Volume 7- Summer 2000
NEW - Click the images for larger versions!
posting to The Two Captains Web Site covers the period from June 21, 1999 to April
26, 2000. From now on, we are changing our format to
present briefer more regular updates.
Nearly a month has gone by since we launched. We are still in the
slip at Coral Cove, and will stay here for awhile yet, after all.
has been working hard to wind up several big projects. For example,
the washer/drier, which arrived with some operational problems, is now
repaired and fully installed in its own cabinet. that was able to
happen because we finally got the ducting for the air-conditioner.
The duct had to go behind the washer, so it was holding up that whole
corner of things. Now that locker is back in place, and it's pretty
amazing. At a quick glance you might never notice anything has
changed there at all!
The air conditioning is installed and operating, though our special
ducting isn't working as advertised. Lots of condensation collecting
along it. Drats. We have draw some standard ducting over it on one
side of the boat, kind of like trying to put pantyhose on over a leg
already in tight jeans. On the other side we will probably just pull out
the first duct and replace it with standard duct. It turns out there
was probably room for it from the start!
A big accomplishment is the new stereo system. We have moved the
base unit from the nav station to a spot under the TV, added a Clarion
marine 12v subwoofer and an equalizer, and run all new speaker wires.
The result is pretty fabulous sound. We have even fashioned an
ingenious system for running the TV/video through and the stereo, so now all
our movies are in pseudo surround-sound! It's for this reason we are
still hanging in Coral Cove...we are trying to tape movies from cable.
We don't seem to be very good at this. We seem to lose last half
hours, miss beginnings, get the wrong channel, lose 110v power, etc. etc.
There are a million other little things that are coming together bit by
bit. the last big systemic project is the installation of the new Ham/SSB
rig, Packtor II modem, and its attendant ground plane system. We are
getting lots of OTHER stuff done procrastinating on that one.
of our friends met here in Trinidad have left, some headed north, some
west. The new influx of cruisers dodging hurricane season hasn't
started yet. This makes the yachtie population here relatively thin.
Paradoxically, our social life has gotten quite busy between farewell
dinners and potlucks! For Easter, six of us enjoyed a huge snapper
barbecued by our friends Wayne and Pam, while for East Monday we hosted
six for butterflied lamb on the grill. For Don and me, it was as
close to a charter evening as we've had in awhile, and we enjoyed it
immensely. I guess the two of us just have "Hosting"
the side of the family that hasn't heard yet, Tiffany has fallen in love.
They have been friends for some time while he was in another relationship,
which means we have actually met him AND that the ever-protective PopZ was
able to shape a favorable opinion of him before dating his daughter was a
factor! We are happy she is happy. It is so much more fun to
have someone to share stuff with...especially someone who doesn't have to
travel around in a bag...like Tyson her Yorkie.
Our neighbors are about to back out of the slip! Now that's rubbing
it in! Gotta go.
More progress on boat projects, although for a few days there last
week we felt like we were in molasses. We pulled out the fancy duct and
put standard 6" insulated duct on the port side through the cupboards
in the head. At the moment THAT duct is all that's hooked up and it's
working like a top. Plenty cool without feeling like we're in a wind
tunnel. Makes sitting here at the computer pretty nice.
had a local electrical specialist in to help do some rewiring of the 110
panel. Upgraded the wiring, put in a second shore power connection
(which we happened to have the parts for so why not), separated some
panels with switches etc, so that we will a) keep the inverter safe from
any possible power crossovers 2) be able to use more shore power when we
want it, and 3) to be able to make use of all the potential amps out of
our generator (the main reason for doing this) So now we are
essentially wired for 50 amp service instead of 30amp. Extra safe.
Got extra pages put in our passports in an embassy experience that gave me
new faith in bureaucracy...at least for citizens. Outside the
embassy was a huge line of folk waiting for visas, but as citizens, we
breezed right into an air conditioned window, where it all happened within ten minutes and was
FREE! So, we are good to go to lots of interesting places.
night we went to an exhibition of Purple Dragon Don Jit-su Ryu. We
went because our friend Musket (he is the maxi driver for the hikers as
well as a fellow hiker) is an instructor. They are a top-ten-rated
school (#1 in the Caribbean) and have been invited to send a team to the
Olympics in Australia, so they are hustling to raise the necessary money.
Having never seen a real martial arts exhibition, I didn't have a clue
what to expect, but it was terrific. It is almost a choreographed
spectacle! The kids are adorable when little and impressive when older.
The motif is discipline of body and mind. There is a strong theme of
defending yourself, with dozens of scenarios of girls whipping male
attackers and good guys whomping the bad ones in "gang" type
scenarios. Goody two-shoes here winces a little that such scenarios
should even be presented, BUT this is probably closer to home here
than it would be in Middle America. Most of the exhibitions were
done with a surprising amount of humor, and in many, the
"combatants" would switch into slow motion, which has to take an
awesome amount of control One slo-mo scene depicted a guy
"losing his jewels", pausing to catch them as they fell back
from the sky and the stuffing him back in his pants before going on.
