When we were here last December, we had only two days to haul Nine of Cups and decommission her for her stay … no time to explore the boatyard or our immediate neighborhood. Chaguaramas is on the extreme northwestern tip of Trinidad, a peninsula jutting out into the Caribbean.
Chaguaramas is more an area than a town and it isn't much. There is one main road, Western Main Road, and that's pretty much it. Other than marinas, boatyards and the services/shops related to the boating industry, there's nothing here. There are several marina/boatyards around, but we chose Power Boats because 1) we were familiar with it from our last stay and 2) it was the most price competitive for hauling the boat and keeping her on the hard. We've not been here at Power Boats since 2002 and lots has changed … but lots has remained the same.
As boatyards go, Power Boats is just fine. Security is good. The entire land-side perimeter is fenced with 10' chain link with razor wire running along the top. There's a gate guard and security folks roam constantly.
There are enough amenities to make life on the hard at least tolerable. We've rented an A/C unit, so at least we're cool inside the boat and for sleeping. There are several shower/toilet blocks throughout the boatyard (although you have to insert a token for a hot water shower). They're nothing special, but they're usually clean and the cold water isn't all that cold.
There's a small grocery, the Dockside FoodMart, which is open 7 days a week and sells all the basics. It's situated right at the wharf (hence the name Dockside) and boats tie up alongside to get their day provisions and picnic supplies. Since our fridge is on the blink, they've graciously allowed us to store perishables in their fridge when we need to.
Sails is the marina restaurant. It's a pleasant enough place with a nice ambiance right on the water. Tourists enjoys it, but we find that it tends to have mediocre food and is too expensive for us to frequent.
There's also the Roti Hut which serves the Trini speciality, roti … think Caribbean curry burrito... most days at lunch. This is more in keeping with our taste and budget. There are also numerous roti stands and vendors outside the Power Boats gates that offer lunches and cold drinks, catering more to the marina workers as well as budget-minded cruisers. The Roti Hut area also provides a meeting place/picnic area for cruisers for Friday night potlucks and BBQs.
The on-site chandlery is small and convenient, but gets lots of competition from Budget Marine which is right next door. David makes at least one trip to each place each day. It's part of his daily ritual, I think. A yachtsmen's workshop next to the chandlery and out of the sun is a nice touch with workbenches and vises available for projects difficult to do on the boat … and lots of electrical outlets.
We have unreliable wifi on the boat … it comes and goes. It's free and we get what we pay for. There's also a small internet building which houses toilets on the first floor and a second-floor air-conditioned room with a more reliable, though less convenient, internet signal. I've been trotting down there with my laptop at least once a day to send Gentry my blog posts.
The laundromat room is hot and dusty. The washers and dryers work on tokens TT$15/each … about $5.00/load for wash & dry. It's not that expensive and relatively convenient other than climbing up and down the ladder and walking back and forth from the boat to get the laundry done. It certainly beats doing it by hand and hanging it out on the lines to dry in a dusty, dirty boatyard.
In general, the boatyard is a mini-community unto itself, pretty much self-contained and offering most any tradesman, service or supply we need. We wander outside the gates on occasion, but there's little need to unless we want a change in scenery.
There you have it … a mini-tour of Power Boats. But … enough touring for now. I'll talk more about living on the hard in the next few days … gotta go get some work done before the Captain complains.