Monday, January 25, 2010

Towards Trinidad and on the Hard

Uneventful overnight journey from Store Bay. Arrived in Chaguaramus Bay, near Port-of-Spain around 0930. Put the boat on a temporary mooring and headed in with the Tangaroa to do a bit of research. Seb had discovered a small hole in the fiberglass at the back of the keel while doing an inspection dive in Pirate’s Bay (probably created in the shallow waters of The Gambia). This meant the boat needed to come out of the water for repairs. Chaguaramus is a cruiser’s dream at this time of year. The chandleries and well-stocked, there are an incredible number of boat yards and people around who can fix almost anything you can dream of breaking or needing on your boat. Amazingly, the Pjotter was out of the water and on the ‘hard’ by 1400 that afternoon, just a few hours after our arrival. After this it took no time before we were visited by a rigging specialist (confirming that all is in order), a refrigerator specialist (able to fix rather than replace what we have and include a freezer!) and a fiberglass specialist who took a look at our keel damage and agreed to show us how to fix it on our own! We were also able to rent an apartment for the time that the boat is out of the water and we moved ourselves in there in the afternoon. A very gratifying day’s work.

Our days in Chaguaramus Bay look like this. Breakfast in our apartment, overlooking the bay, one of us stays on monkey duty and the other wanders up to work on the boat. We meet up again for lunch and the work continues until 1600 at which time we head off with Jan-Bart and Monique (s/y Victory), Caroline, Tamar, and Suze (s/y Tangaroa sans Weird) and Bas, Reina and Kim to the pool for a swim (and often a beer). BasReinaKim have a beautiful 53-foot aluminium ship named Kim that they spent the last four years building and are now finally enjoying. Kim is also the name of their 4-year old daughter and she and Emma have become good friends. We have recently also been joined by the Mjolners (yippee!) and they are now taking part in the abovementioned activities with great enthusiasm.

Store Bay, Crown Point Hotel, Englishman’s Bay, Pirate’s Bay

We met up with my parents and Emma and Macsen again at Crown Point Hotel in Store Bay in Tobago. They had been enjoying the pool, beach and view for a few days and we joined in vigorously. Emma is learning to swim and Macsen is incredibly comfortable in the water (more than we are with him in it perhaps). We spent our few days there eating on the terrace, choosing between swimming in the pool or wave jumping and castle building on the beach and romping around in the grass in front of the apartment, all the while keeping the Pjotter, bobbing on a mooring buoy in the bay, well in sight. Idyllic.

Our initial plan was to sail the 20 miles from Store Bay to Pirate’s Bay in a day. We all piled back onto the boat and pulled up the anchor in Store Bay and heady out into a very bumpy sea. The wind was directly against us and we were unable to point very high so we needed to sail way off course in some of the nastiest, choppiest waves that we have experienced. A terribly uncomfortable ride and a really unfair one to subject my parents to after our wondrous stories of comfortable downwind sailing. Decided to drop anchor in Englishman’s bay about halfway as we were all sick of the horrible motion. Englishman’s bay is really beautiful and a good relax on the beach upon arrival compensated pretty quickly for the sail. Unfortunately, the swell in the bay was very rolly at night and none of us got any sleep. Headed out again for another horrible sail to Pirate’s Bay again with wind against and a terrible sea. Fortunately it was a short ride and we arrived in time for lunch. We were all eager to get off the boat so we headed into the little town of Charlotteville and plonked ourselves down for some BBQ-fish at Jane’s Restaurant, which seemed to be solely owned and operated by a large man named James and we never did meet Jane.

We spent a lovely few days lounging around on the beach in Pirate’s Bay, watching the fisherman fish, the pelicans fish and the beautiful big frigate birds souring overhead. It rained for a short period every day, just enough to freshen things up or give us a shower on our longs rows back from the shore. Nana and Dadcu left us early in the morning on January 10th and although Emma knew that they were leaving she spent ½ hour sulking on the steps when she woke up to find their beds empty. Very sad and cute.

The four of us, on our own again, rented a very old car from a rather strange company in Charlotteville and spent a day exploring the small island of Tobago. The roads were twisty and turny and the view beautiful and we drove along alternatively enjoying the views and hoping that the muffler wouldn’t fall off.

On January 13 we headed off to meet the Tangaroa in Store Bay as we planned to head on together to Chagauramus Bay in Trinidad that evening. Our sail to Store Bay was only 20 miles and we had wind from behind and current with us so we cruised along at a comfortable 6,5 knots in fairly flat water and warm sun. To make this short trip even more perfect we caught seven small tunas on the way. Before we were out of Pirate’s bay we had already heard the zzzing of the line two times and pulled in one fish. This was exactly the sail that I would have liked to share with my parents. They will have to visit again soon.

Photos of Suriname

Photos of Suriname. Click here to view the photos.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Store Bay, Tobago

We are on a mooring in Store Bay at the moment but we are staying in an appartment at the Crown Point Hotel. Nice to have a swimming pool and shower at hand. Tomorrow we will sail to Pirates Bay in the North of the island.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Land in zicht!

It is now 0918 local time (UTC-4) and we can clearly see Tobago and Trinidad vaguely on our port side. Only 60 hours after we left Paramaribo. We are expecting to drop anchor at Store Bay, Tobago in about two hours from now. It has been our fastest journey ever. We cannot wait to see the monkeys again!! Maybe that's why..?

207 Miles in 24 Hours!!!

This is a incredible 24hour record for us. Generally we calculate using a 24 hour average of SOG of 5,5 knots per hour, or 132 miles per 24h. Our record during the Atlantic crossing was 157 nm per 24 hour. This new record is thus approximately 30% faster with an average SOG of 8,6 knots.

As soon as it became dark last night we experienced high winds of around 26-30 knots gusting significantly higher. Made good progress with our second 24h distance of 178nm. We are on our final tack and hope to see land in the course of the morning. We expected our 480nm sail from Paramaribo, Suriname to Tobago to take us 3,5 days and it looks like we will arrive within 2,3 days!