Friday, October 31, 2014

A Moving Experience

Remember those quiet couple of days up in the BVI when we really did nothing? So do I, with fondness...

The last couple of days have seen a beehive of activity as we have completed all the paperwork, rented a van and moved all our stuff from the shipping office to aboard Mowzer.

Also remember that I commented that Henry had picked up a tummy bug and was incapacitated on Tuesday evening? Well, the situation persisted through Wednesday, but thankfully by the evening he was starting to look himself. Yesterday still was a little dicey but at least he was able to get vertical and join me on the expedition. We figure it was all due to something he ate, most likely the lunch-time salad at Cruz Bay.

Wednesday began with arranging a van rental and by lunch-time I was off to the Excise Office, the Customs & Border Patrol Office and the CaribTrans shipping office with various officially stamped, and paid for, forms. We had cleared our first shipment of purchased items through Excise last week but we blended both shipments together for the rest of the clearances which made life a little less confusing. I'm not sure if the confusion resulted from there being so many different vendor invoices or the fact that the Customs agent was sipping back a lunch-time beer as he operated his calculator! It turns out that even if you purchase items from the States, if you have them shipped to the Virgin Islands and they were not manufactured in the U.S., you still have to pay duty on them. The good news is that the duty is 6% which is a lot lower then many other places and there is no additional sales tax, but it is still pretty mind-boggling. The Revenue Agency is about $500 richer and the shipping company made off with about $1200, but when we do the math on what we saved over costs in Canada which would have included import duty and 13% sales tax, we're still feeling pretty good about it all.

Along with regular checks on Henry to make sure he was hydrated, and still breathing, I made a couple of trips to the shipping office and back to the boat with all the boxes. It was rather like Christmas on Mowzer that evening as we unpackaged everything, going through carefully to ensure everything was present and undamaged. The resulting pile of cardboard and packaging material warranted a trip to the dumpster by itself. We filled up the spare berth with solar panels, water maker components, sewing materials, a propane BBQ (yay, no more briquettes), a wifi booster and then spilled out into the cockpick with a new Honda generator and our 'stay-put' Rocna anchor.

Thursday morning dawned bright and early seeing Henry feeling up to a visit to Home Depot - they open early with contractor hours. We knew we had lots of tools arriving in the final part of our shipment but had made the decision back home that we would purchase new power tools for the boat so along with those, we picked up some other heavy-duty bits and pieces including a couple of big pieces of corrugated plastic board to use as a backplate to the solar panels on the bimini. Sure glad we weren't trying to walk down the windy street with those suckers, we might have gone airborne!

Tools delivered back to Mowzer, we made our final visit to the shipper to pick up our personal items. This shipment completely filled the back of the van and we were super-pleased to be able to use CYOA's back door to park right at the end of our dock. We 'simply' had to stage the boxes along the dock to begin the process of finding a home for all that stuff.

With a final grocery run completed, Henry worn out and the clock ticking out the final minutes of our one-day rental, I returned the van and we are once again wheel-less.

19 items shipped from Ottawa, ranging from the paddle and paddle-board up to an 80 pound box of books, tools and assorted items, I felt like we were packing everything but the kitchen sink. By evening, everything was aboard and we were starting (just starting) to make sense of the mess. Lots of work ahead as we make Mowzer our home but the transformation from charter boat to live-aboard cruiser is starting to take shape.

Before: our main living area
Our spare berth - it a good thing no one is visiting for a little while.
Phew - that's one corner sorted out.

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