Friday, November 19, 2010

Should receive at least one renewed license

Miracle of miracles; it now looks like we will receive Bill's renewed captains license before our departure back to the boat in Malaysia. And, believe it or not, the USCG is MAILING his new license! That is a big change in procedure. In the past we were required to pick up the licenses in person; they refused to mail them or FedEx to our home address even if we paid for that service. It was personal pick-up only. Now that the USCG has agreed to mail the renewed licenses, that solves our problem with their delay in processing my renewal application. If we at least have Bill's new license, we can make-do with my current license that expires May 2011. My new license should be mailed to our home address after we have left the States, and we can get it by one means or another at a later date -- as long as Bill has his license. Only one of us is required to have proof of competency to operate a sailing vessel when we clear into Greece next May or June.

Our new Certificate of Documentation for the boat also recently arrived in the mail. Our Documentation expired in March 2011 (it renews annually). But Egypt is one of those countries that requires current Documentation and actually checks the date of expiry on the certificate. We should arrive in Eqypt between mid-March and early April; so it was important that we obtain a new Certificate of Documentation. Thankfully, the National Vessel Documentation Center is pretty lenient about dates of renewal and allows one to renew early. We obtained the renewal form online and faxed it in shortly after arriving in Houston. Less than two weeks later the new Certificate arrived in the mail. The new Documentation expires November 2011. Now we will not have a problem with any country next year regarding date of expiry of Documentation. We will have cleared into Turkey for the winter well before Nov 2011, so this renewal date works much better with our usual annual December trip home.

Today we returned the Nook e-book reader that we had purchased last week. We both liked reading books on it, but there was a problem with the WiFi connection going off and on while downloading new books. It probably was simply a defective WiFi controller on the particular Nook unit we had, but that discouraged us from wanting a replacement. Maybe there will be improvements and we will buy another one during our home visit next year. We also looked at the Sony reader today, but prefer the Nook. The Kindle will not work for us because it is not possible to purchase books for the Kindle internationally -- or so we have read. We know the Kindle is supposedly the superior e-book reader on the market today, but it makes no sense to own a reader for which we could only purchase new books whenever we are physically within the USA. With the Nook there is an application that allows one to purchase a book onto your computer, and then load it into the Nook. We could do this anywhere in the world with internet access. Supposedly one cannot do this with the Kindle. The idea of less bulk with an e-book reader is appealing because of the very limited storage space on a boat -- and less weight on a boat is always a good thing.

After returning the Nook for full refund, I purchased even more books. I have a small carry-on bag filled with 30 books, mostly paperbacks but at least half-dozen heavier hardbacks. Hopefully my bag will not be weighed at the airport in Singapore because I am certain it exceeds the weight limit allowed by Malaysian Airlines for carry-on baggage.

Looking forward to visiting with family on Thanksgiving Day. And hoping we will be able to make it to visit our friend's new ranch next Friday. A day or two at a Texas ranch with long time friends would be the perfect final weekend for this trip home before we head back to our life on the sea.

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