Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Some Days are Diamonds, Some Days are Stone...

Hi All
I'm reading a few messages about all the cold and rain back home; glad it's happening somewhere because we seem to have timed our travels for maximum summer - it's HOT and humid - again!
Well the title of this piece comes, of course, from a John Denver song that I can't seem to get out of my head at the moment. And for good reason. Two days this week illustrate perfectly the profound philosophy summed up in this good ole country song.

Monday. Finally we were going to get our Cruising Permit! Terry had spent countless hours on the internet and phone trying to get solid information about what you need to do as a foreign registered vessel, to get permission to sail in US waters. Our case was complicated by the fact that that we did not sail here - if we had, it would be a simple matter of checking in to our port of entry and going through customs and immigration. Everyone could tell us that. What no-one seemed to be able to tell us was what to do if you buy a boat in the US and register it in Australia. Instead of answering that question, everyone would tell us what we could do if we had sailed into the US. As you can imagine, Terry enjoyed those conversations immensely.

Now, at last, we had found Betty in Baltimore and we hired a car to go in and see her face to face. Terry bravely overcame his bridge phobia (induced by years of living with engineering students at Currie Hall) to drive across the 200ft high Bay Bridge once again, and we located the Customs Office in Baltimore without too much drama. The usual scans in these days of high security, then we were free to proceed to Room 106. And there was Betty. A short, slightly rotund African American lady with very high heels and a calm, competent manner, she was a little difficult to see over the array of travel souvenirs that formed a perimeter fence around her desk. But Betty knew what she was doing and she knew the rules! A bit of document shuffling and a few questions later and we were the proud possessors of a US Cruising Permit! Betty gave us a serious talking to about what we needed to do to comply with the terms of the permit on entering other states, charged us nothing at all and wished us happy travels. Hurray - legal at last! This successful day was topped off with an excellent coffee on the waterfront, then the pleasure of doing the shopping with a car instead of a bike and backpack - luxury!

Tuesday. I don't want to dwell on Tuesday except to note that it qualified as a definite 'stone'. Beginning with a rift in our waste tank, a great way to start your day, it was followed by the loss of our TV connection and the overheating and forced disconnection of our LPG gas system. (This wasn't all bad - I had said the odd prayer for the loss of TV reception when Terry's partiality to reality cop shows got the better of me). Terry got stung by a wasp. And it was unbearably, horribly hot while we were trying to get these things attended to, which does tend to interfere with one's normally mellow temperament. So, we ended the day cooking up some chicken on a public barbecue and knocking back copious amounts of corona and the local zinfandel as the storm clouds gathered over the picnic benches.

Love to all - news of home is always welcome!


  1. What a good read! I have a mental picture of Betty, and three hurrahs for her! My sympathies to Terry on the wasp front - they're nasty little suckers - was bitten three times on the forehead by one once, not nice at all. And what a salubrious way to end it all with barbecued chicken, coronas and zinfandel. :)

  2. Hi Carol, what a grand sister has just sent me pics of the yatch they're about to buy in england to do the same! Maybe you'll meet on the high seas. Keep living that wonderful eternal summer and we'll all keep getting rained on for you (can't complain
    ...we just got back from the kimberley). All the best, Margot xoxo