We’re now back on Capri and it is wonderful to once again be sleeping in a bed that rocks a little and hear the wind in the rigging and the water gurgling around the hull.
But it wasn’t a stroll through a rose garden to get here. First, we had to get up way before the crack of dawn (does dawn crack? I’ve never heard it) – the flight left at 6:30 a.m., which meant we had to be at the airport at 4:30, which in turn meant that we had to get up at 3:30 in order to get a shower and a quick breakfast. We did manage to get up and Marianne also got up and drove us to the airport (THANK YOU, Marianne!).
Like all cruising sailors that have been back in Denmark, we were carrying way too much luggage (read lots of spare parts and some licorice (the licorice carnivore that lives aboard Capri is insatiable). We’re allowed 23 kilos in one bag apiece (ha, ha, ha – get real). We were nowhere near this, we had 3 bags and then we had our new mainsail and a 7 foot sail batten. We don’t need to change our mainsail yet, but we had a new one sewn before we left and the sailmaker was going to ship it to us when we needed it. Since we were in Denmark, we had the opportunity to bring it back with us as luggage. Ok, we’d have to pay for overweight but it would still be cheaper than shipping it.
Our mainsail is 11 years old and has seen almost 13000nm, so it is getting old. I picked it up from Mads, our sailmaker and packaged it as tightly as I could, dropped it on Ulrich and Susannes bathroom scales and – wow! 31.8 kilos. Just under the magic number of 32 kilos, which is as heavy as the airlines allow.
Aside from the 32 kilos, there are also some dimensions that can’t be exceeded (lxhxd), but it just fit in under them also. Halleluja! Life was looking good. We also had a 7 foot sail batten that needed bringing along, so I packed that in a long plastic tube and sealed the ends. Vinni got lots of comments when she walked through the airport carrying that! We were standing in the check in line when a fellow behind us with his family, asked just what in the world that was. Vinni answered him nonchalantly that it was a sail batten for our boat, we had broken one going across the Atlantic and couldn’t find a new one here in the Caribbean. He looked at her and said, “Excuse me, did you just say you had sailed your boat across the Atlantic?” Yep, we crossed last fall. Both he and his family looked at us like we were from another planet. They had a million questions and were flummoxed when Vinni said we were double-handing.
Anyway – just to be on the safe side, I had called Air France and asked them what would happen if the bag weighed over 32 kilos. You’ll have to send it cargo they said. Ok, that would cost some money – but as the old saying goes “it’s only money” (my ass).
So it became our turn at the counter, I threw the sail up on the scale and Whoops! 34 kilos. What the?
Ulrich and Susanne – your scale is 2 kilos off! To make matters worse – it is 2 kilos light!
Ok – so it has to go Cargo. I dig out my wallet and tell the fellow behind the counter that he should mark it cargo and I’ll pay.
Wonderful he says – except you can’t do that. You have to take it to the cargo check-in which is all the way at the other end of the airport and they aren’t open yet. It also means you need to buy a different kind of ticket.
What can we do?
You’ll just have to leave the sail here until you come back………………………………………..
He must have seen the color drain from our faces. We explained that we were circumnavigating and wouldn’t “just be coming back” anytime in the near future (like maybe first in 6 or 7 years).
He took pity on us (thank you, a thousand thank yous). He marked the sailbag as “heavy baggage” and put a tag on it saying “32 kilos”. But then, he told us that if they decided to weigh the bag again down below – then it would be rejected. There was nothing he could do about that. Also we needed to change not only planes in Paris, but also airports, which meant that we would need to pick up our luggage in Charles de Gaulle and take it by bus to Orly airport and then check in again. And, he said, the airport in Paris will have the same rules as we have here, meaning maximum 32 kilos.
As you can imagine, this was less than wonderful news. We could imagine ourselves getting on the plane and being told when we got to Paris that our sail was still in Denmark – or worse, that we couldn’t get it on the plane in Paris. We decided to try it and just act stupid in Paris if there were problems (ok – no comments please about how acting stupid couldn’t be all that difficult for me, I get that all the time from Vinni J).
We got on board and muttered a quiet prayer and off we went. A couple of hours later, we landed in Paris, went to the odd sized baggage and out popped the sail batten, followed – thank god – by the sail. Yahooooo!
Now all we had to do was drag all the luggage out to the bus and ride over to Orly, drag it all inside and check it in. At the check-in, the young woman behind the counter looked and said – “oh, you’re transferring from another flight so all you need are new luggage tags.”
She printed out new tags and then came the question from hell – she pointed at the sail bag and asked, “how much does that weigh?”. I hurried and reached down and turn over the tag the fellow in Denmark had put on it – showed it said 32 kilos and proudly announced that it only weighed 32 kilos.
“ok, no problem – here’s the tag, Drop it at the odd sized counter over there.”
Some days your Karma is good and some days it is just fantastic!
All that was left was an 8 hour flight – so we watched some movies, drank some wine, ate some lousy airline food and tried to get some sleep. Finally we landed on Martinique and 45 minutes and $125 poorer for the taxi, we were back on Capri……………………………
She was lying there exactly as when I left her, almost 7 weeks ago. She needed a good airing out, but otherwise there was nothing wrong – except the refrigerator was empty and the supermarket was closed (we ate out). So we went to bed early and the next morning we could return to our cruising sailors life once again. I can’t express how wonderful it is to be back on board. The slight rocking of the boat makes us sleep better and fresh sea air certainly brings on a natural tiredness. The past few days we’ve spent getting Capri ready for sea again and making some minor repairs. There really isn’t anything wrong with her, but now that we are lying at a pier, I’ve taken the opportunity to mount a new TV antenna at the top of the mast – the previous one, if you’ll remember, got knocked off halfway across the Atlantic when I had to go up the mast to run a new halyard. I’m not sure why we are mounting a new TV antenna – we never watch TV. Otherwise, we’ve done some minor adjustments to the chartplotter and we’re having some divats made for our dinghy, so we can hoist it out of the water at night.
Vinni and I are on the wagon (we’ll see how long that lasts!), and on a diet (we’ll also see how long that lasts !), since both of us put on some kilos in Denmark. It wasn’t our fault – all our friends just kept plying us with wonderful food and wine and it would have been impolite to refuse to eat it all – wouldn’t it?
So once again, thank you to everyone for all the hospitality and the extra pounds around our waists. We HAVE to go on a diet. Sundowners are now mineral water with a slice of lemon (sigh) and we try to imagine that it is a gin and tonic (requires a fertile imagination).
But in a couple of weeks………………………………
We especially want to thank Marianne/Tony and Susanne/Ulrik (not to forget Carlos) who opened their homes to us and said “mi casa – su casa”, stay as long as you like. And also Per and Pernille for lending us their Porsche 4-wheel drive for 5 weeks. Great car and more than comfortable – but you need a tanker truck driving alongside to keep up with the gas usage (shudder – $150 dollars to “fill ‘er up”).
We’re going to sea again this Wednesday and can’t wait to fell the wind and the waves again. We’ll go up to St. Pierre on the northern end of Martinique, stay there a day or so and onwards. We’re not sure which islands we’ll be stopping at, we’re a bit delayed and will need to hurry to get to Canada.