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Old 27-04-2011, 19:42   #16
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Mark,
I was the Cabo Rico anchored at Harts Cut/TTSA '02, '03, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08. My experiences were different than yours.
John
I don't know how you could have such a different perception if you were really there in '05. Of coarse, the folks in marinas, or anchored really close, had it very differently. We were the tri anchored WAY out in the bay, as we had no swinging room closer in with our rope/chain rode. Our friends on a mooring, on the other side, (Chaguramas bay), were in the worst of it. Dinghies were being stolen about twice a week, and several boats were boarded & robbed or cruisers raped, by guys with machetes! There was a "cruisers watch" going on where someone patrolled every night in their dinghy, (alternating turns), and everyone kept their radios on. It was really scary. All the cruisers I came to know & stay in touch with, consider it the scariest place they had ever been!

On the other hand, once you go in to town to the mall, where they don't let the "bad guys" in, I would agree that THIS portion of the Trinidad population are VERY delightful people. In general... smart, articulate, friendly, and beautiful. It is like a different Trinidad!

Unfortunately, inland tours, trips to the mall, etc, took a backseat to daily LONG walks, or maxi rides to Peaks or Budget Marine, for yet more marine stuff. The muggers were working the maxis pretty hard, only victimized yachties, and the working class Maxi riders, (that ALL worked in the area resented our presence), would just laugh.

Our walking on the side of the road was dangerous as well!

I am glad to hear that you had a nice experience there! If you read back to boat magazines and such, however, you will see that the stories I related did happen, it was rampant, the TRINIDAD TV news listed it as the second most violent Caribbean country, There WERE regular kidnappings, and MOST cruisers were scared shitless to be there.

May we all have good experiences... M.
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Old 27-04-2011, 20:29   #17
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Sorry, for your experiences, I listened every day to the morning net and there was no mention of rapes, nor did I ever hear of any verified boardings/robberies. The boat watch was started by a very perinoid cruisier who worked himself into quite a snit, which in talking to him seemed alittle racial, in fact that was a main complaint of several people, that the place was full of blacks.
Sorry modes delete if you must.
Any sane person knows to secure their dinghy as all the dinghies stolen were not locked up. Nobody should anchor on the Chargamas side, the workboats will drive you crazy as the service the oil industry.
Did you attend the seminar sponsered by local businessmen, YSATT, and the US Enbassy on safty issues? I did, and found it very informative, ie most of it never happened.
YSATT is the yacht services assn. devoted to insuring that we cruisiers have a positive experiense in Trinidad, they will listen to ALL complants and go out of their was to resolve issues. They've even worked to smooth relations between Customs and Immigration for we cruisiers.
My rememberence of the aftermath of hurrican Ivan was one of the cruisiers and locals sending relief supplies to Granada and I was on the groups that went out in the waters between Cranada and Trinidad to assist damaged boats come into the boatyards where they were given emergency haulouts. All of us banded together to help all of the people of Grandad.

I repeat I neather heard of nor experienced any problems that were not out of the ordinary for the Caribbean. And I stopped at all of them.
I lived for 12 years next to Oakland Calif. and I can relate stories that would curl your hair.
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Old 27-04-2011, 20:31   #18
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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I guess my experiences in Trinidad were different than what is reported by second and third hand sources. I spent six hurricane seasons in Trinidad anchored out for six months for all six seasons. I made the crossing between Granada and Trinidad 12 times. I hauled out 3 times, I visited the remote islands several times. Yes I used Jesse but I also used the maxi-taxis, I accepted rides from locals who were total strangers. I walked after dark along the dark road back to Hart's Cut and was stopped by locals and invited to join in their supper.
I had major work done on my boat by very skilled local people.
Each time I returned to Trinidad I thought of it as my home away from home. Mention my boatname "Sanderling" to Jesse James.
I Never had any problems with the locals in seven years.

