After Zoe’s successful haul out, papers were signed and she was quickly returned to her berth. Our new friend, Oliver (Zoe’s owner) broke out a wonderful bottle of Champagne, and we toasted our deal. It was a quick celebration as Dan and I needed to hustle back to the airport (about an hour away) to catch our flight to Madrid.
We landed in Madrid with plenty of time to catch our connection back to the US. As we sat in the lounge, the shock of the whirlwind weekend began to wear off only to be replaced by the overwhelming feeling of the many hurdles we needed to navigate our way through in a ridiculously short period of time. As we discussed the many things that we needed to do to ensure this deal went through, snow had begun to fall. I can’t say I have ever seen or heard of it snowing in Madrid. The longer we sat there, the flakes became very large and began to fall at a much more rapid pace.
The time came, and we headed to our gate and boarded our flight. I’ve never seen anything like this in this part of Europe….the window on the plane had begun to accumulate snow! No problem……everything appears to be under control. The plane door closes, and we begin our taxi. We are a bit behind schedule…but hey, that’s the nature of the beast. As we sit on the tarmac waiting for our turn to take off, the captain comes on to inform us we have been put into a weather hold and needed to be de-iced. We sat waiting for our turn to be de-iced, and the snowstorm continued. Four hours later, we are informed that they have run out of de-icing fluid, and we have to return to the gate. Uh oh! Our tight timeline has just gotten a little tighter! We are all told to deplane, and our flight cancels….noooooo!
We scramble to find a hotel and attempt to regroup. The next day all is good, and we make our way home. At this point, by the time we land, Dan and I are racing to get to the bank before they close so that we can wire the money to finalize this transaction within the time it needs to be done. As you will recall, this deal needed to close in an unheard of period of time.
Now mind you, we are 8 hours behind where all this is happening. This becomes a huge complication in communications and ensuring everything is running according to schedule. Our first major complication hits when the Coast Guard did not accurately translate that the owner was using his sister’s address as a point of contact. They insisted that she was also an owner in the boat and that she needed to relinquish ownership via notary. Our owner is in Tunisia, his sister is in France and not readily available to sign away ownership that she doesn’t actually have. After both sides scrambling, and a great deal of stress and emotional upheaval, we acquire paperwork that is acceptable to the Coast Guard. Hurdle number one, overcome.
Our next HUGE hurdle, was simultaneously transferring title and bill of sale at the same time as the money. This means, we have released our funds strictly on pictures of seeing the official title and bill of sale express mailed to the title agency. Yikes! There was no time for anything other than a leap of faith. We had spent many hours with Oliver and had a very good feeling about our relationship with him. I think he struggled greatly to understand our American nature of distrust in unfamiliar territory. Our greatest fear was receiving an empty envelope, but we had to maintain our faith in human nature. We were not disappointed!
Then began the waiting game of getting Coast Guard documented after being a foreign flagged boat. Remember, our baby is still in Tunisia (complete with travel advisories). We wanted her out and out quick. It took weeks for the Coast Guard to process title paperwork so that Zoe could be released and sailed into international waters. Paperwork finally cleared….whew! Now to get her moved.
We hired an Italian crew, from a UK company, who headed to Tunisia to pick up our girl and safely (hopefully) deliver her to a marina in Croatia 20 minutes from Dan’s ancestral home. The great part was that we could watch her progress through a maritime app and track her route. The downside was we were able to see whenever weather was foul and seas were wicked, which was often during this time of year, which forced them to pull into port, slowing progress. Just outside of her arrival point, she stopped transmitting…..seriously??? It would be another 3 weeks before we were able to get out here and lay eyes on her once again. At that point, I spent the next month living on her and turning her into our island hopping, country exploring home. I was busier than I have been in a long time with no time to get bored or lonely in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language or really know anyone.
Once our tracking system is up and running again, we will provide a link where you will be welcome to follow us wherever we go in the world.