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Old 04-11-2010, 16:28   #31
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Shipyard and bad guys and Cuba

Boy the Caribbean is a paradise and a dream come true if you don't know any better. Most sailors are cautious and I am glad for that. I will tell you one thing now. CUBA for sailing except for the winds that blow off the land at night I think is the best and safest in the Caribbean. I do not agree with the politics but the Cubans and the officials I met are the nicest people I have ever met in the world. Many other countries are a close second but I give Cuba credit over the others. I feel really safe there.. Beautiful country with beautiful people. Maybe lack of money help in making people really genuine. I think so..
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Old 04-11-2010, 19:45   #32
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I would hazard an opinion that Cuba is nice now because very few cruisers can or do go there. We are a novelty. As in almost all of the Caribbean over the last couple of decades the cruiser friendly environment has suffered significantly as the few cruisers visiting becomes hordes of cruisers at any given location.
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:53   #33
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La Ceiba Shipyard is a messy yard with no amenities for cruisers. The electricity is unpredictable and the piped water will stain your gelcoat with iron. It is a dismal place to live aboard on the hard. It is also the only travelift between Shelter Bay Panama and Isla Mujeres Mexico that I am aware of (others may be planned) and a bargain for storage rates. You can safely haulout and store your yacht and get assistance with routine maintenance like bottom painting and minor welding. I did so in 2008/09 and had good cooperation with yard staff, including Jeovanny the GM. I had my aluminum fuel tanks pulled, modified and welded, stripes and logos painted, a fine bottom job, and equipment (radar, anchor chain) shipped in duty free. I would never, however, have any work done in my absence - you must be there to supervise any and all work on your boat. Make the effort to befriend the staff (economic times are hard - gratuities are welcome) and the results should be good.
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Old 08-11-2010, 07:36   #34
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Correction - I wrote that La Ceiba is the only travelift between Shelter Bay Panama and Isla Mujeres Mexico. There is also one at Ram Marine in Rio Dulce,Guatemala, but the width does not accommodate my catamaran's beam of 22' 9".
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:29   #35
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Shipyard

Thank you very much for the information. Best regards James
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Old 29-12-2010, 11:48   #36
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Unless there have been more than 1 Hunter 42s seized I believe I was in Isla Mujeres when Panama James' boat was seized. This was in April or May 2010. The rumor in the harbor was that the vessel had weapons on board and crew members with no passports. Can you clarify what really happened Panama James?
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Old 29-12-2010, 13:47   #37
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Thumbs down Boat seized in Isla Mujueres not exactly

What happened is after I declared my gun, customs decided after they saw it was a 45 Glock and 100 rounds of ammo they decided to charge me with 2 felonies. My girl friend and her brother did not have visas. Immigration told us to leave, but customs had other ideas. I got out after 7 days in prison with all charges dropped and no fines. 45's are reserved for the military only. I have no trouble declaring my gun in 15 other countries. Mexico in my opinion beautiful as it is, is beset with many problems and I will never return.

They did not confiscate my boat but the Navy held it for protection. It was never seized or made part of the charges. The thieves in the Mexican Navy stole my chip for my chart plotter and other things on the deck. I wish those bastards no happiness for the coming New Year. The port Captain was a fine man but should have stopped this whole mess in the beginning. Everyone is trying or overtrying to do their job. The whole place makes me sick on how the bad guys and government are ruining a beautiful historical country.

We all know about the corruption there. Just wait until you get caught in the middle of it.
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Old 29-12-2010, 14:54   #38
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You did say in the noonsite report that your boat was impounded, gun impounded, and you in detention. Maybe seized has a different definition? In any case, your story sounds scarey. Too bad. We love Cancun, Cozumel, and Isla Mujerez.

Just curious about the immigration problem. Did your girlfriend and her brother have current US passports? Wouldn't they get a Tourist Card when you checked in? Were you coming from Belize? Something ticked those guys off...or maybe things have really changed there recently?

From noonsite -

Passports must be valid to the length of your stay in Mexico.
A Tourist Card will be issued on arrival as follows:-
For stays of 180 days; citizens of EU countries(except nationals of Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic and Slovenia), Canada, Japan, USA, Andorra, Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland and Uruguay.
For stays of up to 90 days; citizens of Australia, Iceland, Israel, Korea (Rep), Monaco, South Africa, Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic and Slovenia.
For stays of up to 30 days; citizens of venezuela.
All other countries require a visa, to be obtained in advance.
Nationals of the following countries require special authorisation before a visa can be granted: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, China (PR), CIS, Colombia, Congo (Dem Rep), Croatia, Cuba, East Timor, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Grenada, Haiti, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Korea (Dem Rep), Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia (Former Yugoslav Republic of), Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia & Montenegro, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Yemen and holders of Palestinian documents. Authorisation takes approximately three to four weeks.
If coming from Belize it is advisable to arrive in Mexico either with a tourist card or a visa obtained in advance. These can be obtained from the Mexican consul in Belize City. It is imperative that those who wish to stay longer ask immigration at the first port of entry to stamp the passport for the entire period allowed under Mexican law.
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Old 29-12-2010, 15:24   #39
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Talking Passports in Mexico

