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Thread: Baja Bound Beetle

  1. #21
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Another nice day in Bahia Santa Maria, headed to Mag Bay in the morning

    It has been a good day in Bahia Santa Maria. I was able to give some water to Georgia (they do not have a watermaker, I do, and I had water to spare to fill up their sun shower), had a shower of my own (lukewarm, sun is not far enough overhead to really toast the water during the afternoon), went and explored the mangrove estuary with the dinghy, was invited to try out fishing from a panga (I declined), and found some tiger beetles on the beach.

    Also had an interesting troubleshooting exercise with Georgia regarding why
    I could hear them when they hailed on VHF 16 and yet they could not hear
    me. Why? Their volume was turned down to zero. Took a while for us to
    sort that out. Ben turned his radio volume up, problem solved. Those are
    the good kind of problems as they are an easy fix.

    Then, we decided to test out handheld radios on VHF 18. They could hear me
    and I could not hear them. Why? My radio was set to international
    frequencies and VHF 18 is duplex on international frequencies. In the USA
    VHF 18 is simplex and designated 18A. I set my handheld to USA frequencies
    and then we could all talk. Another nice-to-have problem as it is also an
    easy fix.

    The Mexican Navy has appeared in the form of what looked to be a buoy tender and associated patrol boat. They didn't stop by, but were here for several hours anchored out in the bay.

    There are a lot of critters out on the miles and miles of sand dunes along the bay, all leaving tell tale tracks behind in the sand. There are lizards, lots of small rodents (mice? rats?) with their tiny toes showing in the sand. You can even see tracks left by beetles in the sand - they look for all the world like the track a wide jacket zipper would leave if pressed into the sand. There are also some larger animals out on the dunes, at least three different ones, something along the lines of a small fox, also rabbits, perhaps an animal larger than a fox (coyote?), definitely a dog, and what looked to be a hoofed animal - perhaps a pig?

    Observed a hawk fly away with lunch in its talons, there are interesting looking birds in the mangroves, looked like an ibis to me.

    Also on the dunes are enormous numbers of scattered sea shells and sand dollars, a dolphin skull and a large aquatic turtle shell, and stuff from people - dead pangas in pieces, disintegrating rectangular wire lobster traps, and polypropylene line. It's the kind of place one could spend a lot of time at if you like beach dunes. The dunes themselves are really flat with a shallow slope, which means that pulling the dinghy clear of the surf can easily mean pulling the dinghy along for 200 yards across the sand just to get to an area that is about where high tide will be. I anchor the dinghy in the sand with the anchor, just in case the tide does rise a foot when I'm not ready for it to.

    The low elevation also means you can look straight across the sand dunes, and this leads to a weird optical effect. When approaching the beach it's easy to look at a particularly tall dune with plants on it and think to yourself, "I think I will walk to that dune." After landing and pulling the dinghy up the beach, you then walk inland a quarter mile to the first tall-ish dune, step up the 6 feet to the top, and realize that what you've been looking at is several miles inland across a sea of sand dunes. So bring extra water with you if you decide to hike to that particular dune.

    Back on board Beetle I have been chasing down a SEMARNAT permit, which is a $27 individual permit that is good for visiting all the [marine] national parks in Baja (perhaps even in all of Mexico, I do not know), and which I will want to have if I anchor out at Los Frailes on my way towards La Paz, as the north end of Los Frailes appears to be within the boundary of the Cabo Pulmo UNESCO reef structure park. It's fairly amazing to be in Bahia Santa Maria, which is really quite remote, no roads here, no traffic lights, no nothing) and still be able to tap into the communication features of Puerto San Carlos - a town of 5000 people that is around 8 miles away across the sand dunes and adjacent Magdalena Bay. I sent email to IGY Marina in Cabo San Lucas, they suggested using someone named Victor as a boat agent for purposes of getting the permit and gave me his telephone number, I call him on the cell phone and he said no problem, I can take care of that for you. Ben and Lucie and I used the HP scanner I have to make copies of the first page of our passports and I emailed them off to Victor. He will have (or is supposed to have) permits waiting for us at IGY's office, to be picked up by me on Friday or Saturday. Pretty cool to make that happen from the middle of the bay surrounded by sand dunes.

    Which leads to tomorrow's plans. Ben & Lucie want to spend tomorrow night inside Magdalena Bay, so we're off to visit Man of War Cove in the morning. Apparently there is a 50 building town there, no connecting roads to the mainland (in fact we're going to a place that is simply on the other side of the sand dunes that we are seeing from the anchorage), and there is a port captain there so we are supposed to sign in to their guest book upon arrival. Should be fun!





