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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tumaco wrap up

We had planned to leave for Isla Gorgona today but Sherrell woke up with an upset stomach so we'll wait one more day for her to feel better. We spent most of yesterday in the agent's office and in town taking care of last minute business.

Cruising Colombia is a work in progress and who knows what it will be like for the next boats to arrive here. We had hoped to get an international exit zarpe to Panama which would include intermediate stops at Isla Gorgona, Ensenada Utria and Bahia Solano. However, the Port Captain here would only authorize us to go to Gorgona and then on to Panama. If we want to go to Utria and/or Solano (or any place else beside Gorgona) we have to go to Solano and check in with the Port Captain there. That requires another agent, but he only costs $50 per boat including in/out so we opted for that. We're still stamped into Colombia on our passports and will receive a national zarpe only. The good news is it will include Gorgona and Utria. Why the local Port Captain will authorize us to go to Utria on a national zarpe and not on an international zarpe is not clear.

What is clear is that the Colombians are very honest and sticklers for paperwork. When we were asking about how our friends following us from Ecuador should enter Tumaco, the agent was very clear that your international zarpe must state that your destination is Tumaco, not Panama or some other port. He said it would be very complicated and problematic if your destination was not Tumaco. But when the conversation worked around a little, and the subject of needing food or fuel came up, the issue was suddenly simple: "If there's an emergency, there's no problem at all to come into Tumaco!" So, if you happen to have gotten contaminated fuel in Ecuador or something like that, and need to stop to clean your filters or tanks, it sounds like it doesn't matter what the destination is on your zarpe. He made it clear that the boat with the problem would need to state that they had an emergency on board and were coming to Tumaco because of that emergency.

Entry: Call Guarda Costa on VHF 16 no later than your arrival at the entrance buoy, and probably earlier than that if you need an English speaking person. They will need the following info:
- Your ship's agent (Servimar, whom you will have already contacted; see below)
- Name of vessel
- Names and passport numbers of all persons on board
- Zarpe number
- Cargo info like number of gallons of diesel, gasoline, and water that you're carrying

Ship's Agent:
Agencia Maritima
Balvino Gutierrez Martinez (or his very nice son, Charlie)
serviadu@col2.telecom.com.co (try this well in advance of your arrival as we used our cell)
Across the street from the gas station outside the base gates on the other side of the unused children's park.
Initially asked for $150 per boat in/out, but agreed to $120US.
All in Spanish but Charlie said they can get an English speaker if necessary. The agent made all the arrangements to meet with Aduana, the Port Captain, and Migracion at the Coast Guard/Navy dock. Do not go to the Port Captain's office yourself. They don't want to deal with you.

Fuel is currently approx. $3US for gasoline and $2.50 for diesel. The gas station just outside the pier has very erratic hours and is sometimes out of fuel.

We had purified water delivered to the pier and transferred it to our own containers.
Oasis (the company): 727 3206
Pablo, the driver (cell): 317 792 0616

Linda and John