Stuck in Marathon
Thursday May 5, 2011
Marathon was supposed to be a 7-10 day stop. We’ve been here 23 days are now finally ready to leave. The boat has been ready, we’ve been ready, but the cat has not. We’ve been waiting on his paperwork.
It’s been a Kafka like world here. We went to the vet Friday April 22nd and got everything done and mailed the papers to the USDA address the vet provided. (The USDA needs to sign the international health certificate required by Belize.) We paid extra for tracking which is a good thing. The address we were given by the vet was wrong and the documents were returned by the USPS. When we called the post office to see when they might be returned to us, one response was “It could take weeks.” Thank you USPS.
Next thought – go back to the vet and get them to redo the paperwork – good idea, but the vet that signed our papers no longer works there – gone in less than a week. I’m wondering if he really existed. For the international health certificate not just any vet can sign they have to be approved by the USDA. The vet office was able to find another vet to come by last Friday but 30 minutes before our appointment Roberta called the post office and they had our returned papers. So off to the post office last week and express mailed everything again. The USDA uses a PO box so no FedEx\UPS.
We didn’t expect the papers until Wednesday at best but probably Thursday and we weren’t wrong. On Wednesday we got a call from the USDA saying they needed an additional statement from the vet (in English and Spanish) before they could sign the forms so they could be used in Mexico. We’ve talked to people who just went through Mexico plus found a Mexico website that says all that is needed is a health certificate – which we have. I told the USDA that we weren’t waiting around and we would skip Mexico – that made them happy, so the papers were signed and arrived today.
I’ve come to the conclusion that when travelling with a pet on a boat everyone seems to have a different idea about what is required to clear into a country. Most of the requirements involve importing a pet which we aren’t doing since the cat doesn’t leave the boat. We have trouble getting the same answer twice, so we are leaving with what we have.
Today we’ll leave Marathon but anchor just outside the harbor for the night and then on to the Dry Tortugas. Two nights there and if the weather holds we’ll be off to Mexico Monday morning.
No pictures. My laptop has suffered a minor meltdown and it’s limping along. I have a backup laptop setup for the trip but it doesn’t have a card reader for the camera. Once in Mexico I’ll be posting a bunch of pictures.