Our time back in the UK has flown by – it is really difficult to believe that we fly to Miami next Tuesday. We’ll stay overnight and then head to Fort Pierce the following day to be reunited with Morphie. Can’t wait to see her!
We have had a wonderful time at home with family and friends although sadly there were a few people that we didn’t manage to see at all…. We had a great mini-break to France and have enjoyed revisiting the sights of London.
Richard went back to work straight away when we got home but I’m relieved that he has now retired (again!) as we are both working hard getting ready to go… The usual huge pile of paperwork has been gone through and dealt with – and tick – we are all up to date again with our various insurances. Our en-suite bathroom has been remodelled – very pleased with it – although we still have quite a few house-related jobs to finish before we head off.
We have had work done on Morphie while we’ve been away and co-ordinating all that from thousands of miles away has been a challenge at times. But most of it has been done so just some checking when we get back – the biggest items were the heat exchanger servicing; the replacement of the exhaust mixing elbow; and a new whisker pole to be fitted. We are still awaiting results from the rigging check to ensure we are good to go – important when are planning a Pacific transit in 2017 and Morphie is, unbelievably, seven years old now.
Whilst at home we usually have loads of spares delivered and carry them out to Morphie – but, as we are returning to the US, we don’t need to do that. So this year we’ve been spending loads of time online ordering spares to be delivered directly to the boatyard in Florida. There should be at least 20 boxes waiting for us by now!
This season we are sailing into unknown territory – heading to the Florida Keys, Cuba, Mexico and on down the Caribbean coast of central America towards Panama. We may have to go via the Bahamas but not sure yet…. it really depends upon whether we can persuade the US authorities to issue us with a zarpe (an exit clearance). Before we leave Florida we are hoping to catch up with some cruisers that we have met in previous years as they pass through.
We are hoping to visit Guatemala, Belize, the Bay Islands, the Hobbies, the San Blas Islands…..to name just a few. But there are a few places we are going to miss though – like mainland Honduras and Nicaragua – due to security concerns but the whole itinerary will depend upon the security situation at the time we move on…. Ultimately we plan to haul out in Panama at the end of this season. It all became real just now when some courtesy flags turned up.
We expect more inland discovery… hoping for lots of diving… and anticipate lots of bureaucracy with customs and immigration requirements. Certainly perusing the guide to the requirements in Mexico gives us a flavour of the huge numbers of people that may come on board – including dogs – and some of the restrictions such as no importation of fresh / frozen meat. And all in Spanish – could be a challenge!
Back to packing – even without spares we have a lot to take – so taking advantage of BA’s generous luggage allowance we are going to transport lots of pilot guides; some other technical books; a few tools; and our (very heavy) off-shore foul weather gear.
That’s it for now folks….back to the domestic duties. Welcome back to our blog and bye for now.