Thursday, March 08, 2007

February 15, 2007 - Blue Lagoon, St. Vincent

We had a bit of trauma this morning as we tried to fly Lenore home today with Sten's mom. At the last minute we were warned by the local charter boat company managers not to take her to the airport. The customs folks would apparently rather kill a pet than let you take it out of the country. A few years ago they shot a dog on the tarmac, claiming that the didn't have quarantine facilities for it.

Nothing from my experience clearing us into the country a few weeks ago would have lead me to believe that there could be a problem flying her out of SVG. I marked on the customs forms that we had a cat on board, and offered to show them her papers, but they had no interest. My mistake was not telling them then that we would be flying her out in a few weeks time and asking whether that would be a problem.

"I could have killed my cat. Again. Christ," I think as I called customs and explained the situation. They said it *should* be no problem to fly her out, but call the animal authority to confirm. We were running out of time for Sten's mom to make her flight, so we all piled in the taxi and headed to the airport. I finally got through to the vets as we pulled into the airport. I didn't want them to know we had her on land, so I told them that we were still on the boat. They told us that under no uncertain terms could a cat from the US enter the country to fly out. So we dropped Suzy at the airport and hightailed it back to the boat before anyone at the airport figured out that we had a cat in the taxi.

Chances are, if we hadn't made an issue of it, we may have been able to fly Lenore out of SVG. But it just wasn't worth the risk of harm to her to take that chance. We're bummed that we didn't get her back to the states safely, but we both feel like we've been given a reprieve and the chance to spend some more time with her while we figure out how to get her home before the Pacific crossing. We're going to look into flying her home from Aruba (it is on our route towards Panama), or if that doesn't look promising, to head back up to the USVI to bring her home from there.

After lunch I called the customs broker in Bequia to see how he was progressing with getting our materials released. He assured me that they would be there in the morning. Afterwards, we headed back to shore, and went in search of silicone to rebed the hatch with once it is repaired, and off to pick up our alternators.

We took the bus up into the hills to Verrol's, and back down again. This time, including several small school kids, there were 22 people on board a van that can probably safely hold 10. Half of us had packages in our laps. Sten was holding one of our big canvas shopping bags with both rebuilt alternators and 3 dozen fresh eggs, which didn't leave him a free hand to hold onto anything as we careened down the windy road from the hills.

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