NIGHTMARE CHECK OUT
01 March 2011 | La Romana
Michele/clear and sunny
The "Commandante" at the Marina de Guerra in Bayahibe assured us we would be able to check out there. At 8am, Nic headed in to pick up the relevant officials in the dinghy only to be told we would have to go 8 miles up the coast to La Romana. He then had to wait an hour to get the "despacho" (permission) for us to go there.
We have aquired a temporary crew member, Dan. He arrived into Bayahibe having skippered over from Puerto Rico for a couple and now needs to get back there. We offered him a lift and he's accepted and will join us to Boqueron.
Having got Dan and his luggage onboard, we headed up to La Romana, arriving at the same time as a huge cruise ship. The anchorage is narrow and very rolly, especially on change of tide. On the first visit to shore the immigration official asked for $20 per person (illegally) and raced off before we could ask for a receipt. Then we were told we would have to wait for the customs officials to arrive from elsewhere, they would radio us when they arrived so that we could pick them up and take them out to Irony. After 2 hours Nic went back in to find out what was happening and finally returned with 2 officials. Once the paperwork was completed they had a cursory inspection of the boat (why necessary, when we're leaving?)and then asked to be given something! Not good final impression of the country we have so much enjoyed visiting. We finally sailed out of La Romana at 3pm, how on earth is one supposed to make a passage plan under these circumstances? You are expected to leave immediately. We are going to send a letter to the tourist board and do a posting on Noonsite about our experience.