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Last update February 02 2015
On January 5th, we fly again with a delay (albeit only 2 hours this time), from Amsterdam via Brussels to Miami. Late in the evening we arrived at Miami International airport and as always there are long lines to get approved to get into the USA. The process is laborious and after many questions, finger prints and a digital picture we thought we are ok. But this time they put us aside, we have to wait to be picked up by another official. The officer told there was an issue with our passports.
Under guidance of three armed officials we are transported to a room full of foreigners, we were the only ones that didn't add to the colors in the room. After a while John's name is called. The official asks him a lot questions. Why do we need a 10-year visa? What are we going to do in the US? Where do we stay? How do you provide for yourself? Are we here to work? After explaining that we own a sailboat and that we sail between the Bahamas and America, therefore we must have a visa to come in and out of the country, finally they let us go. However, our luggage still had to be searched...
Far into midnight we arrived at our rental car company and not even ten minutes later we can walk to our car and drive away. Now that was neatly arranged!
We decided to drive out of Miami and take a quick nap in the car, it being too late for checking into a hotel anyways. After a stop in Palm Bay for breakfast en groceries we drove to Green Cove Springs near Jacksonville in northern Florida. It was late morning when we were reunited with our JoHo. She looked horrible; everything was black of mold. Quickly we repaired what needed done under the waterline before we drove to a motel near Jacksonville, as tomorrow morning she'll be launched.
The next morning we were back at ten. The people of the Marina would put JoHo back in the water at that time. At 10:20 nobody has arrived and John went looking for answers. Meanwhile, I started to clean our sleeping place. John came back with the news that there were problems with the car -again- and they tried to repair it. In the meantime we used our time, cleaning, removing netting and preparing the boat. Fortunately, the weather was sunny but cold.
Late afternoon a car came to pick up JoHo, transporting her to the travel lift. Finally at around four JoHo was in the water, but now the starter battery has given up. We tied JoHo to the dock and took our car to buy a new starter battery. Finally tonight we sleep aboard again. Night is hell, but frozen hell that is as we have no heater, it's cold and the boat is very damp. The sleeping area is the only cleanarea. It's horribly cold, did I mention that before? It's around 2 degrees Celsius, brrrrr.
We stayed at the dock in Green Cove Springs longer than expected. Every day we worked at the boat to get rid of the mold. Every afternoon, we were busy to buy stuff for on board. Luckily, the Internet was tackeld quickly, we are accessible over the internet for the next month. Further we replaced some things that did not survive the summer in Green Cove Springs. Everything had to be washed in a laundry and after a quick week in the USA, it was time to return our rental car. With our rear neighbors we made an agreement, we will help them out and they will help us out. There are no buses and the marina ask a fortune for a ride to the Jacksonville International airport. So we dropped them off at their rental company and they will pick us up on the return back to Green Cove.
It's Tuesday, January 13th, very early as we left Green Cove Springs. It's very foggy and cold but we are finally on our way. We sailed on our electronic navigation program -still working!- slowly on the St John's River to Jacksonville. The tide is with us and there is no wind. With our engine on we crisscross along lobster pots up to our destination. The view is not good, misty, but it got better closer to Jacksonville. Just after noon JoHo stopped at the free dock at Jacksonville Landing. We are thoroughly cold, did not know it could be so cold in Florida.
The next day we decide to stay a little longer. It's gray outside and inside it is nice and warm. My cold from the Netherlands is getting worse so a day off is fine. By noon we got out for a visit to a supermarket nearby for some fresh stuff. Coming days, we plan to sail as fast as we can to the south. The weather looks good.
On Thursday January 15th the bridge opened up for us and we sailed down St John's to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), we will follow the ICW to the south of Florida. Every day we sailed further south, every day got closer to warmer weather, every day we are surrounded by dolphins and every day we hear 'bonjour' somewhere. The Americans thinks we are French, ain't that funney. I already start to laugh when someone is pointing at our flag.
On January 19th, we stopped in Titusville. This is opposite NASA Cape Canaveral. We will stop here for a few days and that's a good thing. I now have a fever and spend my days with catnaps. The next day around 20:00 hours NASA launched an Atlas V rocket, for this event I managed to get me out of bed and be rewarded with a beautiful launch. It is calm and dark and when the rocket is fired the entire bay is lit up. You can see the disengagement of the fuel tanks. Unfortunately I did not have my camera handy (imagine me not using my camera, that's how sick I was at that time).
However John decides to proceed on January 21st, the weather is still good. I know little of that day, I slept a lot. Occasionally I hear dolphins around our boat, then I fall asleep again. On arrival in Melbourne (Florida), we throw out our anchor at Dragon Point. Here live friends of ours, we will surely see them again, but first I have to recover.
Next morning, I am still too weak to run errands so John went to the Publix alone. At one time I hear familiar voices outside, I see Toby and Sam in their dinghy, we thought they were still in Fort Pierce. Their boat was burnt down last year after that they bought the boat from Jim and Tammy, our friends from the insurance money. So SY Sweet Charoit is anchored across the ICW. After shopping they came aboard and we catched up.
On Sunday, January 25th, we see Jim and Tammy, they pick us up and we chat while enjoying lunch. After lunch we make a stop at their new home. They asked us if we mind to go to SY Sweet Chariot and help out Sam and Toby as they need some hands. Sam and Toby let someone built a hard top for their boat which is gonna be delivered today. T he hard top looks nice but does not fit...
The guy that made it has all sorts of lame excuses. Deeply disappointed Toby brings us back to the dock.
Last day of the month we spent saying goodbye to two very dear friends, Jim and Tammy. They are so kind, we love them both. The last day of the month we spent at their home, Jim helped John out with rigging the new fore stay and Tammy helped me with the last laundry. We love to be around them but will not see them for a long, long time. This is always the downside of our sailors' life. But we hope to meet up with them one day when they will visit Europe.
I finished a special photobook, about our travels 10 years JoHo's travel from 2001 to 2011.
Curious ? Then click the link.
And if you're interested in sailing the BAHAMAS, BERMUDA, MALDIVES, BONAIRE, SURINAME or ARUBA have a look at our books at SAILADVENTURES where the books are available online.
You can always mail us for more info on these cruising grounds or cruising in general, we'll gladly help you out.
JoHo is at anchor in Melbourne, Florida, USA at 28°08,6' N - 80°36,1 W.
Our floating home and office is always ready for us to work for ourselves as writers and editors compiling cruising guides on our way.
Remember to live life to the max, it can be over before you know it. That's our motto.
John and Jolanda