A PERIPATETIC JOURNEY
not all who wander are lost
We spent a busy couple of weeks at Kendall's family farm on the Chesapeake Bay packing and weighing and re-packing our luggage to make sure no bags were overweight. We'd researched the baggage costs and decided it made sense to have one overweight bag. The bags were quite heavy because in addition to clothing we were bringing art supplies, the kids' school books, and lots of boat parts. We packed the boat parts in their own bags because they would need to stay at the airport in Grenada until our customs agent could clear them through. Grenada imposes high customs duty on imported items, but owners of yachts in transit (still feels weird to call our home a 'yacht') can jump through a few administrative hoops and have the duty greatly reduced.
Once we were packed, we loaded up our rented van and headed to the airport. The thoughtful American Airlines gate agent urged us to redistribute items in our bags so that none would be overweight. After shifting items around we were able to get all 10 bags to right around 50 pounds each, give or take a few. This process took some time and quite a lot of space on the floor so we were glad to have arrived at the airport so early! Despite flight delays that threatened to have us spend the night in Charlotte rather than Miami, we did make it to Miami around 1:00am.
After an uneventful flight the next morning, we arrived in Grenada in the early afternoon. It took us a while to get through immigration, both because we were last off the full airplane and because it wasn't until we were next in line that Kendall realized that she had misunderstood the customs form instructions provided on the flight and hadn't filled out forms for the children. Kendall is the family's designated form-filler-outer, and usually does a better job of it! Chalk it up to the late night/early morning/long flights! After finally getting our passports stamped, we stopped by customs to leave the boat parts for our agent to pick up later.
We stepped out into the tropical heat and boarded a taxi for the ride to the boatyard. The change in climate was quite jarring after the fall weather of New York and Virginia and we were a bit out of sorts for the first 36 hours or so. The next week was a whirlwind of boat organizing and project management, homeschooling, making new friends at the boatyard, and enjoying our air-conditioned apartment as much as possible. Since hurricane season was winding down, the boatyard was busy with boat owners finishing the last of the summer work and pre-launch preparations. It would only get more busy in the next few weeks so the yard manager, staff, and contractors were working long hours to not disrupt the launch schedule.
Ours was scheduled for October 24; as the week progressed, we began to doubt whether or not everything would be finished on time for our launch. If we missed our launch, it could be another week or two before there was another slot available. Despite the heightened activity levels around the yard, it was still the Caribbean. When it rained (often), workers would take shelter under nearby catamarans, have a long lunch break, or depending on the work they were doing, just call it a day. The last remaining job was a big one: to reinstall the sail drives (transmissions) in both engines. These are located beneath the engines, which necessitates the unbolting, lifting, and propping of the big diesels while the sail drives are installed. This must be done on the hard because the sail drives are below the waterline and removing them opens a large hole in the engine room floor. Despite the intense heat and humidity, Calvin, the mechanic, and his helpers completed the difficult and dirty work just in time.
Slowly, the tractor pulled Counting Stars down the main fairway toward the boat launch. Two divers waded into the water to help guide the tractor driver and make sure the boat didn't float off the paper too quickly. Once the trailer was backed to the edge of the water, we all climbed up a ladder onto the boat. The mechanic and his helpers also boarded the boat as they were going with us on a brief sea trial to make sure the engines and sail drives were correctly reinstalled and working properly. Lines were tossed to dockhands to keep Counting Stars from moving side to side too much in the slip. As a light rain began to fall, we felt that floating feeling once again. We were in the water!
Everything went fine during the sea trial, so we tied to a dock briefly before heading out into the bay to anchor for the night. We made a simple dinner of spaghetti and enjoyed our first sunset at anchor in months!
The next morning, we pulled up the anchor and motored around the south end of Grenada toward St. George's. It was wonderful to be underway again! Our plan was to stay at Port Louis Marina for a few days to take care of the last boat jobs, catch up on boat school, sightsee, and wait for a weather window for our ~3 day passage to Bonaire.
McGlynn family 5 (Isla, Marin, Eoin, Kendall, and Brian) sailing Counting Stars