Thursday, March 08, 2007

February 14, 2007 - Bequia to Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent

Sten and I spent the morning running around Bequia, while Suzy enjoyed her last day aboard. We started out by tracking down the materials that we'd ordered for our canvas work. The FedEx agent gave me a package of paperwork that came out of our shipment from Bainbridge. Despite the fact that I had given them Suzy's cell phone as a contact, they had listed Alick's sail loft as the contact, as well as the delivery point. More of a problem, the invoice stated that Alick was to be billed for the material, despite the fact that they had billed my credit card directly. So when customs looks at the paperwork, it will look to them like I'm trying to smuggle in materials to SVG and help Alick avoid paying duty on them. Fuck.

After clarifying with the FedEx agent that customs did have copies of this invoice - so there was no point in trying to get a new one from Bainbridge. So I went to customs to try to get my stuff out of hock. The agent asked me to come around to the back door. Uh, oh. Here comes the interrogation. Nope, he just wanted me to get a customs broker to fill out the duty forms. So I'm thinking, I'm a lawyer, I can certainly fill out a few forms, and I ask him for copies to fill out. He sends me back around to the front, where I purchase the form for approximately 20cents and start to fill them out. It was a bit like trying to do your taxes without turbo tax. So after consulting with Sten, it was off to the customs broker, RMS.

I explained the situation to the broker, described the materials so that he could write them up, and left him with copies of the invoice, our boat papers, and customs clearance. He told me that he should have our materials by tomorrow. By now I'm frustrated and concerned. We paid as much in shipping as we did for the materials, so that we could have them in time to have the canvas work done in Bequia between Suzy's trip and Graham and Eryn's trip. With this delay, we're running short on time. And we have no idea how much duty might be charged.

In the meantime, Sten was lining up Fixman, a former racecar mechanic who now lives in semi-retirement and works in Bequia, to weld the crack in our forward hatch, as soon as we get back from St. Vincent.

We head back to the boat and lift the dinghy on deck for the passage over to St. Vincent, using the spinnaker halyard and the winch on the mast. When done, I put our double handled winch handle on top of the dodger, so that I remember to put it in the cockpit before we leave.
We can raise the mainsail with a single handled winch handle, but the double handled certainly makes it a lot easier. Then I go downstairs to make lunch, while Sten ties down the dinghy. A few minutes later, during a gust of wind, the handle slides off of the top of the dodger and into 50 feet of water. Crap.

And now the alternator is acting up. Seriously?

After this fine start to the day, we head over to St. Vincent. We didn't enjoy rubbing up against a mooring ball all night when we were anchored in Young Island Cut, so we are going to stay in the Blue Lagoon tonight. Thing is, the cut is only 6 feet deep - the same as our keel, so we need someone to guide us in. We called ahead to TMM, which manages some of the moorings in the lagoon to let them know we were coming. When we get there, we call again, and they say that they will send someone out to lead us in. Half and hour later, the guys finally show up.

As soon as we were on the mooring, Sten got to work in the engine room, taking off the alternator. In the meantime, I put in a call to Defender, and ordered a replacement double handled winch handle and two spares to be delivered to Graham and Eryn. We put the alternator and the spare in a bag, and we got a taxi to Verrol's. Sten and the driver dropped me at a grocery that I wanted to check out. I wandered around like a kid in a candy store - sun dried tomatoes, frozen fresh pasta, and diet coke for less than a dollar a can. Yippee!

Like clockwork, as soon as I had paid up and reached the curb, Sten and Mr. Samuels, the driver, pulled up to take us back to the boat. We had some tasty rocket ravioli in a brown butter sauce for dinner.

Adding a layer of sadness to the whole day has been Lenore's impending departure. We're going to miss her so much.

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