36:27.05N 028:13.62E Rhodes Marina, Tuesday 30th June. PM
The Port Clearance process for Rhodes ranks up there with the worst of
Southeast Asia and East Africa. And this is for an EU boat travelling
between two EU countries. Makes you wonder. This account is to help out
other yachts coming here.
Passing the small Marine Police office next door to the Rhodes Marina
Office, we carelessly called in to ask if we needed to do any paperwork
having just come from Cyprus. He said he didn't know but checked with
someone on the phone and said he wanted to see 'papers' which turned out to
mean a crew list. We made one and a stamp was duly applied.
This Marine Policeman then told us to go to another Marine Police Office (10
minute walk) for another stamp. The man on reception there stamped our list
again and said we had to go upstairs for a 'Transit Log'. We had no idea
what this was but went upstairs anyway. We asked some more marine police sat
behind a window there for a Transit Log who said we had to go see 'Security'
about it. We were taken past a blood-stained and probably soundproofed door
marked 'Interrogation' to see some military type in a sweaty vest and
dogtags. We mutually decided that we must be in the wrong place but he
looked very annoyed that he couldn't interrogate us.
We pressed on thinking that maybe this Transit Log thing must have been a
mistake and went to see the Customs and Immigration people instead who have
offices in an entirely different harbour about 30 minutes walk away. We saw
Customs and filled in some forms but they were mainly interested in taking
their fee (20 Euros). Next, we went on to Immigration who stamped our crew
list once again. They asked us if we'd got a Transit Log yet from the Marine
Police. It was another long walk back.
At the Marine Police office we were sent back upstairs. It was up a
different staircase this time and to an unmarked room. I think it had a sign
saying 'Keep Out' on it. The guy in there said that he wasn't going to do
anything for us until he got his 'Taxis'. Of course we had no idea what he
was talking about and he had no interest in explaining and even tried to get
rid of us by saying that we had no need of such a piece of paper anyway but
by now this didn't sound right at all. We pressed him and he wrote down:
"29.95 Euros"; the number "3435" and the word "TAXIS" then showed us the
door. Poor Heike thought this meant we were supposed to go out find some
kind of special transportation.
We actually did go out and find a taxi and the driver guessed that we needed
to pay some tax at a government department. He took us on a long ride across
town (5 Euros) and dropped us off outside a very nasty-looking big building
covered in graffiti. The inside of the building was worse. After we got no
sense at several windows, the in-house snack-bar manager took pity on us and
helped us find a very long payment queue which we joined. Naturally, the
correct line to join first, turned out to be the line for getting a payment
form issued but we sorted it out eventually. We were finally allowed to pay
and took another taxi back to the Marine Police Office (6 Euros) with the
receipt for the Tax (Code 3434) (29.35 Euros).
The obstructive fellow with the Transit Log paperwork was by now out at
lunch so we had to see his deputy who turned out (surprise, surprise) to be
the first Marine Policeman we saw on reception. We still don't know what a
Transit Log is for, why the officials who give them out are so secretive
about where you are supposed to pay for it and anyway why they can't be
trusted to collect the 29.35 Euros cash themselves.
We had a wander though the very nice towers, walls, churches, shops and
restaurants of the Old Town this morning. Heike left this afternoon and yet
more crewpersons arrive tomorrow.