Well, after months of planning, Brenda and I shoved off from the USVIs yesterday to begin or long 1,100 mile run to Florida. Making such a long run was the LAST thing that Brenda ever imagined she would do and yet, when considering all of the options open to us, she decided that it was the “lesser of all evils”.
To have crew fly in was our first choice but that proved to be much more difficult than we had imagined and with that option, Brenda too would have to spend time in an airport and on a plane, during a time of such danger and uncertainty. And, crew, not knowing if they were infected along the way, would have to hang out with me in the USVIs for a while to be sure that they were healthy enough to make the trip. And that would make for a very long time away when you consider that it’s a full week to get home once we shoved off.
Knowing how much Brenda did not want to make the run says a lot about how anxious she has been about flying into the US, with so much uncertainty and potential danger. She just didn’t feel safe at all and was concerned about the dangers of the virus in large public spaces, airports and aboard planes. We both feel that things are just not being handled very well in the US when compared to other counties.
So, after months of back and forth, we are making the trip together.
Seasickness has plagued Brenda for as long as we have spent time aboard and even that did not deter her when compared with the possibility of contracting the virus on the way home on a plane.
Over the years, she has tried about everything possible to solve her nausea and on this trip, we decided to give a good try to the “patch”, something that she has used off and on over the years and always giving up due to side effects such as a sore throat.
We also hoped that after a few days into a trip that will surely take more than a week, that her nausea would subside, as it does for most.
So, two days before we were to depart, she put a half patch behind her ear. Fingers crossed. So far, it’s working and while she doesn’t feel completely ok, she is able to be down below to sleep, wash up and use the washroom, something that has never been possible in the past.
So, we headed out yesterday afternoon, three hours after I headed ashore to get three more jerry cans to carry extra diesel. I am really anxious about running out before we get to Florida as the wind is expected to be quite light. However, as luck would have it, the credit card machine in the hardware store was down and I only had enough money to buy one single 5 gallon can. I thought that I would be able to go to a cash machine but we’ve been away from home for so long that my debit card expired and in spite of being on hold with Bank of America for a half hour, I wasn’t able to connect with anyone to try and get my card reactivated.
And, to make matters worse, after schlepping that one lonely can back to the marina to fill with fuel, I discovered that it had a small crack and it immediately began leaking my precious diesel all over the place. So, back up the hill to the hardware store, dripping diesel all the way, to transfer the fuel into another can. I was so frustrated and exhausted. Up hill both ways, as they say.
Finally, I was able to get it resolved and headed back to Pandora to finish all of the last minute details like hoisting the dink on deck and securing everything for the long run to the US.
So, as I write this, into the second day of our voyage, we are nearing the western end of Puerto Rico and will soon be passing the Dominican Republic, both places that we would normally stop at to break up a trip like this. Unfortunately, both are fully locked down because of the virus, along with every other island in the Caribbean.
It is interesting to note, that we passed the Puerto Rican Trench, the deepest spot in the entire Atlantic Ocean, over 27,000 ft deep. There is only one place on the planet that is deeper and that’s in the Pacific, the Marianas Trench, I think. It’s hard to believe that there is so much water beneath us and that to get to the bottom would involve going down as far as Mt Everest goes up. And, the crushing pressures are far greater than the dangers of being at the summit of the highest mountain on earth.
I’ll admit that it is a bit creepy to think about how deep it is and at the same time, being out of sight of land for days at a time.
So, that’s our story, we are at sea and while the weather is nice, the wind is directly behind us and is barely strong enough to keep us moving. Yes, it’s not too rough but Pandora is still doing plenty of bucking around with a following sea and you never know, from hour to hour, if there will be enough wind to keep us moving and how often we will have to run the engine and burn our precious fuel.
We do have enough to run the engine for more than 140 hours but that’s not enough to get us the entire way so we have to be very careful.
For now, we are making the best of it and getting into a routine, standing watch, resting, reading and doing what we can to pass the time as we make our way, non-stop, west to Florida where we will leave Pandora for a month while we head home in a rental car for a much anticipated return to CT and home.
I’ll continue to keep my GPS tracker going to don’t forget to follow us on the Garmin shared page under “where is the world is Pandora” and also through the Salty Dawg Flotilla page. I’ve shared that link in prior posts.
A special thanks to Melody, our son Chris’s partner for putting this up for me.
Stay safe and keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We need all the help we can get.
Here we are, with nearly 1,000 miles left to go. Next stop, Florida, sometime next week, I hope.