End of the season
06 June 2020 | San Juan, Puerto Rico
The turquoise ocean stretches out in front of me. Long sandy beaches reach out in both directions as the wind blows in my face. It sounds like I am in the same spot I’ve been in since March 17. But no, I escaped the covid free island of St. Lucia to experience what most of the rest of the world is doing. What am I thinking? I had been scheduled to fly out from St. Lucia today, only to have my flight cancelled and no new flights scheduled until July. Bummer
Two other couples that I have been doing things with were on similar flights and already had their boats hauled out of the water and put “on the Hard” as we cruisers say.
“What should we do? Greg, do you still have that information for chartering our own private plane.”
“Somewhere. Let me find it.”
And a new plan was born. Hillary, one of the five stranded, jumped on the internet, filled out the paperwork and the request, sent the company the wire transfer and then we waited with our fingers crossed. St. Lucia has to honor the request, temporally re open the airport, and then get ground crew there to make it happen. The rest of us changed our flights from St. Lucia to flying out of San Juan Puerto Rico.
Crap. This is cutting a whole day out of my schedule to get Mile High Dream out of the water and safely put away. My haul out day is June 4 and usually it takes 3-4 days after it’s hauled out to get it ready. Now I have 12 hours. I scrambled around like a one armed wallpaper hanger, recruited the help of Vision and by 5:00, I was at happy hour with my fellow cruisers on the dock. That was followed by an air-conditioned sleepless night in an Airbnb I had to scramble to find the night before as my original accommodations decided not to open without any flights coming in.
“What did I forget to do? Did I turn all the power off? I think so. Are there more things that need to be done that I forgot to put on the list? Well it’s too late now.”
The next morning we get on a Piper Aztec two engine 6 person plane. Looking at it on the runway, I wasn’t sure we would all fit in. Three hours later we touched down in San Juan,
Puerto Rico. Right now I’m listening to the reassuring sounds of commercial airlines taking off.
It has been a season with new experiences to say the least. I did get to find out what it is like to have the boat on the dock and live there without sailing. It wasn’t too bad. My quick movement from the dock to the haul out area did let me know I prefer to be moving. It is possible to tear the inside of the boat apart to varnish and repair woodwork while still living aboard. I don’t really want to do that again. How to prepare meals with rice, beans, and canned meats. I didn’t starve and fortunately it did not last too long. I was able to give all the un-open cans and rice away before leaving.
This season is now in the history books. Everyone that joined me helped in upping the turtle count, whale count and dolphin count. I think everyone had a good time or at least an ok time. There definitely were some ups and downs and tense moments this year. That’s is what real sailing is.