It's been one of those days. You know what I mean. Whether you're at work or in a house or on a boat, everyone has one of “those” days once in awhile when everything is a challenge and nothing seems to go right. Today was our day, right from the git-go.
Our boat insurance payment was due and we'd arranged a wire transfer for payment last week. Our insurance agent e-mailed asking when we anticipated paying them since the insurance would not be in force if the premium was not received. Hmmm … thought it was all handled. I called our bank in the USA via Skype and after an interminable wait, I was finally connected with an “associate” who asked questions and then put me on hold. Yup, you guessed it. I was disconnected almost immediately. I tried to call back, but couldn't get onto the internet. It seems our Vodacom internet data account had just run out. Unfortunately, in order to buy more credit on line, you must have an online account. This isn't usually too difficult to accomplish, unless you are using an overseas credit card, in which case one must speak directly with an account associate, who were all busy at the moment … It took about two hours to get our account setup and buy more time, and when I finally called the bank back, their business hours for the day had ended.
We rented a car and planned to do yet another big provisioning, top up the propane tanks and buy fuel … an ambitious day with lots of errands and running around to do. We started out with the provisioning … all those heavy, bulky items that are hard to lug in a backpack. It took nearly two hours and two grocery carts to buy everything on the list. We waited in a long queue, obviously having chosen the slowest check-out clerk on the planet, and then after what seemed an eternity to ring up and bag our order, our credit card was declined. How embarrassing! We're not deadbeats … really. Luckily, we had an alternate card that went through on the second try, but another phone call was necessary … this time to the credit card company to sort things out. Put it on the list!
We lugged all the groceries back to the boat. It's about a 100 mile walk from the parking lot to the boat when we're each pulling a heavy trolley full of food (and perhaps a few bottles of South African wine). Our finger pier is too flimsy to handle the weight of the carts, so David off-loaded to me at the bow and I stacked everything on deck and in the cockpit and then we moved all the bags down below. Two bags ripped in the process of transporting them, spilling their contents all over the place ...one was rice. One egg broke and the potato chips were smashed. Sigh!
We didn't need all that much diesel, so rather than taking the boat to the fuel dock, David opted to put jerry jugs in a dock cart and make a couple of trips. He likes to filter our fuel before putting it in the tank and it takes too much time at the dock. He used the cart to carry the jugs over, but found that the cart couldn't be used to get all the way down the steep, narrow fuel dock . He had to lug the jugs to and from the upper dock. Each jug holds 33L of diesel … very heavy, but he managed. He handed the attendant his credit card to pay, only to find there was a 5% surcharge for using a card and he didn't have enough cash. Luckily, the attendant knows him and allowed him till the end of the day to pay which meant we needed to get to an ATM.
In the meantime, finding a place to top up the propane tanks was proving a challenge. Once everything was stowed, I searched the internet and called a dozen different places. They would all exchange South African tanks, but not fill tanks. I finally found Woodstock Gas, not far away and we took off to fill the tanks. First, we got lost. No GPS in the hire car, we didn't have our iPad with us and half the streets in the area are not marked. Walking in the area is easy, but we were in unfamiliar driving territory. We drove around until we finally found the place and yes, they'd fill the tanks for us. Unfortunately, they didn't have the proper fitting for our American and Australian tanks. Did we have one that would work? Yes, we did … on the boat. We drove back, got mixed up once again on the one-way streets, then waited at the end of a long queue to get back through a security checkpoint enroute to the yacht club. David ran back to the boat, got the fittings and we began the trek back to the gas company once again. We remembered our way (but forgot the iPad). Where before the place was empty, there was now a queue for filling the tanks. We waited impatiently for the 30 minutes it took to fill the tanks. We found ourselves getting snippy with each other.
Now to find an ATM close by. We were in an industrial area and decided to head into central Cape Town for a better chance of finding an ATM. We finally found one and David double-parked while I jumped out, ran to the ATM and waited in line. He ended up having to drive around the block a few times to avoid people swearing and beeping at him for holding up traffic. We retraced our route and only then did we see an ATM almost directly across the street from the gas company. We rushed back to the chandlery to pay for the diesel and managed with five minutes to spare. Unfortunately, it was now low tide and getting the cart down the steep, metal walkway to the dock was a challenge, as was getting it down one step and then pushing it over the uneven dock planks to the hinterlands where Cups is berthed. Once again, he managed, but not without some choice invectives.
It was a long, trying day and I still had the bank and credit card companies to contend with, but that could wait. We each grabbed a beer and sighed in relief as we sat and relaxed on the boat. A quiet dinner aboard and a movie was just what we needed. Oops! Forgot that we need to hook up the propane tank again … and oh yeah, the water tank just ran dry.