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Old 14-05-2016, 09:02   #1
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Returning sailor

Hello Everyone,
First post here so please make me feel welcome and please be very honestly harsh in your responses And this is a bit long for a first post, no aplogizes...just warning you.

I've been living outside of the States for the better part of the past 19 years (Egypt, to be exact) and am planning to repatriate to the States sometime in the next 6-months when my current boat project is completed.

I may be a few weeks away from purchasing an 81 Hunter 27 (Cherubini) as a liveaboard for 6-months to a year after I return. Currently waiting on the survey to be conducted later this month.

As I been have outside of the US so long I no longer have a valid driver's license, car, job (obviously), Credit rating, Credit Card, health insurance, a Stateside address, and most importantly....no family and only a few only Navy buddies from "back-in-the-day".

I'm choosing the Live Aboard life for a couple of reasons. One is that I don't now where I want to go or where I want to live. So why rent an apartment in a city that you do know if you will even like, buy furniture, pay all of the deposits for utilities, and look for a job that you may or may not want in the first place. Second, I have to be on-or-near the water (Been that way every since growing in the swamps and bayous of Lousiana). Third, freedom and the opportunity to finally once again spend all of my boat repair and maintenance energies for something more meaningful than a paycheck.

I'll get to my question in a moment. But first, some background: Retired USN, currently working in the boat and yacht repair industry here (pay sucks...but it's never a dull day in Egypt!). I do technical systems which means piping, electrical, NAV and COMS, welding, diesel repair, pumps and motors, and delivery package development (Including As-Built drawings of said systems, operator's manuals, and sea trial packages). Have owned 4 boats of my own, 2 power, 2 sail. Have done LA on a 1950 40' Matthews that I partially restored while living aboard for 3 months. So, one could say that I have some familiarity with boats.

So, as I sit here at a pub having a cold beer a stones throw from the shore of the Red Sea after a nice day of diving, my question is twofold: "Have you, or have you every known someone that was repatriating to the States after being gone so long, and how did you/them deal with it? and Second: " Is gunkholing along the Ches Bay and the ICW still as easy as it was back in the late '80's-early '90's?
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Old 14-05-2016, 18:50   #2
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Re: Returning sailor

Nothing's as easy as it was 20-30 years ago.
But it's still fun.
Do a Google search for "St. Brendans Isle" for your address problems.
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Old 15-05-2016, 05:57   #3
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Re: Returning sailor

Well welcome back... (Almost) Having spent the majority of my adult life outside the US, I have run into the same issues upon every return.

Your passport, a copy of your birth certificate and your DD-214 will address most issues, especially as a live aboard.

St Brendans will serve as an address, but not cheap. I have one friend (more is too much responsibility) who acts as my "mail agent" for long term contacts like USCG Docs Center, VA, etc. Although I have found that most of those entities have a mechanism for "temporary addresses" which may be the local marina, or a General Delivery address at the local post office. If you are gonna be in one local for long enough (and feel you need it) a box at the local post office is about $40 for 3 months or $70 for 6 months. I am currently on a mooring in Boot Key Harbor and as such the City Marina serves as a local "physical address" as well as mailing address.

Drivers license can be had with a new drivers test. I have never bothered as I do not own a vehicle. Bike or public transit works well in most locations, and here the local taxi is $5 anywhere on the island. Good for the weekly shopping run.

I don't have a bank account as such. My VA pension check is deposited to a debit card sponsored by the US Treasury. Cheaper for them than paper checks. Not the best, but a regular Master Card type debit card and it works anywhere I happen to be. You also might look into USAA an online banking system set up for US Military and former military members. Have not found a need for it myself (yet) but a more traditional option.

Health care (at least traditional managed type) here is an ongoing nightmare... As a vet, depending on when and where you served, you may be eligible for VA health coverage. If you are fairly healthy it is good for the annual checkup, blood work, and emergencies. If you are eligible, USE IT... you earned it. VA is doing my cataract surgeries which I could never have afforded outside that system.

Credit? Why? Just a way to get upside down in a hurry. Unless you are planning to buy a house, or take out a big loan for a boat, that credit score is right up there with a bicycle for a fish in my world. I don't have bad credit, just no credit and with rare exception it has never been an issue. No bills, no junk mail, no problem... (See mail above)

Carry a simple "dumb" phone that costs $30 a month and I don't have a long term contract or a regular bill chasing me. Works for me.

