Finally we’re on our way….

Yesterday we woke up really early as we still had last minute tasks to do before our taxi arrived to take us to Heathrow.  Final weigh in of cases – have never seen such a huge pile of luggage in all my life!  Finally… Ready…. Let’s go…..

Stress levels should come down now – this has been a rough couple of weeks as the time has reduced and the pressure has built on both of us….and emotionally charged too saying goodbye to friends and family.  We’ll miss you all.

So cab arrives – hurrah – and we take a quick last minute look around our home.  I’m so excited so why am I upset to leave?   No idea….just swallow those tears…and get going!   Last look behind and we’re on our way, waved off by Sharon (our neighbour and close friend) with her little Union Jack.   Lovely thought.  

Going through lists in my head of everything and just hoping we didn’t forget something…but after about 30 mins into the journey I start to relax.  Thankfully a good run round the M25 and we’re at Heathrow checking in at the British Airways first class desk…  This is the first and only time I’m travelling this way – according to Richard – and what a fantastic way to start our new cruising life together.   I’m so glad we saved up those AA airmiles – definitely wouldn’t have been able to pursuade him to spend circa £12k on two flights!!!! 

Love the service – wow – fast track security into the lounge….and before I know it we are sitting in our own personal cabana having a late breakfast drinking bucks fizz.  Then to the bar for another before heading off as late as possible to board the flight.  

Straight around the huge queue at the gate and hey, we turned left…  Wow, huge seats and more champagne.   Take-off on time and then it’s time to eat again…   What food!  Amazing – and loved it that Richard joined me as my guest in my seating area and we had a formal dining experience together.  Oh I could get used to this…

So now time to play with the seats and before I know it the stewardess has made it into a flat bed and given me my own personal sleepsuit – think ‘onesy’ – but that’s a step too far so I just got in and went to sleep.  A few hours later and I’m awake and, oh no, it’s time to eat again!   Really really can’t manage sandwiches, scones, cakes or even fruit….so just settle for a nice cuppa…how British… 

All too soon we are landing – never thought I’d say that about a flight….and into Miami we go.  As usual there is the three mile hike to the immigration desk – hurrah they’ve put in a single line to follow which moves fast – then disaster, the officials allocate us into the line behind a range of people all of whom appear to have a problem of some sort.   So an hour later we’re still waiting – and no chance of moving lines – they are coming behind us thick and fast.   Almost at the front and then some diplomats get fast-tracked through in front of us in our line – I’m getting really frustrated now.  Why our line, everyone elses was moving faster….  Grrrrrr…..

Finally it’s our turn – hurrah – and in front of the official to find out that having just got US visas in London we have to fill in a special form which no-one told us about or issued us with.   This is the first time we have travelled since acquiring them – so all new to us. So rejected, frustrated and more than fed up we head off to the back to get the forms – fill them in – and then we pushed back to the front and got waved through.  I think they were starting to feel sorry for us…

Finally – we’re in – now for the luggage.  So much for priority luggage – we’re the only people from our flight who haven’t collected so far!  Now where is that porter?   Oh, right, all the sky caps have gone into hiding…so a massive search happens and eventually after about 30 mins we find one.  OK – time for customs – guess what, I’ve declared some stuff, so we are moved into another queue for our luggage to be scanned. That was the final straw – I’m getting tearful again and being a complete and utter wuzz!  I could see all the tools, dive gear, electronics etc causing quite some excitement on the x-ray – thankfully it all passed without having to go through it again.

OK so it wasn’t that bad – just a build up of tension – and the minute we got a taxi to the hotel I was fine…and then my faith in human kind was restored when the receptionist upgraded us to a suite;  gave us a late checkout on Saturday without charge; and supplied us with complimentary breakfast vouchers.   Thank you Hilton.  To our room and fall thankfully into bed.

Awake early this morning as we get into the time zone.   Time to chill now and then go shopping!  Yes, there is more we need, and probably another bag to check in at the end of a couple of days here…

Bye for now


Preparation, preparation, preparation…

So you think of an appropriate date, check out the frequent flyer airmiles, book flights and hotel – hop over to Miami for a couple of (shopping) nights and then fly down to St Thomas. Simples…. assuming American Airlines don’t change the schedule (again).

Then quit work and get ready to go…. but OMG the lists are huge and what you think will be a five minute job turns into a two day trial of ups and downs as you hit proverbial brick walls…. And other things that we were dreading trying to organise have been really easy. But some of the paperwork is nightmarish – we just want to go sailing, please.

Thankfully the cruising refit of Morpheus is coming along nicely with new signage, new sails, an arch with dinghy davits and other new toys like a watermaker, additional solar panels, wind generator, additional house batteries, radar, AIS etc etc are already in place – but we can’t see Morpheus or play with the new stuff to check all OK and go through our lists – we are so far away we could be on Mars and we can’t wait to see her for ourselves. In the meantime we have to make do with photos coming through.

Of course loads of shopping has been going on over this side of the pond as well – and not all for clothes!  Some boat stuff is cheaper in the US so we get it shipped straight down to St Thomas to await our arrival. Other stuff we have here at home to go travelling with us. Not sure what UK security and the US TSA are going to make of all the tools we will be carrying in checked luggage though! I’m sure Richard’s newly acquired collection of Jubilee clips will also look a bit odd on the x-ray. Then there is the dive gear and all the portable electronics to go… plus a treasured selection of specialist tea, Indian spices and the odd jar of marmite… Oh boy this is going to be fun…

Add domestic things into the mix like a range of insurances / car stuff / house stuff / wills / tax returns / this blog / going out every night of the week to say farewells to family and friends (those we didn’t get to see I’m truly sorry and hope you forgive us) – gives you a flavour of my stress levels right now with only a couple of weeks to go.

Richard on the other hand is uber confident we’ll get it all done and is getting really excited – I am so envious of his confidence and he just ticks his blue jobs off effortlessly without fuss. The list of pink jobs remaining is enough to send me into a tizzy. Underneath I’m really excited too although, right now, I don’t think I’ll personally believe it until I’m sitting in the airside lounge in Heathrow waiting to fly on Thursday 29th November!

Oh yes before I forget recently we were given Bubo the owl as a gift to provide wise guidance for our trip (inspired by Jason and the Argonauts or was it the alcohol?) – so here is a photo of our latest crew member. Richard says enough – no more toys! See our crew page to meet the others.

But that’s not all we’ve been up to – I’ve done my long range radio practical and theoretical exams and got the very posh certificate to prove it. So looking forward to playing with the SSB radio now that I know what I’m doing. We’ve both done the radar course, a rigging course and have a hands-on diesel engine course scheduled for next weekend.

Phew…. Getting ready is hard work – don’t know how we found time to actually hold down demanding jobs.  Bye for now.