West Caicos, Turks & Caicos Islands
Date: Thursday 5th February 2015
Position: 21:41.017N 72:28.179W
We had planned to leave early Thursday morning, but before we could depart we had to check out with Customs & Immigration. The day before we had spoken to the Customs office and it was arranged that an officer would come out to the marina at 8:00am to process us. At the appointed time we presented ourselves at the office to complete what should be a simple formality. But as we have experienced so many times in the world, and particularly whilst in The Caribbean, civil servants are a law unto themselves and regard their own needs as being significantly more important than those of their customers.
After a considerable wait we were told that the officer would not be arriving on time. After waiting so long this was hardly news. Furthermore they wouldn’t be coming at all today as it was a public holiday. Apparently some senior politician had died a few weeks before and a public holiday had been called for the day of the funeral. Why they hadn’t been able to figure this out the day before when we had made the appointment nobody was able to explain. Fortunately the marina staff jumped in to help and after many phone calls and further long waits an officer turned up around midday, only about four hours late. I don’t suppose that they held up planes waiting to depart at the airport for four hours whilst they all nibbled cucumber sandwiches at the wake.
We eventually slipped out of the marina about 12:30 and as our schedule had been somewhat screwed by the problems with checking out we decided to anchor for the night behind West Caicos, a beautiful but uninhabited island about 25 miles away from the marina, and make our departure from the Turks & Caicos Islands the next day.