Tales of the Itinerant Sailor

Cruising 2009

Political Peril and the Itinerant Sailor


Steven Jones  

The Checkout

By noon on May 27th we have paid the usual taxes and fees to the authorities, and to the “required” local agent, and have checked out of Livingston and are on our way.  It is two hours past high tide, but we make it through the shoals without dragging bottom.

A word about this agent.  Just about anywhere you travel in the Caribbean, and to a lesser extent on the Pacific side of Latin America, there seems to be an unwritten agreement between the authorities—customs, immigration, port captain, and sometimes others—and a local agent(s) that checking in and out will flow much smoother if the foreigners are represented by this agent.  For a fee, of course.  In Livingston it is Raul.  He is very personable and efficient, thereby taking away some of the sting of an extra fee.

Usually, the visitor can elect to go through the procedures on his own, but the local officials don’t provide much help if problems are encountered.  At one stop, the island of Cozumel, Mexico, immigration and customs just flat out would not accept my papers.  It had to be handled by an agent!  And for a substantial fee.  Are there kickbacks?  Probably. 

The First Mate The Earthquake

Cruising 2009: Political Peril and the Itinerant Sailor
Copyright © 2010 Steven Jones. All Rights Reserved.

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