    The mangroves are best explored by dinghy. The waterway is super shallow on either side with steep drop-offs to deeper water (deep being relative, here deep means 3 feet). The mangroves grow right to the water's edge and are pretty much impenetrable except in perhaps 3 areas where a small path had appeared in a place where a mangrove tree had fallen down. The paths looked to be animal tracks, good for something less than 30" tall and very narrow. There are lots of fish in the water,



    lots of cousins of night herons in the mangrove trees, they would fly out abruptly as the dinghy neared. Also big herons, egrets, and sand piper birds running about. The sandpipers are mostly on the small flat mounds of sand that you navigate the dinghy around. Also some grasses are growing in some of the flat sandy spots.



    spot the birdie?



    Here's one of the flat bits that are exposed at mostly-low tide. The ground is not as soggy as one might think, though you only walk in a few feet before hitting the wall of mangroves again.

    Enjoy the evening.

    - rob
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  2. #22
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    The Beetle Reaches Cabo

    The major developments that are outside Lands End, the rocks at the very base of Baja (Cabo Falso is 8 miles to the NW from Lands End). Discovered new navigational hazards here: sea turtles! Almost beaned one on the way in, he looked for all the world like a semi-submerged 55 gallon drum, I watched the odd floating shiny barrel until it raised its head and looked at the boat, I turned abruptly to starboard to avoid him and he did a slow dive to avoid the boat. Sea turtles are much like land tortoises - big and don't move fast. Also saw a manta ray jump clear out the water (twice), they look for all the world like a misshapen black pizza dough with pointy corners being thrown in the air, very floppy and goofy looking as they flip-flop in the air and then go crash back into the water. Would probably be a really bad thing if one of those managed to land on the boat! Very cool to see a distinctive animal behavior in person.

    - rob






    Arrived here in Cabo San Lucas, coming around the corner of Cabo Falso to dying breeze and the rising sun - made better time down the coast then anticipated. Tons of sportfishing boats came pouring around the corner in search of bill fish (mostl marlin, I am lead to understand).

    My intention was to anchor out to the right of the harbor entrance in front of the hotels in the not-so-great sand holding bottom. Upon rounding the rocks that protect the marina from the large crashing swells coming out of the south, I found a 3 foot swell rolling on from the east, not a single boat anchored anywhere to be seen, and it looked to be a really nasty anchorage. If this were an island, I would have gone around to the other side - only the other side had a much bigger south swell. So I telephoned the big IGY marina located in the rear of the marina and was given slip G17, so in I went (at a cost of $81.58/night). Four years ago the slip fee here was $300/night, so rates have definitely come down though still very expensive.

    I found the slip no problem, went up the marina office, and by the time I had returned to Beetle Georgia was tied up 3 slips over. Later on we walked up to the Port Captain's office and checked in and checked out of Cabo San Lucas, which takes care of the paperwork part of being here. Very painless, nice jovial people, this is more about keeping track of who is where rather than extracting dollars from cruisers - no charge for checking in/out. And he even helped out by making photocopies of the paperwork I did not have photocopies of (passport, uscg documentation, insurance papers, and the TIP!


    Then it was shopping time, relaxe with Ben & Lucie and talk a bit, find an inexpensive restaurant for taco lunch (do this by walking away from the harbor, as where the boats are is top dollar for everything), and visit the Santander Bank and their ATM. It was Friday, I imagine people got paid today as there were very long lines at the ATM and inside the bank, plus there was a policeman at the ATM line and the military had a truck with mounted guns on it at the street corner. There is a fair bit of overtly visible security here in town, including the policeman in body armor carrying an automatic rifle, he stands in the shade of a building at the corner of the marina - he was there for the day and while friendly didn't want people to get close to him.

    On the cruising front Ben is very excited that they are now somewhere warm, that is what he has been waiting for. He's quite happy with his book in the cockpit and the sun overhead.

    Then it was organize and clean up boat. I talked with Fred, a local that is maintaining a Mikelson 50 SF (sport fisher) across the dock from me, he said the boat he was polishing and cleaning was the small boat and he didn't know where the owner's big boat was. That's quite something for such a machine so well kitted out to be only the small boat, makes one wonder what the big boat is. While one has to trust that the locals doing their boat maintenance (there are a dozen on the dock right now, 1 or 2 per boat, cleaning windows, polishing stainless and wiping down aluminum tuna towers, soaping down the decks, buffing hulls - each person seems to want his boat to be shinier than the next guy's) would not take anything from another boat, it's also a good idea to not put the temptation out there in the first place - so decks are cleared of movable gear, and I do lock the boat up when I leave the dock.

