I put the dinghy together with no problem and launched it. I managed to dunk the end in the water and swamp it. Still attached to the ropes, so I bailed it out with a bucket until it was empty enough for me to get in and finish off, I will blame that on being tired. I never had that problem with the inflatable, I am still surprising myself with the differences between a soft and a hard dinghy.
I rowed in to the marina and when the manager arrived I was told I had to bring the boat to the dock for check in and then I could go back and anchor. The anchoring fee is $12 a night, the marina $30, I might treat myself, but I have the dinghy in the water now!!
I cannot get off the boat until Health have been and then I can get off, but not leave the marina until Immigration and Customs have seen me. I could have checked in at Montego Bay, with the cruise ships, but then I would have had to check back out and in again here. It is all too much trouble. I was in first thing, it is now after 12 with people promised soon. Chill, this is Jamaica – and it is very hot.
The Health officer came and I showed her son round the boat.
The manager here told me that he brought his boat round from Kingston with only a small amount of fuel because he wanted to empty the tanks for work to be done. He got to within sight of Port Antonio and had to tack back and forth for 12 hours to get in. Evidently the current can run at up to 5 knots and I have been travelling with the full moon. I feel so much better with my decision and that it isn’t only me that has it tough going.
I have a few days to decide on where to go for hurricane season, non S and Central America.
Choices are Jamaica, because I’m here and I could stop, Aruba/Curacao, or St Martin.
The Marine Police arrived late afternoon, closely followed by Immigration, very nice guys.
Customs turned up at 8.30 and I had to get up. Form 1 was incomplete, Form 2 was incorrect and I didn’t have Form 3. I was going to have to do a new set of forms, with a copy of my registration and he would be back in the morning, 9.30 to 10.
A cruise ship came in, evidently it was not expected but came in because the weather was bad. I am not sure how all the people enjoyed the place, it is not Montego Bay and it was cold, wet and windy. No Customs man, but they were at the terminal with the cruise liner in. I went round and saw the chief and he knew about me and said I could go out and the official would come at 6pm. I only went out into the compound. He came at 12, I wasn’t in and didn’t find out until tomorrow.
I changed the fuel filters, the first one was bad, so that might help the engine. I did a new temporary repair on the air filter. I was going to make a new sponge filter, but the glue was flammable so decided against using that. I also found a nut missing on the alternator. I could not tighten the belt, but I replaced the nut and hope it is enough. I waited at 6 and gave up and went for dinner at Downtime, who were in the Rio, but I didn’t meet them there. It took them 3 days to get from Guatamala to Jamaica, which doesn’t seem fair, but they are a power boat. This was the first social interlude since Cuba and very enjoyable.
I changed the oil and the filter, probably got a bit of a drip again on the bottom bolt, but that’s what they made jam jars for. All the messy stuff over with I cleared up and tried the engine. It started and the alternator was charging. Keep everything crossed for me.
The marina manager phoned Customs, the story now was that I was checked in and just had to get the last form and leave it at reception. I completed the form and then went out into town, not that there is much of it. The marina does not provide enough employment and there does not seem to be much else for them. Not too much hassle, for Jamaica. There is a rasta man who chooses to live in the mangroves and has a bamboo raft. Clive, he says he is world famous. He took my water jug and said he would fill it with mineral water from the spring, but was he just going to fill it from a tap? The dock water, pay by meter, is chlorinated and is 160ppm, his water was 200ppm, so is that the minerals? I used it to fill up my drinking water bottles. I had given him $10 for the water and some bananas. I am glad I got the water can back, now I just need the bananas. I ran the water maker, it needed to run and I needed the water, but the tank is nearly half full.
There are not many boats here and most are preparing to leave, I am just waiting for the swell to calm down and then I can head off. Still trying to decide where to go, but Aruba is looking favourite.
I topped up the fuel tanks and am having the 2 cans re-filled for the trip just in case.
I went into town and got some US$ from the dual ATM, surprisingly you had to have multiples of $500, so I got that and went straight back to the boat.
I put the outboard on the dinghy and went for a once round the harbour. Navy Island is owned by the government, but was where Errol Flynn lived. His second wife is still supposed to be living there, but the island is overgrown and derelict. This is not a good advertisement for Jamaica or the Marina. I hauled the dinghy and strapped it down for the voyage. The weather has not been sunny.
It rained all night, very heavily and I have a full water tank. The marina brought my diesel and so that is also full. Everything is ready, except I have to wait until 4pm for customs and hopefully immigration, so I will have to pay for another day at the marina. I spent the morning trying to get the sat phone to email, the support team dialed in to the machine, but no luck so far and they will be going home in the UK now. I shall head out and see what angle I can get on the wind; after a day or so I can decide whether I can get to St Martin or carry on to Aruba.