Up at 03.50 hours yesterday morning. I do sleep very well – it would probably take a cannon to wake me- but when I wake I just have to get up. Try as I might I find it exceedingly difficult, if not nigh impossible, to go back to sleep again. Some people can, I just cannot. But looking at it on the positive side I get so many more conscious hours than a lot of people.
It didn’t take but a few minutes to make my mug of black coffee, unplug the iPad and seat myself comfortably in my chair ((you might be interested to learn that one chair is looking decidedly more used (and worn) than the other three)) on the lagoon facing veranda.
I whiled away a few hours catching up on the news via my subscription to The Times online, a bit of time on Facebook and reading and responding to emails by which time it had got light and time for me to get cracking.
Get cracking on what, you’re probably wondering. Work out my viewing arrangements for the World Cup games that would follow later in the day? Oh no, I had things to take care of for Gunner.
Last Friday I took all of the relevant paperwork for the change of ownership of the boat to the Belize Port Authority office in the DFC area. Now anyone that knows Ambergris Caye will know that from Tres Cocos this is a fairly long journey (by island standards) over some fairly rough roads. It’s a bit of a schlep.
Knowing this I made sure that I had all of the necessary documentation. Or so I thought! Well I did have all of the paperwork that was required but … two of the documents ((the declaration by us (Rose and I) that we had bought the boat and wanted to change its name and the ‘bill of sale’ from the previous owner)) had not been signed and stamped by a Commissioner of the Supreme Court of Belize . This was necessary because the previous owner is not in Belize currently (normally the seller and the buyer would visit the office jointly and sign the necessary paperwork in the presence of the ‘Authority officials.
Could a Justice of the Peace notarise the documents, I asked (we know one or two JPs on the island and I knew this would make the requirement a simple one to fulfil. “No” came back at me, “It has to be a Commissioner”.
The look on my face must have been one of bewilderment. Maybe even panic. Seeing this, Aaron (the guy that was dealing with me) proffered two names -both of which I was familiar with – of Commissioners living on the island. Panic over. One of the individuals is the father of a longstanding acquaintance who we are friendly with (he is an Arsenal fan!)
A phone call later arrangements had been made for the necessary stamping and signing of the documents and I collected them on Tuesday evening.
So what on earth has this got to do with me needing to get cracking yesterday morning? Simple. We were going to take the paperwork and Gunner to the Port of Belize Authority office for the change of ownership, the name change AND the inspection for the Seaworthiness Certificate and I had to get Gunner ready.
Life jackets (six) – check. Fire extinguisher – check. Life ring – check. First Aid kit – check. Whistle ((for distress signals not in case I’m required to referee a football (soccer for non UK readers) match)) – check. Compass (well a GPS actually) – check. Anchor (with rope secured to it) – check. Everything in order and done by 07.15 hours. Time to get showered, shaved, brush the old molars (well given the number of implants I’ve got some are not that old) and get dressed ready for the off!
I’d phoned Lloyd (remember him? He’s that guy that cleaned up our garden, built the dock)
The better side of Lloyd (only kidding). He’s the guy wearing the grey ( gray for non UK readers) T shirt
to ask him to drive the boat for us. The lagoon side has very shallow stretches and this would give us the chance of plotting the route on the GPS. It would also mean that we wouldn’t run aground!
Lloyd arrived with Anthony , his eldest son, around 09.00 hours and within minutes we were on the boat. A turn of the key and the engine purred in to life, we cast off and we were on our way.
Our house behind us in the distance.
And open water before us.
Anthony sitting comfortably.
And a friendly pelican for a while until he realised we weren’t going fishing!
As I mentioned earlier, the water can get pretty shallow and the next photo gives a reasonably clear indication of this.
There’s a stretch with low, over-hanging mangroves
for which we had to lower the Bimini (I’d remembered the screwdriver) but once through it the Bimini was back up and Lloyd ‘opened up’ the engine
and in no time at all the ‘testing station’ was ahead of us
We moored up and I went ashore to take care of the paperwork. I won’t give you the boring details (probably bored you enough already – don’t answer that!) but will just let you know that it was a successful visit. We’re now ‘legal’ to take the boat out.
For the return journey Lloyd took the Caribbean side of the island so we headed off to the southernmost point of the island and then headed north to home.
Past TMM Yacht Charters , close to where BC’s once stood.
And then we were approach the cut at Boca Del Rio
Under the bridge
and on the way home.
We moored up at 12.50 hours and just in time too because the heavens opened up
AND in time to see Spain, the current World Champions go out of the completion, losing two goals to nil to a very good Chilean team.
My tip for you today? If you want to have a nice day when you next come to Ambergris Caye go out on a boat trip!
The headline for today’s edition is based on the single released in 2001 by the Stereophonics which reached number five in the UK Singles Chart.