Mina2 Finds Southern Winter Home

Mina2 in the Caribbean - Where's The Ice Gone?
Tim Barker
Sat 3 Apr 2010 04:00

Date: 2 April 2010


It’s been a while since the last blog which is only because what news there has been is completely dull. But I’ll tell you about it anyway.


There are some out there who seemingly think that the Downstairs Skipper and I are on a perpetual holiday, drifting (or, in our case latterly, motoring) from one idyllic anchorage to another. But few of you have had to deal with Brazilian Bureaucracy; or had to find a secure berth at short notice for your yacht for six months where it isn’t going to go aground and fall over every twelve hours.


Well, to cut a tedious story short, we’ve found the secure berth at Bracuhy Marina at the top of the Bahia de Ilha Grande. And rather nice it is too. The marina is nicely located, well run, secure and has nice restaurants and bars for us to relax in after a hard day’s decommissioning work. Even better, we pulled a few strings and negotiated a price which is even lower than the condominium price.


But in Brazil you can’t just leave a boat – everything has to be authorised, documented and stamped by the assemblage of bureaucratic agencies. A week ago we went to the customs office in Angra Dos Reis – the big town in the area - to ask whether or not we could leave Mina2 in a private condominium. But before we had even been able to ask the question (after a two hour wait), we found we had another problem we weren’t even aware of. Amongst Mina2’s Bible-sized dossier of official forms, all in Portuguese which I don’t understand, there was apparently one form which authorised me to be responsible for the boat for 3 months from the date of my first arrival in December. My responsibility had expired 10 days before. Thank goodness this High Official was the only one we had come across who spoke English.


“But I am the Skipper, the Owner, and I have been on board for the last 10 days. I have been responsible for the boat”

“You may have been responsible, but you have not been authorised by us as being responsible and therefore you have been irresponsible, violating Brazilian Presidential Edict Number 47924Z, which is a criminal offence”

“But why was I only authorised as being responsible for 3 months?”

“Because you only have a three month tourists’ visa. If your visa expires then clearly you can not be responsible”.

“But I left Brazil on 23 December and returned again in February, so I have a valid visa until May” I said, showing him my passport.

The High Official scrutinised my passport and said, “I can see your entry stamps for 17 December and 4 February, but where is your exit stamp in December when you allegedly left Brazil”.

“I don’t know” I said, “No one stamped my passport when I left”

“Then how can I tell you left Brazil?”

“If I didn’t leave Brazil, then how come I re-entered Brazil on 4 February”.

Round One to The Skipper. Seconds out. Round Two.


This man was good. Damned good. He wan’t going to be defeated by overpowering logic. “But your Boat Customs Documentation says you were responsible only until 17 March, and that is all that matters as far as Brazilian Presidential Edict Number 47924Z is concerned, and since then you have been irresponsible and you have committed a criminal offence”. Knockout to the High Official.


We did a bureaucratic samba for a few more minutes and then we found that the he was only flexing his Bureaucratic Muscles and that he was, in fact, a decent chap and he crossed out the offending date of irresponsibility, wrote in a more sensible date and officially stamped it twice (the first stamp was upside down, which wouldn’t do).


The following day we returned to Bracuhy Marina to pick up another critical form saying that the Marina would be responsible for Mina2 during my six months absence and we returned once again to Angra for Round Three with the High Official (each of these round trips from Bracuhy to Angra takes more than 3 hours). No problem this time, except the High Official told us we had to report to the Port Captain’s office. Although I had been told by the Port Captain’s office in Rio that it was not necessary to check in with the Port Captain in Angra, we went anyway. Hell, it was only another day.


Having checked we were in the right place we waited patiently in the queue for over an hour to be told that it was not the right place after all. And so on and so forth.


It might sound pretty quick to you, but I’ve abbreviated things a little and the whole process took four days. Granted, in between waits we have been able to find time to visit a number of idyllic little spots. Or they would have been idyllic had it not poured torrential rain for a lot of the time. The one benefit of this is that the temperature has dropped at last. In fact for the last couple of nights, with temperatures plunging into the high 20’s (Centigrade), we’ve had to pull a sheet over us at nights to keep out the almost arctic cold.


P.S. In my last blog I told you about these ghastly midge-type things which descend at twilight and whose bites are much worse than mosquito’s and last much longer. They are called Borachudos, and they are a new pest to the area. But we may have found the solution. Someone suggested an almond and vanilla oil rub as being an effective, natural, green deterrent. We found a bottle in a chemist and have for the last few days been rubbing oil into each other all evening. The effect is dramatic. It probably doesn’t keep the midges away, but I’ve enjoyed it enormously.