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March 11, 2002

Shipping arrangements

Chris & I are just about to drive down to London, where we're spending the night before flying out to the boat in Florida tomorrow. The forecast for Florida is a north-easterly gale with a front moving in, so that sounds great.

Zamindar is booked onto a submersible yacht carrier in ten days or so from Port Everglades to Palma, Mallorca. The ship carries fifty or so yachts, and you sail on, they pump the water out, and carry you across the Atlantic. I've been thinking about bringing Zamindar back to Europe for a while, mainly because...
Half the year in the Caribbean is hurricane season when you can't sail
Its difficult to go over there to the boat for a short trip
There's too many Americans in the Caribbean

Now, I know that I'll probably get thrown out of the yacht clubs because I'm not sailing back across the Atlantic, but the people I'd like as crew can't spare two months off work to stare at the sea. Also, when you work out the cost of preparing the boat, provisioning, and wear and tear, shipping starts to look quite attractive. Apart from that, I've already sailed it and don't have anything to prove. I'm using a company called Dockwise, which is supposed to be the biggest, but their Florida office has so far given me nothing but problems and has been very poor at keeping in touch.. We have to sail from Titusville to Port Everglades, which should take four days or so, and they're supposed to be loading on the 21st March, though they're very likely to change the date again without telling me.

I've spent the last two weeks in Bristol because they've been moving around the shipping date, but it has been an enjoyable time. Bristol still seems to be worse than Bombay for people stopping you in the street and asking for money, and today someone from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stepped out in front of me. I told him that I just wasn't interested in wrestling. I also seem to have begun setting off those alarms they have at shop entrances to stop you shoplifting. The strange thing is that I'm also setting them off from outside the shop when it's closed! It must be that chip in my neck again. Talking of which, I have no idea if I'll even get into the US this time. They were reluctant to let me in last time and gave me a long interrogation, so I'm expecting to be handed an orange suit and sent down to Guantanamo on this visit.

March 19, 2002

Titusville to Fort Lauderdale

Yesterday morning, we arrived in Fort Lauderdale after sailing down from Titusville. The wind was in front of us all the time, so we had to motor down the Intra-Coastal Waterway all the way. Last night we went out for a celebration dinner; when the food finally arrived, they didn't give us any cutlery or plates, and when I asked a waiter for them, I was told to get them myself. We then moved onto a bar, but they refused to let me in as I didn't have any ID!

The shipping is allegedly happening on Thursday, and so I called Dockwise this morning to get confirmation as they have asked everyone to do. However, there was no-one in the office apart from the secretary, who knew nothing, and then hung up on me.

Have a nice day.

March 22, 2002

We're suffering again today from

We're suffering again today from the chemicals that America puts into it's beer to stop you drinking too much. Chris and I went out to a club last night that would have been good if we were still into music from 1986 and the dj didn't talk across all the songs all the time.

We've been told the Dockwise are loading tomorrow afternoon, and the port is only about 3miles from here. At the moment we're getting everything onboard sorted up for the crossing, and we're due to fly back to London on Tuesday afternoon.