On January 8, 2013, after six months at home, we climbed aboard the big silver bird at Tampa International Airport and flew south across the ocean to Trinidad, right at the door step to South America. Sometimes both Joy and I admit, it still feels like we’re living in an amazing dream, but here we are.
As we pulled into Power Boats Mutual Facilities’ yard we gazed at Ocean Angel and found her looking pretty spiffy on the exterior. She was decked out with new waterline and sheer stripes, a new First 42 insignia, a beautiful, new teak cockpit grate, and she looked like new both above and below the waterline. Workmen were busy finishing up all the last minute details; actually, it seems that everything in Trinidad is always a last minute detail! We’ve learned, along with everyone else, if you are not present, little or no work gets done. We’ve also learned it doesn’t pay to leave a deposit because that deposit makes no difference. Extreme patience, vigilance, and direct oversight are required to get the job done.
Directly across the harbor from the yard at Power Boats lies Crews Inn Marina’s long commercial wharf. When we arrived, this giant pipe-laying ship was berthed there for repairs and re-provisioning. The ship’s repair work continued day and night, 24/7, with incredible noise from the hammering, banging and clanging of metal work jarring our nerves. The only way I could get a good night’s sleep was to wear ear plugs in our room! None of us cruisers were sad to see this ship leave the docks as the intense noise level of the her repairs was unrelenting. As soon as this ship left, another pulled into the dock. Sometimes two or three ships dock at the same time if their size allows.
I climbed aboard Ocean Angel early the next day and opened the companionway to a scene reminiscent of 2012’s disaster. There was no mold, but I found water damage to much of the cabin sole, the galley cabinets, countertops, and nearby bulkheads. I couldn’t imagine what had caused this horrible mess. Our boat caretaker soon arrived and explained that he had entered the boat to check her one day and discovered the plumber who installed all our new thru-hull fittings and hardware had closed the valve to the galley sink drain, the one and only valve that needed to remain open to allow our dehumidifier condensate to drain. The sinks filled, overflowed, and by the time “AK”, our caretaker, discovered the closed valve, the damage was done. Another huge mess I have yet to resolve, one that will require extensive wood work and refinishing. Had I only been there, this damage never would have happened.