Bollemaat is in Trinidad. We have come here in search of a new GPS, a toilet, and a new dinghy. We need more parts but the boat shops here are surprisingly basic.
Arriving here we calle North Port Radio and contacted Jessie James, the local yacht liaison guy ... and then my phone goes dead. No more credit. We proceed into Chaguaramas and drop anchor amongst the moorings. It's then we discover that our dinghy hanging on the davits at the back has been ripped to shreds as it rubbed against the back of the boat, so we cannot go ashore. However, we discover that we can inflate one side of the dinghy and that it actually floats well enough for Yayo to make it ashore to search for a solution. He comes back with a secondhand flat-bottomed dinghy that he bought at a reasonable price.
Yayo suggests that he wants to be 'captain' for the formalities. I have no objection and we go to Immigration to sign in where we discover that we must get clearance from Health before they will allow us in. We are referred back to Jessie James for the Health Clearance.
I catch a bus into town, to West Mall, where there is a phone shop, and buy a SIM card and some phone credit. Now we contact Jessie James again and he organizes a Health Clearance for us.
At this stage we have been here three days. When we go back to Immigration there are some questions about that but we are eventually cleared in. Next stop is Customs and we are done.
But Customs have other ideas. They do not like that we have been here three days without clearing in and so we are now 'under investigation' and have had our passports confiscated. We must report to the office in Port of Spain on Monday at 1000 and are stuck here for the weekend, and that is going to make it hard to get to Marie Galant in time for Christmas.
Trinidadians are warm and welcoming people. I had no local currency when I arrived and needed some for the bus to town to get a SIM card. Max, the guy who sold Yayo the dinghy, gave me two bus ticket and TT20 cash with a smile that said something like 'thankyou for giving me the opportunity to help you'. It was really something. That attitude is everywhere here. When I do not have the right change the girl in the shop grins and and waves her hand "No charge" she says.
The harbour is large but packed with boats of all sorts. There are several full-service marinas for services, repairs and maintenance and prices are reasonable too, but there isn't much stock in the chandleries so you have to order things in.
It is now Monday and Yayo and Wim have gone into town to see Customs about getting our passports back while I get the boat ready. They have been away several hours and I'm starting to be concerned...
Finally, I hear from Yayo. He had to appear before a judge, sign a confession and pay a fine for not completing the clearance in time. Ooops! The good news is that we are free to check out.
Next stop Marie Galante, Guadeloupe! Track us here: https://share.garmin.com/bollemaat