For the life of me I can't understand why people stress out about Trinidad.
John, your experiences in Trinidad and the numerous crossings that you did between Grenada and Trini are very encouraging indeed. When were you last there, as I understand that the concerns are in the last year or two. I will certainly mention your boatname Sanderling to Jesse James. Thank you again for sharing your positive experiences.
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Old 11-05-2011, 12:05   #19
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

I am looking for a buddy boat to do the crossing with, I have booked a haul out at peakes for 31st may, and will be weather watching in prickly bay, from about 23rd may. on hunter 45ft sailboat
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Old 11-05-2011, 14:15   #20
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

If Trinidad is so safe, how come Spice Island Marine and St. Davids became fully booked. Most of the new comers are from Trinidad and say that they will not go back.
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Old 11-05-2011, 14:37   #21
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Beats me, why don't you ask them. Why the heck do you believe complete strangers without listening to the other side?

Hell, I'd never ever live on the East coast of the US!

One of the really great things about cruising is if you don't like one place you can move to another place.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:32   #22
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

As another Caribbean cruiser who has been in Grenada from 2004 (H.Ivan) to 2011, I have been to Trinidad about a dozen times usually at different times of the year each year.
- - As with John A, in all the times I have been to Trinidad I have never had any incidents or thefts or other unpleasant problems. However, I was born and raised in New York City so I have the "streetwise" savvy that IMHO makes all the difference between being able to have good experiences and avoiding circumstances that lead to very unpleasant experiences. Which means "attitude" is 90% of the equation and probably "luck" is the other 10%. There are people who can walk blindfolded across an Interstate Highway at rush hour with nary a scratch and others who get "hit" just by standing anywhere near a highway.
- - Specifically getting from Grenada to Trinidad, the most successful (at least for me) route is direct from the south shore of Grenada - straight - to Bocas de Monos cut. This route takes you about 2 to 3 nm west of the large Gas Platform which is located 24.5 nm north of the Boca. Most important in the process is to know what your SOG for your boat is and then plan your departure from Grenada so as to arrive at the Gas Rig at about 04:00 and the Boca de Monos at about 08:00 - give or take an hour. So the passage is a night passage when the VZ pirates are safely tucked into their beds with the covers up tight around them.
- - The rational for the night passage is two-fold - first and foremost is that the officials in Trinidad have historically - recently this may have changed as the new Trinidad government is very interested in increasing the number of cruising boats coming to Trinidad - been politely put, less than lenient about charging overtime fees for non-business hour arrivals/departures. They have been known and have always asked me both at Immigration and at Customs - "what time did you enter Trinidad waters?" This is a trick question aimed at getting you to admit that you entered their realm during non-business hours and then they can charge you for "over-time." Savvy cruisers always answer with a non-definitive reply that puts your arrival after 08:00.
- - Secondly, the night passage has been without incident with pirates from VZ. However, night passages are a little different than those you may have done "up-island." The route from Grenada to Trinidad is also the main shipping route from Trinidad to the eastern Caribbean Islands and as such there are a lot of barges/tows and inter-island small freighter plying the waters - and - without lights at night. Having radar on and operating at night is almost mandatory to be able to detect and avoid these vessels.
- - Alternatively, moving your route to the east of the Gas Platform will get you away from the main shipping route so you have less to worry about and also move you out of the - so far - range of the VZ pirates. The easterly deflection will of course increase the hours needed for the passage.
- - As is published in the cruising guides and such, currently there are 4 maybe 5 marinas available to transients in Chagauramas Bay and 4 boatyards. If you have reservations at a particular boatyard for hauling they will normally provide (at a fee) a slip for you until your haul date.
- - The official regulations require that you do not anchor or moor or take a slip prior to officially checking in at Immigration/Customs. The only exception is Crews Inn is where the Immigration/Customs offices are located so you can take a slip there prior to checking in. The official customs dock is located at Crews Inn off the end of the buildings with the stores/shops/restaurants which has a faux lighthouse on top. By mid-morning this dock which only has room for two boats can be occupied such that you have to raft up or hang loose until somebody leaves.
- - After officially checking in you are free to proceed to your chosen marina/boatyard or if you wish to anchor proceed to the designated Chagauramas Bay anchorage or TTSA around the corner east of Chag Bay. Anchoring in Chag Bay - and/or taking a mooring provided by YSATT or a local is in my opinion only viable if you are only going to spend a day or two there. As stated by others the official Chag Bay anchorage is located right between where the gas/oil rig workboats dock and where they go. So it is not uncommon for the workboats to pass through the anchorage at whatever speed creates the maximum possible wake. This has been known to lay spreaders into the water and in one incident I personally know of cause broken bones by the cruisers in their boats.
- - Much better is the "free" anchorage around the corner at TTSA. "Free" in that the anchorage is free but to get ashore you need a temporary membership in TTSA which costs about $90/month and includes free Wifi and water. So it is a good deal anyway you look at it as Wifi in Chag Bay is not free and averages about $75/mo for a system that is somewhat reliable.
- - For the return north to Grenada and up-island it gets a bit trickier as both a night passage or a day-passage works fine. However, a day passage puts you "in the zone" of time and place where historically the VZ pirates operate. I do daylight passages north and have never had a problem, but that is just my Karma. Others have not been so lucky. Officially you cannot check-out and then "stage" for a night passage. Many cruisers have ignored this requirement but you are taking a risk of a confrontation with the Trinidad officials. Use you own judgement.
- - The last four years we have spent all of the hurricane season in Grenada without any difficulties or storm scares, but that is at Mother Nature's whim and cannot be relied upon to continue into the future.
- - Grenada has a population of just over 100K people whereas Trinidad has around 1.5 million. So you are comparing a small village type experience in Grenada with a big city type experience in Trinidad. You need to adjust your attitude to fit the reality of the two different places.
- - Grenada is small, warm and very "folksy" with a large cruiser community and a large number of cruiser activities and social experiences available. There is always something going on with such a large cruiser presence.
- - Trinidad is like a large city experience, small cruiser and most recently very small cruiser community so you are generally on your own. But there are big city things like an excellent zoo, botanical gardens, lots of huge shopping malls, mega movie theaters, and of course, tours by Jesse James to incredible swamps, nature centers, and cultural/historical sites. Add in big city shopping and you can see that the two places are not really comparable - they are quite different.
- - In Grenada you have the opportunity to move your boat from bay to bay or even up to Carriacou for awhile whenever you get tired of staying in one place too long. In Trinidad you are officially required to remain in your marina or anchorage for your entire stay (or on the hard in a boatyard) so your activities are all land based for the time you are there.
- - Different strokes for different folks - You pick the one that suits your personal tastes best.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:50   #23
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

