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?
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….
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…
And this is what I’ve been doing at night.
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?
Or perhaps two?
Nah, they never did call me back after my phone was stolen… 🙁
Final verdict on Trinidad and Tobago?
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.