Frustrating time in Marsh Harbour, Abaco

Monday morning we were up early and went into the Jib Room to take advantage of their fast internet.   First job – find a place to leave Morphie in August. We had identified a few marinas / boatyards in Florida and whittled them down to the few that allow owners to work on their boats. We don’t mind hiring people to do specialist work or unskilled labour if time runs out on us, but not being allowed to do basic things ourselves like clean the stainless, wax the hull, replace the zincs, and clean the prop etc would certainly add up when marina labour costs $80++ an hour.

Finally we settled on one yard so we just have the issue of the hurricane cradle to overcome. Our insurance company insists on yachts being stored in one-piece hurricane cradles – which actually do not exist in Florida!!!   But, after some wrangling, they have accepted a specialist connector / rod system as compliant. Again not something readily available in Florida – so looks like we are going to have to purchase it ourselves and get it transported to the yard.….. At least it is made in the USA.

Cradle system

Richard is getting increasingly fed up about all this and being quite grumpy – but we can’t afford not to be insured in this hurricane area, so we are just going to have to put up with it.  Riverside Marina in Fort Pierce was happy to accommodate us – and put together the cradle system – so we have made reservations….  You can see from the photo that they are close to the water’s edge – but on a river which is sheltered by outer islands which should reduce the risk from a storm surge….

Riverside Marina

We are now waiting for confirmation from them so that we can order the connectors. Phew – one thing off our list. Fingers crossed….

Next thing was the outboard propeller – our prop is completely wrecked – check out the bushings in the photo!

Broken propeller

We can go along at a snail’s pace but not sure for how long. So this is quite urgent now.   We couldn’t find a Tohatsu dealer who would send via FedEx – so ended up purchasing a Solas one instead. This part matches ours – allegedly – so we ordered it.   The part was cheap enough but the FedEx wasn’t – wow wasn’t expecting to pay $100 for a 4lb parcel….   Anyway – it’s on its way – so we return to Morphie, pay our marina bill, and head out to the anchorage.

Morphie back at anchor

Got a nice set, did a few boat jobs, and headed over to Snappas late afternoon for happy hour.   Met up with some nice people – enjoyed a few beers with them, along with a spectacular sunset – and back on board for an early night….

Happy Hour friends

Goodnight from Marsh Harbour

Tuesday morning and we were up early – and tried to phone the FedEx guy.  We need to get this parcel cleared through customs – and as a propulsion part – we shouldn’t have to pay duty, just the VAT (which is set here at 7.5% and now applies to everything from 1 Jan 2015) with no exceptions, even for yachts in transit.   But how do we pay it?   Well, the guy won’t answer his phone…..and no voicemail either. We tried loads of times.

In the end we gave up and went ashore – at a slower pace than on Monday so looks like we’ll be rowing everywhere soon. We wandered downtown Marsh Harbour towards Maxwells the large supermarket. We admired a few pimped up cars along the way – it seems like the locals really like fancy wheels.

Pimp my ride Pimp my ride 2

And then we were offered a lift for the final stretch which we were grateful for in the heat of the day.   Provisioned up we returned to dink – via the BTC office to buy some more internet time – and set off back to Morphie, assisted by the local boy who moves the dinks around to make space for the next one. Bit of entrepreneurial spirit and he didn’t ask for money – which makes a nice change – so we gave him $1 for his time and he seemed happy enough.

Town dinghy dock

In the evening we had Jeanette and Neil on board from Echo Echo – our turn for sundowners. We had another great evening with them…..

Jeanette & Neil

Wednesday morning and back on the phone to FedEx again. And again no answer….so we looked up the FedEx Abaco office on line and set off to find it. Well…we found the road eventually….but no FedEx office. We wandered around and asked a few people – guess what, it had relocated to near the airport.   And it wasn’t walking distance. Grrrr….

Must be down here somewhere Must be down here somewhere 2

So we gave up and decided to go back to Morphie and carry on phoning.  On the way we found a marine store and Richard is now the proud owner of a Hawaiin sling so he is keen to go lion fish hunting.   We also got some replacement lures so I’m looking forward to filleting some more mahi mahi for the freezer soon!

While we were out the rain started….. Relaxing in the cockpit and the rain started to come through heavily – then the thunder and lightning started – and it rolled around us for quite a while.   But this is a protected place – nothing to worry about – so we just went below and lazed around reading books.   And that was it for the day – apart from eating dinner and sharing a bottle of wine….

Here comes the rain Raining again

Thursday morning and we finally got through to FedEx – and were told to open an account so that the duty could be applied automatically. And we were to phone them back with the account number so that they could link the parcel to it…. If only it was that simple…. Sigh….. We couldn’t open a US account as we don’t have a US address…. so we opened a UK one instead and hoped that it would still work.   We then phoned back to give them the account details and, guess what, they didn’t answer the phone again!!!

Frustrated we went through our lists of things to do and decided to go in to Marsh Harbour Marina to use their internet and have some food.  Had a great lunch – lamb gyro for me and Richard tried the Fish Reuben sandwich which Blaine had recommended.   He thoroughly enjoyed it.   We got on with the rest of our internet tasks whilst enjoying a few cold beers.   We still haven’t received the confirmed reservation for our haul out yet so I skyped the marina – and was told we should get an email by Tuesday next week….   Normally I wouldn’t worry but really want to get this connection system ordered and can’t do that until we have written confirmation so we can guarantee where we’ll be…..   Sooo frustrating……

Guess what, FedEx wouldn’t answer, again!!!   I asked the marina people about it – well, the answer is that they finish work at 12 noon. Great….grrrr….   I spoke to Linda – the owner of the marina – and she said don’t worry – if the tracking says it has arrived in the Bahamas on Thursday it should be delivered to Marsh Harbour on Friday (or Monday at a push).   I asked about the duty – and whether that would hold it at customs if it remained unpaid – and she said that they would usually deliver anyway and ask for money at that stage. She kindly agreed to take delivery, pay whatever was charged, and we could pick it up later on.   So fingers crossed we decided to leave it at that – and spent the rest of the afternoon bobbing and cooling down in the pool.   We really enjoyed it….

Marsh Harbour marina pool Bobbing time

This morning, Friday, and I’ve been calling FedEx since 8.00 am…..and have finally got through after 10 attempts.   They confirm the parcel is here and they will connect my FedEx account to the customs bill when it comes in so the parcel can be released – and we hope to have it by noon today. Of course, we are still on island time……. But another bobbing afternoon beckons if it is late and we can finally get out of here tomorrow.  We’re both a little stir crazy!!!   Fingers crossed that the Solas propeller does actually fit …..

Not all fun in the sun you know!!!   Bye for now