As to "shrink- wrapping" your boat in the boatyards in Trinidad - it is not really shrink-wrapping. They use PVC water pipe to build a canopy over your boat and then stretch shrinkable plastic over the frame. The frame is above your deck and keeps the sun from beating down directly on your boat's decks. There is airspace between the canopy and the deck so the temperature inside the boat is considerably lower than if you did not have the canopy.
- - Security in Trinidad is another matter. With the high population and high unemployment there are numerically more "bad guys" around so you need to strip your decks of anything and everything that might invite a thief.
- - In water, anchored or in a marina there is little that can be done to thwart thieves since they can arrive by their own dinghy and leave the same way. Land access to the marinas is tightly controlled to virtually eliminate the problem from that direction.
- - Dinghies need stout chains and locks and also chains and locks on the motor to the dinghy. Companion-way hatches and hatches need to be better secured than just relying upon a hasp and padlock. A screwdriver or piece of re-bar can pop off a hasp lock in two seconds. So apply some brain cells to devising a better locking mechanism for access to your boat. With common sense precautions and a degree of karma luck you will also be in the group wondering what all the fuss is about.
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Old 12-05-2011, 22:03   #24
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

funny, nobody is talking about going to Curacao during 'cane season ...
hurricane safe, below the hurricane belt, only +/- 3 daysails away from Trini and a nice place to stay, be it Spanish Water for free anchoring or go to Curacao Marine's boatyard to be on the hard, or tie down to the floating dock ...
Curacao Marine - Ship Yard on Curacao Netherlands Antilles
OK, less easier to sail back North again, but very doable, depending on the weather/wind direction ...
turn East to Los Roques first, then North is what most sailors do ...
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Old 14-05-2011, 12:07   #25
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Hi
Wandering.. how do you deal with the 90 days max stay in Curacao/Bonaire? Spending some time in Aruba as well??

