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Old 02-05-2012, 17:45   #121
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Well, I'm glad you owned up to the reasons you were put in jail. Certainly not because you are an American, or that they hate Americans or that they blame the USA for their problems.

American authorities won't pay for damages when searching boats, or stopping boats either. Even when drilling holes in the bottom "looking for drugs", they just put a little putty in it and off they go.

You must have a permit BEFORE arriving in Mexico with any sort of Firearm. Just like I do BEFORE arriving in the usa. I have to give 24 hours notice to bring a 12 ga mossberg 500 into the usa. If I failed to get permission and they found the gun, I'll bet I'm not out in 6 days.

Imagine, a country where machine guns are legal for citizens, requires me to get a permit and give 24 hours notice, for a 12 ga shotgun. Makes ya think don't it?

I won't harp on the subject, (oops, I already have really) you've come clean and took the blame. Your first post should be completely ignored, since it's just a rant.

Cheers.
Paul.
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Old 02-05-2012, 21:58   #122
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Yes it was a rant. I do that sometimes. Bad habit. I just get tired of all the drugs and killing and bad people. Life is a journey not a destination. Best to you amigo
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Old 02-05-2012, 22:43   #123
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Let me tell you a great story about Mexican customs.

I helped a buddy do an offshore delivery on a new boat and then sail it from San Francisco to Ensenada. He was a Brit and, like most subjects of the British crown, had no concept whatsoever of a proper breakfast.

We stopped in Morro Bay, I forget why, and I hiked into the local market and bought some Krusteaz pancake mix. The following morning I introduced him to the wonderful world of flapjacks, and his religion was changed forever.

Wonderblond and I abandoned ship in Ensenada, and my friends sailed around to La Paz without our assistance. Upon arriving there, they sent us two open-ended tickets to La Paz, with a note saying that they couldn't purchase Krusteaz in Mexico, so would we please bring some down at our earliest convenience.

I purchased a ten-pound bag of Krusteaz, and packed it into my dive bag, just atop my wetsuit and between the fins. Then we jetted south for a bit of Mexican cruising.

When going through customs at a Mexican airport, you press the button on a machine that randomly generates either a green or a red light. Wonderblond went through first, and got a green light. Carrying the dive gear, I followed, and of course got a red light.

When the customs agent asked me to open my dive bag, I unzipped it and a fine dust of white powder floated up. The bag of Krusteaz had burst! "OMG, I thought, they'll think I'm smuggling cocaine."

Unable to remember the Spanish term for "pancake," I asked, "Como se dice 'pancake' in Espaniol?"

The custom agent laughed, replied "panqueque," and waved me on through.

Imagine such a situation were the destinations reversed!
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:41   #124
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

I can rant with the best of them. I say it, helps to get it out so it doesn't fester, or at least that's what I tell my wife. Bad habit, I agree.

Best to you too. Glad you got out ok.

Paul.
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:52   #125
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Just a general comment...

These sort of threads tend to bring out the highly negative stories.

Cruisers new to cruising and wannabe cruisers who read these accounts and rants should realize that the chance of having a "nightmare" experience anywhere is very low. There are Ports of Entrance in some countries that tend to be more difficult than others; there are individual C&I officials in some ports/countries that tend to be more difficult than others. However, in large part your experience will be uneventful, though perhaps overly "bureaucratic" for your taste.

The key is to 1.) research the entry requirements in advance. It's your responsibility to know them, and 2.) present yourself in neat attire, with a friendly and cooperative attitude. Patience is your friend. Simple as that.
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Old 03-05-2012, 13:14   #126
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Amen Hud
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Old 03-05-2012, 14:56   #127
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

I wonder what would happen to a Mexican if he were to enter and check-in with Immigrtion in Arizona with a firearm?
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Old 03-05-2012, 15:17   #128
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hud3 View Post
The key is to 1.) research the entry requirements in advance. It's your responsibility to know them, and 2.) present yourself in neat attire, with a friendly and cooperative attitude. Patience is your friend. Simple as that.
Yep.
Petty Bureaucrats are, well, petty, the world over. Mexico hasn't got a lock on the market.

I am singularly ill equipt to deal with them myself and find it a huge challenge, no matter where in the world, maintaining that patience and cooleth in the face of administrative idiocy.
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Old 03-05-2012, 15:54   #129
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

It sounds like a pretty bad experience to me. Having lived in mexico aboard and traveled extensively ashore for multi weeks, I can tell you the people are very nice. However, let's face it, officials often do whatever they want. When you run into one of those situations, it's ugly. My daughter was in Cabo for her Bachelorette party with friends. They had been partying in Senor Frogs ( I think!) She's not much of a drinker, but they were standing right outside the door looking for a cab back to the hotel and were picked up for something like "drunk in public" immediately. It took about 2 hours and $150 US in cash and everything was "fine". It was pretty obvious this was a good way to make some money.
The US and Mexico are much different; in Mexico the officials can do whatever they want, whenever they want, often to get money. In the US, Congress makes so many laws no one , including the officials , can keep up with them and dont have funds to enforce them all. Thus the post above about foreigners phoning in when they move their boat and no one knowing anything about it....
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Old 30-06-2012, 15:12   #130
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Okay. SV Judy Ann here...the boat in question. Sorry for not stepping in earlier. Until very recently, we still had no clue what was even happening (well, we still don't understand it.) Thank you SV Destiny for opening the thread and maintaining a supportive attitude (thanks Thumbs Up and many others of the like.) We might need a lot more community like this very soon.

