New dinghy and outboard onboard
Our new 'car' is now with us and sitting firmly attached to our davits at the time of writing this! The new dinghy arrived on a Monday direct from Florida and by Wednesday we were gently motoring around in Kidd's Cove as the engine had arrived that same morning from Nassau.
The dinghy proved to be the more complicated item to actually 'lay hands on' as it first had to be cleared by Customs in George Town. It was impossible for us to get ashore on the Monday as the weather conditions kept us pinned onboard but on Tuesday Phil collected the paperwork from our appointed agent, the 'colourful' C.P Morley, who relieved us of $65 for completing the documentation. The import papers raised by Customs indicated that there would be duty of $788 to pay being 30% on the purchase price of the dinghy itself. Ouch! The dinghy was still in the G&G shipping compound a mile down the road and only a Customs release certificate would extricate it from its temporary home. So, it was into the main George Town Customs office to plead our case.
The first response was 'no - the duty must be paid'. Then one of the ladies in the office, thankfully the Chief Officer we believe, remembered our previous conversations and after ten minutes of various items of paperwork being heavily assaulted with a rubber stamp Phil was instructed to go to the payment desk where a stamp duty fee of $10 was requested. We were home and dry (almost).
Next stop was to Minns Watersports who had quoted $80 to collect the dinghy from the compound as well as supply our new Yamaha 15hp engine. Kent, who owns and runs Minns confirmed he would indeed be available the next morning to collect the dinghy and sure enough it was into his battered pick-up truck with attached boat trailer and off to the G&G compound first thing Wednesday morning. We then had to wait for the duty customs (lady) to show up on site to inspect our clearance certificate and confirm to G&G that all was in order to hand over the package. There was then another delay whilst the two G&G yard workers finished their 'fast food' breakfast.
The compound was finally unlocked and Kent drove the pick-up and trailer to the far end where the containers recently arrived from Florida were stored. Phil jokingly suggested that it was bound to be right at the back of a container. But there was now a further delay as the elderly forklift truck used by the shippers to unload containers had a flat battery and there were no jump leads. So Kent had to drive back to his workshop to collect some before unloading could begin. Phil sat down with a paperback in the warm sunshine having anticipated that not all would go smoothly on the day!.
Twenty minutes later Kent was back. The forklift seemed very reluctant to start despite much high revving of the Minns V8 engined pickup truck until finally a cloud of black smoke wafted into the air which signified that it had decided to work after all. The shipping container was then opened up and right at the back behind numerous pallets of food and other assorted imported items was a dinghy sized flattish box about eleven feet long and five feet wide. The whole container now had to be (noisily) unloaded, pallet by pallet, until finally out came the dinghy which was placed onto the trailer for the trip back to Minns.
Having unloaded the dinghy at his yard Kent went off to the local Government Dock to collect his delivery of three Yamaha engines, one being ours, and arrived back a while later. In that time the dinghy was unpacked, inspected and inflated by footpump ready to have the engine fitted to the transom. Half an hour later and with us minus a few thousand dollars on the plastic the dinghy was launched and the engine started. It worked. We were fully mobile again. A small trickle of water through the transom fitting proved irritating but it wasn't exactly a flood. Phil motored slowly back to Ajaya towing our temporary Achilles transport behind him which now sits deflated on our foredeck.
'Skip' arrives home with the new beast & the old and the new side by side
The new dinghy weighs almost thirty pound less than our previous Apex model, despite being over a foot longer. The engine is thirty pounds heavier and is about four times more powerful than the four horsepower four stroke we previously had - in short it's like having driven a Reliant Robin for the last couple of years and then buying a new Ferrari. The new dinghy is up on the plane with both of us onboard on half power - the Mariner only ever planed the Apex with one onboard downwind or with four persons onboard going over a waterfall! We haven't had the throttle wide open yet - we don't have that much courage and of course we are still running the new engine in but we certainly get to places a lot quicker and a lot drier. In the meantime we now need to dispose of our temporary Achilles dinghy which just about got us ashore with the little three horse Yamaha kindly loaned by other cruisers. We just don't have the space for it!
Our thanks go to the OCC Port Officer in Florida, Pam Wall, for all her hard work in getting everything straight from that side of the Gulf Stream. To Kent from Minns who was so helpful (and calm) in providing such a good service, and all the cruisers that offered their assistance and support in our hour of need especially on the Cruiseheimers SSB net where such good advice about shipping and importation into the Bahamas was offered.