Michel
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Old 14-05-2011, 12:58   #26
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

In Trinadad/Tobago a tourist visa is also for a maxium of 90 days. Two weeks before the visa expires, you must visit Immigration and obtain an appointment to meet with immigrations, the time is needed to find your documentation from your initial entry.
At the appointed time you explain that you'd like to stay for the reminder of the Hurricane season. and to complete ships repairs. Knowlegable cruisiers obtain a letter from a ex-pat boat vendor as proof that you're engaged in repair work. If there are no outstanding complaints against you, a 90 day extension is awarded you, for a fee of cousre.
If you leave the boat and fly home to return at a later date, a new 90 day visas is given to you no problem.
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Old 14-05-2011, 14:37   #27
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Sorry, for your experiences, I listened every day to the morning net and there was no mention of rapes, nor did I ever hear of any verified boardings/robberies. The boat watch was started by a very perinoid cruisier who worked himself into quite a snit, which in talking to him seemed alittle racial, in fact that was a main complaint of several people, that the place was full of blacks.
Sorry modes delete if you must.
Any sane person knows to secure their dinghy as all the dinghies stolen were not locked up. Nobody should anchor on the Chargamas side, the workboats will drive you crazy as the service the oil industry.
Did you attend the seminar sponsered by local businessmen, YSATT, and the US Enbassy on safty issues? I did, and found it very informative, ie most of it never happened.
YSATT is the yacht services assn. devoted to insuring that we cruisiers have a positive experiense in Trinidad, they will listen to ALL complants and go out of their was to resolve issues. They've even worked to smooth relations between Customs and Immigration for we cruisiers.
My rememberence of the aftermath of hurrican Ivan was one of the cruisiers and locals sending relief supplies to Granada and I was on the groups that went out in the waters between Cranada and Trinidad to assist damaged boats come into the boatyards where they were given emergency haulouts. All of us banded together to help all of the people of Grandad.

I repeat I neather heard of nor experienced any problems that were not out of the ordinary for the Caribbean. And I stopped at all of them.
I lived for 12 years next to Oakland Calif. and I can relate stories that would curl your hair.
The stories I heard were from the victims of the stories, or the local news. (OR I witnessed it). I wouldn't believe a word from a group meeting of local businessmen, as it is in their interest to misrepresent safety issues, to keep clients happy. What you're saying couldn't be further from the truth, regarding "what went on" in '05, but I believe you that "you were oblivious to it all". Likewise, I hope you believe me about what I "know firsthand" as well. Not being aware of something, doesn't mean it didn't happen!

I KNOW that a couple was boarded and assaulted by a machete wielding crazy, over at Chagureamas Bay.

While anchored at TTSA, I heard on the VHF that a boat in Chagueramas Bay was on FIRE! The coasties in their small speed boat, had been buzzing all of us, doing high speed doughnuts, (their usual practice)... but after hearing on the VHF of the emergency, they headed out at DEAD slow, so the boat would be burned by the time they got there. They never sped up. I watched until they were out of sight! Just like many of the working class locals, (EXCEPT the business owners), the officials treated us like dirt, and resented our being there. There were conversations among the boatyards about the problem, and we did in fact get corroboration and sincerer apologies from our boatyard management, as they heard the same stories daily.

The dinghy thefts were NOT unlocked dinghies, in fact the guys stole SO many bolt cutters. (locally), that they left them on the banks after stealing the dinghies, (at one or two locked dinghies per week).

There was a case of a panga hitting a dinghy full of kids, while tied behind their boat... And no charges were pressed. They came close on purpose!

I talked to dozens of people who were involved in the safety patrol, and know that the stories are true. It was NOT the work of one paranoid person. The fear was universal, and for good reason, not paranoia.

I talked to the person personally who was repeatedly harassed by the customs boat, because his courtesy flag was wrapped a couple of times around it's halyard. VERY petty!

I was treated in an equally bizarre manner by customs, when I went to renew my visa. He asked my profession, and when told I was a boat builder, spent great effort trying to trick me into admitting I had been employed there, (which I had not). I also HAD to present documentation of how much money I had spent in the boatyard, to be worthy of being given an extension on our visa. They adopted a practice of sending folks out into H season after their first 3 months, IF they hadn't spent enough money.

The boat anchored next to me... When the elderly couple were on shore, they were run into by a car, due to the crazy way they drive there, even going off the road when they hit them. NO, the driver didn't stop, and YES the woman spent time in the hospital. (These folks had been several feet off of the road).

