Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 12:15 a.m.
We left Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta on Friday, May 1st just past noon. We had wanted to depart for five days, but we simply couldn’t get our VHF radio to work properly until we finally installed the extra antenna Uncle Bill had brought for us as a back up. We determined after much trial and error, and Eric working at the top of the mast for hours, that the cabling and connectors running up the mast was not properly receiving and sending signal. In any case, due to miscommunication with customs concerning our intended day of departure, we had to wait another two days for an official to be available.
Before allowed to depart, Mexican customs officials requested to board our boat. We were a bit nervous as we had never hosted officials aboard our boat and didn’t know what to expect. We were not quite sure why they needed to come aboard since we were planning on leaving their country, perhaps to see if we had any drugs or large purchases unaccounted for that we needed to pay duty? On the day of our departure, Mexican customs officers pulled up in their boat around 9:45 a.m. Three officers arrived at our slip, two boarded the boat. They were interested to note how many of us were on board as they only counted three. The officers didn’t see the boys initially as Bryce and Trent were quietly holed up in the fo’c’s’le, the forward part of the boat. Everything was conducted in Spanish. Eric did all the talking since we decided ahead of time not to engage in small talk to avoid giving the agents any extra information beyond what they needed. One agent handled the paperwork; another asked Eric to open a food cabinet, clothing drawers, and the large engine room. All was on the up and up with the exception of Uncle Bill’s customs entry papers. When Bill had passed through customs at the airport two weeks prior, the agents there required he open all the boxes of spare parts and special items that he had brought for us. In the confusion of identifying items (the chai tea bags looked like potential drugs and the green chlorella powder (algae) looked ‘suspicious’ even though it was sealed shut), his immigration permit paper was lost. Fortunately Bill’s passport was stamped with date of entry and we had the receipts for the duty we paid. Eventually an hour and 15 minutes later, after the agent had taken pictures of all the papers and receipts, and had called the office for approval to clear without an important document, they handed us our international clearance zarpe (document) and allowed Kandu to depart. We left within the next hour. Didn’t want to take any chances that the officials would come back!
We were more than ready. Having planned to leave several days prior, were it not for the VHF radio and customs officials’ schedules, we stayed days longer than intended. All the fresh provisions that I had bought the week earlier at Walmart and at the market were now getting old. The food was not yet rotting, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to keep the fresh fruit & vegetables longer than another 5-6 days during the passage. Good thing Kandu has a small freezer and the dry food lockers were loaded with lots of canned and dried-stored options like beans and rice. As it was, during the voyage, much food spoiled before it could be eaten and the last week of sailing, all the fresh fruit and vegetables were gone. Canned pineapple and frozen green beans sufficed. Ms. Kandu Chef was very happy to finally arrive in the Galapagos to restock with fresh choices: papaya, pineapple, apples, onions, broccoli, chicken, yogurt, and bread! I baked banana bread, cookies and a cake along the way, but couldn’t muster baking bread.
Leslie Dennis Rigney