Safely back on our beloved boat and glad to see that she was just as we left her, with no mildew, mould, insects or worse!
Sadly we didn’t get to see everyone we would have liked to have caught up with during our month in the UK but we did our best with barely a day free. All our admin was completed and we even had warm enough weather to have a BBQ for our last evening, a big contrast to the cold of August. Thanks to Steve for letting us abuse his hospitality yet again and will gladly return the favour next year somewhere.
Up at 0500 to leave by 0600 for Gatwick, we made good time despite many commuters already being on the motorway to get to work. We remember those days 🙁
The hire car return was easy in North Terminal and Gatwick wasn’t too busy so we breezed through with our 6 huge bags and 3 pieces of hand luggage without any trouble and were soon sat in the lounge. We couldn’t quite work out why we had to buy yet another big bag but could have been the 14 packs of filter coffee, a big cake box and winter clothes for when we go to the US in 2016. I must admit, I did like the smaller airports in Southampton, Guernsey and Jersey, especially when we arrived in Jersey to find we had the only hold luggage for the entire plane but the shops at Gatwick take some beating.
The flight was fine, slept a bit, ate and drank a lot until we arrived in St Lucia and then stayed off the alcohol so I was sober and patient for the Customs Officials. We landed early, left the airport by 1600 and went through the second set of Customs and Immigration in Chaguaramas by 1700 to be back on the boat by 1800, a good time.
At the airport we were stamped in for 2 days as you have to be cleared into the boat. I took my paperwork to the small office in Customs and they didn’t bother to check the 2 bags with ‘boat parts’, just gave me a stamped, timed note to take to the Customs Office in Chaguaramas. You have to get there as soon as possible, presumably to prove you haven’t sold any boat parts beforehand. That went well too with just a cursory glance at our bags of boat items and as Immigration was still open we got checked back onto the boat for 3 months, which should be plenty of time to get all our painting done and off somewhere else. It cost 10 GBP as it was after 1600.
Beyzano was where we left her and in the same state as when we left her too. Friends have commented that their boats have been black with mould on their return but we have never experienced that. She was immaculate throughout, just a bit hot but we were glad to be back home and get to bed after a 20 hour day. We couldn’t face the unpacking and just crashed out.
Next morning I went to the shops for food and the yard fixed on our air-con unit, a new one with a remote control and digital displays. The new shower and toilet block, literally 20 feet from the boat, is operational as well, so we are all set. We caught up with friends, went to the shark and bake night and it is dominoes this afternoon. Rob replaced the fuel hoses on the engine, fitted a new nav light and we sorted out all the cabins, using both stern ones for storage to make it easier to access things we need and cleaned the boat up. Next we can slowly do the main tasks; 5 old lewmar deck hatches to remove somehow (with a heat gun and cheese wire I guess) and fit the new ones; sand and paint the hull with 3 coats of hard and soft antifouling and fix the new anchor chain to the boat and anchor. There is no firm date for relaunching, so we have plenty of time and will just splash when we get the urge to be on the move again but at the moment that could be south to Guyana or north up the chain. Back to normal life 🙂