Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Barrels Customs and Charlotte Amalie Harbour.

Four barrels of “stuff” that we had accumulated on the RV were shipped down to the USVI and languishing in bond in Charlotte Amalie. So the job was to deal with customs and then get them to the boat and pack it all away.

I had heard that customs here could be difficult even for a yacht in transit so I prepared a pretty detailed shipping manifest emphasizing the used nature of nearly everything and where ever possible down playing the value of individual items. What a waste of time. They never even looked at it. I got the paperwork from the shipping company who applied a most impressive stamp confirming that it was for a yacht in transit, they took my word for this, no paperwork required and the Customs officer signed off on it without barely a glance.

Once I knew I could get it out of bond it was a case of finding a space in a marina and getting the barrels moved alongside the boat. Thanks to the staff of Crown Bay Marina who let me use their megayacht dock at miniyacht hourly price I was able to lie alongside and thanks to Kelvin who moved the barrels for me. Then it was three hours of sweat to hump it on board and then down below and finally break it down into some kind of system in the lockers. Elephants Child has lots of lockers, a proper cruising boat. So I made a plan, numbered the lockers and cross referenced everything.

Then it was out of the Marina and through the haulover cut and into Charlotte Amalie main harbour. On the way up to the sheltered anchorage near the cruiseship dock I had to watch out for the seaplanes that use the centre of the harbour.

However I was soon at anchor and watching sail training boats jinking through the anchorage and cruise ship departures with a Cuba Libre in hand.

This is the life, however now I have to clean up as Carol arrives tomorrow. I am sure I have a sponge somewhere, let me look it up in the cross reference, I know I saw a sponge. Argh no sponge!

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