You take them when you can get them


You look at that photo and see a guy with a long box in a dinghy. I see sixteen months of dogged relentless determination.

Before we even found Escape Velocity we saw another Manta catamaran with a screen door that was the perfect solution for keeping bugs out of a boat. It’s called a Phantom retractable screen door. No problem. We’ll find one and buy it. Just finding out who is supposed to be selling these things was hard enough but no one we talked to seemed to have ever seen one, let alone have one in stock. The company website claimed they were available at Home Depot but every Home Depot we tried had never heard of it. Eventually we found it by flipping through the thick in-store catalogue and discovered that not only was it insanely expensive but it could only be sold and installed by a factory-certified installer. Add to that the order and shipping lead time and we were out of luck. It went on the back burner but Marce periodically searched the usual places nonetheless.

On July 14th she struck gold by finding one on eBay for $79US, and we pulled the trigger. We had it shipped to our good friends in Miami because we’d already been introduced to the joys of trying to import anything into Grenada. Maybe we can bring it back when we come home from our visit with my doctor in Florida. That’s when we found out that the five foot high screen door was in a seven foot long box. But it only had 1,200 miles to go.

I apparently was overheard complaining about shipping into Grenada when a fellow cruiser told us about the GPC global postal program which gives you an address in Miami for stateside shipping, then consolidates everyone’s packages into one big shipment to Grenada. Sign me up! We tested the system by ordering some boat parts and everything worked as advertised. The problem with our door was that it had already been shipped to a different address. A quick email confirmed that we could hand deliver the package so while we were in Miami we navigated our rented Fiat 500 through a network of back alleys to the Pakya warehouse and met Jorge, who introduced himself as our GPC Grenada man in Miami. We gave him the door. He gave us a receipt. No problem, no worries.

It didn’t take long before it was time to worry. The usual email saying that your package is in at GPC cryptically said that our package wasn’t in. What does that mean? They weren’t sure either. It was on the manifest, but it’s not at the post office. We stood at the GPC counter and looked blankly at the clerk. He said it was put on the plane in Miami but didn’t come off the plane in Grenada. Because of its size it wasn’t bundled on the shipping pallet with the rest of the packages but was just loose. They were working with the airline to find out where the plane was now. Marce asked, you mean it could be in the Philippines? Well, yes. We left the PO emptyhanded.

As time wore on we began to have that sinking feeling. Marce started to make insurance noises. I don’t want insurance, I want my screen door! I admit that I may have a superior stubborn streak that can get me into trouble on occasion. It’s just that we had come so close to having our own Phantom Sureview Retractable Screen Door With Track-Away System and Self Adjust Control.


Thats when Richard called with what he said was wonderful news. It’s here…here in Grenada? Here in the Post Office! Unbelievable. After making sure that I had my C-14 for customs and all pertinent papers I hopped into Catnip and tied up at the Woburn wharf, walked up to the bus stop, grabbed the #2 bus to St. George’s post office and there it was.

They seemed very happy to have come through for us but there was one last hurdle to negotiate and that was getting this seven foot long box into the #2 Woburn minibus. Three #2 Woburn buses passed me by without a glance when normally every bus stops and tries to talk you into going with them whether you’re going their way or not. Finally a bus with twenty-six school kids pulled up and the “conductor” — he’s the door man and fare collector — helped me stash the box and I climbed in. The school kids in Grenada all dress in uniforms and are for the most part delightful. In the US this would’ve been dreadful. They all wanted to know what was in the big box.

So dear Escapees any kind of victory is still a victory and I’d say this is another well-deserved victory for the home team. It was three months from purchase to delivery. Now we just have to install it.


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3 Responses to You take them when you can get them

  1. Marjorie

    Jack, that passage read like a thriller! No wonder they call it the Phantom.

  2. Now if you can just install it so it makes that slamming of the screen door sound we all remember from childhood summers!

  3. Brian

    Nice to hear of successes. I love following your trial and triumphs. God speed and fair winds!

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