I "gunkholed" the Solitaire down from the Chesapeake to Boot Key on a trip lasting from late Dec 2014 untill Nov 2015 (my two week stop at Tybee Island to see friends turned into 8 months... ooops) And was fun (for the most part) and cheap. With my income it has to be.

With your skill set, work should never be an issue. Every boatyard around is swamped and if you show up sober and on time three days running, you are golden.

With 9 years in Egypt (a place on my bucket-list) and growing up around Acadia or Evangeline Parish you have had plenty of practice learning there are way more things you can do with out, than things you need.

Come on in, the water's fine
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Old 15-05-2016, 06:27   #4
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Re: Returning sailor

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Teknishn.

Quote:
... Credit? Why? ...
Car rentals, hotels, & etc usually require credit cards.
Otherwise, hes right.
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Old 15-05-2016, 08:42   #5
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Re: Returning sailor

Thanks everyone for the feedback. Checked out St. Brendan's Isle early on and decided it wasn't really for me.

Capt-coullion, lots of great information in your reply, Thank you very much. And a correction, I've been in Egypt 19 years, not 9, so I'm in for a bit of a culture shock coming back, am aware of that. Last visit to the States was a 10-day visit 9-years ago and was amazed how much had changed since the previous visit shortly after 9/11.

Am retired mil. (card carrying member and all) and am elegible for VA care which is one of the reasons that I'll be returning to the Hampton Roads area first. That, and my Stateside bank account is located there where I need to apply for a replacement debit card (was canceled due to not having been physically present to show my bonafides for over 7-years....one of those Patriot Act things). I have been living on a cash only basis here for many, many years and am quite happy to continue living that way.

Would like to have a driver's license just in case I want rent a car and take a drive somewhere.

And am with you on the "dumb phone" thing...have one myself here plus prepaid internet USB stick for the laptop.

Yes, with my skillset, finding work should be no problem, I realize this. LOL @ showing up sober 3 days a week and your golden. Been there, saw that when I got my first job in a shipyard after retiring. My plan is to not work for the first 6-months after I get back (unless I have to or it's a quick in-and-out thing), outfit and learn my new "old" boat, re-aclimitize to the States and see what happens after that.

And you are correct about growing up in the swamps and bayous of Louisiana teaching one the difference between "nice-to-haves", wants, and needs. On a somewhat related note: I had a one-year break from working on my current project as that phase of the project had been completed. Spent the better part of that year living in Egypt's Eastern Desert studying Roman archaeology in the area and assisting Arky's from the States and Poland (but usually living alone with my '86 Land Cruiser and my dog for up to 2 months at a shot). Self-reliance is a must out there. I have a pretty clear picture in my head about what I need to survive, what minimal things I need to be comfortable, and what minimal things that I need to be happy (a good technical manual, a cold beer from time-to-time....OK, maybe 2, a project that I can sink my teeth and tools into, and maybe a good looking woman for companionship from time-to-time......OK, am dreaming on the last one

Anyway, thanks again everyone for the replies...much appreciated.
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Old 15-05-2016, 10:14   #6
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Re: Returning sailor

Sorry, can't help you at all on the repatriation question, but you're on the right track and will enjoy this next step of your life! Best of luck to you Technishn.
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Old 15-05-2016, 10:41   #7
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Re: Returning sailor

Thanks Krafthaus....Appreciated
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Old 15-05-2016, 11:36   #8
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Re: Returning sailor

Repatriation is tough if you are looking for mutuality from the people in the location you settle down. You are a hard core expatriate, and very few people will be interested in what you have been doing these many years.

I worked in Saudi Arabia for sixteen years, and sailed around the world on my catamaran with my family. We lived outside the USA for 28 years before returning, and so I know what it means for a hard core expatriate to come "home".

You quickly find out that you don't have that much in common with other people because your life experiences are so different. As long as you don't expect people to understand where you are coming from, you can transition back in to CONUS, but it will be on their terms rather than yours. If you want mutuality with them, you will have to focus on things that are meaningful to them.

