Saturday, July 12, 2014

Back in St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Currently we are again in St. Thomas. The reason why we are here are many but the main and the most important one is to take care of bureaucracy documents for me and Noel. I used to make a joke with Joao to choose between the dog and the wife to get rid of! Since both of us are the most problematic for this trip, we must be patient.

I’m proudly a Thai passport holder, but that also means that I need to apply visa before arrival for most of the countries in the world. It’s just exactly like the saying “Life is not fair”, Thailand is open to all tourists without visa but Thai nationals need visas for everywhere. When we read the cruising books and they mentioned about the visa requirements, most of the guides say “Most nations, the visa is not required”. Don’t think that you are in the group of “most” nationalities! I think most nationalities mean Americans, Canadians or some of the main European countries. No one told me that Thailand is not one of the most nationalities in the cruising guide books, so I assumed that I’m one of them. And I realized that I’m not! Check directly by yourself with the destination you will sail to is the safest way. To arrive in some territories I need to apply the visa, that’s nothing new. That’s normal like I used to do when I was on vacation but who else on earth knows when will be the actual date we will arrive in their country by sailing boat in order to submit the visa application form, or if you would like to visit French Island the Shenzhen visa must be issued by French embassy! If can’t be from other countries from the European community, how can I find French embassy in the Caribbean, or even our contact number! Simple things that people on land all have but we don’t.

For Noel, we knew from the beginning how hard would be to include him as a crew member on board, many experienced sailors advised that we should find a warm house for him to stay instead of bringing him with us. He is a family member, who we raised since he was a puppy; we can’t just leave him behind. No matter the Macau Government will support our trip to promote 500th years of the sea route to Asia or not, Noel is always part of our family and we will travel as a Macau family who will sail around the world. To make the trip smoother, we decide to make the whole set of tests that are needed for the pets. That’s why we decided to sail back here. I don’t have permission problem to stay in USA, Noel is legal here, and if need to send any sample or test results to the mainland USA is faster and nearer. After the entire tests and the results are done we will reveal how hard and how much we spend! Nevertheless, we hope that the Macau Government knows how difficult our situation but we still hoist the Macau flag all the time.

Meanwhile, S/V Dee has tons of stuff to fix. During the passage from Sint Maarten to St. Thomas we broke the head sail, again! We need to replace the toilet pump (still waiting inside the bag!), change the gas oven (still inside the box!), clean the engine, check the water maker, wait for the parts to fix the windvane and fix the dinghy that always have “flood” but we can’t afford to purchase a new one yet. That’s the main maintenance we have to do while we are here apart from other boat cosmetic works. We hope we have more time to visit St. Thomas street by street to be able to write “Best of St. Thomas” later on. At the same time we will take care of the documents, S/V Dee and wait for the hurricane season to end then we will decide where exactly we will head to.


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