A customs boat harassed me in the middle of the night, and I was forced to stand there naked under a huge spotlight, while a bunch of presumably drunk guys laughed. I couldn't even fend off their boat, that had it's bow OVER the top of my tri's ama in a 2' chop. Only as they motored away could I see the markings on the side of the cigarette boat. As they were almost gone, one of the laughing officials said: "Put some pants on mon"! I wasn't laughing...

We were harassed, or treated rudely on the Maxi's pretty much daily. When we'd smile and say: "Thank You" to the driver, (handing him the money), we never once got a response or even eye contact! It was like they saw courtesy & kindness as weakness. The other occupants on the Maxis, except the few yachties, were usually the same way.

We spoke to others at TTSA who were mugged off of the Maxi's, and the occupants laughed. The drivers seemed to be in on it, or not care at all. The perpetrators ran away and into a passing car, laughing: "I love Trinidad"! There was a rash of these muggings between Chaugeramas and TTSA. NONE were prosecuted. The Police were between uninterested and non existent.

I talked to these folks! The victims of all of this rudeness, violence, harassment, or petty theft, were always yachties.

The FACT was that Trinidad was second only to Jamaica for violent crime in the entire Caribbean, (It was listed as such on the TV news). I had had Trinidadian born friends for decades, that moved to Tobago years earlier, to get away from the crime.

There were a number of well known kidnappings in Port of Spain, and even the Prime Minister was under arrest for corruption, but refused to be arrested, and was hold up in his compound. There was a standoff with police that went on for days.

I have previously pointed out the "other Trinidad"... The kind, polite, middle class Trinidadians that don't usually frequent the Chaguramas area. I have seen wonderful natural beauty there as well, with Jessie's help, (on a previous trip to Trinidad in '00). But, regarding the '05 cruise to Trinidad, in the Chaguramas area, for someone going on the Maxis or walking to the marine stores DAILY, I know what I experienced, heard, and saw...

None of what I witnessed, fell victim to, or heard first hand is a fabrication. We try to leave a clean wake where ever we go, and did so here as well. We loved Jessie James, and made a number of friends, but the fact remains that not just us, but MOST of the friends we made at TTSA, who made the trip to Chagueramas daily, were pretty much scared shitless to be there. We made it a point to be back on the boat before dark, and survived. The summer we spent there, is a matter of record. I have read in NUMEROUS marine publications that others had or witnessed similar experiences. It is simply not true that we ALL hallucinated it!

I can only hope it has improved, and the prison island doesn't dump their hundreds of pounds of garbage in the water daily, where it drifts into TTSA. I hope the local sailors stopped using anchored boats as their "mark", sometimes ramming them, (as happened to us). I hope the locals stopped playing BOOM BA BOOM on the banks at one end, and EOOIIEEEOOIOOO on the other, end until 3:30 AM... at a volume SO DAMNED loud that even at 1/4 mile away earplugs are useless, and you just lay there with your chest rattling, ALL night! (Leaving a 3/4 mile long pile of garbage a foot deep in the morning)... I hope the tar balls and oil slicks that rolled in every week, ruining our new bottom job, have stopped too.

Like I said, just because you witnessed none of this, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Of the dozens of cruisers I know who went to Trinidad, at the time I'm talking about, you are the first that I have heard of that would go back...
Enjoy. M.
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Old 14-05-2011, 16:06   #28
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Mark,
Sorry for your experiences, mine were different. I stayed for six months at a time from 2002 thru 2008.
As an added bonus(and the main reason for my return each year) I had a spot of catagory three carcinoma removed from the insde of my bladder for less the $5.000 US that since 2003 has not returned. I returned each year for an examination. Trinidad was also the only place that I found to repair/replace hearing aids. They were repaired for free and replaced for half the US cost if I paid in cash and didn't get a receipt.
Sure there's crime, it happens all over.