People will politely listen to your expatriate adventure for a few minutes, and then they are done. They have no way to relate to how you spent your life.

I came back to the USA because elderly parents were in poor health, and I needed to help support them. They are now gone, and there is no need for me to stick around.

I look at the US as another destination that I am visiting in a never ending world tour.

If you are a hard core expatriate, the world is your home, and you are comfortable anywhere you are.

I was lucky that I got a job as a flying doctor with the Indian Health Service when I came back to the USA. Working on Indian Reservations is like being in a foreign country. It's not an expatriate lifestyle, but it isn't mainstream either. It works for me.

I am getting ready to head out again, but I still have not decided on a final plan. I will either drive around the world in a Land Rover Defender, or possibly sail my boat back to Australia.

A hard core expatriate can return to their roots, but the world will always be their home.
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Old 15-05-2016, 11:37   #9
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Re: Returning sailor

By the way, we enjoyed sailing the Red Sea a great deal. Abu Tig Marina was awesome, and the Intercontinental Hotel and Marina south of Hurghada was not bad either. The Red Sea was one of our most memorable adventures.

The Red Sea Chronicles - A First Class Sailing Adventure.* Captain Dave.

https://youtu.be/Vfsbkxg8XoU
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Old 15-05-2016, 11:52   #10
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Re: Returning sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teknishn View Post
Spent the better part of that year living in Egypt's Eastern Desert studying Roman archaeology in the area and assisting Arky's from the States and Poland (but usually living alone with my '86 Land Cruiser and my dog for up to 2 months at a shot). Self-reliance is a must out there. I have a pretty clear picture in my head about what I need to survive, what minimal things I need to be comfortable, and what minimal things that I need to be happy (a good technical manual, a cold beer from time-to-time....OK, maybe 2, a project that I can sink my teeth and tools into, and maybe a good looking woman for companionship from time-to-time......OK, am dreaming on the last one

Anyway, thanks again everyone for the replies...much appreciated.
We also had a few desert adventures in the Middle East in the Empty Quarter of Arabia.

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Old 15-05-2016, 12:59   #11
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Re: Returning sailor

Maxingout.....You are hitting closer to home about what it's like repatriating. Thank you for sharing your experience.

You are spot on about people listening to one's sea stories/adventures for a few minutes and then, if it doesn't pertain to their lives there is no real interest. Been there, done that....moved on.

The world IS my home and am happy wherever my seabag is. And yes, America is a destination that I hope won't be my last.

Note: Would've loved to do the Empty Quarter...Did the Sahara crossing from Egypt into Libya and back on camel back during the annual bedouin migration....What a great trip! The Libyan bedouins (Senoussi) were warm and welcoming.

Oh, and Abu Tig Marina now has a second marina for deep draft vessels.

So preparing to repatriate to the States and live on a '81 Hunter Cherubini 27 (Thank for not laughing at my choice of boat) and see where the next phase of my life goes.

Life is supposed to be fun....If it ain't, then you're doing it wrong.
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Old 16-05-2016, 03:29   #12
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Re: Returning sailor

Quote:
Life is supposed to be fun....If it ain't, then you're doing it wrong.


Good luck man... Good VA setup in Miami as well. Clinics in K West and K Largo with daily (free) shuttle to Miami.

Your boat is perfect for goofing down the ditch. Outside on the nice days, inside on the not so nice. Smaller hole in the water to throw money into. '

Good luck, and keep us updated.


(December in the Dismal Swamp)
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Old 06-06-2016, 09:21   #13
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Re: Returning sailor

capt-coullion,
I apologize for the late respnse to you last post. And yes, this boat is good for up and down the ditch.

This is in respponse to capt-coullion, but I think some of the info below may be useful to new liveaboards as well.

I'm still awaiting the survey results (on the 11th of this month) and the owner has reduced the price enough to purchase a new main and an autopilot (his suggestion...and a very generous one at that!). 1981 Hunter Cherubini 27 advertised as being in "well maintained condition". Pics show this. Also have received receipts for Yanmar maintenance conduted at the end of last season, as well as cost estimates for replacement sails. The owner has been very forthcoming and has no problem with having a survey done..and actuallly encouraged it on an old boat priced under 10K after knowing my situation and intent.

