Monday, July 21, 2014

June 22, 2014: legal issues, refinishing, first new island landfall

One of the things that has bothered me, one of the things I keep putting off, is getting my boat registered. Why do I put it off? Well, in order to register it I need to go all the way across St John, take a ferry to St Thomas, take a bus to the airport at the far side of THAT island, then walk the final mile the buses do not run (no competition for the powerful taxi drivers), then climb to the second floor of the airport to get to the Department of Permits and Resources. Then I need to deal with the bureaucrats who can, should they choose, make one's life miserable. And, so, I've been putting it off, hoping I could do it when catching or completing a flight.
Still, now that I am sailing and have put some more funds and effort into the boat.....and would like to consider longer sails....I decided the time has come. So I left one morning at a few minutes after 7:00 and got home before 1pm, my bank balance reduced (but not nearly as badly as I had feared) and my boat legal for the first time in nearly a decade! Then I spent the rest of the day on the web, filling out paperwork and getting it in the mail to complete the Coast Guard portion of my registration. Now I need to wait for a month or two to see if THAT comes through or if they want more $ or different forms. I wish there were someone to see or call, but when I dropped into the Coast Guard station on my way back from registering the boat they told me you can only do it through the mail. Alas...but such is life and these are very unimportant problems in the scheme of things.
Now I just need to put temporary numbers on the bow of the boat until I get my coast guard numbers....or should I bother? Or, perhaps, I can hang out my shingle with the boat numbers on it, then remove it when the CG stuff comes through...

I've been finally getting to work on refinishing the boat, sanding away the nastiness and refinishing with a single coat of a WestSystems epoxy finish created for the purpose. I've started in the V-berth so that my errors in learning will be in a less visible area, but so far am pretty darned pleased. I'm eager to see how the louvered door I'm planning to work on today comes out.


I've anchored at my first off-island anchorage: a little cove on Flanagan Island, about five miles from my mooring and less than a mile off St John. Beautiful and quiet little spot, although the second time I went there, planning to have it to myself for the day, some neighbors of mine from Coral Bay and NYC motored up, dropped anchor in fifteen feet of water, and went diving for lobsters around the north end of the island. I love it here: a school of 150 or so blue angelfish(?) sweep across the healthy coral, diving down to nibble voraciously on the algae that tends to smother the coral. A moray eel slides into a tiny crevice and disappears. Many species of corals, even some nice staghorn corals, rise from rocks or the sandy bottom. Very nice.

My anchor spot is northeast of this a hundred feet or so, much closer to the center of the sand:,-64.6513143,337m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

And speaking of critters, I saw two turtles today on the east side of Coral Bay while swimming before breakfast. I had just climbed the mast twice (I don't want to talk about it) and needed to cool off. I found the first turtle, about 2' to 2.5' long (shell length) and backed off a bit so he would go back to grazing. I watched for a few minutes, then realized that his hind right flipper was....not. I don't know if a fish or bird got it when he was little or if a driftnet, fishing line, or shark took it when he was older, but it had a completely healed stub and he seemed to cope just fine. After a while he rose to the surface, took two breaths, and swam back down to continue grazing and I left to continue my exercise.
In another hundred feet or so I came across a much smaller turtle, perhaps 10" or 12" long, watched him for a minute, then continued on my way.
Well, that's all for now.

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