Isla Isabela (21-??/07/2011)

Vries Peter Pons
Thu 21 Jul 2011 11:00
Just after anchoring our first welcome committee is a National Park
authority, who asks us for our "autographo" (as we later understand none of
his business, but the prerogative of the port authorities, who harass him
over this the next day) and our National Park license. Having done with
these formalities, we decide to take a well-deserved afternoon nap and do
the clearance procedure through our agent the next morning. No way: half an
hour later, when we've just dozed off, the generalissimo deputy port captain
rudely wakes us to see our "autographo", passports etc. He suggest to take
all documents, which we can then pick up at the Capitania the next morning.
We don't think that is a very good idea, so I get dressed and want to join
them in their dinghy as ours is still on deck. Apparently slightly offended
by our mistrust, the generalissimo looks through the documents with a stern
face, and then suggests to deal with everything the next morning, when we
can come to shore with our own dinghy. Only afterwards we understand from
our agent, that the port authorities rush to sailboats coming in, hoping
that they do not have an autographo, after which they then "organize" some
sort of a permit against a substantial fee, to stay without formally
registering the boat or forwarding the standard fees to the various other
organizations, such as the National Park authorities. Once they found out we
had an autographo, we were no longer interesting to them.

The next morning we visit the port authorities to do clearance and there we
meet the port capitain in persona, a 35-year old lieutenant, who needs to
ensure we understand his importance by explaining the dates on our
autographo do not tally with our arrival date. This was no issue for the
port captains in San Cristóbal and Santa Cruz, but they had most likely
better things to do. When he starts explaining in Spanglish what the problem
is, I tell him in Spanitaliano it is better he explains this to our agent,
JC Soto, as we do not understand the local procedures. They have JC come
over, a 74-year old pilot, who lived for some 50 years in the US, and tell
him that this is the second time it has happened, that we're now in the
system with wrong dates, which cannot be altered, etc. I suggest that Daph
and I go and have lunch, and meet later when everything is settled. At
16.00h we get our invoice for local clearance and are legally in Isla
Isabela, where we'll stay for some two weeks.