 Wereda and Maciek on 'Dry Land"
On June 15, Maciek left for Poland. My time till my departure was divided between work on Wereda, getting to know the people and Trinidad. Big help in those endeavors came from Jesse James, who is a very well known personality
Jesse James lead tour to see Leatherbacks laying eggs
in Chaguaramas and beyond.
Click here:  Jesse  for more info.  It was a height of the Giant (video here) Leatherback turtles' hatching and eggs laying season so I went on one of the Jesse's overnight trips to Matura Beach on the Eastern shores of Trinidad. It was an awesome experience to watch the eggs laying process. We had to remain very quiet while the turtle takes her time to climb up the beach and selects the spot to dig a deep hole with her hind legs. When she starts actual eggs laying she becomes oblivious to the surroundings and very voulnerable to predators of all kind. But during this time we could take all the pictures we wanted and it would not disturb her at all. It lasts up to two hours during which a female lays 80 to 120 eggs. After covering the nest with sand, the female digs a false nest nearby to throw off those seeking fresh turtle eggs for an easy snack. That completed she returns to the sea where male turtles await to perform a next round of fertilization.   
Leatherback hatchling, Trinidad, June 2010
We were lucky enough to also witness new hatchlings from the eggs deposited some six weeks earlier, emerge from their nests and race to the sea.  The odds are stacked against them. They are a favorite snack for dogs and birds, and those that are fortunate enough to reach the water fall victim to all kinds of fish. It is estimated that only one in a thousand will return to this beach to lay eggs.

Silver Stars Steel Pans Band performing
Another interesting trip with Jesse was a Steel Pans Bands competition. Steel pans were first created here (out of old oil drums) and are now a national instrument of Trinidad and Tobago. Here is a sample of steel pans music: SteelPans
Thanks, Jesse, for this and many other trips and services you provide to the cruising community. 

While on the hard in Power Boats, Chaguaramas, one's life is not just limited to working on one's boat. If you can still find enough energy after a long and hot day of scrubbing, drilling, painting etc, you have a choice of either going to town or the mall or visit one of a few establishments in or around the shipyards or the marinas. But on weekends, local restaurants invite performing musicians to attract sailors and the locals alike. This group, the "Ice Water" was playing at a full swing when I decided to visit the Sails restaurant for a refreshment, just a minute walk (including time to descend the steel pipe ladder) from where the Wereda was stored,  I thought they were just great. See the video here: The Ice Water band.
Click HERE to see all pictures from Guadelupe to Trinidad.
A video of this segment is available here: TRINIDAD

On July 3rd 2010 I boarded a plane for a trip to Houston. My first visit there since leaving in May of 2009. My return ticket is for March 15, 2011. But by then, I will not be returning alone. Also my job in Houston did not end on that date. But all that is a subject of a whole new story. 

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