Miss Aguila part II (A failed Foray)

Calling all potential Aguila girls...

Calling all potential Aguila girls…

So going out mid week was not a great idea after all, even though I had the time and the venue just right.


La Puerta. Santa Marta’s hip and happening night spot.

With live music on a Wednesday night, I was not surprised to find the venue packed.

Everybody knows about the nightlife at La Puerta

Everybody knows about the nightlife at La Puerta

Dressed as best a sailor can (which isn’t saying much really), I started the evening with high expectations. How many quasi fair haired, blue eyed types with a 6ft plus stature can there be in a place like this? I should at least attract enough attention from the dark haired beauties to sneak a smiling snapshot or two.

No such luck. Somehow I managed to arrive in the midst of what must have been the annual Aryan eugenics convention’s night out.

I’d never seen so many tall, fair-haired, blue eyed, gentlemen of Germanic persuasion gathered in one place. And all of them better dressed, taller, younger and considerably more muscular than myself.

After one beer, I was out of there…

Sketch at La Puerta. The fellow with his hands raised probably gave up too...

Sketch at La Puerta. The fellow with his hands raised probably gave up too…

I’m old enough to know when I’m not in the race. Or in the same stadium in which the race is taking place. Or the same city for that matter… You get the picture…

My only consolation was that there were no Aguila girls in evidence.

Somewhat discouraged, I stole away from the festivities to focus what little energy I had left that evening on projects with a higher probability of success. Turning my three defunct ST-2000 tiller-pilots into at least one that might work.

Not that I’ve given up on my quest.

It’s just that I will have to devise an alternate “smart and cunning plan” to draw out the elusive Colombian Aguila girl.

Every man needs an obsession… and I hear that chasing leopards is so passe…

Aruba to Santa Marta, Colombia

A Renaissance Hotel beach in Aruba

A Renaissance Hotel beach in Aruba

OK, this is a tough one. I can say nothing bad about Aruba. My stay was hassle free, the people courteous, the facilities second to none and yet… and yet, I’ve been bored out of my wits.

This is definitely the place to go when you want to relax and do nothing.

The trouble is I do exactly that… every day! The last thing I want to do when I make landfall is nothing.

Your Hotel beach shuttle awaits!

Your Hotel beach shuttle awaits!

What fun is there in taking the hotel boat to the private beach when you have your own boat and see nothing but isolated beaches on an almost daily basis? 😉

What a conundrum! Do you suppose someone will let me mow their lawn or do some other fun activity like answer their phone in the office all day?

I took this photo from a bridge at the private beach.

I took this photo from a bridge at the private beach.

Oh look, a fish! How exciting… not… Let me take a picture…

Everyone that passed by wanted their photo taken by the white boat. :(

Everyone that passed by wanted their photo taken by the white boat. 🙁

If I were a gambling man, I’d be in paradise. Just ten paces from my mooring is the resort casino… Except I find casinos depressing. Nothing depresses me more than loosing my money (well, perhaps having it stolen does), so it remains a wonder to me that people frequent them at all. Or am I the only one that loses money in a casino… Perhaps there is a way to enjoy being depressed?

I’ll have to ponder that.

I think that the real reason I’m bored is that Aruba has very little to offer eligible young bachelors… or me for that matter… It’s a family destination.

Eileen of Avoca arrives in Santa Marta to a jubliant crowd.

Eileen of Avoca greeted in Santa Marta Colombia by a jubliant virtual crowd.

So I’ve braved the January gales (it really does get rather windy in this region), the enormous turbulent seas (OK, I’m starting to exaggerate now), and rounded one of the top 5 most dangerous capes (every sailor coming through here mentions this piece of J.Cornell trivia just to let others know how courageous they’ve been), and made the arduous passage to Santa Marta Colombia.


Haven’t I been brave? (rhetorical question… said with a dollop of sarcasm… just in case any of my so called friends were thinking of making some clever comment at this point).

Now, who else can I tell…

I’ve been in prison!

My cell block comes with a view.

Here I am doing time with hard labor in Chaguaramas prison… Well it may not look like prison, but it certainly feels like it!

It’s  hot here… much too hot. I’ve never been anywhere where I’ve suffered the heat as much as in the yards of Chaguaramas, and that includes the deserts of Egypt and Australia.

Not the slightest hint of a breeze. The sultry air saps your strength so that just walking between the yards and the chandlers is exhausting, and here I am hoping to carry out maintenance work on Eileen of Avoca. Absurd isn’t it?

Another dawn in sultry Trinidad

The smart people leave their boat with a to-do list for the yard and fly back home until the end of the hurricane season.

The not so smart (smart here being a synonym for wealthy), live aboard, hire an air conditioner, and deal with their own to-do list before the end of the hurricane season.

Then there’s me….

Eileen of Avoca entering the stocks in Trinidad

I don’t even have a fan on board, I think someone’s dog ate my to-do list, and I’ve apparently confused hurricane season with leopard hunting season… 🙂

Unfortunately Trinidad is under a declared state of emergency.

What does this mean for wandering yachtsmen? It means that after you’ve labored all day in the stifling heat you get to stay in your boat all night to enjoy more of that stifling heat, plus a swarm of mosquitoes and cockroaches as a bonus. Did I mention the stifling heat?

It’s lock down by 11pm or a 5000 US dollar fine and possible imprisonment if you’re caught wandering about at night.

To top it off, sailors are falling ill with dengue fever by the dozen, and there is at least one death a month through yard accidents…. Will I survive the hazards of boat maintenance in Trinidad?

Well, here is what I’ve been busy with during the day…

I've removed the propeller shaft and rudder


Replaced the old stuffing box with this...


Machined a new rudder pin and cutlass bearing...


Bolted it all back together...


Now I just need to give Eileen a new coat of anti-fouling

And this is what I’ve been doing at night.

Nightlife in Trinidad

If anyone is reading this, please post bail and get me out of here….

Perhaps I should have done a little more research, because Chaguaramas is:

  • Uncomfortable…. NOTE: Understatement of the century…
  • Expensive! Watch out for poor quality work…
  • Bureaucratic to say the least. BTW, should customs officers really be hinting at extra storage fees, overtime, and travel expenses when clearing goods?
  • No longer tax free, unless you are willing to wait months for your ordered “yacht in transit” goods. Items stocked by chandlers incur VAT.

Moreover, Trinidad in general:

  • Is rather dangerous and currently under curfew to curb crime… (may it only briefly remain so). But if the street gangs don’t get you, perhaps the dengue will…
  • Is not in the least bit tourist friendly… I’ve been accosted in the street just for taking mundane holiday snapshots. The only other place this has ever happened to me was in Suriname.
  • Is almost clueless when it comes to “customer service”. Fortunately there are occasional exceptions (so perhaps there is still some hope)…
  • Doesn’t have any leopards… (so much for that glimmer of hope)…

Does Trinidad have at least one saving grace?

Might things be looking better after all?

Or perhaps two?

I appear to have my hands full....

Nah, they never did call me back after my phone was stolen… 🙁

Final verdict on Trinidad and Tobago?

Get me back in the water a.s.a.p.

I liked it so much that I’ve decided to give up on the Caribbean and sail back to South America for Christmas. I suspect that the lure of the leopards and continued PBBS are to blame.