Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 14, 2010 - Parham Harbour, Antigua

The weather continues to be nasty. Leaden skies, choppy seas and intermittent squalls are severely limiting when one lives on a boat and enjoys doing things in the water. We are anchored in a shallow anchorage off of pretty beach in front of two gorgeous resorts. If it wasn't raining, we'd be out and about snorkeling and swimming and exploring. If the wind wasn't blowing stink, Sten might even be standing in the waist deep water of the flat next to us, casting for bone fish with his fly rod. But the weather sucks. So we decided to make the best of the day and motor over to Parham Harbour to take care of our clearance formalities.

When we arrived at the port we discovered that, despite what the 2010 marine guide says in bold, green, 14 point font, there are in fact NO clearance clearance facilities in Parham. This would have been more entertaining if it hadn't been the second time that this has happened to us this week. So we found out where to catch a shared taxi bus down to the main town of St. John. From the bus stop we walked over to the customs office by the cruise ship quay. They were happy to do our clearance, but first we had to get a piece of paper from the port authority over at the commercial port. I tried to argue that we weren't anchored in the port, so we shouldn't need a clearance from the port authority. But the customs officer just shook her head and pointed us towards the taxi stand.

Over at the commercial port it was quickly apparent that they dealt with yachts, oh, just about never. The first clue was the phone calls to customs and immigration offices in other harbours around the island trying to determine which forms to have us fill out. But it was all done within an hour and somehow in all the confusion they forgot to charge us the exit fee, a savings which just about covered the cost of the buses and taxi. And then, since we were in St. John, we made our way over to Roti King for lunch. The rotis were just as tasty as we remembered. So all in all, coming into town wasn't a bad way to spend a rainy day.

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