I am going to have to weigh in here to clear up some "facts" that may have gotten twisted around. I was the next boat to clear into Isla after this happened. I met these people and know their story. They never intended to stop in Mexico when they left Key West
. These guys were bound for Livingston Guatemala
, and no you do not need a Zarpe to clear into Livingston if you are coming from the U.S.. It was the medical
examiner who claimed that he had seen them walking around several days prior, "eating tacos". They had just done a rough four day passage
against the gulf stream
in a very small boat. If they had not stopped they would have been sailing into the 20-25 knot
southeast headwinds that we had for the next three days. The real reason they stopped here though is because a crew member
that they had aboard wanted off. I notified the U.S. consular by e-mail the next day so yes they are aware of the situation. The fact is is that these guys did show up looking pretty "rough around the edges" and that the medical
examiner here doesn't seem to care for "gringos" and I believe that it was him that got these guys into a world of trouble.
We cleared in without an agent but next time I clear in here I will use an agent. This same medical examiner required us to get fumigated which cost us more than the agent would have charged. We watched other boats clear in with an agent that had been in the same places we had and they didn't need to get fumigated. The officials here would obviously prefer us to use an agent. If you are coming here, just pull into El Milagro marina or Paraiso Marina, they both monitor vhf
13. for an extra $30. U.S. Julio or Chepo will have all of the officials come to you, make any extra copies and make sure everything goes smoothly.
For all of you saying that it must have been their fault or that there must be more to the story, there is really not. The Mexican navy
searched the boat, with a dog, found nothing. But apparently once the navy
confiscates a boat, there is nothing that the port captain or customs can do about it. Also remember that the thing about Mexico is that you never can get a straight answer as to what the regulations
are and what is required. You will always get an answer but never the same answer. Plus, unless you are completely fluent in Mexican Spanish, who are you going to ask anyway?
A boat came in here the other day that had a Zarpe from Honduras
heading to Key West
. The agent typed up a nice official looking letter stating the reasons that they put in here and there was no problem. I think that the lesson here is that it is better to use an agent to clear in here, especially if there might be a discrepancy.
For all of you sitting around saying "this will never happen to me because I always follow the rules" or whatever, what are you going to do if your Zarpe says one thing and you are forced to go somewhere else? Or if you don't get a fair shake? Or an official doesn't like you. If you don't have anything pertinent to add to this discussion, Butt out, or I won't like you.