Clearing in at Old Belize – Cucumber Beach Marina

Published 10 years ago, updated 5 years ago

Clearing IN in Old Belize – Cucumber Beach Marina, Belize – end May 2014.

As the marina is only accessible @ high tide (6ft 1.80 m draft), I arrived and could not go in, so had to anchor in front of the marina (suggested by the marina) but I experienced that that anchor place was horrible, dangerous, bad holding et cetera. Anyway, I had no other choice, I arrived late, it became dark and I had sailed solo for about 700 miles so I was tired. I raised my Q flag and went to sleep.

The next morning I called the marina on the VHF for permission and help to come into the pontoon in the marina. They told me I FIRST had to clear in. It was a Sunday. I asked if I could first move the boat into the marina (it was high tide, the right moment), keep my Q flag up and perform after that the clearing informalities. They had to check.

For hours I didn’t get a response, the high tide was passing by. Then they called me on the VHF and said that I had to clear in immediately because the officers were waiting for me. They were very demanding. So I had not much choice, took my papers and went with the dinghy ashore. There was a lot of paperwork – I have never had to fill in so many papers! They were very friendly.

Then they started to ask for the payment. There were 8 officers (I don’t remember all their divisions) and all asked me for a big amount. Don’t remember how much exactly. In total it was 190 EU. I hadn’t enough cash and there is no ATM machine. So, the marina manager was so kind as to give me a ride to Belize City to the ATM. In the car I told her about the big amount of money and that I was going to ask for a receipt (because I had had a bad experience in the Dominic Republic (if you don’t show your last prove of payment, they start asking over and over again money for a new `despatcho`)). Miss Colette (the marina officer) warned me that they wouldn’t give me these receipts. I didn’t understand, but she was talking a little bit confusing about corruption, and that I going to have problems with them if I asked for a receipt. I did and indeed, they became very angry, they told me that I was impolite and that I didn’t trust them. They told me IF I want a receipt it’s going to cost me more!!!! So we had a long difficult not nice conversation. In the end some of them (5 of 8) I guess, gave me some written proof of the payment.

They told me the high fee was because it was a Sunday. I told them I wanted to wait until Monday to clear in  – so they didn’t have to work on a Sunday. They told me that if I did that, I broke the law and they would bring me to jail. Anyway, it was horrible nonsense talking. I paid them all (totally 250 US), got some papers and went off.

If I ever come back to Belize I will not do clearing in in Old Belize, Cucumber Beach Marina, ever again.

The strange thing is that they ask different prices depending on which Port of Call you do the paperwork.

For clearing OUT, I went to Placencia – where I had no complaints, did pay normal fee (around 50 US) and encountered very nice and polite and friendly officers.

Sigrid, skip SY Lucky Bitch, @ Rio Dulce, Guatemala

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