    Later in the evening the three of us went over to Squid Roe (the huge four story dance/bar across the street), took a quick look around inside (not jumping, just lots of loud thumping music), and headed out to find a dinner restaurant - which we did. Very quite, four blocks away, prices 1/3 of those at the marina, and good food there plus an interesting conversation with the waiter. He and I were talking about where to go shoot billards, he initially suggested a good place 20 blocks away (take a taxi, do not walk) and to leave by 9pm as that's when the methamphetamine dealers showed up. On second thought, he decided there was a more-suited billards place located in the 'Casino' at the marina, he said there would be no dealers there at all, good security force, better for me there.

    Out on the streets the prostitutes (aka, 'rentals') were out in force at the open-air night clubs and dance halls - of which there are a lot, most don't have any kind of front wall so walking along the sidewalk is akin to walking right through each club - you hear the music thumping away, the video monitors are all going, people are dancing, club security/bouncers are on the sidewalk - which makes for an interesting walk without actually going into any one venue.

    And finally, completely pooped as I was still running on four hours total rest/sleep I got during the overnight hop down from Bahia Man of War, I hit the bunk and went straight to sleep despite the booming night clubs that run until 4AM. And oddly enough, the streets are not all crowded and many of the clubs actually had very few patrons - yet the whole operation continued at full bore as if the place were packed, even the DJ's in at least two places were spinning up a treat to no patrons on the floor. Perhaps the night club folk come out some time after 10pm, I don't know as I wasn't out there to find out!

    Intention is to stay here today and tonight, and tomorrow head up to San Jose Del Cabo for fuel (I could get fuel here, but have never been to the new marina at SJDC, so will be fun to check it out). If the weather is good then carry on to Los Frailes, and if weather is poor stay at SJDC. The forecast weather window is still holding, meaning the north winds just around the corner in the Sea of Cortez are forecast to die down and back off away from the coast starting Sunday evening, which makes Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday look very promising for scooting around the corner and up to La Paz.





    A family of humpback whales headed south, outside of Magdalena Bay. They surfaced quite near by and I slowed down to stay alongside. I think the baby whale is the one on the right, with the really big whale the one on the left. They had interesting dives - the little one would take 2 or 3 tries to get going, waving his tale a bit and splashing. The big ones just did a slow graceful turn and the flukes went way up in the air as they disappeared underwater. After a couple of minutes they would reappear. They were traveling at 4 knots, that's the speed I had to run at to keep up.






    Sunrise approaching Cabo Falso from offshore, the first point you see as you reach the bottom end of Baja California.






    First fish of the trip, he went back into the water after I took this picture. Normally I trail the 400 pound monofilament hand line behind the boat, this time I had the Penn 6/0 reel and rod trailing the jig, good thing it wasn't a big fish as even this little guy pulled out a fair bit of line when he attacked the lure. I dropped the engine to neutral but he mainsail kept pulling, so it took a bit to get him to the boat.



    http://tbeetle.wordpress.com/2013/12...abo-san-lucas/
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  3. #23
    Just checkin' in, Rob. This is *great*!~ I'm learning a lot about the route, south. Thanks for the updates.

  4. #24
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Beetle Catches A Boat

    Didn't do too well in the fishing department as in I apparently was only practising fishing all day today whilst dragging the lure behind. However, this evening here in the anchorage at Balandra Cove I managed to hook an entire large ketch-rig boat. I'm down below at the nav station working with Photoshop to assemble a series of images into a panoramic view when there is a BONK and the boat shakes slightly. I think, 'Panga attack!' and hop on deck... only it's not a panga at all, but rather a larger sailboat that is quite dark that is also nose to nose with Beetle, and I suspect our bow pulpits bonked (no damage that I can see, nothing obviously bent - though I will look at the welds in the morning).

    What's weird is nobody was on deck, and it was all dark. So I hung on to the other boat and then pushed them off a couple of feet as they started to pivot away from Beetle (seas are flat, wind is 4-6 knots following a 180 degree wind shift). I met the boat again as they drifted further astern, his bow pulpit then coming back in about my steering wheel, so I hung on again. The fellow finally came on deck and was super surprised, and very glad that I caught him as he was headed, albeit slowly, towards the beach.

