Inspection and detour on high seas

Espen Aalstad
Tue 10 Jun 2008 15:30
51:51.8N 03:30.6E
South of Rotterdam, 3:30 pm

Customs and immigration paper work became a part of life (and budget) in the Caribbean.
Back in EU, we thought we were done!
Not so with the rigorous Dutch customs. This coast guard (we pass them all the time) decided to launch a dinghy and board us.
They did not like us having traveled from/in the Caribbean or having used delivery crew.....or maybe it was our scruffy looks after 24 hours at sea across the Channel.
Two friendly officers went through paper work, logs and many phone calls to check us out. It felt like Interpool!
Still, we were asked to go to land in Schweningen - just in case others had hidden anything on board. We had extra (cutoms) crew for five hours, coast guard escort and some hours detour. Ashore we were met with a party of officials in still a Dutch relaxed atmosphere. Even if we personally knew the boat was clean and laughed at the whole thing, it felt a little tense when the dog started running around. Ray was wondering how crewing could become a night in jail - so it felt real. Quite relieved, we could at 10pm go into the marina. Pizza, beer and two Swedish soccer goals was a nice reward even if we were delayed.
We sympatize with customs diligence yet thought this was a rather expensive exercise for the Dutch taxpayers.