Trinidad suffers from a host of problems. In the early 1800's when slavery was abolished by Britian, the local poulation refused to work for the landowners who out of disperation intendured thousands of peopole from India. The two groups hate each other to this day. The Chagueramas area was seized by the US to use for submarine warfare in the Alantic during WWII, incidently more German subs where sunk off the cost of South America that the North Sea. Any way at the end of the war the land wa turned over to the Trinadiain goverment. It pissed the locals to death and yachtie go home signs can be seen to this day,
The large fish camp located in Chagueramas is going to be converted to a new marina and 200 kixal fisherman are SOL
The school system conducts a SAT type test in about the seventh grade, Those that fail are denied further education. Some go to tech school but most do not.
Trinidad has beem independant of Britain since 1962, In about 1995 Shell Oil turned it's lage oil refinery and ddrilling operation over to the local government.
The PM you spoke about is named Manning a knowen corruot SOB on the level with Chaevz in Venazula. But the only way to get him removed was to elect an Indian woman, and that wasn't going to happen. These two were in control of their factions and this sorry state went on for decades. I've since heard that a third person has been elected so time will tell.
Kidnapping is a way of live in third world countries as the gap widens between the haves and the never wills. I think its been mentioned that Trinidad has over 1.5 million people while the other islands will have a max of 100,000. More people more crime. Compare New York City with Boise, Idaho

Mark, I could go on about bad stuff that happens throughout the Caribbean, but why?
Personnaly I was more worried when I made landfall at Weat Palm Beach, Florida. And all the crap that I've watched on COPS shows that I'm correct in my fear.
enough, take care and enjoy your boating experience.
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Old 14-05-2011, 16:39   #29
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Mark,
Sorry for your experiences, mine were different. I stayed for six months at a time from 2002 thru 2008.
As an added bonus(and the main reason for my return each year) I had a spot of catagory three carcinoma removed from the insde of my bladder for less the $5.000 US that since 2003 has not returned. I returned each year for an examination. Trinidad was also the only place that I found to repair/replace hearing aids. They were repaired for free and replaced for half the US cost if I paid in cash and didn't get a receipt.
Sure there's crime, it happens all over.

Trinidad suffers from a host of problems. In the early 1800's when slavery was abolished by Britian, the local poulation refused to work for the landowners who out of disperation intendured thousands of peopole from India. The two groups hate each other to this day. The Chagueramas area was seized by the US to use for submarine warfare in the Alantic during WWII, incidently more German subs where sunk off the cost of South America that the North Sea. Any way at the end of the war the land wa turned over to the Trinadiain goverment. It pissed the locals to death and yachtie go home signs can be seen to this day,
The large fish camp located in Chagueramas is going to be converted to a new marina and 200 kixal fisherman are SOL
The school system conducts a SAT type test in about the seventh grade, Those that fail are denied further education. Some go to tech school but most do not.
Trinidad has beem independant of Britain since 1962, In about 1995 Shell Oil turned it's lage oil refinery and ddrilling operation over to the local government.
The PM you spoke about is named Manning a knowen corruot SOB on the level with Chaevz in Venazula. But the only way to get him removed was to elect an Indian woman, and that wasn't going to happen. These two were in control of their factions and this sorry state went on for decades. I've since heard that a third person has been elected so time will tell.
Kidnapping is a way of live in third world countries as the gap widens between the haves and the never wills. I think its been mentioned that Trinidad has over 1.5 million people while the other islands will have a max of 100,000. More people more crime. Compare New York City with Boise, Idaho

Mark, I could go on about bad stuff that happens throughout the Caribbean, but why?
Personnaly I was more worried when I made landfall at Weat Palm Beach, Florida. And all the crap that I've watched on COPS shows that I'm correct in my fear.
enough, take care and enjoy your boating experience.
I agree with you there! West Palm is ANOTHER place that we wound NEVER stay again! We hauled out once at Cracker Boys (West Palm), and we lived on the boat there for two weeks. TALK ABOUT SCARY! Crack head thugs were actually walking around INSIDE the fence doing all sorts of destruction. Luckily, by our using our swim ladder, and pulling it up at night, we didn't appear to be on board. "Sphincter factor of 10"!

Abuse wise... Our stay in Trinidad was in fact the low point of my years of cruising, and while I experienced an incident or two on many occasions elsewhere, (other Caribbean countries), this was by far the worst. I know... IF we hadn't been doing an intensive / complex windlass installation, requiring daily trips to the store, or if I'd been safely in a marina on the Chagueramas side, (rather than anchored out at TTSA), then the daily Maxi trips to the store, would not have been necessary. And IF we had not been spending the last of our money on the installation, I would be more likely to use Jessie's perfectly safe cabs, and going to the "nice places" rather than work all the time. There are MUCH safer ways to "do Trinidad" than the predicament that we found ourselves in. (In '00 we enjoyed our stay, as a friend carted us around in his rented car.)

