Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Off The Charts In Guyana - Checking In

One of the best check ins we have had

Dec 17th 2016
Customs and Immigration are different in every country.  Sometimes it is super easy like in the French islands where you check in via a computer at a marina, restaurant, or my favorite – a small clothing boutique.  Voici.  Other countries the check in process involved a specific dress code, several forms in triplicate with carbon paper.  CARBON PAPER!  For you younger readers, that is sheets of blue ink that are placed between multiple layers of forms so that when you fill out the original form, the information is copied to duplicate forms below.    
Captain Mark (sv Liahona) with new arrivals Tim and Nancy (sv Larus)

Anyway, Captain Mark had smoothed the way with Immigration here in Bartica.  He was in town the day before we arrived and stopped by the office to let them know another boat would be arriving late that afternoon and ask “Since they are arriving around sunset, would it be ok if they go on to Baganara to anchor and then I will run them back into town tomorrow so they can check in with you?”  “Of course!  No problem”   Woo Hoo - thank you Mr Bartica Immigration, we really appreciate you making the process easy.  FYI - see the first paragraph.....this is not always the norm in various countries so Guyana gets a big thumbs up!
Captain Tom - dinghy fast/sail slow -borrowed dinghy
With that, the next morning sv Honey Ryder along with sv Larus dinghied into Baritca with Captain Mark to check in.  The immigration officer could not have been nicer.  Customs was painless.  FYI - Our first time to Guyana and first time in South America!

Bartica is a frontier town but more later on this.  The morning we checked in it was a buzz in activity.  We rushed through town as Captain Mark pointed things out “Butcher shop here, bread guy there, great hardware store there, there, and there.  Grocery shop here.”  We made mental notes as best we could.  Our senses were alive and buzzing with all the shore activity after being alone (just the two of us) at seas for 5 days.  But we couldn’t dally.  Our next adventure was set to start in a couple of hours.      
Crossing to Bartica - aim for the middle cell tower to avoid the shoals and rocks
UPDATE -  When we went to check out of Bartica, the same immigration officer informed us of a new change in policy and asked that we "please post it on your blogs....I know all you cruisers have blogs.....and let other cruisers know through Facebook and such"  Apparently some foreign cruisers need visas to enter Guyana - he mentioned Poland as an example.  (FYI -We didn't need one nor did any of the others from the UK, Netherlands, Canada).  As of our departure Dec 11th 2016, cruisers needing visas can now get them when they check in at Bartica Immigration.  I am not sure what the policy was before but this but was done specifically for foreign cruisers to make it easier to visit Guyana.  Customs and Immigration making things easier for cruisers is practically unheard of.  Good on ya Guyana!!! 

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