28 February 2012


The Immigration rules for the Dominican Republic are clearly stated in several guides. You can only immigrate at a port of Entry and AFTER you immigrated you need a despacho (a kind of permit) with the name of the next port you intend to sail to. So far, so good. But as usual sometimes things are different as there are different people working in the system. When we left Cabo Rojo, the first anchorage in DR where we got one night of rest after the passage from Haiti, we have been stopped after one hour of sailing by the marine. They would like to see the despacho for our next port. We didn’t have one as we couldn’t immigrate - no port close by for that senior commandante! He disagreed, and said we should come back to the small marine outpost in Cabo Rojo to get this damn despacho. Normally I would argue, but they have been six guys, heavily armed - don't call me a wimpy but I decided to smile and turn around.

We dropped the anchor as advised, same anchorage but noisier as we were now closer to the big ships and less wind protected of course. Never ever let a guy in a motor boat dictate you an anchorage! As soon the hook was set they came along to search the boat for drugs and check our papers. When the officer found a box with unpacked Gottlieber Hüppen (http://gottlieber.ch/en/)

he got a bit suspicious: But this was easely solved, I told him to try one and he agreed that this was real great stuff! As a matter of fact, the whole boarding was very friendly and professional even so. But I still did not have this paper!! I told him (in my Spanish...imagine...) that it was too windy and too much work to pull the dinghy and go ashore just for a piece of paper - which I basically would not need. So the capitano decided to give me a lift together with his team to the marine post. That’s when the fun really started....

After two hours of waiting and mentioning twelve times Suiza, they finally had all the data for the despacho but no ink for the printer! So the capitano swung himself on a motorbike to get to a nearby factory to print this paper. The office in the factory was currently as well out of ink. Damn you HP for filling this lousy cartridges so low!! Did I mention that I had to give all the data again to the guy in the factory office via an officer’s cell phone? So this despacho should’ve been ready by 6pm. I got a ride back to the boat by an officer - cool ride with 500 Mercury horse powers in the back of a boat!

Just before 6pm I got my dink ready - it was blowing with 26knots. But cool enough I have the same brand of engine on my dink, OK just 5 HP instead of 500 HP. Therefore my ride was a bit wet and slightly slower. After I arrived I could wait with the senior officer while the capitano was underway with his bike once more to get the paper I didn’t need. For some reason I was not surprised that there was still no ink found for the despacho (did I mention that I do not need that damn thing??). The new printing meeting was then planned for 0900h the next day. Nevertheless if gave me time to scratch some items off our project list: to do an oil change and replacing two diesel filters on the main engine. Time well spent.

The next morning I just had to wait one hour until the capitano arrived, it took them some other 20 Caribbean minutes or so to find the commandante for the last signature. Finally I was in the possession of this damn despacho. As a additional free gift I even got around 80 mosquito bites while waiting this morning. Thanks very much so far....

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