SVI Journal: Day 9, the Voyage Home

Sunday morning arrived too soon. We were up early, moored on the west side of Isla Palominos, cleaning and packing. There were just a few local boats left rafted near the beach.IslaPalominos

Batubara was still moored near us, but Chateau du Mer had to move again due to the Jenneau’s proclivity for excessive swinging.

Batubara

Breakfast was a menagerie of all the leftover food. Mary’s meal planning method had turned out to be pretty accurate. As we finished up everything from fruit to bacon, she garnered another round of compliments on her cooking from all the teens.

StarFruit

We had planned to be the first boat back to Puerto Del Rey, but we actually ended up being the last to leave Isla Palominos.

BatubaraLeaving

It could have been that we made a bigger breakfast or we took more time cleaning, but I think we were actually just dragging our feet about casting off because none of our crew really wanted to go home. However, all good things must end, so we let our pirate flag fly one last time as we raised sails and headed for Puerto Rico.

PirateFlag

It was a short trip between Isla Palominos and Puerto del Rey. It seemed like we had only been sailing for a few minutes when it came into view.

HeadingtowardFajardo

We had to reduce speed and motor very slowly through the marina while we waited for Batubara and Chateu du Mer to finish refueling and pick up their charter representatives.

PuertodelRey

Then, it was finally our turn to pull into the fuel dock — the first time Caicu had been docked anywhere in a week.

FuelDock

The Sail Caribe charter reps filled the tanks with diesel. Our grand total after a week of frivolous motoring and running the generator every night — $148.

One of the charter crew jumped on the boat with us and directed us to a slip. We finished packing our bags and emptied all the trash, but they had us just leave all unfinished food and beverages out for the cleaning crew. (I’m pretty sure free booze is the biggest perk of being on the cleaning crew.) After shore showers and a debriefing, Sail Caribe gave our captain his deposit back, and we all walked up to the restaurant to kill some time until our shuttles arrived to take us to the airport.

The restaurant was pretty empty, but just one round of beers for our table proved to take almost 30 minutes, so ordering food was out of the question. It seemed the staff didn’t move any faster on Sunday mornings than they did on Saturday nights.

By the time we got to the San Juan airport we were quite hungry, so we stopped into the Casa Avila restaurant, which turned out to be very disappointing and much too pricey.

Our flight home connected through Ft. Lauderdale, and it was packed with a bunch of rowdy tourists that had just gotten off a cruise ship. There was a lot of cutting in the boarding line and arguing over seats going on. Within minutes of boarding the woman on our row had some sort of altercation with the flight attendant who threatened to throw her off the plane. I then had to listen to her huff under her breath things like, “I’ll say what I want, she can’t throw me off!” for the next ten minutes.

Then a new situation arose when someone’s carry-on bag wouldn’t fit into the overhead compartment. The frustrated flight attendants finally called for attention and asked the owner of the bag to come take something out of it. The owner unzipped the bag and removed a large, dirty toaster oven, which the attendants then set into the overhead bin beside his bag. I guess sometimes you really need toast?

We finally left San Juan and made it to Ft. Lauderdale only to find storms on the east coast had delayed our flight back to Houston by more than an hour. Thankfully our flight did finally arrive, and we headed for Houston just as the sun was setting.

FlyingHome

As we made the late night drive home across Houston in the dark, we were already planning our next adventure.

At the boat show

DSC08837

It was that time of year again. A time filled with magic and mysterious polishes that will supposedly make old aluminum look like new stainless. A time when “For Sale” signs appear on vessels in local marinas like buds on the trees. A time to re-stock your supply of free key floaters and drink coozies.

It’s time for the Southwest International Boat Show!

South Shore Harbor hosts the annual Southwest Boat Show in Kemah, Texas. I have to admit, having now been on many different types of vessels, the show isn’t as exciting as it was a few years ago. However, there were two big reasons to stop by this year.

The first reason was the Lagoon 450.

DSC08840

Our upcoming summer charter will be on a Lagoon, but we’d never actually been on a large cat, so we were very excited to get a tour and see what they were really like.

DSC08843

The 450 would definitely be a comfortable live-aboard with plenty of amenities and space for guests.

DSC08849

There was no shortage of cabinets, closets, drawers, and other storage throughout the vessel.

DSC08845

Call me selfish, but I much prefer the “owner’s” version over the “charter” version of these boats with a big cabin and head on one side — not that we’ll ever be able to afford ownership of either version. But maybe someday we’ll at least have a vessel with a stand-alone shower.

DSC08844

Unlike some of the older, smaller cats we’ve toured like the Prouts and the PDQs, Mary had no trouble seeing over the helm of the Lagoon 450.

DSC08846

Once we were finished there, we headed over to the next pier to check out the pre-owned Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41.

DSC08860

The FP was also a cool boat with a very similar layout. Though smaller, it still had plenty of storage and space to entertain.

DSC08855

Mary’s only complaint was that she did not like the design of the shower stall in the owner’s head. She prefers clear glass walls. I don’t know if that’s a deal breaker.

DSC08856

However, she had no problem with the kitchen.

DSC08853

The FP also had an elevated “flybridge” helm.

DSC08859

Although on both boats, once the sails are set, it’s easy to keep watch and adjust the autopilot from inside at the nav station.

DSC08854

However, the very visible escape hatches in the FP remind you of the one underlying danger of cat sailing — ending up upside down.

DSC08857

Once we’d had our fill of touring boats we can’t afford, we walked through the vendor area and spent almost $40 on two burgers, fries and drinks while taking in some live music.

DSC08866

And while nobody escapes the boat show for free, at least we didn’t end up with a radio-controlled boat.

DSC08869

Or one of these three-wheeled slingshot cars.

DSC08872

Or $99 for 20 minutes of being tethered to a jetski on a hydro-rocket.

DSC08884

But there’s always next year …