This was quite the crowd pleaser!
Both Musket's sons are involved. Kaylon is a black belt, and the
younger one "Kwizzy" is I think a yellow. The
Musket fan club of five, a small island of white faces in the crowd,
included "Lady Charlie" (her boat name).
Charlie is probably in her seventies. She has been in Trinidad about
six years, has been instrumental in shaping the local cruiser's net and
all its services for yachties, and has been to at least three of these
type events as Musket is one of her special guys. I'm glad she was
there for she was able to expalin a whole lot of what was going. The
finale presented Professor Don Jacobs, the inventor of the Don Jit-su Ryu
style and about
fourteen of his upper echelon, the sen seis and the instructors.
Musket was one of these. The Professor called them out one by one,
and demonstrated several ultimate moves that left this opponent flat one
by one...including slicing a watermelon on a guy's bare belly with a
sword! I'm sure exactly sure what it meant that we were disappointed
that Musket was not called out. Charlie told us that last year the
Professor flipped Musket and his sensei, both guys well-over 6'4", in
one move! It all looked a little set up to us, but Musket told us later
that it's slow for show, but it's fairly real...i.e. some of the guys were
in some real pain! And these are the big shots. So, Musket, I
guess, wasn't too disappointed being left on the mat! He will be going for
his sensei this summer.
hike yesterday wasn't much of a hike, but the falls we went to (all the
hell the way over to the East Coast of Trinidad) was gorgeous, a set of
two falls and pools in a gorge. We lolled over sandwiches and beer in the
upper pool while the local kids jumped, not just from the falls top, but
from high up in trees on the gorge's side into the lower pool! Yow!
Afterwards we went to the beach and hopped waves with the locals.
Could see Tobago pretty clearly in the distance!
Rigger is here tuning the rig. Sounds like sailor talk, eh?
What, move the condo? It's a thought! Don has broken
down and cleaned our genny winches so that they are like new inside which
means they match their outsides which have come back from being rechromed!
The starboard one is back together, and is sporting a brand new sunbrella
winch cover. Pretty stylin!
bartered or traded some Presidents' portraits this morning for a bread
machine. Our friend Dave told Don that he always encourages anything
his wife wants that results in bread, so Don decided he was in favor.
Plus we got a "deal!" Test bake happening as we type.
Getting mighty domestic. Don just left for a seminar presented by
the Heart Interface people. Tomorrow
night we have Pipe Dream over for pizza and Dominoes on TII...with their
dominoes, as the ones sent parcel post by Don's folks two months ago are
obviously lost in La La Land! Thursday we have a rental car with our
friends Wayne and Pam via which we'll be scouring the land for upholstery
So that's where we're at at the moment. Love all the Updates that
are taking life throughout the clan, specifically relative newcomers the
Erelwein's and the Lucas's. Not much e-word from
love-smitten Tiffany. GET ON THE COMPUTER!!!! Did get one from Young
Adam who's off to the Bahamas for a month or two of charters on his CSY
Argo. Wish the rest of you mum-types would give it a try!
a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and we are already back from our hike.
It was a great one this time, starting in Santa Cruz right near the estate
where the O'Farrell Carnival fete we went to was held, then proceeding up
over the mountain to come down the other side in Maracas, home of Bake and
Shark! On the way up we encountered a man meditating on a mat
of fronds, where he had been, he said, for 30 days. There was a pile of
pint water bottles. Otherwise he looked pretty normal.
"reached" (as they say here) about 11:30 after three hours on
the trail and made a beeline for cold Caribs, followed quickly by the Bake
& Sharks, and topped off with hopping waves off Maracas' gorgeous sand
beach. All that and home early, too! Snake doesn't choose to do this hike
too often because there are no waterfalls, which the yachties especially
like, but a gorgeous beach is a fine substitute.
Upon our return we brought Musket's extended family (I had to get him to
diagram out the relationships in the sand) down to see the boat and
magically printed out photos of the group that we shot only moments
before. Quite a hit. Now Kwesi (I finally asked him how to spell it)
is hoping that we might take him sailing. We'll see.
have finally started tackling the installation of the new SSB. I
think it's all the connections that daunt us. The manuals are not
hold-your-hand-types. Don has the major pieces in place, and we
think we will have it semi-operational in a day or two. However we
have yet to install the more extensive ground plane (counterpoise) that we
needed for better reception, which at the rate we move may take half the
We also got a bunch of our last wood pieces back from Fortress.
