Bringing Smart Move Home
07 September 2012 | Fajardo, Puerto Rice
Well home is a relative term, temporary home would be more accurate. We have been amazingly busy since arriving in Puerto Rico. On Tuesday, we started shopping around for a marina for Smart Move. We had an idea what marina we wanted to be in but when we went to make the arrangements that cost for two months was astronomical! Fortunately for us, there are several marinas within one mile of our condo. We settled on a smaller marina, very secure, clean and a family owned business -- it is less than a 1/4 mile away and half the cost of the first.
On Wednesday, we a booked a flight to the BVIs with Liat Airlines (THE Caribbean Airline - or so they claim). We arranged for a cab to pick us up at the marina at 8:30 in the morning. Our flight was suppose to leave at 10:40 and it takes about one hour to get to the airport from here. Everything went really well right up to the point of checking in for our flight. When we got to the desk we were told our flight had been cancelled, they thought they would get us on a flight at 8:55 PM. Well that was not going to work for us because we had meetings set up with different people at Conch Charters and were going to sail the boat to the Island of Jost van Dyke at 4:00 PM. When we asked for a refund because they had not notified us of the change (even though they had our email and phone number), we were told we would have to go to the Island of Antigua to deal with Liat directly for our refund. We regrouped pretty quickly and got an American Airlines flight leaving and arriving at the same time. Of course we paid three times more for the tickets!
From that point on, everything went very smoothly and exactly as planned -- except for a few small details . . .
As we were getting ready the night before for the trip I realized I had packed the memory card (brain) of the chart plotter in one of the boxes that is to be delivered around September 12th. Oops! Without the card, the chart plotter was more like an old Atari version of itself (Barry thinks it was more like a Fisher Price version!). In the end, we were able to navigate home with the assistance of my iPad and the chart plotter app I had installed on it. Thank goodness I insisted on getting the 4G version for my birthday.
Our next problem cropped up as we were flying to the BVIs, we realized that without a dinghy we could not go to shore for dinner – or, more importantly, to check out of the country at Customs & Immigration. The customs stuff was easy enough to solve, we just took a taxi to the ferry dock before we left and I check us out there – we would have 24 hours to leave the country. Dinner was not to hard either as Barry went to the store for food while I was at Customs. However, we had asked Conch to strip all of the kitchen and linen stuff off of the boat, hummmm . . . Looks like sandwiches and finger foods.
We got Smart Move to Jost van Dyke by 5:30 PM on Wednesday and picked up the mooring ball on the first try. We left at 6:00 Thursday morning. The sail to Fajardo went really well except we did not sail, we motored. We have really bad luck with winds on these long trips! All week the winds were suppose to be from the north-northeast, perfect for sailing to Puerto Rico. However, the winds sifted overnight to westerly. Since we were sailing west, it just sucked, the wind was on our nose and the sails were useless. The trip took 10-1/2 hours, not bad considering and since we were in US waters the whole time we had AT&T phone service!
I think the part of the trip both Barry and I were dreading was the arrival at the marina. Docking is always very stressful, but when you haven’t done it for a long time and at a marina you have never been too it is five times as stressful. We did ask for assistance at the dock, he was a very nice man that spoke no English! The approach to the marina was very shallow, nine feet – we have a seven foot keel. We had to make a very tight turn into the slip that seem to be exceeding narrow. To add to the excitement there were numerous obstacles to run into, mostly other boats. Barry docked the boat like he had been doing his entire life into that exact slip! It was beautiful! I have to admit to closing my eyes at one point after I had thrown the midship line to the nice guy on the dock.
Today, the rigger visited Smart Move. We anticipate she will be hauled out of the water in the next 7-10 to have all of her standing rigging replaced. It is quite a big deal, they will be replacing all of the stainless steel cables and rods that hold the mast up. At 9-years old it is a little soon, but we will need to do it within the next 2 years. So we have decided to do it now. While Smart Move is out of the water we will also be adding the forward searching sonar, the water-maker, we will replace all of the thru-hull valves, and clean and re-paint the bottom. Lots of work in the coming weeks!