The reasons that I am probably purchasing the Hunter are (and I've already decided I will but am still waiting on the survey results):

1) The Cherubinis appear to not have suffered the problems of later Hunter designs of this length of boat and the hull manufacturing during this time for this model of boat is said to be exceptional for what the boat is (It ain't no blue water sailor though...but it wasn't designed to be one either).

2) Liveaboard comfort. I owned a Catalina 27 years and years ago and, while a nice boat to sail, I could never have lived aboard her with the interior layout. The Cherubini has a very open layout, good standing room, and arguably, a bit more realistic storage space.

3) Inboard Yanmar 1GM. While not the most powerful engine, gets the job done and appears to have been well maintained.

4)Extra set of sails (Jib is good, Main is worn)

5) All safety gear for USCG inspection conveys with the boat and are not expired (Flares and such).

6) Adequate electronics (Depth Finder, Inclinometer, Wind Indicator, VHF Radio and Handheld GPS units of unknown vintage).

7) 2-year old set of charts for the Chesapeake Bay up to Mobjack Bay.

8) Rudder overhaul in the past 2 years (Have the receipts).

9) Final reason for going for this boat is that, as I haven't sailed in many many years, I feel that this boat is about the largest I can confidently single-hand myself and not have to rely on crew. I will be taking ASA lessons as well to bring myself back to point I was all those many years ago. (I gots the lingo down...just have to re-learn how to trim those "clothy things hanging from that stick in the middle of the boat"

But let's go back to item 2 for a moment, Liveaboard comfort. Tankage is a bit light on the water, fuel, and holding tanks...but is managable. No shower, Easy and affordable upgrade. Have been looking a plans for Hunter 27's and it is do-able. The only thing I am unsure of is how to install a drain in the sole of the head....but there's always a solution. I has a alcohol stove...only used them in the desert and do not like them in general....but it will work for a while. Only two batteries (house/start)...gotta change that! Need 2 more batteries (1 for each system).

Have planned that the cost of outfitting the boat for bare basic living on a boat that is supposedly in a well maintained condition is going to cost at least half of what I will pay for the boat. Many of the items on the list would also be on the list if I was moving into an apartment after living overseas for 19 years (Cooking utensils, bedding, clothes for the region, basic handtools, cell phone and service, taxi's and public transportation, etc., etc.).

Am looking forward to actually stepping aboard her in the future, spending money on her, enjoying a good dinner with her, and learning the how to touch her in a way that makes her respond to me in a good way (We all know boats can be evil B#$chs when they ain't treated properly)....My Dad always called that a "Life Lesson".
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:34   #14
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Re: Returning sailor

I have not been out of the country for more than 2 years at a time, but even with that short time, I noticed changes. Some good, some bad, but none that could not be adjusted to. With 19 years out, you will have much more adjusting, but since you have traveled and lived an unusual life for so long I suspect you are very adaptable. For a person to come back expecting things to be as they were 20 years before, there will be great disappointment. If you look at it like it is a new country to you, I think you will find it is a wonderful country. Yes, crowded, expensive, lots of bureaucracy but so many things to do and see. With your job skills you dont have to worry about the biggest hurdle, which is getting a good middle class job. In spite of all of the political horse-pucky this is still a great place to live. Welcome Home! _____Grant.
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Old 06-06-2016, 11:00   #15
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Re: Returning sailor

Hi gjordan,
Yes, I am adaptable. In some areas more than others. I hold no illusions that it will be the same country that I left, and briefly revisited about 10-years ago. Am looking forward to the adventure! About bureaucracy, living in Egypt has taught me patience...3-weeks to schedule driving test, 6-months to a year to have your home-ownership (Deed of Title) approved, and best of all...no having residency means that you cannot sell an apartment (I have two), re-license or sell a vehicle. Forced to sell everything on the Black Market here, with the associated loss in exchange rate.

Oh, and not looking to work for the first 6-months (semi-retired here....ex-mil) so that I can get my sailing skills back. Gonna liveaboard for a while as I don't know where I want to go and just go have fun, be bored at marinas and anchorages, work on the boat, take care of some things back in the States and do what I WANT TO DO for a while.

Thanks for the reminder about the changes that I will be facing coming back to the States....Much appreciated.
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