Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A rainy day in West Palm, June 05

Spent today soaking wet and hypothermic, possibly the only person in FL frozen to death. We have had to jump through quite a few hoops with our entry into the US from hte Bahamas because we didn’t have all the right papers, one of them had actually expired, unbenownst to us, (our own fault) so we have spent a week and a half figuring this out, including a fifty dollar fedex to get the proper piece of paper from TO. Thanks to an extremely helpfull and un-red-tape man in the system here we got it done. He was incidentally a fire-fighter at the world trade center. Must give you perspective on which bits are important, and which are red tape. The climax of the process saw me heading off this morning to his office, later than planned as we were given a large frozen hunk of mahi-mahi last night, but were having dinner on another boat, and couldn’t eat it at the time. As the mean temp here is somewhere in the mid-eighties, that baby was not going to keep in our icebox and fridge free boat, so… instead of heading off at 7:30 or 8, as planned, I didn’t make it till 9:30. Breakfast was pretty tasty though. X rowed me to the dock, and I walked to the bus stop and waited a mere hour for the bus. Must have just missed one as they come every hour on that route. X and the kids stayed on the boat. It is way too hot here for it to be fun to stand on the side of US1 for a bus.Well, while I am waiting there the meanest, lowest, blackest clouds I’ve seen in a while are rolling by. This is saying something as we’ve been here for a week now and 2 to 5 thuderstorms are rolling by a day. Not entirely comfy on a sailboat. Anyway, the bus gets there before the rain starts, and we wiz off down the road. Well, when I step off the bus, I just about get blown down the street. Some windy down there bye, I figured at least 35 knots as I am having touble not blowing down the sidewalk. Remember here that X and the kids are on the boat. Urgh. So I am not entirely happy. 20 min wait for this bus, and the heavens open. Tropical rain, like someone dumping buckets over you. There is of course, no bus shelter. Next bus comes, I get on dripping, and the rain stops about 3 min. later. OF COURSE. The bus is intensly air conditioned, and I am now shuddering with cold. Get off and walk to the building to do the paper work, AC here is also nothing to laugh about. I am now at the blue fingers and lips, uncontrollable shivering and shuddering stage. Fortunately the man is deeply efficient and I am back outside within ten min. Then I have to run for the bus, and it is not raining. Shuddering eases off, only blue and chattering teeth, but the bus brings that all back with it’s near artic AC. A pair of ladies got on this bus, both a good 60lbs overweight, complaining that they were lazy not walking to where they were going (about ten min) but they were too fat. If they weighed 20 lbs less they could, but they were too fat. They then hauled out a chocolate bar each. Gotta wonder. Anyway, got off the bus, frozen and shuddering, and sat to wait for the next one, only 40 min this time. Light rain and I was posed with the entertaining question: stay under the tree and avoid the constant light wetting, but get drenched with every gust from the leaves, or stay out in the rain. I varied the routine. Next bus. Got colder. Go to get off this one and it is POURING again. Wade off into it to the grocery store which is cooled to the mean low temp of Greenland in Jan. Wait in the shelter of the mall for the rain to ease up. Never does. Wander out to the beach and bridge where I am too meet X. He’s not there, no suprise considering the rain, wind and lightning, but I have a little shelter under the bridge, so I stick it out. I am wearing a long sleeve blouse and a sarong. Getting colder here again. Then the tide starts to rise and I lose my shelter. Decide that there is a time to spend money, head back up to the mall, and purchase a D-R-Y t-shirt and a cheapo raincoat. They let me change in the staff bathroom, that’s how pathetic I look at this point, but that t-shirt going on was one of the nicest things I’ve ever felt. Back to the beach to meet X, now resembling a giant pile of blue bagged garbage, as I have tucked all of me under the hood, bag and head inside the collar. Life is better though now. Holding my own. X eventually shows up when the rain and most inmportantly the lighting eases up and back we go. X and the girls are wearing almost nothing and sweating while I am in a jacket and long fleecy pants. Cocoa next. Then a nap, then a ton of food. Missed lunch in this. Much better. Ahhhh. Another day in paradise. Got the paperwork all organised too. Took less than ten min in the office, and took me from 9:30 am till 3pm. Nice.X, N and D had also been having an exciting time. The wind picked up to an estimated 40knots, and 3 ft waves in the anchorage. We had our 10ft X 9 ft canvas sun awning up. X is taking it down by cutting the lines and N is gathering it up and sitting on it in the cockpit. One of the poles may have given it’s all during this and be of no further use. Then he veered out another 30 ft of anchor rode, it’s very deep, yet a little crowded, so it’s a little tricky getting enough scope. He also hooked up the second anchor should the need arise. Friends of ours on another boat started dragging, they were at the library and no one was aboard. X could do nothing for them as the kids were on the boat and I wasn’t and the conditions were not great for rowing, fortunately the anchor was plowing a furrow, rather than imitating a kite, so they weren’t moving too badly; although aparently at one point the wind shifted and they were immediatly to windward. They have a largish steel boat so that was a little uneasy, but all was well. It’s never dull.

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