As for the rest...although I can appreciate some creative speculation where there are unanswered questions, it can be hard to read when the speculatin' favors the other guy (in this case, more like a beaurocracy.--one that is known for its inconsistencies and troubles that it gives fellow boaters..over a fellow boater) BUT, I realize that Contrary is part of the nature of forums, and people, and definitely sailors. So, no worries.
That is not why I am writing anyway. I am writing here because:


1--There is obviously a lot of disagreement on the basic facts concerning requirements and procedures. This is what got us into this mess. I don't want anyone to mistakenly think that this can't happen to them—to you.

2--I don't want anyone with something constructive to say to be turned away from the conversation. (For this reason, there will be a new thread started after this post.) We NEED a support network, ideas, contacts, etc.

and lastly....because whatever happened, whatever regrets we have, however people judge the situation—the fact remains that OUR BOAT WAS TAKEN. Our home, our life, was taken. Our things are being ruined (the boat sits in the same state it was in upon our arrival, after 5 days at sea.) The boat is in danger because it is hurricane season. This is real and serious. It has been four months and our situation is NOT improving, in fact..it may soon be critical. If this fight goes into the next round, the legal battle becomes very long and very expensive.

AND—here's the kicker: It turns out, this has nothing to do with the Zarpe anymore. It never really did (on paper, at least), although it was obviously what got the snowball rolling. (More on the Zarpe issue later, for those interested.)


If you need to catch up on the story, the original article and April update are here: Noonsite: Heading USA to Mexico? Important Information. However, this was written way in the beginning when we thought the Zarpe was the problem, and it was sloppily written at that, in a state of panic. I will try to put the relevant facts here again as efficiently as possible, so you know that this is ALL there is to the story.


The evening we arrived, we were told by a marina that the Port Capitan's office was closed for the day.
The next day, we went to the Sanitation office in the morning, where we were accosted for not having the Zarpe. (By the way, we were VERY polite and humble, and remained so throughout this ENTIRE ordeal. AND we did have a receipt from the fuel dock from the day we left.) The man insisted that he had warned us about this before, but we had never been to Mexico. He also untruthfully wrote, on our paper, that he had seen us in town for the past two days. We could prove our case with our GPS tracks, but it never came to that. Onto Immigration.


We paid for the Zarpe mistake. We paid with 7 hours sitting in Immigration. We paid in fines, in written apologies, and by getting formally rejected from the country. Passports stamped in and out with a paper that said we had 5 days to leave. We messed up, and we knew it...got reprimanded, kicked out and charged. Lesson learned. But it was 5pm and we needed to sprint to the Port Capitan's office. (BTW, we ran into a couple we recognized from Florida on our way out. They had no Zarpe either. We told them of our troubles and wished them good luck. They looked terrified. But alas, we saw them on the street 20 minutes later..No Zarpe, No problem. They had an agent. Maybe the biggest lesson here...in Isla Mujeres, HIRE THE AGENT! ...But wait, maybe this is the lesson they are trying to teach us?) The Port Captain's office was closed. We would return in the morning to check in/check out, and then leave for our destination of Guatemala.

Customs came that night, with the Navy, and took our boat at 1AM. We had been there for about 32 hours. (This is all about Customs. The Navy was only used to take it, and now, to hold it.)


The next day, the Port Captain cleared the boat in anyway, tried to get Customs to release our boat and document, but they said we had to go to their office at the Cancun airport. We did so immediately, and were there for 8 hours waiting. We were finally served with some papers.


--Papers, which I now understand are what you get when you fail to get the temporary importada. They took our boat as if we didn't get the importada.. but we still had TIME!. We still had plenty of time.


