Welcome to Vagari’s 7th winter of sailing. We have put 8,000 miles under Vagari’s keel during those cruises but this year like last year won’t be a high mileage year. We just don’t have the lust for the long cruises that we did when we started cruising but we still enjoy living on board and sailing near our homeport. Welcome aboard! We hope you enjoy our blog. Your comments, questions and suggestions are appreciated and encouraged.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
The Adventure Begins
There is a mandatory custom stop a couple of miles from the border. We have never had to get out of the truck before, they usually ask a few questions about our destination and reason for traveling. Today they saw my 19” flat computer screen. The very polite young inspector asked me to get out and tell him what the monitor was. I had wrapped it in bubble wrap. I said a computer monitor. He explained that he had to see the accompanying computer. My problem was that the boat computer was in a small box at the bottom of the load and would take a while dig out then I would have to repack the truck. After a long pause on my part I showed him my laptop case. He said “laptop?” I replied “si” and we were on our way.
Everybody assumes that all Mexican officials are corrupt and a stop by the police meant that you always had to pay a bride (“the bite” in Spanish). In all our travels in Mexico and dealing with port officials I have never had to pay a bride and the only time we have been ripped off it was by a Canadian. I have stopped defending the Mexican authorities because I didn’t think anyone believed me. Of course, the police had never stopped me before. Today, after our tradition arrival lunch at our favorite greasy spoon restaurant in San Carlos, we drove a couple hundred feet to a bank to fill up on pesos. I parked on the street because the bank lot was full. It took me a while to relearn the trick of getting our ATM cards to work in Mexico but after a few minutes both cards worked and I was a happy camper.
Returning to the car I saw a distressed Rhea standing next to a distressed policeman. The officer, with ticket book in hand, explained that I had parked next to a fire hydrant and that was very dangerous. I explained that Rhea was in the truck and she could simply move in case of fire. This sound logic did not impress him. I then pointed out that the curb was not painted red, there was no sign plus the screw on cap on the hydrant’s nozzle was missing so obliviously it wasn’t a working hydrant. Clearly the way to Mr. Policeman’s heart was not logic. He suggested that perhaps we should drive to the “Commandant” to explain my problem. That was OK with me if he was in San Carlos today (as opposed to Guaymas, the HQ for this area). I was informed that the Commandant never tells the officers where he will be spending the day but there was “another way to settle this matter”. We were on our way without that extra $20 US Dollar bill in Rhea’s wallet. The kicker was that he had asked Rhea for 1,500 pesos (just over $100 US). Sexism is alive and well in Mexico.
Vagari looked good but dirty when we arrived. We unloaded the truck and started to put some of the items stored in the cabin back on deck but didn’t have time to check out any systems or start to get her ready for sea before the yard closed at 5PM.
I found it interesting that on the drive down we saw only one car with California plates. Normally we would see at least a dozen. We didn’t see many US plates period. We walked the waterfront after dinner. Some of the tourist souvenir shops were closed. Friends of Rhea have no fear; the very expensive tourist junk shop that Rhea loves is still open.
During our walk we looked at the window of the only yacht broker in town. Instead of listings of the boats for sale there was a notice that they had ceased doing business. Very depressing. However, we then found two new yacht brokers so it looks like we might be OK as far as selling the boat goes.