Here I sit, in Jacksonville Airport, once more frustrated by an airport wireless setup that is not working. I strongly suspect the TSA is in charge of these systems - how else could this be so consistent across America? Think about it...when was the last time you found an airport internet wireless setup that actually worked, or that you didn’t need to take out a mortgage on your house to access?
I’ve discovered a silver lining to the IRS hassle here in the US - there’s been so much attention paid to the IRS harassment of conservative groups, the attention is off the TSA people, who are actually paid to harass travelers...as a result, they’re smiling and happy and actually polite. Except for having to take my shoes off, empty my pockets of every piece of kleenex and the old cash register receipts I’ve been carrying for weeks, and opening my luggage, it was almost like old times.
I always recall of my first flight, back in my 20s. I arrived late at the airport in Sudbury, ON, a very small regional airport, and boarded while the plane was warming up on the runway. The flight attendant - we called them stewardesses back then - smiled and welcomed me aboard. I was carrying a box of business documents, no one bothered looking at it. Try that today...
Once again, I’m leaving my boat in the path of an oncoming storm. Gypsy Wind has been through Isabel while at anchor, Irene while on the hard, Sandy tied to a dock in Lake Erie and now this one - Andrea is its name - tied to the dock in St. Simons. The first tropical storm of the season, is supposed to go right over the boat, and even now, it’s pouring rain here. Predicted winds are 55 - 60 later today - hopefully long after my flight leaves.
The program for this delivery is to fly into St. Thomas, where I’ll stay tonight at Rhoda’s Guesthouse - I chose it because it’s inexpensive (hey, I’m a sailor, we have a reputation to uphold), is well regarded and it sounds pretty funky - check it out, Rhoda’s Guest House, St. Thomas. Tomorrow, before getting the ferry to Tortola in the afternoon, I’ll explore a bit and then pick up the new mainsail for the boat.
Tomorrow night I’ll be in Road Town, Tortola, on Elbereth, the 36 Beneteau I’m bringing back to the US. I expect we’ll be a day, perhaps two, getting the boat ready and taking her out for a quick shakedown cruise to check out the various repairs that have been done.
From Tortola, it’s off to Puerto Rico. I’m seriously debating clearing in at the island of Culebra, reason being that the customs and immigration folk on the big island have a really bad rep for harassing boaters. One friend of mine had his boat seized, the customs people claiming he had Cuban cigars, illegal for an American. Four months later, they decided they were wrong and now will give him back his boat - sight unseen - provided he signs a hold harmless waiver. In other words, they may have trashed his boat but there’s nothing he can do about it. Oh - if he doesn’t sign the waiver? They’ll take his boat. Do you see something wrong with this picture? It’s another case of ‘we’re from your government and we’re here to help you’.
From Puerto Rico on, our route depends on the weather. If it’s too rough on the north side of PR, we’ll travel the south coast, adding about 50 miles or so to our run to Samana, DR. From Samana, it’s on to Luperon, then northwest to the Turks and Caicos, then on into the Bahamas. The longest leg is about 185 miles, from either San Juan or Ponce PR to Samana.
Just now got in to Miami - I swear, my pup Aduana is better behaved than 90% of the children here. And, when Aduana is along, the kids are so fascinated by her, they quiet down and come over to pet her. Unfortunately, for this trip, she’s staying back in Georgia - and yes, I miss her already.
Just received an invitation to join a small regatta on Saturday in Tortola from a friend who lives there, in Road Town. Don’t know if I’ll join in the race, but for sure I’m going to get to the captain’s meeting - that will be a party!
Ah - boarding call. God willing, you’ll next hear from me from St. Thomas, USVI.