We are told not to leave the boat until we get inspected and cleared by the Mexican Navy, who is supposed to do so immediately upon any vessel’s arrival. In our case, they show up twenty hours after our arrival. Tom can’t help smirking: “Do you suppose we could have gotten rid of any illegal cargo within these last 20 hours?” he says.
Hey, this is Mexico, what can you do. Just relax and wait… Eventually a little group of uniformed men arrive to inspect Camelot. The Port Captain, flanked by three Navy officers with a drug-sniffing dog, introduces himself and welcomes us to Puerto Madero. Very polite and courteous, he asks for permission to send an officer and the dog to inspect the cabin below.
Pure formality on his part, as “no” is not the answer they’re looking for… So Gama the drug-dog, wearing little booties on his paws to avoid damaging the boat, goes to work while Tom and I answer questions and compile forms. It takes less than twenty minutes. We offer Cokes to the men and water to the dog, and finally part ways like long-lost friends.
We can’t do much over the weekend, so we end up once again having a little gathering on the docks with our buddies, sharing food, drinks and plans, having a good old time as usual.
We’re all planning to leave over the next few days; some will leave earlier, some later, but we’re all going to El Salvador and we’ll reunite there.
Marina Chiapas is a brand new Marina, still under construction. So far there’s water available but no electricity, and for this reason the management allows visiting boats to stay for free. Construction of a pool, a restaurant, a full-service boatyard and other amenities is hastily under way.
I have no doubts that once completed this will be a world-class Marina. The staff is extremely attentive, courteous and efficient, a pleasure to deal with. The location is also perfect, as this is the last Mexican Port before Guatemala.
This is where we clear out of the Country. It’s a little convoluted and very official process that is made a lot easier by Guillermo, the Marina Assistant Harbormaster, who ends up driving nine skippers all around town to get their documents prepared and stamped.
They all pile up in Guillermo’s big pickup truck and leave at 10 in the morning, Tom included.
I spend the day giving Camelot a nice, long bath, getting rid of all the salt and returning her to her customary splendor. Well, ok, I just got her clean…
After that the cooking mood strikes me, so off I go to prepare a few meals that we’ll enjoy along the way. I’m so busy doing my thing that hours fly by without my noticing.
Damn, it’s 5 pm, where the hell is Tom? Just when I’m starting to wonder if he ran off with a Mexican Senorita (leaving Camelot behind???), here he comes!
He’s so tired, sweaty and hungry, that I just put a bottle of iced water in his hand and feed him half of the meatloaf and potatoes that I prepared for the trip. He obviously needs it!
But we have all our papers in order and will have to leave the Country within 48 hours. We’ll be free to leave, that is, after another inspection by the Navy. That’s how it’s done, so that’s how we’ll do it.
Our last day in Mexico is spent wandering the streets of Tapachula, a town 28 Kilometers from the Marina with very good shopping opportunities.
After some sight-seeing we get some more groceries (what can I say, we eat a lot!) and some cable wire and locks to secure our diesel jugs and our kayaks on deck. According to other cruisers who’ve traveled ahead of us, Central America is a little more prone to theft and we were strongly advised to take some precautions, so we follow their lead.