We arrived at Heathrow earlier than needed on Tuesday morning as we were expecting much longer security queues and checks. We were travelling business class – love using our airmiles – so were pointed to the Fast Track. Of course, I got picked up by the scanners and got very seriously patted down – including a quick grope – not sure what she was looking for but I definitely didn’t have anything to declare! Richard sailed through as usual….
Into the lounge and we enjoyed Mimosas watching the planes out on the tarmac. All too soon it was time to board and we were ushered upstairs to our seats. Nice to look at each other and be able to chat in between putting down the lay-flat bed for a snooze – watching great movies – and being fed and watered a lot! Amazed how quiet the new A380 plane was… It was a great experience.
Arrival at Miami and it was chaotic as usual although, unusually, the immigration queue wasn’t too bad. It took us a while, though, to find our bags and then to locate a sky cap to help us. Finally onto the courtesy bus to our hotel – got welcomed back which was a nice touch – and then we crashed and burned after a couple of obligatory and recuperative beers in the hotel bar.
Wednesday morning and back to the airport – flying to Tampa this time. Seems mad to be flying to the West Coast when Morphie is actually on the East Coast – but the flights were booked before that decision was made and the price differential from Miami and Tampa car hire firms meant that it was worth the effort of getting back on a plane. Through enhanced security and then into the American Airlines lounge – which is totally unimpressive – although my Mimosa wasn’t bad. Richard had to make do with a virgin Bloody Mary though as he was driving later.
We arrived into Tampa – the bags came quickly – and straight out to the rental carpark. Picked up our car and then drove across the state without satnav and didn’t get lost once!
We went straight to the boatyard to see Morphie and to make sure security knew that we were going to be around for the holiday weekend. She was looking good but we were seriously unimpressed that the boat yard had moved her and not reinstated the cradle. Luckily the weather is benign and we splash on Monday – but even so – all that damn fuss to get it sorted for named-storm insurance compliance in the first place and, for all we know, she hasn’t been cradled for a while…. Will be having words about that once we are safely back in the water.
Having had a long day we then drove to the hotel – checked in – and crashed having first had a Chinese delivered to our room for dinner. Nice to have a microwave and fridge for our leftovers LOL…
Thursday was Thanksgiving and we were pleased to find that Morphie was mould free and the stainless didn’t look too bad. We were very pleased that our pre-storage hard work had paid off. Yay!!! We checked the work that had been done for us – and everything was done apart from the boom vang and pole which still need to be installed. On the way back to our hotel we were looking for somewhere to eat – but we had underestimated how important this holiday is to the US. All we could find open were grocery stores and fast food outlets. So we ended up with a microwave meal in our room…..
On Friday we headed off early to customs to collect our (original) documents which had been retained by them during our absence. We checked progress with the boat yard on the outstanding works and climbed on board – we unpacked some more of our belongings and started organising ourselves Early afternoon we decided to call it a day – feeling frustrated by the ‘full service’ yard restrictions as, in other years, we would be reinstalling our canvas, cleaning stainless etc prior to splash but this is not allowed here…. When we arrived back at the hotel our room hadn’t been cleaned – and when I phoned reception – was told too late…. Hmmmm….
In the evening we had dinner with Pat and Eric (Cutter Loose) and Hayden and Radeen (Island Spirit) as they passed through on their way south. Was a lovely evening and great to catch up with Pat and Eric again – and to meet Hayden and Radeen for the first time, even though we have been ‘virtual’ friends for a long while….
Saturday we took more of our luggage over to Morphie for unpacking – and also collected a lot of parcels from the marina office. Sadly one item was damaged which we need to sort out – and we are still waiting for some – but it really felt like Christmas.
The guys also turned up to remove the wax and polish the hull.
We left early afternoon and did our first West Marine run of the season – loads more on order now – and, in torrential rain, returned to our hotel. Back to find our room still hadn’t been touched – not impressed! So we went down to the lounge – complained to reception – and made sure it was done while we did more online ordering…. Later on we headed back to the marina for a couple of drinks and to say hi to the staff. But we were tired and not really in the mood so ended up having another early night.
Sunday morning and we headed back to Morphie. Her hull was looking lovely and shiny although they haven’t finished the stern as they got rained off. We did our pre-launch checks like working Y valves, thru hulls etc etc….and carried on unpacking again…. Had quite a busy day and felt that we were ready to splash so went back to the hotel to find our room hadn’t been cleaned again. And the cleaning staff had all left. So again we had to make our own bed, empty our rubbish and recycle the towels – not sure what we were paying for!!!
Later on we got cleaned up – made a formal complaint which fell completely on deaf ears – and walked around the corner to the Red Lobster for dinner. Enjoyed some good food and nice wine – but still can’t get over the size of the portions here so over-ordered again. Reckon I’ve put back on all the weight I lost while at home. Must try harder!!!
Monday morning we were up early – checked out. We drove over to the boatyard – left the big bags in the car and got ready waiting for Morphie’s lift. In the pouring rain – please stop! It did – yay – and then here it comes….. Feeling nervous….. Be safe Morphie!
Thankfully they picked her up OK….and got her moving to the slip. Splashed safely – thanks guys!
We had company on board from the boatyard as they wanted to check that everything they had done – engine wise – was working as it should. And it was – perfect. We motored into the marina and, by 10.30 am, we were in our slip and tied up safely. And relax…..phew….hate that bit!!!
I started getting the lines ready for our sails to be hoisted while Richard collected them from the loft. The rain had abated and there was no wind so we got going quickly – and reinstated all three sails. Then it was time to re-inflate the dinghy and get it moved off the bow and into the water. Done…. Then it was time to hoist him – yep – another tick in the box. Now that the bow was free I washed down Morphie and she didn’t look too bad at all….. Then the rain started again – so we reinstated all the canvas. After a short break we got the rest of the luggage from the car and did some unpacking – and then made the bed- and were pretty tired by then. So we called it a day – having worked solid for 10 hours – and headed to the bar for a couple of beers and dinner. But we were both physically tired and aching so headed back to Morphie pretty early.
This morning – Tuesday – and another day of boat jobs awaits… Doesn’t she look pretty??
Bye for now