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We didn't have enough 'Witch' photos to illustrate Cherry's 'Changes', so how about some shots from Andrew Vik's fourth season in the Med aboard his San Francisco-based Islander 36 'Geja'? More next month, when Vik returns from filming an "intense" reality dating show in Norway.

Homeland Security: "May I help you?" Me: "Good Morning, I just pulled into Fort Pierce and I have an 18- (or 23-) digit number, and would like to check in. Homeland Security: "What's the number . . . . blah, blah, blah." Soon after presenting our passports, there was a bunch of cluck-clucking. It turned out that JB had a Brit passport. He'd contacted the State Department about coming to the States and got their approval — but no visa. The catch is that a non-citizen can come into the U.S. on a scheduled airline or steamship, but not aboard a private sailboat. At least according to this branch of Homeland Security. So we were informed that there could be a $3,500 fine. After a couple of hours and a number of Q&A sessions, JB was granted a 30day “parole” entry. He was also informed that he had to turn in the slip of paper

in his passport on the day he left. Or if the office was closed, he could “just leave it at the restaurant next door”. Further, the Homeland Security guy magnanimously told us that they waived a $35 fee for whatever. I thought it was outstanding, as we completely dodged $13,535 dollars in fines and fees, and didn’t even get waterboarded! In spite of the almost comical nature of this event, I’ll have to say that the Homeland Security guys were professional the whole time. But in view of my previous encounter with them, the reasonable guy has to wonder: When I sold the old Witch and wanted to take my name off their database as regards the multiple reentry stickers, they told me that “the sticker goes with the boat.” I suggested that bin Laden — this was before he was killed — could just

buy the old Witch, call Homeland Security's 800 number, and gain entry to the United States. I finally did get the sticker removed. With the entry for malities taken care of, the Parolee and I got down to the business at hand. The Mack Sails guys were waiting, so we did the new install and loaded up on boat parts and other goodies. I spent a couple of weekends with my sister's family in Ocala, then, "Colin and the Mack after the Parolee guys did a great job," turned in his slip says Cherry. of paper (at the window, as Homeland Security was open), we headed on back toward Cartagena. We motored down the ICW, during which time I pointed out to JB how some of the folks in Florida are getting by in these tough times. For although real estate is way down in that part of the country, one new development down Lauderdale way was advertising waterfront lots — just the lots — for as little as $1.25 million. When there was a break in the weather, we motored across the Stream, carried on down the west side of the Bahamas, thru the Old Bahama Channel, turned south at the Windward Passage, and had a glorious sail from there to 50 miles or so north of Cartagena — at which point the wind died completely. I fired up the engine, but got almost no output from the transmission. It had evidently burned up while we were sailing — in spite of the manufacturer’s notation that it’s OK to freewheel at trolling speeds. So we limped on down the coast at a knot and a half until five miles from Cartagena, when the tranny Cherry was amused by this Lauderdale manse listed at $28.5 mil. "They won't get over 20 in this market, at least not from me." LAUDERDALE LOUIE

ALL PHOTOS COURTESY GEJA

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Latitude 38 Oct. 2011  

The October 2011 eBook issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.

Latitude 38 Oct. 2011  

The October 2011 eBook issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.