Today Bob went to the doctor to get his medical letter to apply to the Bahamas for the Medical Exemption. Sadly the rapid antigen test showed him as still positive so he needs to wait another 5 days. Well more time to explore I guess.
Yesterday we spent the day in St Augustine, the oldest city in the US.
It was interesting seeing many of the historical buildings but like so many places it was very yucky touristy. We did have a very fine lunch though to celebrate Bob’s birthday.
It wasn’t difficult to see that we were in the US:
Well, things are moving along. Peter and Wilma both received their Medical Exemption letters from the Bahamas this morning which will allow them to get the Bahamas Health Visa. Bob expects/hopes he will have his Monday morning. If so, we will all apply for the Bahamas Health Visa then with our planned itinerary. Once we have that we can apply for our Cruising Permit. Then (also Monday we think) we will visit the US CBP (customs and Border Patrol) office at Cape Canaveral and get the Permission to Leave for the boat. However, as the Permission is only good for 3 days, we first must know that there is a weather window for crossing the Gulf Stream and it’s too early to predict when that is. Right now some forecasts are saying next Wednesday or Thursday night will be good to cross but we shall see.
In the meantime, we are venturing out and around Titusville. It has a rather nice historic part of town with a great bakery and coffee shop.
And, of course, several parks good for viewing rocket launches. We’ve already seen three: 2 daylight launches and a night time launch which really lit up the night sky. The sound took almost a minute and a half to reach us!
The presence of so many derelictboats at the boatyard and marina is sad, so many dreams gone for naught. The 1st photo at the yard has an open companionway so it must be a mess below too.Peter figures that about 20% of the boats in the boatyard are derelict. Probably doesn’t pay the yard to destroy them.
The others are boats at the marina. Expensive to maintain at a dock when the boat itself is not usable nor worth much.
This past Friday after an inconsistent PCR test on Tuesday Bob took another test and is positive so we are now a complete set. This morning Peter and Wilma went to a local doctor and got a letter stating their test situation and that they are now symptom fee and cleared for ravel. This letter will be submitted to a Bahamian gov’t doctor requesting a travel exemption. Bob will need to do the same after 10 days on the 24th. So we are here until the 25th and leaving will depend on the weather window to cross the stream. Lucky for us, when we told the marina that we were going to stay beyond our original one day that got us into the monthly rate so we do have our slip until Feb 5th.
In the meantime we are tidying and cleaning the boat and wandering around Titusville which is quite quaint town. Since we are so close to Cape Canaveral we spent a day at the Kennedy Space Center much to everyone’s delight. We also went manatee watching at a special viewing platform in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Turns out it was on Haulover Canal which is where we passed through on our boat on our was south in late 2017. That was a busy Sunday and it was awkward navigating the canal with so many fishing boats buzzing about and then having to call for the lift bridge to be raised. This time was calm itself including only one manatee sighting.
The satellite view shows Westland Boatyard on the far right, where Finnish Line was trucked to and launched. The long docks are Titusville Municipal Marina, Finnish Line is the blue dot. The first leg of Finnish Line’s 4 month sojourn began with a 680 foot (.11nm) trip from the boatyard to the marina on January 5th.
Ah – the well laid plans of mice and men and sailors. The three sailors and the ground crew are still in sunny warm Titusville at the Titusville Municipal Marina as unfortunately a couple of the crew tested positive for Covid. Everyone feels just fine having had minor symptoms. The crew has to wait for 12 days after their positive test before they can leave here and enter the Bahamas – lots of adminstrivia to plough through, but we have the time to do it . Last night was a bouncy one, reminiscent of Jemmetts – bow in – in a north wind, blowing in the 20s all night but nice and calm now.
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. :-/
The Adventure Begins – Finnish Line 2.0 shipped out Monday morning December 3rd on its way to Titusville FL. On January 3rd Peter, Wilma, Tarja and Bob will catch up with the boat to begin a winter cruise of the Bahamas. They will cross into the Abacos, head to Eleuthera to visit Brad Strawbridge before heading down the more remote Bahamian islands to the Turks and Caicos. They will return to the Bahamas at Great Inagua before heading up the Exumas and over to Bimini by April. They hope to post articles of their progress along the way.
Home! Sunny and 4C at 6am – brrrrr. There was frost on the dock and condensation on the walls of the forward cabin – serves us right for breathing during the night. The boats were off the dock at 7, Chris pushed Finnish Line off the dock and we were on our way. It was very calm in the marina but once we got into the lake it was quire rolly for the first few hours. No staying below except for a few minutes. Bob did not start the morning in his cold weather foulies but had to put them on, along with his winter mitts and hat as he was turning into an icicle standing behind the wheel. The rolling got less and less and winds which were 11 knots on the lake when we left were going down.
We saw a sailboat in the distance when we got closer to the Boat Channel and it turned out to be Rick & Laura on Signature coming to welcome us home. When we got to Kingston Harbour we saw Rob and Kate out for a Sunday sail. Ramble on and Finnish Line greeted them and then the final sail to KYC. Lots of help at the dock for both Ramble On and Finnish Line when we arrived. An early dinner with Peter Cohrs, Ze & Peter, Tristan, Rick and Laura was a great end to the final day of the East Coast Loop.
It was a very windy noisy night and one of the straps holding the mast stand in place started vibrating around 4am, like having an alarm clock going off every few minutes. The original plan with Bernie the mast guy was to start putting the masts back up at 7:30 but it was way too windy to do that. The winds were forecast to reduce by early afternoon so he said he’d do his best to get the masts up in the afternoon. We bundled up and walked to the Oswego Bakery & Tea shop for breakfast.
The winds did reduce to around 10 knots by 1pm. The mast up process started with Ramble On and by 3:30 both masts were up. We were glad that Bernie, with 30 years experience doing this, was still working at the marina – he is a cool, calm guy. He did our mast down and up when Finnish Line went to the Bahamas in 2017/18. The rest of the afternoon was spent putting back the bits and pieces, like the boom & halyards, and storing the mast stands. We had a great final trip dinner at Bistro 197.