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Greetings from Trinidad!
I hear that it is a very lovely place. The 200 yards around the small harbor are nice. Other than that, I really could not say. We will probably head out first thing tomorrow morning for Panama, only 2 days behind schedule. As someone once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
I arrived at about 7:00pm last Sunday and immediately knew that I was on Island time. I hit Customs 4 bags of sailing equipment and I was immediately told, “Oh, you are in the wrong line – please head over to the Red line” After several hours of , “Oh, you need to . . . wait in this line / speak with the manager / get an “Advice Form” / in triplicate / please open your bags (again). I made it past the gauntlet to get picked up by Rob and head to the small town of Changuaramas where the boat was docked. We then went through Customs again. We handed over the paper that we were given at the airport the Changuaramas customs agent asked, “What's this?” We told him it was an Advice. He said, “Oh, yes, you need this.”, went through our bags, and sent us on our way. Each of the 5 crew members could tell a similar story, but with a different set of lines to stand in and different set of "required" papers.
It is not that people are jerks, or stupid, or anything else. Is just that on the Island, nothing really needs to get done. Anything that happens is a blessing. As a corollary to that, any act of coordination or planning is purely unintentional. Why plan or coordinate, when it really doesn't matter anyway?
As you can imagine, everything in this environment takes a little longer than expected. Shopping, services, eating, breathing . . . whatever. The original plan was to have left port two days ago, having completed a punch list of about 60 items to be cleaned / repaired / installed. After cutting that list down to 20 "must-dos" and working 14 hour days all week, we will probably head out first thing tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
For those of you inclined to worry, the 20 must-do's still puts us in the top .02% of preparedness and safety. We already had safety rails around the boat, yet we spent 3 person-days adding safety netting which is usually reserved for dogs and small children. I've spent 4+ days doubling the fuel filtration system, then adding a third back-up filter with separate fuel pump. We have a fireman and two fully trained paramedics on crew with complete trauma kits. Rob is so obsessed with safety and preparedness that he is getting *dentistry* training once he gets back to the US. Really, I am not kidding.
This catamaran is one of the safest boats you can have on the water to begin with. Cat's are know to be super-stable, and he got one of the wide, slow ones for that extra bit of stability. For comparison, one of those little 10 foot sunfish boats is the equivalent of a scooter. A 27' monohull is like an old Honda CB550. A 35 foot monohull is a Harley. The Triton is a 42' RV with cruise control that tops out at 35 mph.
Hopefully, we will be pulling out and heading to Panama first thing in the morning. It will be a 6 – 10 day trip, with a possible a short stop in Aruba on the way. Any updates will be brief, as our email access will be very limited. If anything important comes up, please send an email to AnnMarie and she will forward it on.
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