Updated: May 15
I’m glad I took the day off from work today, otherwise I would not have finished everything I had to do.
I packed the boat in the morning with all the gear in the three sections, wrapped them up with bubble wrap, and put everything inside the three custom kayak bags. This is officially the first time the bags are being used to ship the kayak, so I hope they will work as intended, because I’m the one who designed them specifically for the 3-piece Taran. The kayak and gear go ahead on the cheap through ground and sea shipping while I fly with no carry on, I pick up my expedition in a box at the destination and get on my way.
I called up an Uber XL to take everything in one go to the Crawley Marine Storage Facility in Medley about an hour’s drive away. “I have three extremely large bags, so you’ll have to lower all the seats,” I texted the driver. When the driver arrived, I felt embarrassed. She was a tiny elderly lady with scrawny little arms that looked like pencil sticks. “Sorry, but you’ll have to help me lift the big one into the trunk. It’s too big for one person,” I said.
“Sin problema.” She answered in Spanish.
We got the bag with the cockpit section on the lip of her trunk with a bit of difficulty and pushed it in. At that moment a problem became apparent. Her middle row seats were not made to go all the way down, and about two feet of bag was sticking out the back. “Well, I guess we have to go in two cars, we’ll put this one in mine and you carry the other two,” I said.
“Cabe en el Prius?” she said with raised eyebrows.
“Yes it does…”
“Ok. Que es esto?”
“It’s a kayak.”
She maneuvered her van so that her trunk was facing mine, and we slid the cockpit bag from one car to another without issue. For an elderly lady she sure drove fast and punched through a lot of yellow traffic lights. I had to look around for cameras and cops before I decided whether or not to follow the law. I nearly lost her on Okeechobee road when a semi-truck doing a left turn got between us. After about 30 minutes my gas light came on and I was crossing fingers hoping I would make it. I felt relieved when I saw a truck with a Crowley Marine Container turn off the road and knew we could not be far.
The Crowley warehouse is huge. I saw countless forklifts whizzing up and down aisles of boxes like it was rush-hour traffic. You had to be careful and look where you walked, the place was very noisy and hearing the incoming forklift wasn’t always possible. I filled out some paperwork at their check-in office and stepped into the warehouse; at that moment I realized just how poorly I was dressed to be there. Everyone I saw had a hard hat, reflective vests, and boots. I wore shorts, a beach shirt, and flip flops. I never wished more to have my steel toed work boots than when I saw a fork lift heading towards me carrying what looked like four refrigerators raised three feet off the ground. The driver paused next to me. “You the guy with the kayak?”
“Yes.” I responded.
“OK, go to the parking lot where you have it, and I come meet you.”
I walked out to my car, and he drove out with his forklift straddling a wooden pallet.
“How is that the kayak?”
“Yes it is. It breaks up in three pieces”
“Oh, first one I’ve seen. What you go do?”
“Paddle around Puerto Rico.”
“Oh man, you crazy! You gonna get eaten by a shark. The place is full of them.”
“That would be very bad, let’s hope it doesn’t happen…”
I helped him put the three bags on the pallet, he bundled everything together with a giant roll of cellophane wrap which at my request he used a generous amount, and then carried it off to the weighing station.
“248 pounds. Here’s your receipt, make sure you don't lose it, it has the Source Number which you need to track the shipment. It’s SMW 1511768, and my name right below it, Reinaldo Santos, if anyone asks. We’ll let you know when you can pick it up in San Juan. Probably Monday if it goes through without inspection. You pay when you pick up. It will be $256, plus tax.”
“Thank you! Please don’t drop it.”
“It won’t. The bags are wrapped with the pallet, So unless the pallet slips off the fork lift, it should be good. I’d worry more about the sharks if I were you.”
Sea Kayak Puerto Rico Circumnavigation