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Old 20-08-2008, 17:51   #16
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Drew - We are all waiting on pins and needles for a positive outcome - You can't stop now. Good luck!
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Old 20-08-2008, 19:22   #17
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Wow!

I'm sorry to hear about all the hoops you've had to jump through.

Hope you get it all worked out pronto, and can move on to sandy beaches without bureaucracy!

Zach
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Old 20-08-2008, 20:05   #18
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Well, here I sit. Day 36 of paperwork now complete and still no zarpe. I spent a total of 7 hours in the port captain's office today. I would stand in line, get to the front, they would call Guayaquil with no answer or wrong person or person not available. And I would get back in the end of the line figuring by the time I made it back to the front, someone in Guayaquil might be available. Captain Mata was busy with others the entire afternoon and all he would do for me is call the same numbers anyway. By 5:15 the Sargent finally got through to someone who requested that I fax all of my customs clearance papers and the receipt from paying the fine and they would have a Director in DIGMER review it tomorrow to see if they could fix the computer system for me. Wasn't I just at DIGMER all day yesterday doing that same thing?

I'm now trying my best through every connection possible to obtain Captain Moreno's cell phone number. It's the only chance I have to not spend another full day sitting in that office in Guayaquil. Tomorrow we are bombarding the DIGMER office with phone calls. I am attacking from every direction possible. Both office girls, both managers, the port captain in Salinas, a connection George has in the Navy, etc, etc. My goal is to make it so they can't turn around in that office without seeing a small note saying "there is a problem with sailboat Dosia in Puerto Lucia."
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Old 20-08-2008, 20:19   #19
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oh and add to that list of people calling...the american consulate and the minister of tourism for ecuador.
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Old 20-08-2008, 20:28   #20
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Great but crazy story!! Please keep us posted on what happens and yah, this seems to be pretty standard in Latin American countries. Hell, this happens in some ports in Europe as well. I really hate to see this happen but do keep us up to date and I hope for a speedy sail away from that place!!!
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Old 20-08-2008, 22:05   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getlostonpurpose View Post
Tomorrow we are bombarding the DIGMER office with phone calls. I am attacking from every direction possible. Both office girls, both managers, the port captain in Salinas, a connection George has in the Navy, etc, etc. My goal is to make it so they can't turn around in that office without seeing a small note saying "there is a problem with sailboat Dosia in Puerto Lucia."
Well there is an interesting thought. Post the phone numbers and all the members on Cruiser's Forum will start calling on your behalf. The entire Digmer office could be shut down such that they deport you and your boat...

"Hi. This is Dan in Singapore and I was wondering when my friend's zarpe would be ready. We really need him to get going - no problem. I'll hold."
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Old 21-08-2008, 06:46   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getlostonpurpose View Post
Tomorrow we are bombarding the DIGMER office with phone calls. I am attacking from every direction possible. Both office girls, both managers, the port captain in Salinas, a connection George has in the Navy, etc, etc. My goal is to make it so they can't turn around in that office without seeing a small note saying "there is a problem with sailboat Dosia in Puerto Lucia."
I realize Drew's been dealing with this a long time, but everyone please try to remember something.

When you have contact with officials, especially officials who don't normally deal directly with cruisers, you are our representative. If you act badly it will reflect badly on all of us.

I'm sure Drew is using words like 'bombarding' and 'attacking' figuratively. But if someone else reads this and thinks they have the 'right' to act like an a**hole to government authorities they will be doing a disservice to all cruisers who follow.

Other people have commented that the officials don't realize that they are driving cruisers away by treating them like this. If the officials see nothing but jerks in their offices, they may feel they are protecting their nation by driving the jerks away.

John
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http://svnakia.blogspot.com
(Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador)
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Old 21-08-2008, 12:31   #23
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John, you are correct and the only reason I haven't dropped my pants and unloaded in the middle of the port captain's office is for future cruisers.

I decided to spend the morning sitting with the people here at Puerto Lucia that were actually making the calls instead of spending the day at the port captain's office again. First I sat with Mario, one of the managers and here's how the phone system at DIGMER works. One time you will call and there is no answer at all. The next time you call and go straight into the "enter an extension or hold" recording. If you are lucky, someone will pick up the phone and you can ask for the person you want to speak with. Then you go back on hold and about 5 minutes later another secretary picks up the phone and asks who you want to speak with...back on hold. After 5 or 6 different secretaries follow this same routine, someone eventually picks up the line and hangs up on you.

Once you finally learn the extension of the person you want, you dial the extension and follow this exact same path.

What you really need is CELL PHONE numbers!