    Turns out his windlass had burned out so he was not using his all-chain rode and instead was on a CQR with rope and chain such that he could still lift the anchor without the windlass. He needs to fix his windlass, he also should figure out how to use his windlass without power (every electric windlass I know of has a mechanism for manually operating the chain gypsy - slow, but doesn't need power or a working motor).

    Upshot is he managed to free his anchor from mine after two tries, in the dark (not a lot of fun) and he has moved back into a shallower part of the anchorage and is now setting the hook in the [new] wind direction. Hopefully it holds. If it doesn't, it does appear that he's not going to fetch up on me again as he's no longer directly to weather of me.

    We're going to meet up in the morning and make sure nothing bad happened to the boats. Interesting way to meet new people, eh?





    Sunrise at Los Muertos this morning. This is what the panorama I was working on will look like, only it will be a lot wider (I hope).




    Tooling up the Cerralvo Channel this afternoon, it was very nice and calm. Fishing line is out, but no fishies today.

    - rob

    ************************************************** ******
    Wednesday Dec 18



    Good morning, today the sea state is in a much better mood than yesterday - no four foot chop - and I find 6" ripples across an otherwise flat bit of water stretching out as far as one can see. The island I'm going by has a razor sharp peak running its length, and it's pretty impressive to see how starkly that peak is outlined against the cloudless sky. Sun is well up over the horizon, and it's going ot be a toasty day today.

    The anchorage at Los Muertos was very pleasant last night, good holding ground, no nearby underwater canyon for the anchor to slide down into, therefore I slept rather well. La Libertade was also in the anchorage, I spoke with them on the radio after I had departed, they are staying for the day and planning to head over to La Paz tomorow. For my part, the weather today is well-suited for getting up to the San Lorenzo channel before the forecast SW winds come in tonight, and at the same time the Nwinds have calmed way down (currently 5 knots from the N is what I'm seeing).


    [IMG]http://pressure-drop.us/imagehost/images/33074172392606143471.jpg]/IMG]

    Fish line is out, yesterday I had a Dorado grab the lure and got him to the boat, at which time I realized I did not have the landing net out and he realized he did not like the big boat thing in front of him; he threw a fit and then threw the hook - worked for me, he was reasonably big and I have plenty of food on board. Next time remember to be more prepared with the camera for fish photos.

    All is well on board, hatches are opened up to air things out and dry things out after yesterday's bang up the coast. It's convenient to be sailing in a desert as the air is so dry that wet things turn into dry things pretty darn fast.

    I'm sending this out through a cellular tower located somewhere in the town to the west of me, will be interesting to see if this works Hopefully attached are two photos, one of the island to the right, and one of the nav station, busy navigating and computing away.


    rob


    ************************************************** ***********

    Tuesday Dec 17

    On the road to Los Muertos, and it’s bouncy out here!


    Hola and greetings from the wet world of Beetle, as we bing along northwards towards Los Muertos - a nice bay to stop at prior to running throughte ?Cerralvo channel on the last bit to La paz. Where to b egin...

    Left Cabo San lucas Sunday morning and went up to Puerto Los Cabos, a little town just north of SAn Jose Del Cabo. Oddly enough, the marina (and resort, and golf course, and hotel, and private beach) is named 'Marina Puerto Los Cabos'. Super nice there, the first time the WiFi system has actually worked as advertised (internet access in CAbo San Lucas was iffy at best, despite the best efforts of the marina staff. I imagine that people that run a marina might not be the best qualified to run a wireless network). Super nice at Puerto Los Cabos, no thumping disco, mild warm breeze, interesting falcons or hawks patrolling the marina, and a wonderful two-story palapa with a thatch roof for to have dinner at (most excellent burrtitos). However, the resort is also expensive:$60/night for ta slip that does not yet have electricity plumbed in, as it were ($80/night if you want power). So Isplit the ne xt morning, headed for Los Frailes.

    Los Frailes is the first third of the run to La Paz from Cabo, and it wasn't a big run from Puerto Los Cabos to Frailes as it was only something like 28 miles. However... the wind turned on! 18-22 gusting 25 with wicked chop and 6' swell (or 6' chop, your choice). I went out on port tack, foujnd the bigger chop, also found a southward current driven by surface winds, so tacked back in on stasrboard - on the track the whole thing looks like a mess, but the header offshore turned into a lift onshore, and eventually made it to the anchorage on the narrow shelf at Los Frailes. We've been having a full moon of late, and that makes evening arrivals no issue, as it was just going on dark when Iarrived at Frailes.

