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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Getting ready to leave Mexico

The past two days have been absorbed in getting ready for the three day/two night journey from Chiapas Mexico to El Salvador.  Provisioning and getting the boat all cleaned up and packed is now a well worn routine.  And last night we picked up Melissa's Uncle Bob and his wife Joyce who will be with us for the next couple of weeks.  After a fiasco getting all the stuff we had them bring to us at the airport (the airline temporarily lost the windshield plastic we had ordered so we can have the dodger re-stitched in El Salvador), we arrived back at the boat safe and sound.

But today doing all the paperwork was where the Mexican bureaucracy really kicks into gear.  We got to the Marina office at 8:30am.  It took an hour for the marina to complete the paperwork required to make the rounds.  Then we all four of us hopped in the truck with Memo - the marina office manager.  First stop was the Port Office to pay our port fees.  Chiapas was the first place we've had to pay a port fee.  We believe this is because Chiapas is a commercial port that hasn't yet figured out how to deal with the tourist marina.  In other places this fee was likely part of the slip fees we paid to the marina.  Second stop was Immigration at the Tapachula Airport.  The cruisers from another boat also departing took an hour.  We took 5 minutes.  Reason was that our paperwork was in order, and we all had tourist visas that were issued when we arrived by plane (which means they can assume we paid our exit fees).  But the boaters in front of us had entered Mexico by boat, went into Guatemala by bus and didn't get a receipt when he crossed the boarder.  So Immigration argued with them for an hour over whether their fees were paid.  Last stop was the Port Captain's office where we waited another hour for our international Zarpe clearance paperwork out of Mexico.  Then we waited TBD hours for the final exit inspection.  Both the Port Captain and the Navy come aboard and give you the final approval to shove off.  They had to fill out the same exact forms they did when we arrived documenting things like what navigation equipment we have aboard.  (And this is useful how exactly?)  At that point you have three hours to depart the country.

Next update from El Salvador!

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