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Old 26-04-2011, 20:12   #1
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Safe Sailing to Trinidad

I am presently in South Grenada after spending the last 4 months sailing from the Virgins down through the Leeward and Windward Islands. What a terrific sailing experience this has been with all kinds of fun and adventure.

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.
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Old 27-04-2011, 14:22   #2
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

The attacks between Trini and Grenada are fact. The further east you stay and the rougher the seas the better as it makes it hard work for the Venezuelans 'pirates' to get off-shore in their small boats.

Grenada is a nicer placed to store your boat but it has a history of severe damage in hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Having spent hurricane season in both Grenada and Trinidad I would leave the boat on one of the more hurricane proof stands with good tie-downs in Spice Island Marina Grenada (more hurricane proof is a relative statement)
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Old 27-04-2011, 14:37   #3
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

If you want a safe passage to Trinidad, I'd suggest two options. Leave Granada in the evening, so that you'll arrive off the coast of Trinidad in the daylight of the next morning, stay well east of the two gas platforms. Or, wait until the winds shift to coming from the NE and sail to Tobago, and do a great downwind to Trinidad, once again arriving in the daylight when Trinidad people are in the area.
North Coast Raido monitors VHF ch 16 as well as the guard boats at the gas platforms.
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Old 27-04-2011, 14:39   #4
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Noonsite keeps track of piracy incidents:

Noonsite: Piracy
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Old 27-04-2011, 15:15   #5
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Grenada is a much nicer place, IMO... In Trinidad, crime against yachties is a national pastime! There was also harassment by various officials. At least that was the case when we were there in '06. If you do go there, the marinas are safer than being anchored out, (like we did), and using Jessie James' taxi service is FAR safer than the cheep Maxi Taxi's, (like we did daily, for 5 months).
If you haul out and then leave, you can avoid a lot of the unpleasantness. They can BTW, "shrink wrap" your boat, for a fee.

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Old 27-04-2011, 16:42   #6
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
The attacks between Trini and Grenada are fact. The further east you stay and the rougher the seas the better as it makes it hard work for the Venezuelans 'pirates' to get off-shore in their small boats.

Grenada is a nicer placed to store your boat but it has a history of severe damage in hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Having spent hurricane season in both Grenada and Trinidad I would leave the boat on one of the more hurricane proof stands with good tie-downs in Spice Island Marina Grenada (more hurricane proof is a relative statement)
Hurricane Ivan`s damage is what led me to reserve space in Trinidad. But out of interest I did check into Spice Island Marina (SIMS) in Prickly Bay and they are already fully booked for this season. Trinidad will also save some insurance costs, given it is out of the zone.
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Old 27-04-2011, 16:46   #7
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Originally Posted by John A View Post
If you want a safe passage to Trinidad, I'd suggest two options. Leave Granada in the evening, so that you'll arrive off the coast of Trinidad in the daylight of the next morning, stay well east of the two gas platforms. Or, wait until the winds shift to coming from the NE and sail to Tobago, and do a great downwind to Trinidad, once again arriving in the daylight when Trinidad people are in the area.
North Coast Raido monitors VHF ch 16 as well as the guard boats at the gas platforms.
Thanks for the suggestions, John. I was considering a night sail to Trinidad for the reasons you mention. Watching for a good wind opportunity to Tobago is another thought and, if favourable, would give an opportunity to see some new turf as well.
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Old 27-04-2011, 16:47   #8
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Originally Posted by smurphny View Post
Noonsite keeps track of piracy incidents:

Noonsite: Piracy
Thank you....a good source of info for cruisers!
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Old 27-04-2011, 16:54   #9
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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Grenada is a much nicer place, IMO... In Trinidad, crime against yachties is a national pastime! There was also harassment by various officials. At least that was the case when we were there in '06. If you do go there, the marinas are safer than being anchored out, (like we did), and using Jessie James' taxi service is FAR safer than the cheep Maxi Taxi's, (like we did daily, for 5 months).
If you haul out and then leave, you can avoid a lot of the unpleasantness. They can BTW, "shrink wrap" your boat, for a fee.

M.
I have heard about how incredible competent and considerate Jessie James is from a cruising couple I was speaking to in Prickly Bay, Grenada this week. He helped them out in so many remarkable ways when they had some issues to resolve. Don`t know anything about `shrinkwrapping` a boat but wrapping a cat with a 23 foot beam might be quite an expensive issue. However, given the extreme humidity in Trinidad that I have recently been hearing about that may be an interesting option to at least check out.

Re the sailing optioins to Trinidad, maybe I will be able to get a small convoy together out of Grenada in my timeframe i.e. the strength in numbers approach. On the other hand........
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Old 27-04-2011, 18:15   #10
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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.
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Old 27-04-2011, 18:28   #11
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pirate Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Quote:
Originally Posted by John A View Post
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.
I feel the same about St Martin....
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Old 27-04-2011, 18:46   #12
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

I agree with John A. Trinidad was our other home while we were in the Caribbean. Part of the adventure of cruising is the local experiences. Yes there is crime, but that us everywhere. The other night I was watching a show about light houses, and it brought back the memories of seeing the light house on Chucachcari (sp?) at about 10 miles out, and feeling that we were nearing our other home. We made the trips at night, clearing the Boca in the first light of morning. I do believe with the changes that have occured, that traveling with a couple of boats isn't a bad idea. On one crossing back to Granada, a single hander became ill, and needed assistance immediately. We learned then that the Granada Coast Guard wasn't suited to do a rescue, but fortunately we were able to break into the morning net and get him help from the cruising community.

The people in Trinidad are warm and open, and do they know how to party. All this is why you find so many people that don't leave until there are no more extensions, and they forced to go. I hope to be able to return.
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Old 27-04-2011, 18:48   #13
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Forgot one more feature. There aren't any charter boats, so you don't have to worry about someone anchoring on top of your anchor with a 1:1 scope.
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Old 27-04-2011, 18:59   #14
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

Quote:
Originally Posted by John A View Post
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.

Don't know when that was... We had a VERY nice stay in Trinidad in 00, but in '05, everything had changed! Hurricane Ivan had wiped out Grenada, (and us in Pensacola Fl. as well.) This tripled the boat population in Chaguramas, (sp?) There was political unrest and a LOT of kidnappings. The skilled workers became few & far between, and the officials really surly. (Often would not renew your visa, sending sailors out in H season!) We were at TTSA, and took the Maxis every day to get supplies for our windlass project. The muggings of yachties, assaults, dinghy thefts, car rammings, and overall hostility were a regular occurrence! We had several friends hurt or even hospitalized. Kids were rammed by pangas and NEVER were charges followed through on... Others were SERIOUSLY threatened by customs, because their courtesy flag had wrapped around it's halyard! On the news, they reported that Trini was second only to Jamaica for violent crime in the Caribbean. It also has regular oil slicks, shore to shore garbage & unbelievable sound pollution until 3:00 AM, that will make your chest RATTLE! All of the above is putting it lightly!

I hope their problems have improved, but around the time I am referring to, it was the talk of the cruising community, and quite true. Many left Trinidad and went to Venezuela, even in the midst of all that saber rattling! They had a wonderful time there. (in '05)

BTW... Jessie James IS the nicest friend to cruisers I have ever met. IF you do go there now, The safest way to avoid every other night "official" visits, or machete wielding crazies, is to get safely in a marina, and use Jessie's service. He takes cruisers safety personally, and is the way to see this otherwise beautiful island. All the best to you Jessie...

Best of luck! M.
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Old 27-04-2011, 19:15   #15
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Re: Safe Sailing to Trinidad

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
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