Day 88, Year 1: Red Sails in the Sunset
Date: Friday, January 13, 2006
Location: Behind Newlands Reef, Union Island, The Grenadines
Oh, glorious Friday the 13th. It is 1800 here, 6 PM Atlantic Standard Time and 5 PM Eastern Standard time. The sun is setting behind Union Island and the sky has gone from flamingo pink with little patches of aquamarine blue to a beautiful red. The temperature is 82 degrees and the winds are just starting to dip below 20 knots for the first time in days. The moon is rising in the east and although it is still cloudy, the moon is in full view right now. It is either full or almost full. Our GPS told us that tonight is the full moon, but today when I was in town I downloaded a 2006 moon phases calendar, and it tells me tomorrow morning, January 14, at 0948 GMT is the official time of full moon. Whichever, it is beautiful. I’m hoping for clear skies tomorrow night as we head across the Caribbean Basin to Bonaire under the light of the moon. I know I can’t have everything, but that would be nice.
We just got the dinghy and motor onboard in preparation for departure tomorrow. We are SO glad we made the decision not to leave this morning. It was an ugly, ugly day—rained ALL night which is unusual and drizzled all day under a totally overcast sky. The anchorage here is full of boats waiting to depart, and as we listen to the weather reports, we realize that boats all throughout the Caribbean have been waiting for the window. It is tomorrow. So we will depart here at sunrise and hope to reach Bonaire by Tuesday.
We used today to try and make arrangements for our Galapagos visit. Yesterday we sent a FedEx with what we thought were the required documents to secure a cruising permit there. It cost $30 US to send the FedEx, but then we received an e-mail last night explaining that we needed to send additional documents via fax and wire money to cover the cost of the autografo (6 week cruising permit). We paid today for our lack of preparation. We were both so busy working right up until the day we left, that we didn’t make arrangements like this from the US. That would have been so much easier. Live and learn. We had to wire some money to the Naugala Agency in the Galapagos and that took nearly all day. We had their bank account information, but when we went to the Western Union office we learned that they can’t wire money to a bank account without some sort of special code. Naugala wasn’t in their data base. We tried a MoneyGram—same story. We tried the bank (Friday is payday and we stood in line forever), but they can only wire money if you have an account and you have to have a local address in order to get an account. We were told we would need to send the money directly to a person, so we needed to call our agent, Johnny Romero, in the Galapagos. That meant leaving town and coming back to the boat in what felt like gale force winds in order to make a call on our satellite phone. But then we didn’t know how to call the Galapagos. We have cruising guides for the Caribbean that give the country codes and detailed directions for making calls, but we have nothing like that for the Galapagos and all of our e-mails from Naugala just had a ++ at the beginning. We now know that means 00, but it took calls to the Galapagos and to the Naugala agent in Florida to figure this out. And then there was the simple fax we were supposed to send—copies of our passports. Not so simple. Passports don’t copy well on the old copy machines here and, of course, we had not scanned our passport information into our computer before leaving. We had our passports with us when we were in town early in the day, but when we returned to send the fax and wire the money, we had left the originals on the boat and had only the copies with us. They were too light to go through the fax machine (or so we were told after many attempts), so we had another huge hassle having those scanned in and sending them as e-mail attachments. The moral of the story is to be prepared. If you are going to do something like this, have all of your major documents scanned into your computer before leaving and buy all of the travel guides you will need in the US. I hope we got the information needed to the Galapagos today to start the cruising permit process, but we won’t know until we hear back from Johnny. Since we won’t be in a port until next Wednesday, we won’t be able to do anything about it until then. We wasted an entire day figuring all of this out, but now at least we know what to do next time.
It is time for me to fix dinner. We bought some of the locally grown okra tonight and I can’t wait to eat it. I fix it the same way that I do fried green tomatoes—dip the cut okra in whole wheat flour with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Dip the coated okra in an egg batter, and then into corn meal and fry. I love it! We’ll also have a salad of the locally grown lettuce. It is a cross between leaf lettuce and Romaine. It is so good. The tomatoes are tiny and not so good, but you can’t have everything. And I am out of Paul Newman’s Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing—the only dressing we like. I intentionally did not buy salad dressing thinking I would have all of the time in the world to make my own, but somehow that isn’t the case. Add to that the fact that I seem to have only one bottle of balsamic vinegar. Oh well, I guess I’ll figure this one out, too.
By the way, I noticed this evening that our red and white stripes on Old Glory are starting to bleed and the white stripes are turning pink. I guess we are going to have to rewrite the lyrics to some patriotic songs—the red, pink, and blue.