BEESMEJ is, finally, complete! The final jobs were completed, today; much to my joy. I have bought a substantial number of spare parts for both engines, as there may be difficulty in obtaining them in the Caribbean.
One of the engines developed a leak of antifreeze. The engine water pump had to be replaced and the engine re-commissioned.
The Tax\Exemption issue raised its head, during the week. It has proved impossible to access the Manta Catamaran office, in order to recover our yellow Tax\Exemption yellow disc, which should be displayed on our hull. I think the time for exemption was June 30th; with 90 days to clear Florida waters, that meant we would have to leave at the end of September; still too dangerous.
I contacted the Florida Department of Revenue to explain my problem. The office confirmed that they had NOT received Tax Exemption papers from Manta! A very helpful representative of the Revenue Department advised that, if I could produce a Cruising License, issued by US Customs, he would turn a blind eye to the lack of paperwork.
Maggie & I drove to the other side of Florida to a tiny airport, wherein we would find the Customs Department, which was able to provide me with the required papers. On the way down, I had the exciting experience of being stopped by a Highway Patrol…..for speeding! Apparently, an aeroplane had measured my speed at 86 mph, in a 70 mph zone. My fine is 206 dollars!
When we got to the Customs office, the guy announced that, since BEESMEJ was on the other side of Florida, he could not issue a Cruising License! Maggie was a little put out, because we had taken 4 hours to get there! We were just driving out of the car park, when Maggie noticed the Customs chap waving to us. He would speak to his supervisor, since we had travelled such a long way. Five minutes later, we had the Cruising License in our possession!
Hurricane Gustav is unlikely to affect us, as it looks as if it will head for New Orleans. Hurricane Hannah may be another matter, though; this one may hit Florida towards the end of next week.
We will try to sail down to Charlotte Harbour on Sunday. This should be a five day round-trip cruise. Winds should be, very much, in our favour!
posted Saturday August 2008