Friday, March 14, 2014

Clearing out of St Martin

Tuesday, March 11th
Remember the confusion of clearing in?  Well, we feel like we have finally gotten the hang of St Martin, specifically French of St Martin and clearing in and out.
Port la Royale 
We originally cleared into the French side via the ferry dock customs office.  The recommended place to clear in is the Captainerier at Port La Royale Marina.  However each time the French officials cruised through the Marigot Bay anchorage and asked "Have you checked in at the Ferry Dock?" we could say honestly yes because we did check in there.  They came around 3 times that we know of during our stay in Marigot Bay and asked.  Special note - they DID NOT ask "have you been to the Ferry Dock to PAY your anchoring fee?"  They only asked us if we checked in and we did!  We are you don't ask, we don't tell peeps!  Collection of an anchoring fee is a new thing in Marigot Bay.  Apparently there has always been a fee but it was never enforced.  They are making a very weak attempt, haphazardly if you will, to collect.  Which sort of seems to be the French way of doing things here.  Very few cruisers actually pay the anchoring fee.  NONE of the French flagged boats pay!   
On the advise of the cruising community, we cleared out at the Port La Royale Captainerier.  Tom used the self checkout kiosk upstairs.  He entered the exact same info as was on our official paperwork clearing us in.  That is usually the best thing when clearing in and out of a country in general, no?  Therefore he listed us as being in the lagoon.  The fee was $7.  He then asked about getting our passports stamped again.  The official asked where we were going.  Tom said Antigua and Mr Official said "Oh.  Yes you must get your passport stamped and you can do that at the ferry dock."  
Because I had checked us in, I knew exactly where to go.  I DID NOT go to the little customs office at the ferry dock, but instead to the actual immigration window where departing ferry customers clear out and board the ferries.  I handed  Ms Official my paperwork clearing sv Honey Ryder out as well as our two passports opened specifically to the pages with our clearing in stamps.  I told her that we are clearing out of the country on our own yacht and that Mr Official at the Captainerier told me that I need to come here to get my passport stamped.  She stamped them both and I dashed back out the IN door (the only way back out)- hiding my face from Mr Ferry Dock Customs Official who was hang out and had originally checked us in on Jan 21st....just in case he remembered me and decided to inquire where we were currently anchored.  

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