Day -24. March 31, 2017
It’s official. We are headed to France to pick up our new sailboat “ICE FLOE deux” for our sail through the interior of France via canals and rivers to the Mediterranean. This part of the trip includes 179 locks (water elevators), several aqueducts (bridges with a water channel for the boat), and lastly tunnels (holes through mountains), that collectively, get us over / through the Alps.
We just received our long term VISAs – what an adventure we had applying at the French Consulate in Washington, DC. Documentation requested included a French translation of our birth certificates, evidence of sufficient financial assets and medical insurance, declarations that we would not seek work in France, an address for where we would be staying (tricky), et al.
What nearly tripped us up was the traffic in Washington, but George came through, as always, and delivered me to the front door as the clock struck 9:00 am, the time of my appointment.
In preparation for our trip, George needed certificates in evidence of his sailing skills and knowledge of how to navigate France’s interior waterways. In all, this required 100 plus hours of study, completion of two written exams, and a practical exam in Houston, TX. I was tasked with re-learning French, to a tune of about 3 hours of Rosetta Stone so far.
ICE FLOE deux is in her last stages of construction. To outfit her we carried 200 lbs of equipment when we traveled to France this past January, and will bring another 300 lbs when we fly to begin our trip. Our guests on this adventure will include Nancy and Bruce, who will join us for a part of the trip through France, and Marilla, Mitch, Allison, Mike, Riley, and Tristan, who will join us in the Mediterranean. Marilla and Mitch are transporting two paddle boards and Allison and Michael will bring sleeping bags for Tristan and Riley. For the duration, we have saddled Riley with care of our rabbit Dickory, and Margaret and Burt with our beloved Chaze. Diana will keep an eye on the house. We appreciate everyone’s support.