Eileen of Avoca sails back to the Caribbean

I live to work another day!

I live to work another day!

While on route to Trinidad, I spent the Maya “end of days” and Christmas alone at sea.

I survived both…

I should have paid more attention to arts and craft lessons...

I should have paid more attention to arts and craft lessons…

However, neither event spared me the from the labor of an annual boat haul with its myriad of maintenance torments…

Check the graffiti for EIleen of Avoca...

Check the graffiti for EIleen of Avoca…

But this time I made a point of hiring some liberty (note the car in the photo above) for that essential evening lime in downtown Port of Spain.

steel band

Yet another steel band struts its stuff

Or for catching up with the 2013 Panorama steel band competition in Arima.

Albatros Feliz

Albatros Feliz

And while I was busy doing all this…. I missed out on the largest yacht to visit Saint Laurent du Maroni yet. I did however catch up with the 25m Albatros Feliz for a photo opportunity in Chaguaramas Trinidad.

On Thursday the 17th of January, EIleen of Avoca returns to the water and her Caribbean adventures continue as I point her toward the Dominican Republic.




All the way to Kos for maintenance…

Saling again at last

Sailing again at last!

I arrived on the 3rd of September to find Eileen of Avoca boasting a new coat of antifoul and looking a little more polished than when I left her in August. Had Kos Marine Services lived up to my exacting standards?

The following morning, I had a close look at the work and my initial enthusiasm became somewhat muted. It all looked just a little hurried. The sea cock had been replaced along with the through hull fitting very professionally, but the three coats of antifoul looked more like one, the varnish for the rudder/tiller (400 Euro), while costing me more than the engine service (300 Euro) had run, and polish leftovers lay everywhere.

No serious workmanship issues, but I do confess to being a little miffed by the (exorbitant?) unforeseen charges, lack of itemized receipts, and requirement to pay more than half the work in cash. Perhaps I harbor unreasonably high expectations.

On the 5th of September Eileen was lifted back into the water. Free to travel at last.

The travel plan is still on track.

A little gymnastics is required to get on and off Eileen when she is moored “Med. style”. I have to haul on the warps to get the bowsprit to within a meter of the quay before making a proverbial “leap of faith” as the boat swings back into position. Not so easy when loaded with all manner of impedimenta.

Encumbered with my kayak tender this morning, I found myself taking an unexpected first-light swim in my Sunday’s best! Fortunately, nobody was looking, even if I could have used help dragging myself back onto the quay.

The rest of the day was spent on odd jobs: changing spent navigation lights, sorting through miscellaneous gear and removing the hastily repaired and somewhat troublesome “Tiller Pilot” mount. Thoroughly exciting so I’ll spare you additional details.

There was not much time to play tourist but I did wander into the heart of town on occasion. On one such visit I came across a most unusual spectacle. An old man wrestling with his goose (literally!). A small crowd had gathered to watch the senior citizen as he took a firm grip of the birds beak and gave it a vigorous shake. The goose was not phased in the least! Evidently this was a frequent and affable encounter which leads me to wonder; given the disagreeable nature of geese (flashback to childhood memories of being pursued by a gaggle of angry avians), how does one even think to grapple with a wild goose in order to acclimate it to head shaking in the first place?

All too soon it was time to pack and prepare for my trip back to Belgium. So, what was the point to all this travel especially as I didn’t get to do any sailing? Well, I delivered a handsome new Jeckells sail wardrobe for Eileen and paid my mooring fees, but more importantly I had a chance to reassure myself that despite a spate of last minute hindrances to the grand get away plan, the envisaged journey was still largely on track.