These include videotape shelves that will hang from the overhead to either
side of the mast and bookshelves that mount in the forepeak, plus a mount
for the outboard and a mount for our jerry jugs of spare fuel. These
pieces were on the boat for about a day before going right back out to the
Friday morning (after the Thursday ER season finale!), we intend to leave
the dock and go spend a weekend at anchor out in Scotland Bay, one of my
favorite anchorages in the Caribbean. This is where the Howler
monkeys congregate at dawn and dusk to roar unseen from the forest.
There are several hikes from there we have never explored, so we MAY not
sit on our duffs the entire weekend. We'll see.
the radio and after installation of all the last pieces, it's cleanup
time. Finding enough places to put things away will be a challenge.
We still have a bunch of stuff in storage that we have to stow or dump.
It looks like what's going to keep us here longest is waiting for the next
ham testing session. I don't even need to take a test, just fill out
forms, but the system requires that it be done at a test session.
Without the upgrade we can't use our HF email, so it's worth staying.
The bread maker is proving to be a terrific addition to our domestic scene.
Rather like the washer drier, once one has one, one discover many
others who have one, too. We have now heard several tales of bread
making right round the world. So far I've made four loaves,
including rye and Anadama. We are hooked!
has Steve McQueen in "Bullitt" squealing its chase scene stereo
surround sound from the TV, the AC is blowing chilly air, and he is sound
asleep! Frankly I think a nap sounds just lovely.
did, in fact get off the dock, almost as scheduled on Friday. Don
had spent the day in one of those inevitable "dealing with an engine
problem at the last minute". Then, after calmly and
level-headedly dealing with the problem (the heat exchanger boot was
cracked letting fluid leak out), he then started the engine without
reopening the through-hull. We didn't catch it right away, (he
thought he saw water!) so now the impeller was toast. Had to undo a lot of
what he'd just done to chase down impeller pieces. STILL, tenacity
prevailed and we got out before it was too late and motored out to
night the anchorage was relatively deserted. The Howler monkeys howled
from the dense forest, and TII drifted lazily around in circles, just like
a boat is supposed to do. Divine! Over the course
of Saturday -- a gorgeous sunny day that we blew off lolling in our shaded
cockpit and reading -- the number of boats quadrupled! Plus the
Trinis in their pirogues (long narrow boats with outboards) whizzed in and
out and other Trinis in their bigger powerboat came and partied.
Still it was a huge improvement over the slip.
dawned with no mothers in sight and no phone service to substitute. Our
friends Wayne and Pam, however, came out in their dinghy to visit, despite
the day being overcast and actually showery! They are avid
fisher-people and their dinghy is set up for trolling, so when they
finally arrived they had a fresh Pompano for us to fillet and throw on the
grill. I had made Taco soup so we had a right nice midday meal.
Monday, the crowd started dispersing, and by last night we were almost
got almost NO work done, although yesterday, we made a token effort.
I read three books and Don achieved the equivalent in his 1000-page Wilbur
Smith tome. This morning we are packing back up and heading back
into the slip. Hopefully we are reinvigorated, but I suspect mostly
we will just miss being out here!
all! We are back from two nights up at the Asa Wright Nature Center
high in the mountains above the Arima Valley.. We understand that
Asa Wright is a dream trip for serious birders, but for us it was simply a
lovely getaway, albeit an enforced getaway. Our varnishers were
doing the cabin sole plus some final coats of gloss on table tops and
edges, so "TheTwoClutzes" were persona non grata aboard.
who is into birds should consider a trip to Asa Wright. Most
sighting are easily done from a lovely verandah overlooking the
valley...as well as three fruit feeding tables and about six hummingbird
feeders. Even such novices as Don and I were able to tally up (and
remember) a good starter list. Don, of course, could be a real natural if
he were so inclined, with his eagle eye. As for me, the binoculars
were practically glue to my face. For us, the "price of
admission" was a good look at our first Toucan, a Channel-billed
Toucan for those who care. Flying, it looked as though that bill was
pretty heavy. We also got a close look at about eight bearded
mannequins -- looking not unlike fat chickadees -- doing their special
mating dance on a "court" on the forest floor.
There was little doubt that it's the rainy season. Indeed, it rained
most of our time there, but we were not disappointed. It gave us the
excuse to to sleep and read in our cool room with the rain beating heavily
on the foliage. None-the-less, we still fit in all the mapped trails
of the Center. They rate them by the 1, 2 & 3-hour durations,
but evidently those are at birding pace, not hiking pace! Being the
rainy season it was fairly slow there, which suited us fine. The people
were interesting and the food was plentiful -- three meals plus
"tea" at four" and "rum punch at six! It was a
back now, and our floor looks great! We are motivated to really
roll. Today is sunny, but the forecast for tomorrow is heavy rain.
Our climb of El Tucuche, scheduled for tomorrow, is canceled due to lack
of sign-ups. I can't say we are crushed. We have one week left
before target blast-off and an awful lot to fit in, so I'll say, bye for