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Vacation Journal
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Part One of Berta's Boating Adventure

By: BertaB (View Profile)
Date: 5/23/2007

On April 22 I left for the airport for a boating adventure.

Got to the airport in plenty of time, only to get on the plane and sit there and be delayed for 45 minutes.
Started to bite my nails as I had a connection to make to get to St. Thomas.

Made it to Ft. Lauderdale with what I thought was enough time to relax. "What do you mean I have to
go to another terminal?" I said to a security guard when asking for directions. Out the door I went and
lugged my heavy carry on bag to the next building.

Security again??? Oh my, what a long line. My spare time was now gone. I told another security guard my
predicament and he whisked me to the head of the line. How cool was that?!?! The last guard then questioned
,my boarding pass. I did not need this hassle. I told him that is the boarding pass they gave me in Detroit.
Finally he let me go.

I got to the gate and the attendent said I had no time to spare and shooed me down the jetway. So much for
the idea of using the ladies room. I barely got in my seat on the plane and the door was closed and we were
being pushed onto the ramp.

Up up and away. When we leveled off, I finally got to use the ladies room and settled back in with a book.
I had another 2 1/2 hours on the plane.
Even though I had a window seat, it was cloudy and so I fell asleep.
Soon enough and a few dreams later, we started our decent and I could see parts of the island.
As we got to the runway, I saw a guy running along and waving. I did a double take and low and behold,
it was my friend Leo.

We retrieved my luggage and it was off on a bus to the marina. St. Thomas is very hilly and they drive
on the "wrong" side of the road. Strange for a US territory, but when in Rome...........
Got to the marina and on to the boat LaChelle.

No time to relax. I had to unload my stuff and stow it away and get acquainted with the ships systems etc.
Finally we all sat down and relaxed. I had to call it an early night as I had been awake since 4 am.

Monday 4/23/07

I was awake at 6 am, I would have liked to sleep another hour but Leo poked his head in and then shouted
"GOOD MORNING." If I only knew that this was a sign of things to come.

It was a rainy crappy day in paradise. We went to the grocery store and stocked up on provisions. That afternoon
I was free to discover the town of Red Hook. Not much to see really when you don't have a car. Early to bed.......
we shove off tomorrow.

Tuesday 4/24/07

Up at 6 am before Leo had the chance to shout in my ear and send me straight up in the air and hit the ceiling.
Actually the ceiling and I got very acquainted with each other over the trip. The bunk left me just enough room to
sit in but if we hit a wave, I could and did hit it with my head.

It was another ugly day but not as bad as yesterday. It was only drizzling. Still the thought of being on the boat
pulling in the lines in the rain was not a pleasant thought. Tis the life of a mariner tho. As luck would have it,
by the time breakfast was done and a few other details worked out, it was a semi clear day. Hauled in the lines
and said so long to St. Thomas USVI and on our way to Puerto Rico.

By 9:30 am the sun broke thru and that wonderful deep navy blue color of the sea broke thru. This upped my
spirits.



By late afternoon, almost evening, we arrived at Culebra, Puerto Rico. This was my first chance at handling the
boat. Leo and Chris (another crew member) prepared the anchor linesa and locks. It was my job to cruise around the
harbor until they were ready and Leo decided where he wanted to anchor. Finally he made his mind up and down went the
anchor. Now we could relax. Ha, are you kidding????

Time to call immigration and check in. Yes, even though St. Thomas and Puerto Rico are US territories, you still have to clear
customs and immigration when you are in a boat. That job done, it is time to lower the dinghy (aka dingy or dink) from the upper deck
to the water. This job could have been much easier if Leo would have listened to me, but captains will be captains and I am only crew.
Never mind that I do have a boat just like his. Oh well. Dink finally in the water, we take off for shore to see what there is to see.

Leo says I need to drive it to the dinghy dock. Um..........."I have driven our dink, but yours is different." Leo said just drive. OK, you asked for it.
Now the drive itself was just fine, it was the pulling up to the dock that left something to be desired. I cruised in ok but Leo yelled to hit reverse a tad.
Now, not having gotten the feel of where the gears are and where they kick in, I sort of over did it. Leo went flying but caught himself. OOOOOOOOOPS.
All I could say was "I TOLD YOU SO, LEO." He admitted that he should have let me get the feel for it. Chalk one up for the crew. LOL

Culebra is a pretty cute little town. It looks a lot like Isla Mujeres as far as the colors of the buildings, but there is little there for entertainment.
We managed to find one eatery and had some great food. I had a grouper burger and a beer. Good food. Watching the iguanas sun themselves was fun, but
even more exciting if you dropped a crumb of food. The beasties have become accustomed to people food. Very sad if you think about it.

Time to head back to the LaChelle. Chris' turn to drive. OMG!!!!!!! At least I drove in a straight line from point A to B. Chris admitted she needed dinghy drivers training.
Somehow we reached the boat but she nearly rammed into the side of the boat. How can you not see a 50 boat????? This was the first time I wondered if I was ever going
to make it back home alive.

Time to plot our next course. Just type in the coordinates you want to go to and voila, turn the engines on, hit the auto pilot and off you go. Really makes one wonder how Columbus
did it. That job done it was time to haul up the dink and tuck it away for the trip to the next port. Leo took my suggestion this time and it made the job easier. I would tell you my suggestion
but unless you could see the process it wouldn't make sense.

It is now 7 pm and dark out. I am not used to this. When I left Detroit, it was getting dark about 9 pm. Time to relax. Made some popcorn and watched a movie.
I went to bed when the movie was over. I can't remember the last time I went to bed at 9:30 in the evening. Tomorrow is another day and another port of call.

More to come!


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