    Big question is then to push on for Los Muertos the next morning, or hang out at Frailes and wait for the forecast light air to materialize on Wednesday. Idecided to head for Muertos this morning, figuring tyhat if things were terrible Icould alweays turn around and head back to Frailes. So noiw Ifind myself more than half way to Muertos, third reef in the mainsail (for motoring purposes), 16-20 knots breeze just to right of the nose, andslightly less nasty chop than yestesrday (1-2' on the water, 4' swell/bigger chop beneat).

    It's been interesting to listen to the VHF radio today, there are a little boats zooming all over the place - bound for Manzanillo, Puerto ?Vallerto, Muertos, La Paz, everybody is going somewhere., This must be a good day for moving about as it seems mostr people have left their anchorages. I wonder if it would like little ants running around an ant hill if you could look down from space and see the boats as spots on the sand. Bet it does. This ant is headed for Muertos, for to spend the night. Tomorrow is forecast 5-10 knot breeze, the hope is the seas will have settledl a bit, and then run up two channels and turn left towards La Paz.

    ON boards all goes well, had a fish on board yestserday but let lhim loose (too big, nice dorado), boat stayed dry in yesterday's crashing along go weather for the day, though the starboard aft port hole in the cockpit wasn't completely se cured so the area where my fieet are when sleeping is a tad damp. At least salt water didn'te kill anything lately in the feet department, so no worries there,.

    In the random notes department (more for me than anyone else), tyhe following boats are running around out here:

    La Libertade, to Muertos, met them in Baja Naval &Turtle Bay.
    Avante, doublehanded, arrived in Puerto Los Cabos as i left
    nereida, Socrates should vbe headed down from San Diego by now
    Captain's Mistress, should ber in Los Muertos or beyond (Nicholson 55), left Frailes yesterday
    Cadenza, left Frailes this morning, Ithink bound for Muertos, wonder if this is one of Eichenlaub's boats. Probably not.

    So that's the up to the minute shock evening news. Basically bouncing along towards a point 3.5 miles NE of Punta Pescadora, then to turn left onto 314T for 14 miles and that should be Los Muertos. Definitely lumpy, and it's fun to be able to send this email from this essentially secluded spot.

    - rob

    http://tbeetle.wordpress.com/
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  5. #25
    Nice catch! Great reports! Keep them coming!

  6. #26
    Have Rob, Ben or Lucy been caught up in this nightmare yet?
    Can any one contact them to give them a heads-up?

    http://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/...0#.UrU17vvYEQA

    Is Mexico Committing Nautical Tourism Suicide?

    December 20, 2013 – Mexico

    (Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

    Mexico has long been considered a sailor's paradise, but new impound policies are beginning to tarnish that reputation. Photo Latitude / Andy
    Š 2013 Latitude 38 Publishing, LLC

