Spring is trying!

Since the last post, winter has come and gone and spring keeps trying. Recent news reports of the coldest spring in recent years seem to be borne out here in Middle River, as we head into May with daytime temps still barely making it out of the 60’s! Maerin is currently at our “home” marina, Stansbury Yacht Basin. The winter has been relatively uneventful with the exception of a few eventful weeks interspersed with the winter ho-hums.

We Visit Aries Too!

Cruising friends Douglas and Capt. Linda aboard Aries Too are making their way southwest through the Caribbean toward the Panama Canal and points west. We joined them for a week in Puerto Rico, our first visit there. We cruised to nearby Culebra, and spent a few days in Fajardo at the marina there. I assisted with some boat chores during our stay, and gained a friend Bibi, their male ocicat who delighted at the introduction to being tormented with a laser pointer. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Old San Juan, the fort, and El Yunque rainforest. It gave us some incentive to add that to a future itinerary aboard Maerin.


The Break-In

Maerin was broken into during the night on March 10. Several low-life losers burglarized a number of boats in nearby marinas that night and chose Maerin as one of their targets. Fortunately, they were interrupted unknowingly by our slip neighbor who happened to be aboard for the weekend. They gained access by forcing the saloon door and breaking the latch and began to go through the boat. They managed to remove the TV’s, two pieces of Raymarine gear and somehow removed the dinghy from the boat deck without using the boom, and damaged the recently refinished teak cap rail in the process…. grrrr!!! All their newly acquired possessions were dumped into the dinghy that was found on the shore a few hundred yards away. Since they neglected to put the plug in the dink, it was swamped. Ironically, they used the heavy stainless security chain to attach it to a piling where they ditched it, perhaps they wanted to insure that no one stole their stuff? In the following weeks, the police caught one of the perps while investigating an unrelated incident and discovered most of the stolen gear. An insurance claim is in process, and repairs underway. It remains to be determined the disposition of the electronics since the removed gear is no longer in production, and current electronics won’t interface with the existing, so it may be necessary to replace a significant part of the electronics gear to return it to its pre-incident function. Along with those changes will be included additional security the details of which will remain vague.

Captain Steve – 100 Ton Master

The news of the break-in came while I was in the midst of attending courses at Maritime Professional Training Center in Ft. Lauderdale. The decision to obtain my USCG Merchant Mariner Credential came after some discussion in the past few months; tuition and the trip to Lauderdale was my Christmas gift from family.

My 2 week course began March 4 with testing the last day on the 15th. The course was as intensive as any college course or other training I’ve experienced! Classes ran from 0730 to 1630 every day with 3 evening classes for first aid, CPR, and MROP (Marine radio operator’s permit). In addition, Saturday was also a class day, devoted to charting and plotting. In addition, homework assignments required about 3 or 4 hours each night. Not a lot of time to visit the beach! I did manage to squeeze in a visit with our cruising friends Chris and Joyce who were wintering in Lauderdale, and Barb flew down on the final Friday, test day, to enjoy a short break from the cold and visit with the girls while I tested. We also joined Barb’s (3rd?) cousin Jane and husband Bill for dinner. Since we didn’t travel south on the boat this year, we missed out on our annual Ft. Lauderdale stopover at Coral Ridge Yacht Club where Jane & Bill are members as well as Chris and Joyce. 

I was successful in completing the test with excellent scores (passing on the rules module requires a 90% score). Successful completion of the course and a passing test grade is just a step in the process. After returning home, I submitted 38 pages of paperwork to the Coast Guard as part of my application for a Merchant Mariner Credential, or Captain’s License as it’s more commonly known. My application was approved, and my official credential is Master of Steam or Motor Vessels of up to 100 Gross Tons Upon Near Coastal Waters with Commercial Towing Assist Endorsement.

That’s the latest from Maerin and crew!  We’re doing well, not particularly fond of dirt-bound living, but for now it’s the logical plan. We’re moving ahead with our plan to return to cruising full time and look forward to being back on the water!


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