Blog 11/10/14- Mexico Officialdom
The few days we spent in Ensenada were both enjoyable and frustrating. We loved
getting back to the spicy Mexican food after Costa Rican tipico meals. The hotel we stayed at was
nice and the city of Ensenada is much improved since our last visit.
The frustration first arose with Mexican immigration and customs.
A few years ago Ensenada placed all the different officials for visiting boaters in an “Integrated Services”
building to streamline the process. The President of the country even attended the grand opening.
The immigration window was easy-stamp, stamp, stamp and you are done. However, the temporary
import tax (about $50) could only be paid after the Captain of the Port stamps your papers. Many US boats
were impounded for months last year for failing to pay this tax- so this is important.
The lady at the Port Captain window insisted
that we didn’t need a stamping since Georgia J arrived on a ship. We bounced back and forth
between the two windows, but neither official wanted to talk to each other. Every country (except the USA)
has ask us for a crew list showing the people on board when we arrive and leave. The Port Captain kept
rejecting our crew list showing only Sharon and I were on board. Even the guy from the fishing license
office came out and tried to help solve the problem. Finally, the Mexican standoff was broken by a friendly
bystander who told us to list zero people on board. The crew member was to be listed as “Rickmers
Yokohama”, the ship which brought Georgia J to Mexico. However, we needed the birthplace of the Rickmers
Yokohama before the form would be accepted. The immigration guy suggested Liberia (since many ships are
registered there) and happily stamped all five copies of this new crew list. Showing Rickmers Yokohama
as the sole crew member gained the approval of the Port Captain and were ready to pay our tax.
the tax lady could not process the form. Georgia J had received a temporary import certificate 11 years
ago when we took her to Mexico. Although this permit expired after 10 years, the new computer system would
not allow data entry. Mexico City must be consulted, please come back in two hours.
When we came back our
form was ready and could then visit the customs official for one more approval. Total time elapsed under
the streamlined process- 5 hours.
Of course, we had to go back the next day to check out of the country which also took 4 hours.
Never again will we complain about the California DMV.
s/v Georgia J
Now in the USA