23rd April, 2010 - Illegal Entry
Open air sleeping
Billy spent a lonely night in the saloon, tossing, turning and sweating whilst George and Hen shared a romantic night under the stars up in the cockpit. All awoke at first light for an early morning swim, and by 7am we had turned on the engine and were chugging westish. On this course Tortola and St Johns (US VI) passed by gently on our starboard side as we headed for Charlotte Amalie on the island of St Johns. We arrived in Crown Bay Marina around noon, filled up with diesel and eventually found Slipstream's parking space for the next three weeks. At this point it was noted that the crew were 'hotter than they have ever been', and Billy had his first 'actual drip of sweat'. Others had many. Once Slipstream was safely tied to the pontoon we took a trip to the marina convenience store. What an Aladdins cave of goodies greeted us. And all ensconsed in a icy fug of air conditioning-heaven. Each crew member then chose a pint of ice cream (we were now in the US of A) which was duly devoured. Bill, ever sesible went for Lemon sorbet (the only one which actually got finished!); Billy chocolate fudge cake, Henry Cookie dough and George a chocolately marshmallowy one. Nic, having been left to keep guard of the boat let Billy choose his, which was 'Chubby Hubby', a salty mix of peanuts and chocolate (there was definitely most of this one left!). After this orgy of ice cream Bill took a trip to the airport to procure Liat tickets for the flight the following day and was informed that all crew members were required to present themselves to customs. The rest of the crew then battled through a tropical storm, to arrive soaked through at the Homeland Security and Border Control Entrance. Clothing was not as imnmpecable as usual and I'm sure Homland security have turned away far less salubrious characters. We were promptly informed by a very professional man called Geurton that under no circumstances were we allowed in the country. His most feasilble solution seem to invloved taking a ferry back and forth to Tortola until we eventually became legal. However we were eventually, and reluctantly allowed to stay. We think due partly to the colour of our skin, the volcano erruption and Henry on the verge of tears, they decided to let us reside in the great nation, however only after extensive fingerprinting, photographing and dripping on their floor. As an addition act of kindness they did waive the $2700 fee. Thank goodness! None of us will ever enter the US unless on an approved signatory carrier. In fact none of us will enter the US at all untill we fill in our forms! At this we should note, the employees of Homeland Seurity were named Guerton (male), Kelly (male) and Willy (female) but found the fact that Bill was called Bill hilarious (well as close as they got to a smile). Following that little excitement we retired for lunch (storm still raging), then a spot of boat tidying. We then had our firston land shower in 14 days and scrubbed up nicely before heading onto 'Craig and Sal's' in the French quarter. This was a delicious meal. Henry, with a tough choice between liver or eel went for the eel. And ate it. Stuffed to the brim with delicious food and over familiar American service we headed for our last night on the boat.
Henry attacking the eel
After a supersized, all you can eat breakfast (surrounded by supersized americans), Slipstream was stripped, scrubbed, stacked, cleaned and packed. All this occurred through intermittent torrebtial downpours. We all bagged another island (stop over in Anguilla) on the way down to Antigua. AFter a 1 hour queue to get into ANtigua, we queued for another hour to get out. Thence onto VS082 and the flight to Gatwick. Sleep was attained by all but particularly the olders crew members with a little chemical help! On landing we saw no sign of an ash cloud. We reckon it was a spoof all along, but an incredibly enjoyable one.
Our flight to Antigua
This is Slipstream crew Caribbean, over and out.