After sitting with Mario for a while, I moved onto Mariesol, who has some connections with some Admirals. One of them is down here somewhere and the other in Guayaquil. Through them, she learned more extensions to try at DIGMER but got the same results as Mario. She also realized through all this that she actually knows Mata's secretary in the Salinas port captain's office so she gave her a call and got some back numbers at DIGMER. Result=same.

After an hour, she called the Admirals and basically begged for help. An hour later, I now have an inspection scheduled (this one is free and from the local port captain's office) for 2pm today and supposedly my zarpe will be ready to process after that inspection. I have my hopes up but not too high!

Drew
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Old 21-08-2008, 13:04   #24
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How much of the problem is because you are an American??

I read in a recent Wall Street Journal article that the President of Ecuador is patterning himself after Hugo Chavez and trying to recreate his country in a similar image, and is therefore becoming more anti-American.

Ecuador is coming up for a vote soon on whether they get to retain their "favored nation" trading status w/ the U.S. I doubt though that would mean much to the people with whom you are dealing.

Another current Ecuadorian/U.S. tension is over a current military arrangement. The U.S. has troops there helping fight the drug lords, and apparently the drug lords are putting pressure on the President to end the arrangement.

Good luck!!!!
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Old 21-08-2008, 15:27   #25
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i don't know if the problem is that i am american or the fact the correa, the president, despises the yacht clubs here and has apparently told the port captain to cause as much trouble as possible. i'm just caught up in the middle of all this crap. there are tons of rumors and stories i keep hearing but i won't go into those.

the vote on sept 28 will basically make correa a dictator in the exact same sense as chavez if the new constitution is enacted. what that means for cruisers...who knows? i better not be here to find out.

just got done with the inspection. took an hour. they wanted to know everything from fuel burned per hour to how often i have to pull the boat out of the water for cleaning and painting. the only thing i failed at is having a smoke detector which according to this sheet, one is needed for every enclosed space! the inspection actually says it is for commercial transport ships! why i needed it I have no idea. no one here at the marina has ever seen one before. the inspection results were sent off to guayaquil via fax. now we are just sitting here waiting. tomorrow the port captain only works a half day!

Drew
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Old 21-08-2008, 20:41   #26
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I GOT IT! We got the call at 5:05pm to haul ass over to the port captain's office. Got there in 10 minutes from Puerto Lucia (probably set a new land record) and Mata told Mendoza to get it done. Of course, he went into the computer and BAM...now the computer wanted a fuel tank inspection. Sergeant Mendoza got on the horn to Guayaquil and tried several times with several different people to fix the problem. We went back and forth until at about 6pm he said something to me I didn't understand (though i did make out "regresso" (i come back) and he took off out the door and into a taxi. The one guy left in the office said he had to go for a group photo. at that point, we lost all hope but sat there anyways. At 7:10, he came back in and finished up a couple of guys who were waiting with us and at 7:30 Mata came back in and told him, get these guys the f**k outta here. With that, he ignored the computer error, printed out my facturas and the zarpe. SOMETHING HE OBVIOUSLY COULD HAVE DONE ALL ALONG! Total cost with the port captain $212.83. Plus customs, $26.28. Plus assorted buses and taxis and I figure the cost to be about $300 to exit this damn country after 19 months of keeping Dosia here. Thank god i grabbed another $40 before i walked off the boat! We walked out the port captain's office at 8:10 pm...over 3 hours after the actually closed. I have the receipts with the breakdown of the charges but I'm just so happy to finally have the zarpe, i don't give a **** at this point.

It's ridiculous they made us go through all that when they could have ignored the computer to begin with but now my boat is probably sitting open in their system for god knows how long. I figure somewhere down the line in about 5 years, someone will go "hey, does anyone know if this boat left the country?"

Needless to say, i won't be returning to mainland Ecuador...ever again!

Drew
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Old 21-08-2008, 22:14   #27
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Possible scenario: you were chosen, or maybe your boat was chosen. they thought you were a soft target, they thought they could get your boat. not the first time this has happened in the history of man. get out while you can.
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Old 22-08-2008, 00:43   #28
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You are not out till you have entered another country....let's hope that the coast gaurd do not simply go by a computer printout of cleared boats and hasel you.

Let us know when you are in another country and thanks for the warning.

Ecuador is certainly off my list!
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Old 22-08-2008, 08:54   #29
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Move it, move it, MOVE IT!!!!!
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Old 22-08-2008, 20:35   #30
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Wow - fantastic! You outlasted the B@$tards. You become too much trouble and they finally gave up. No small feat. You should be proud of yourself.

Good winds and make sure you check in with us at you next port of call.
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