I suggest to those who plan to go there... Have a reasonable cruising kitty. Stay in a marina on the Chaguramas side. And, use Jessie's taxis as much as you can, rather than walking for miles on the roadside, or taking the Maxi's, (hundreds of times). By all means, check out the Roti shack, and our favorite, Joe's Pizza. (A VERY friendly place, and DAMNED good pizza!)

As it was... we got so broke that we left early, on OCT 4th, and sailed to the Beaufort NC inlet in 12 sea days, with only two stops. (Domonica, and Culebra)

Best regards, Mark
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Old 14-05-2011, 17:46   #30
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Originally Posted by Teej View Post
I am presently in South Grenada after spending the last 4 months sailing from the Virgins down through the Leeward and Windward Islands. . . .
Destination next month is Trinidad to store the boat on the hard for hurricane season. Have there been any confirmed episodes of "pirate trouble" in the sailing route from Grenada to Trinidad this winter/spring? I have heard some talk of the inherent troubles but not sure if it is "happy hour" conversation or factual occurrences of piracy. Several folks I have talked to down here have stopped going to Trini to store their boats and are now opting for Grenada because of safety concerns.
Thanks for any specific information.
Teej
Back to the OP's questions/queries - The Pirate problem on the route between Grenada and Trinidad has been quiet for about a year now. It is expected to continue to be quiet but that is an expectation rather than a known fact. Only time will tell.
- - Every island in the Caribbean has its share of good folks and bad folks and I suspect the percentages are about the same, but with some islands having 18 to 20 times more people than other islands the numerical number of bad guys varies.
- - As to Grenada - where I spent 6 years from 2004 to 2011 - I have been robbed there 3 times in three years - yet in a dozen trips and 1-3 month stays in Trinidad I have never been threatened or had a bad experience. All of which simply points out that for some folks "timing" is everything and personal attitude and luck play a major factor.
- - I always preferred staying in Grenada for the hurricane season as I personally like the "little town" atmosphere for the bulk of my hurricane season wait. Yet we always went to Trinidad to get some "big city" experiences add some variety to our experiences during a hurricane season.
- - There are only two boatyards in Grenada and during Hurricane Ivan - a direct hit - many hundreds of boats were lost. During the summer Trinidad is inside the ITCZ and storm or hurricane damage is extremely rare. My personal preference for storing my boat on the hard during hurricane season would always be Trinidad - and - in the "secure yard" part of Peakes - never in the general work yard of any of the other boatyards there.
- - The last season I was in Grenada one of the two boatyards had almost a dozen stored boats ransacked and looted. The boatyard made good on all the lost/stolen items as it was very embarrassing for them. They have since beefed up security.
- - Generally insurance considerations will drive which island you will use to store your boat as you return home. But for live-a-boards hunkering down for the season, IMHO you cannot beat Grenada as the cruiser community there is quite large and there are more than too many social things to do to pass the time. But if you are a "big-city" kind of person Trinidad offers cultural and activities that Grenada and its very small town atmosphere just cannot match.
- - For the future, the new Indian Prime Minister of Trinidad is actively driving Chag Bay to clean up its act; for the Customs/Immigration folks to start being reasonable and accommodating and for businesses to start getting back cruising customers and put the workers back on the payroll. She means business and is no-nonsense - but she has a monumental task ahead and it will take time. Once a place gets a bad reputation it does take a lot of time to win back customers.
- - Grenada and its government on the other hand is, IMHO, proceeding down the path Trinidad took to drive away customers. Now you must buy monthly EC$ cruising permits versus whole season permits and its visa renewal monthly procedures are plagued by a "dragon lady" who hates cruisers. The island is plagued by official 25% unemployment which is actually in my estimate about half of what it really is. The island has the highest birth rate of any Caribbean island but decreasing job growth. Not a good thing.
- - So pick your "poison" or go for the place that fits your style. The Pirate activity, as I discussed earlier is not a significant determinant if you follow the advice given by others and myself on how to get between the two islands.
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