My girlfriend (now my wife) is Colombian. Her brother too. They had passports but they needed visas
and I knew it. We were crossing the Yucatan Channel from Cuba and planned to stop a day or two in a break from the rough weather. Cruise ships allow 3 days to foreigner so I thought it would be no big deal. They were taken into detention because we could not leave due to my charges, otherwise we are allowed to stop there due to storm and life threatening conditions. We would have left in a day or so, as we knew they needed visas.

On Noonsite, I might have said seized or held and it was but to them the boat was not a part of the charges and they were "safe keeping" the boat due to the request of customs. After I was released the newspaper had a great day slamming the customs for their dumb mistakes in my case. I had to do some paperwork to get the boat back..and it took a lawyer and 3 days. Release papers from customs and the court etc. Also the Mexican Navy rammed my Hunter with the nose of its launch and broke the fiberglass 3-4 ft above the waterline. Of course they would not fix it.

I have been all over Mexico in the last 20 years and have great memories but things have changed there and we all know it. Life's too short to go back there again for me. For you, hey there's many countries on fire right now. Luck of the draw or God's will or roll the dice whatever you want to call it.

I think I will limit my sailing with 300 miles of Panama. There is plenty to see there. The days of being safe are for the ones that think they can walk on water. As the poor get poorer us Gringos become a great catch. I hope I am ready to protect my love one and myself. I am planning on it, but the best laid plans. You won't see me lending any tools to fisherman.

Of course someone will come back and say "its dangerous everywhere" and I totally agree but being the lone boat in cove in a dangerous country can sure make you nervous unless you have some firepower. Unfortunately my Glock is with the Mexican Police now. I have some new firepower now and it not a flare gun. Bear spray for grizzlies. (large cans) Makes me sleep a little better at night.

I get a little carried away thinking for Mexico and guns and some of our friends that have been killed on a nice leisurely vacations. It makes me sad. Thank God I am only going to live to 105. Any more than that would be too long. Happy New Year to everyone that reads this.
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Old 29-12-2010, 15:33   #40
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Thanks for the reply. Sorry for your troubles. I was in Cartagena earlier this year. I hear Panama is cooler, and even more beautiful. Not bad cruising grounds. Be safe, and have a great 2011 cruising!

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Old 29-12-2010, 15:40   #41
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Hey Thanks, trouble is everywhere. My father told me to look at yourself when troubles happen and I can definitely say I made a few mistakes in this deal. But not many. The biggest one was trusting the Mexico I used to know. No more trust. I should have known better than to go there. I still love life and am positive and love the sea and the other sailors. I just got a book on Kindle and it was free at the time. One of the best books I have ever read. It is the FROZEN PIRATE written in 1877 or so. Great book you will love it if you love the sea. You won't be able to put it down. What a ride!
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Old 29-12-2010, 16:03   #42
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FROZEN PIRATE, huh? Just downloaded it, thanks. Try Caribbean High (not free), a great read Amazon.com: Caribbean High eBook: Gary Brown: Kindle Store
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Old 30-12-2010, 06:40   #43
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Panama James,
Sorry to hear about your bad experience. We found Mexico to be wonderful and had no problems with officials. I grew up in Panama back when there was a Canal Zone. I learned to sail on the schooner, Chief Aptakisic. If you were in Panama in the 70s you might remember her. I am still planning on making it back to Panama under sail but I live in Texas so Mexico is in the way. I don't think I would sail by without stopping unless it gets really bad. We loved Honduras as well and spent almost a week in Diamonte Bay and just heard a cruiser was just killed there. I wish we could carry our guns legally everywhere. An armed society is a polite society.
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Old 30-12-2010, 07:02   #44
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Talk about thread drift. This thread started with a question from someone who was looking for advice on marinas in the Cayman Islands, Belize and Roatan (having already written off Mexico) and it has become a discussion of Mexican authorites and now a gun thread ???????? Please, can someone get us back on track? Having never cruised in any of those locales I can't, but someone must be able to assist.....

Brad
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Old 30-12-2010, 08:10   #45
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Thread drift

Sorry about the Brad. I think I started the thread about Marinas then we drifted into the surf.

Emotional experience so naturally I got carried away again. Have a good day.
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