At the beginning of last season, we had seen that the trampoline started showing some signs of wear and tear. As we were scared of going through the holes while underway, Al thought of repairing it by weaving white string through the vulnerable portions. We laboured a lot, using pincers and my crochet needle and reinforced most of it, but it did not look all that good.
While we were at St Anne last year, Al inquired at our favorite Chandlery (Caraibe Marin) about a new trampoline to be ordered from France. 600.- Euros (about $900.- Canadian) seemed too steep, so we did not go ahead with it. After we returned to Canada, Al checked on line and found a vendor in France who promised to send it to us for close to $800.- Canadian, so it seemed a good deal. When we thought about where to receive it; Canada would require GST to be paid on top, and we would have to carry it in our luggage, and, Grenada would likewise might create a problem at the customs. Then he remembered our friend Levent of Elite Kebab in Le Marin, Martinique. We thought delivery there would be without any complications, since it is French soil! Al asked for Levent's address and ordered the trampoline, paying on credit. They assured him that it would reach Martinique in about two weeks (this was in June). We knew that Levent and Guylaine were to travel to Turkey at the end of July, ample time to receive our purchase.
As it turned out, they almost did not get it before they left. The problem was with the customs (!) There was a tax to be paid (120.- Euros) and inquiries and investigations to be made, since there was no invoice included in the package. Al had to send many emails to the company to supply the invoice, they claimed that it was included, etc, etc. After a long and arduous process, Levent was able to put the package in their home, and left for Turkey. He had to pay the tax himself of course. I was ashamed beyond reason for putting them through such an ordeal, but there was no turning back. We did not send our debt through the bank, since it is very expensive and an ordeal in itself, when dealing with European banks. All in all, it was a waste of effort on everybody, when we could have ordered the thing for the same price through the chandlery in Le Marin. Oh well, live and learn.
The first day after our arrival, we surprised Levent and Guylaine at their kebab house in the morning (they were expecting us the next day). After exchanging pleasentries, Levent showed us the package, and asked us if it was made in Turkey. What? No, we don't think so. Why? Apparently it was delivered in a carton box, which was bearing the name and address of a company in Tuzla, Turkey, however the sender was the French company. It was a bit puzzling, but Al thought the French must have recycled the box. Obviously they had been buying some stuff from Turkey and why waste a box?
Anyway, we were happy to get our hands on the long expected and discussed item. Al had been planning on how to install it for so long, that he could not wait to get started. He declared that we were going to keep the old trampoline as long as possible, while knotting the numerous ties all around of the new one.
We laid it out, pulling the corners first, but we could not stretch it. I noticed that the edges of the mesh were composed of two thick ropes, the inside one very sturdy, the outside scalloped, but a bit flimsy. I thought that the scalloped one could be slowly stretched by tying one by one, however it did not look right, to keep the sturdy rope out.
I suggested looking on line how to install it, but Al, who is a master of planning and visualization, could not be bothered to look outside for guidance.
He labored for two days, and was actually able to stretch it to its place, and discard the old mesh. After all that work, and securing one corner with elaborate knotting, he decided to look at the manufacturer's web-site. Lo and behold! There was a picture of the finished product, which showed that the knots should have included the sturdy rope, as well as the outside scalloped one.
All in all, it took us a week of working at it on and off, and I helped some, but not with the whole thing.
Now it looks very white (the old one was real canvas, this one synthetic), but the loops of the mesh are so big, that the hard nylon rope cuts one's bare feet, and toes get trapped in the holes. I wear deck shoes when I am running around on the trampoline while anchoring and catching a mooring ball, so it does not matter. What matters is, that our feet are not going to make a hole in the mesh while walking on it.