Oh Great...No Customs @ North sound!
09 May 2011 | Spanish Town, Virgina Gorda!
I made a general query on the VHF when we entered the channel at Gorda Sound, looking for the government dock where the customs office is supposed to be. The reply was... "There's no Port Authority here, you have to go to Spanish Town". It's only 6-7nm south, but we were just shocked! This new guidebook, not Chris Doyle's Guide we might add, the other one by N&M S... is seriously lacking info for cruisers, sheisa!
The BVI's are very sticky about anchoring, in addition to wanting to charge 25US$ per night or more for a mooring! So we searched and got beat out 2x. The charter boats were racing us to beat us there! We finally saw some boats anchored and we tried also but the bottom was too hard and no grabbing or setting! Lovely...One of the moorings became free so we took it! Now we know why! It looked suspect according to my captain and we would leave as soon as we cleared in!
We get to the ferry dock where the "dingy dock supposedly is"....no way...unless your legs are 10' long and your arms are just as long to reach a 2' giant bollard that far away. A gorgeous black man came to offer a hand, literally, but I said "where will you be when we get back"? He laughed and suggested we go to the windward side of the dock...same exact scenario so we dragged the dingy up on the beach, way up on shore past the tide line, because the tide was on its way in.
That's not the end of it...the customs officer said they could not take Euros and now we owe .20 US, that's it...oh really now! Then another great big gorgeous black man dressed extremely well, heard our exclamations and came to our rescue...gave us a dollar, of which we returned .80 in change!!!
Now, the curt and grouchy customs guy said "you are going to need more US dollars for Immigration" I said "You've got to be kidding, you can't make the conversion?"...so I take off on foot for an ATM.
Great, another stumbling block...the ATM rejected the debit card at the First Caribbean Bank. I went to a Scotia Bank ATM next and got the same error code...I had a 20$ Euro bill, so I went into the bank and exchanged it for US$. That was an ordeal too...copy of my id, signatures, forms, WHATEVER, and they charged 5.5 US dollars on top of that! When I got back to Dudley he was upset, understandably, so we both went into the Immigration officer with my 21 US$ and got the GOOD news that we had enough US dollars for the fee of $l6. Whew!
We both walked back to the bank, thru the parking lot, the adjoining field, the marina and marina complex, then the mall with the First Caribbean Bank, where the teller, who was a gem, charged us another 5.5 to exchange Dudley's stash of 80 E$, with the same procedure. We then tried and succeeded to appeal to her soft heart and she was able to bypass the ATM, make a withdrawal on our debit card for our daily limit and all was good. We had lunch, went back and re-secured the line to the mooring ball and crashed.