Sunday, April 30, 2017 Supposed to get up at 5am, but didn’t sleep well and was awake at 4:14. Got up 4:40; Sally was awake too. I trimmed my beard, shaved with Sally’s leg razor, mine being packed away, and showered. Had sea bag already closed up and downstairs by the front door, along with my backpack-carry-on. Jeans, shoes, socks by front door, I was dressed and the taxicab-minivan was there. Two young guys, one quiet, going home at the end of his shift and one more talkative driver.
Got to the airport (JFK) without incident, at the Delta International terminal. Checked bag after waiting maybe 15 minutes. The counter people were friendly. Headed for the gates, going through security where some people had to remove shoes, some didn’t. I didn’t. I walked, took a shuttle bus to terminal C, found the gate and had a real breakfast, ordered from an electronic menu. It took 20 minutes before anything arrived, then juice and coffee with eggs, sausage, potatoes and undertoasted English muffins. I needed pepper and asked for jam, which never came. The coffee was good.
Boarding started around 7:30 and seemed fairly low-key and rather random. The black woman in front of me struggled to get her too-large suitcase into the overhead compartment. Finally, with 6 inches of it hanging out, she just left it there. I walked easily back to 33F and got my starboard side window seat. Two people from Rochester later came and filled out row 33.
We taxied to the takeoff runway behind about 8 other planes, so there was a bit of a wait. We rolled directly toward lower Manhatten and rotated off the runway around 8:40am. The man was friendly and just talkative enough. Willie and his wife were on a 4 day vacation to Puerto Rico, looking for sun on the beach, a drink and relaxation. It’s his 2nd trip to the Caribbean. They both watched the movie “Collateral Beauty” on the seat screens. I watched “Star Trek” (the remake version with Chris Pine), plenty of distracting action to take my mind off the somewhat bumpy flight.
I was getting ready to go for a second Star Trek movie, but Willie talked and I told some sailing stories, so before you know it we were on approach to San Juan, flying over the very same waters we will sail over soon. There was a general overcast, several layers of clouds and the ground, when we got it was mostly wet, but spotty, like it had rained a few hours before and started to dry. The landing was fair, the plane dropped abruptly just before touching down tipped left and right a little before settling down to brakes and reverse thrusters. Willie wondered aloud about planes going through brake pads quickly. We pulled up to a gate and deplaned just like they do in every other airport in the West, not down a set of steps to the ground.
The gate agent indicated that my bag was checked all the way through to Tortolla and that my gate for the island hopper, Seabourne, was down in D wing. Walking there took me past the shops and restaurants, down some empty corridors, with no flight indicators. I didn’t know which gate my flight would be from until I found a Seabourne agent at gate D4. Boards at 3:35, so I’m now all caught up. Two photos so far, of me at the house, taken by Sally and one of the sea and clouds coming into Puerto Rico.
Seaborne flight from San Juan boarded, took off, flew through the clouds and landed without a hitch. My checked seabag was there on the luggage carousel. Immigration lady gave me a bit of a hard time about not having a letter from the captain of the boat I was leaving the BVI’s on. Officials in the islands do need to be treated with respect, a rule I follow closely, so, with apologies and a promise to tell the captain to supply his crew with the required letters, I was allowed to pass. Customs men were friendly and let me go without any hassle.
A woman managing the taxi line got myself and a man from Cyprus a taxi-van, a full-sized General Motors van which dropped the Cypriot at a resort on the way to Nannie Cay, my destination. My instructions from the captain were to get to Nannie Cay Resort, slip M5. I got close, but neither the driver nor anyone else at Nannie Cay seemed to know where M5 was. One person offered a guess that it was the “new marina over there…. out of the parking lot, 2nd right turn, curve around to the left and it might be over there….” After a pleasant walk with my carryon backpack and seabag, there she was, Nordik Light, a beautiful 54 foot Mason, majestic blue hull, dingy on the foredeck and very sturdy tan covers over the center cockpit.
I was greeted by the owner, Art, and first mate, Valerie. They were busy organizing food and gear down below, so invited me, the exhausted traveler, to rest up in the cockpit. No second invitation required….zzzzz….. Later crewmate Jeff arrived and we went out for pizza and a beer or two at a local restaurant, where it seems Art and Valerie already knew most of the staff and diners. Hanging around for much of a winter, fixing up a boat apparently will do that.
After dinner, the crew returned to the boat and this writer went to bed. The others stayed up a while, but it was a good night’s sleep and the next thing I knew it was 7am. Jeff informed me that I had missed a passing squall around 3am, lots of rain and one thunderclap, not too close. Enjoyed a shave and a nice, hot shower in the resort bathrooms and joined the crew for breakfast, various crew members dispatching oatmeal, pancakes, omelette, OJ and coffee. With a crew composed of two retired pilots, one physical therapist and one semi-retired psychoanalyst, the conversation careened from pilot stories, acronyms and jokes through neurology to Freud’s views, with sailing, diving and mechanics and gear thrown in. Way too much fun.
Back on the boat, captain Art began to familiarize the newer crew, Lynn and Jeff, with boat safety, gear location and functions. We helped a couple of boats get off the dock and waited for the ARC safety inspector to come by to make sure the boat was well prepared for routine and emergency situations during our voyage west and north to Fort Lauderdale. He came by after 11am and gave the boat a very thorough going over that was almost entirely positive, with a few recommendations. One exception he noted was a hole drilled in the deck near the forestay roller furling base, where Miles is in the middle of re-doing the sealing of wires for the hydraulic motor, there having been a small leak at that spot. The inspector indicated that having a hole providing generous water ingress in the boat at that point would be cause for a failing grade in terms of safety. But the comment was offered in a light spirit, as he knew the captain and the boat and was confident it would be put right before leaving the dock. Supposed to be all sealed up today.P4301236 P4301237 IMG_3110 icon