Mar Azul: Luis to the Rescue and Mail Call (BLOG)

Back at Bahia de Almodóvar the Ebaugh's wrestle with some wet weather and receive a visit from Luis, the brave Dell repairman doing some onboard fixes... a first for both parties.
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Follow along with Bob and Elaine Ebaugh aboard their 1985 DeFever 44, Mar Azul, as they spend two years cruising the waters off of South America from April 2011 through June 2013. To learn more about Bob and Elaine, as well as their home afloat click here.

July 28, 2011

N 18° 17.8′ W 65° 15.3′

Luis' service call to the Mar Azul to repair our navigational computer was a first for him.

Luis' service call to the Mar Azul to repair our navigational computer was a first for him.

Back at Bahia de Almodóvar on a mooring this evening, after spending time at nearby anchorages of Ensenada Fulladoza and Culebrita. The weather forecasters didn’t get it right today, and we have been getting rain showers with very strong gust fronts for most of the day. I am trying to dry a load of laundry which has been a challenge.

The Dell International on site service warranty was worth it. Luis made the trip to Culebra on Monday to continue repairs on our navigational laptop, which will still need another service call to resolve. He had to drive to Fajardo, take a 1 1/2 hour ferry ride, 5 minute taxi ride and 2 minute dinghy ride to meet us at anchor in Ensenada Fulladoza. We appreciated that he volunteered to come out on a holiday (it was Constitution Day here). Holidays are HUGE in Puerto Rico. Luis is trying to get ahead in his career, and we wish him buena suerte!

A beautiful beach under the lighthouse was tucked away here, but is no secret to the locals. We picked up a mooring and hung out for awhile, enjoying a swim (Elaine) and another book (Bob) before the next shower came through.

A beautiful beach under the lighthouse was tucked away here, but is no secret to the locals. We picked up a mooring and hung out for awhile, enjoying a swim (Elaine) and another book (Bob) before the next shower came through.

August 6, 2011

N 18° 04.67′ W 65° 47.78′

Wrapping up our time at port at Palmas del Mar in Humacao, Puerto Rico. Tropical storm Emily passed to our south. It was breezy on Monday (around 30 mph winds) and the higher seas kicked up the swell in the marina. Tuesday and Wednesday am we had heavy rain showers as the northernmost fringes of the storm passed by. We were glad this was just a drill, and expect we may have a few more over the coming months.

 Our location at Palmas del Mar is on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, north of the storm's path.

Our location at Palmas del Mar is on the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico, north of the storm's path.

This visit to port we wanted to catch up on all of our mail and parcels, including the part Bob needed to repair generator #1. Our regular mail is handled by St. Brendan’s Isle, a mail forwarding service. We have the option to go online and view a scan of each envelope received, then decide if we want it held, scanned, sent or shredded. Most items can be handled electronically and then shredded. So far the service seems professional & reliable and is working well for us. I prefer having the PDF files rather than dealing with paper mail. The only hiccup is that access and downloads can be frustrating when we don’t have good internet connections.

After four months, we had accumulated a few things that needed to be sent so I arranged a shipment to arrive while we were in port. We’ve had good luck with speedy US Priority Mail service for outgoing shipments from Puerto Rico, so I selected that option for this parcel. This incoming parcel wasn’t as speedy as my outbound ones, and it spent a week unaccounted for somewhere between Jacksonville, FL and Cataño, Puerto Rico. Maybe it was trying to avoid the tropical storm. It finally arrived, saving a lot of hassle since it contained credit cards and bank checks that would have been problematic to lose.

From our last entry: Back to calm, reef surrounded waters at Bahia de Almodóvar. Happy Hour is a favorite time of day for the crew!

From our last entry: Back to calm, reef surrounded waters at Bahia de Almodóvar. Happy Hour is a favorite time of day for the crew!

I also arranged for delivery of my kayak, a retirement gift from work. I had the opportunity to select a personal gift from a catalog, and since I have a beautiful gold bracelet as a keepsake of my 20th service year, I decided to go with the kayak. I wanted one, and didn’t have time to research the many kayak options before we left. There was one choice in the catalog – a single person blue recreational kayak – so that was simple. I thought it would be suitable as my first kayak since I plan to use it only in calm anchorages, and doubt that Bob will want to join me on most of my ventures. (He promises to stand by with the dinghy in case I radio for help).

Having the gift shipped directly to Puerto Rico wasn’t an issue since the company does business here. Initially I was told it would be shipped from the manufacturer 6 – 8 weeks from the date of the order. I placed the order at the end of May thinking that would give me plenty of time to get to our target marina destination in Fajardo, which I gave as the shipping address. When I checked in a few weeks later, the shipment had been expedited, and it looked like it was going to arrive in June. The other marina – “the largest marina in the Caribbean” – wasn’t happy about accepting the package if I wasn’t there personally. So we tried to coordinate our time in Fajardo with the kayak’s exact delivery date. Then I found out the kayak was randomly selected by the Puerto Rican Tax Authority for inspection, and I would have to go to San Juan with the shipping paperwork and personal identification and my SSN to have it released. That was complicated with our travels. The gift company worked with the local shipping company and arranged for a messenger to visit the tax office on my behalf. The messenger ended up making two separate visits with copies of my passport, drivers license and a letter I provided explaining who I was, where I lived and what I was doing in Puerto Rico. Getting through the inspection process took about a month, with some delays due to the many July holidays they celebrate here in Puerto Rico. Once the kayak was released, the shipping company delivered it to the Palmas del Mar Yacht Club,where they have been most helpful in watching out for our parcels. Hooray!

We did a major provisioning excursion – Bob just loves those two hour supermarket visits  – picked up some marine supplies in Fajardo, and hope to scoot out to visit St. John before any new threatening tropical weather develops.

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From our last entry: On to explore Culebrita. We thought the weather was going to be fine, but a rain squall snuck up on us and kicked up the seas.

From our last entry: On to explore Culebrita. We thought the weather was going to be fine, but a rain squall snuck up on us and kicked up the seas.

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