30 November 2015 | Puerto Del Rey, Puerto Rico
Monday, November 30th, 2015
I feel like I say this all the time, but the truth is the truth...this is a crazy life.
After a long time off the boat, a really long time for us, we find ourselves again on a flight to Puerto Rico to get Regenero ready for a new season.
But...first I'll give you the short version of our 'off season'.
We had to cut the 14-15 season short last March due to some health concerns, which fortunately turned out to be minor, and a milestone birthday for one of us that required some governmental type documents completed. So we left the boat in March in PR on the docks, potentially to return and continue sailing for a few more months. Well, best laid plans and all that...we headed home and spent more time than anticipated on getting the house ready for sale, Then we headed to Florida for a visit with friends, a wedding and to begin shopping for a permanent summer residence. Then a devastating loss, as Jim's mother passed away. While she had lived a long, and mostly healthy life, we were still stunned and saddened to have to say a final goodbye to a classy and gracious lady. Immediately following this sorrow, we headed back to PR, to lay our girl up for the season.
We spent our summer mostly in Florida, house-sitting in the beautiful community of Naples, with a few trips back home, then in late September my parents moved back to Illinois, spent a few weeks with us. We finalized a contract on our house, moved Mom & Dad into their place, with most of our furniture, and two weeks later had the rest of our stuff packed up we were in the van heading to Florida again. With all of our stuff, including vehicles, safely tucked into storage, it was back to the boat....finally, to begin season prep.
When we returned to the boat we found Bobby and his team hard at work, finalizing this and attending to that, as we had a long list of work to complete this year, and obviously we had no time to do any of it. Repack the liferaft, service the engines, service the outboard, fix the electric winch...(huh - who knew there was a breaker for that?!) re-step the starboard head, strip all the tape off the hull, compound, wax, and restripe the outer edges (oh boy, does she look pretty!) compound & wax the topsides, and install a new stove. With three burners, and an oven, AND broiler...AND...auto ignite...excited? Oh yes I am.
Another plus, after we splashed on Thursday, Bobbi & Gary from Enroute took the ferry over from Culebra Friday Am to spend some time with us. The boat was a MESS and we had no food to speak of, but that is the beauty of boat friends, they are totally flexible and happy to make up their own berths, and help clean others boats. Gary graciously volunteered to install 4 new Sirocco Fans that I have been dying to have installed...and while that was not a pretty job....for him...it ended up very pretty for us, as he and Jim managed to get them all installed while the girls went hiking in the rain forest.
As usual, when we returned to the boat after a long season on the hard a few other little issues reared their heads.... The main one being a failed primary water tank...NOT a good thing, discovered when we went to fill it as Niagara falls poured out of the bottom of the locker it lives in. Only good news...it lives in a locker that vents directly overboard, rather than into the bilge!
When something like this happens, like attempting to remove a tank, you discover exactly how your boat is made. For example, there is no way to get the old 100 gal tank (54 x 30 x 16) out of the locker hatch (45 x 18). Obviously the water tank was installed, prior to the deck being put on. So..a saw is employed to cut it in two (thank God for Bobby and his team)! And now comes the tricky issue of finding a replacement, that fits, and getting it to PR, before all work shuts down for the Christmas season. As it turns out, Vetus was able to come thru for us, and two new 56gal tanks were sourced and delivered to PR on Wednesday the 16th....only to find that no mater how they try to arrange the two new tanks, plus the 40 gal tank we still have...all three wont fit. BUGGER! Ending up with LESS potable water capacity is not high on my list of best ways to start the season.
So after a lot of work in just a few days, back we went to Florida, to spend someone else's milestone birthday ....and then head back to Illinois for the holidays. We haven't spent Christmas with the family, or grandkids since 2010 and this seemed the perfect time to do so, as a new job for one of the kids means it will most likely be their last Christmas in Illinois as well.
Arriving back in Chicago was a whirlwind of 2 days here, 3 days there, including much quality time with family, a wonderful wedding with some special & beautiful family/friends in Cleveland, a couple of dinners with good friends, a couple of breakfasts with an outrageous bunch of Jim's guys, 3 CRAZY days with Children and Grandbabies for Christmas Eve & Day...WOW, what energy! And FUN!, and a wonderful Sunday dinner with almost all of our siblings in attendance, add in some ridiculous winter weather -um, yeah - DO NOT want to drive in that crap - Ever Again!
Finally, New Years Eve finds us up, up and away, and eventually on the ground in Puerto Rico heading home. Ahhhhhhh! Ginny & John on Wind Shepherd kindly held their dinner for us so we arrived to the boat, walked over, visited, ate, laughed, and left well before midnight...in order to put heads to pillows and sleep!