Saturday Jan 1st to Jan 15th 2022
Good morning from Titusville Marina in Florida. Apologies for our being remiss in getting posts going for our trip but we have been very busy and there have now been complications, read on.
A very special thanks to our friends, Linda Schmalz and Chris Walmsley for hosting a wonderful farewell dinner for us. A nice send off, indeed.
As per plan Bob and Tarja picked up Peter and Wilma at 6am on Jan 1st and we had an easy border crossing with little traffic all day. We overnighted in Stoney Creek, Virginia south of Richmond. The second night we were in Ormond Beach. That left only an hour to get to the boat location at Westland Boatyard in Titusville. We stayed safe by always masking when near others which we limited but taking our own lunches and ordering dinner in. Hilton check-ins and check-outs are now all online with a digital key delivered to one’s phone to open the room door.
We arrived at Westland just before 9am, found the boat and quickly set to work getting the boat ready for its early afternoon launch. Having accomplished that our next big job was to prepare the mast for raising on Wednesday morning. BUT we couldn’t find key pieces like the backstay but after a lot of searching it turned up in another plastic tub in a different part of the boat. Well, at least it got the adrenaline flowing!
The logistics are quite an ordeal. Because our boat was trucked here vs. arriving under its own power, we can not obtain the usual cruising permit. Instead, we must report to US customs and Border Patrol to receive a Leaving Permit that is only good for 72 hours. Thus, we can’t get that until we get our Bahamian Health Visa which we can’t get until we get the currently required COVID PCR test. At 6:15am we left to line up for the tests in Cocoa Beach near Cape Canaveral. Arriving at 7am we lined up and had our tests about 9:30 with the results about a half hour later. Unfortunately, some crew tested positive, not picked up in the US but due to close contact at home shortly before we left. We found out the second day on the road that several people back in Kingston had tested positive. So Finnish Line crew can’t land in the Bahamas for 14 days. Not great news but everyone feels ok, the few minor Covid symptoms are pretty much gone. Tarja didn’t get tested yet, but she feels fine. Meanwhile, we are working on getting the boat ready, inside and outside, for the crossing in less frantic timelines which is not a bad thing. After all, we are on a boat in January so how bad can it be? And tonight (Jan 6th), we’ll be watching a rocket launch – Titusville is really close to Cape Canaveral!
Tarja – aka ’the ground crew’ (thanks Linda Schmalz) is staying here until the boat leaves to head off. She’ll get her Covid test the day she leaves to drive home.
We are in touch with the Bahamian Heath people to help figure out what the new protocol is for entering the Bahamas. Things are changing fast – one can now enter with a Rapid Antigen Test. This just changed yesterday and is significantly cheaper than the USD 200 we had to pay yesterday.
In the meantime, we are juggling moving slips at Titusville Marina as this is a busy time of year. Because we don’t yet have the Leaving Permit we must remain in this area. We may have to anchor out a few times while we wait for slips to become available.
A note to boaters about mast stepping here. Westland Boatyard does not offer mast services other than storing. We brought in a rigger who was really great. In fact, due to getting our tests that morning, Bob was not here for mast up, a first for his life with this boat. The riggers did a great job BUT they do not own a boom truck nor does the boatyard. So they brought in a 30T crane (four hour minimum) to do the deed. Final bill, USD 890! Everything else at Westland was great and there are so many boats on the hard with masts up that they don’t feel the need to have such a service. But it sure was a kick in our USD reserves. :-/
More news to come when something is worth noting.