That was 4 months ago. Customs had 4 months to complete our case and tell us what is next. This whole time, we have been fighting (quietly and patiently) to speed up the process, but here we are. We have taken all of the necessary legal actions to move through the process. Any day now, we will hear something. The papers mention huge import duties, which were shocking at first, but even though this is wrong, we would gladly pay to have this be over with. The worst part though, is that it doesn't seem like we will even have this option. They are STILL asking us to move the boat to their facilities in Puerto Morelos, onto land...where it will “be safe.” There is no dock, no lift...only a ship yard crane and a field where boats sit for two years before they are put up at auction. The fact that they are asking this does not sound like they plan on releasing the boat. The US consulate finally got through to the person in charge of our case, and that person was not at all honest. They said that we have submitted nothing in the way of paperwork that they have requested...which is absolutely untrue. This has confirmed to me what I have been told, but have not believed. They really just want to keep our boat.
The very first lawyer to look over these initial papers (very experienced in these exact issues...retired though) said, “They are trying to take your boat. They want your boat.” This didn't make sense..our boat is modest, small, and not worth what most of the boats are that come through. This lawyer also said “they think you have no power.” Well, certainly look or act like we don't have much power...young, quiet, artist/musician/sailors? Maybe a combination of these things? I am not accepting or denying the conspiracy theory (however, there WERE a lot of strangely long phone calls, and blatant discrepancies between what we were being told and what the papers, that we were being handed, actually said. Many times over, we would have lost the boat if we had trusted what we were being told.)
BUT, if they come back at us saying that we cannot have our boat no matter what we do..saying that they are going to keep it (for no apparent reason....What is the other explanation? And is it going to be acceptable because “the government can do whatever it wants”? And because “life ain't fair”? What if it was your boat?
(BTW, This HAS happened before. A marina in Isla Mujeres was raided and 13 boats were seized when Customs decided to suddenly “resurrect” the Temporary Importada requirement in 1999. Here is a link to the story of “Quittin Time” ReadOz - Read - Southwinds Magazine - August 2009 which was never recovered by the owner. If anybody knows the story of any of the other 12 boats, please let me know.)


Believe me, I understand these sentiments. Lately, everyday is a struggle to not become too jaded, to not get discouraged or disillusioned (actually, I believe this is always the struggle.) We also are fully aware of the fact that letting go and starting over is an option, so you don't have to mention it. We are not choosing that option. We have nothing else, nowhere else we want to call home. Our whole lives are wrapped up in the boat. We have nothing else to do but try.



Obviously, there would be nothing to do if we lost the boat at sea, or if it was destroyed by some unstoppable force. But it wasn't. It is sitting right there!
This might also be slightly less surprising if our boat was taken in some very far away, very undeveloped country with less apparent laws and structure. But it is not. Isla Mujeres is now the only place to check into Mexico for anyone traveling south to the Caribbean through the Yucatan Straits (...from what I understand, anyway. Cruisers have been getting conflicting stories about this too lately.) Everyone coming through must stop here, unless they don't stop until Belize.


This is very important, for us and for all boaters who wish to traverse these waters.



As I said, there will be another thread opened. (I realize that this is not typically THAT KIND of forum, so this is just a start. There will also be a google group or something, and maybe a blog, as a forum for support.) These will all, however be opened by "friends of Judy Ann," although we will be there...in spirit??



That said, I hope it is not too much to respectfully ask that, if you still feel the need to leave non-constructive, non-supportive comments, please try to do so with tact, because reading them--coming from the only "community" that we feel could truly understand the weight of this situation--inevitably dampens our spirits. ..And we need all of the spirit we can muster right now.



We are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. More to come.
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Old 30-06-2012, 16:45   #131
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Listening with interest, all the very best in your battle. Good luck Frank & Vivien "DOMINOS"
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Old 30-06-2012, 16:47   #132
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

as far as i can see, if you follow the laws of the lace into which you go cruising, you should have no problem. if you break their laws, you will have a problem. they have every right to confiscate boats for those who refuse to follow their rules and laws.
oops. is too bad. is sad..
BUT IT ISNT BEING CONFISCATED FOR NOT HAVING A ZARPE.
there are enough yellow journalists out there without our own having to feel the need to embelish their tales.
many places do not permit firearms into country. why push it. why nt just get along and fly a low profile.
smooth sailing--be safe and leave the bangbooms at home. you truly do not need them out here. they cause more trouble than they6 are worth. we are not warring--we are sailing.
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Old 30-06-2012, 17:48   #133
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

Welcome aboard SV Judy Ann although I wish it were in better circumstances. Very sad first post; thanks for providing the details. It is difficult to see any positive outcome but nevertheless, I wish you the best of luck and good fortune and at least a speedy resolution.
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Old 30-06-2012, 17:58   #134
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

This has happened many times before. I've heard several tales of boats seized because an admiral wanted it here in la paz maybe 9 years ago or so. If you have the chance, I'd get the boat and sail it the hell away from there never to return. But that may not be possible. I have no solutions for you other than that but wish you the best of luck.
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Old 30-06-2012, 18:33   #135
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Re: Boat Impounded in Mexico

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This has happened many times before. I've heard several tales of boats seized because an admiral wanted it here in la paz maybe 9 years ago or so. If you have the chance, I'd get the boat and sail it the hell away from there never to return. But that may not be possible. I have no solutions for you other than that but wish you the best of luck.
You nail it .... I've tried to retell the story of a friend suffering precisely this scenario in Gibraltar, he fought it all the way to the Privy Council in the UK it happened 30+ years ago. It was piracy under the auspices of British Law.
As Al Bundy famously said "RUN HARD AND RUN FAST" sometimes if possible it's the best way out, but not always easy to foresee the future.
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