    We sure hope not, although thanks to the actions of a new sub-agency of Hacienda (the Mexican IRS) called AGACE, it appears the country is on the verge of doing just that — and even worse, perhaps setting the stage for possible problems with the United States government.
    In the last month AGACE, which was created by the new Peņa Nieto administration to be auditors for foreign commerce, has been checking the paperwork of foreign boats in 12 marinas in Mexico. To be legal in Mexico without having to pay duty, foreign boat owners are required to possess their boat documentation, proof of clearing into Mexico, and a Temporary Import Permit, and have all these documents on file in the office of whatever marina the boat is in. This is perfectly reasonable.
    According to a harbormaster who attended a big meeting in Mexico City yesterday with AGACE, Tourism, and other officials, 338 foreign boats were found to be out of compliance with these rules in just the 12 marinas that were checked. That's a huge number, so let us give you a hint why.
    We at Latitude 38, who have undoubtedly been the biggest promoters of nautical tourism to Mexico for the last 30 years, have had our catamaran Profligate put in what's called 'embargo precautorio', or precautionary embargo. It's not that we didn't have our boat documents; we did. It's not that we don't have a Temporary Import Permit; we have the same 20-year permit we've had for 17 years. It's not that we can't prove that we checked into Mexico because we have that document, too.
    No, our 'crime' is that we weren't on our boat when AGACE officials, backed by armed Marines, came through the marina checking paperwork. Much of Mexican law is based on Napoleonic Law, where you are considered guilty until you prove yourself innocent. Since we weren't around to show our paperwork, AGACE assumed Profligate was not in compliance with Mexican law (guilty), and thus is now under 'precautionary embargo'.
    It gets even more ridiculous. When AGACE officials came around a week later, Doņa de Mallorca was aboard, and showed them the documents. Nonetheless, Profligate is still on the embargo list.
    Other boats were found to be out of compliance because of misspellings on documents made by officials in the United States or Mexico, because hull identification (HIN) numbers were painted over after many years, because AGACE officials who know nothing about boats didn't know where to look for various identification numbers, and so forth.
    Boats under 'precautionary seizure' are not allowed to leave the dock, as they are considered to be like foreign merchandise on which duty hasn't been paid.
    There's just one problem with this. Most of the vessels in question are U.S. documented vessels, and it's our understanding that it's illegal to impede the transit of such vessels unless a crime was committed. We can't imagine the U.S. government is going to stand by with hands in pockets if 338 U.S. boats, worth tens millions of dollars, are illegally held for any period of time.
    Surely, one would think, these minor problems could quickly be cleared up. Not so. At the meeting in Mexico City yesterday, AGACE gave no timetable for embargoed boats to be "liberated." But we've learned today that AGACE has up to four months, under their rules of operation, to assess the status of boats that have been seized. Consequently, there are cruisers who can't move their boats, and there are foreign boat owners who won't be able to take visiting family and friends sailing over the holidays. The damage to Mexico's reputation will be growing by the day, and right at the height of tourist season.
    To say boat owners are pissed off would be an understatement. Both Canadians and Americans are already starting to call their government representatives to protest. If you think marina owners, Mexico Tourism, and other business interests, such as those involved with real estate, like this, you couldn't be more wrong. After all, it perpetuates the image of Mexico being a scary place, where tourists and retirees can't feel safe or believe their assets are secure. We hope this matter is resolved very quickly, as we don't think it accurately reflects on Mexico or even the Mexican government as a whole. But the damage will build with each passing day.
    Please stay tuned.
    - latitude / richard

  7. #27
    It would seem to me that the crew of Tiger Beetle just began their voyage and are following protocol.

    I would guess the crew on Prolifigate have become complacent in some area's and are caught in a quagmire of red tape.

  8. #28
    If you read the article again I think you'll come to another conclusion.

  9. #29
    Here is Latitude 38's earlier article on this problem. At that time they assumed it was no big deal as well. Latitude is hardly alarmist when it comes to Mexico, in fact they seem to downplay anything negative at the first opportunity.

    December Latitude, Hot Off the Press

    December 2, 2013 – Bay Area and Beyond


    TIPs and Rumors About 'Seized' Boats

    December 2, 2013 – The World of Paperwork in Mexico
    One of the ways in which Mexico is culturally different from the United States is that for many years some laws seem to be enforced very loosely, if at all, then all of a sudden a government agency seems to go over the top with enforcement. That's what has happened recently with the Servicio de Administraciķn Tributaria (Tax Administration Service) branch of the Mexican government. On November 26 members of its staff began checking the Temporary Import Permits of all the foreign boats in a total of 10 marinas.
    In the case of marinas in San Carlos, Kirsten Grossman de Zaragoza, the general manager of Marina Seca, says 40 inspectors showed up. They were backed by 30 heavily armed guards from the Armada, apparently in case boat owners decided to resist. Similar scenes played out up and down coast. To show how determined the SAT was, Grossman reports they worked through the night until 6 a.m. — although they didn't set foot on any boats.
    A Temporary Import Permit (TIP) allows foreigners to bring their boats in and out of Mexico as many times as they want without having to pay import duty. When we got ours for Profligate back in 1997, they were good for 20 years. More recently, they have been good for just 10 years. The cost is a very reasonable $50.
    The easiest way to get a TIP is to apply online at www.banjercito.com.mx. It takes about 14 days to get a TIP. Meanwhile, you can use your credit card receipt as proof that you are in the process of obtaining a TIP. "I applied for three TIPs online in the last few months," reports John 'Woody' Skoriak of Sausalito. "They were sent to me almost immediately by DHL. It was a much more efficient process than U.S. Coast Guard documentation."
    The other way to get a TIP is at a port that has a Banjercito, which is a Mexican military bank. This would mean places such as Ensenada, La Paz and Puerto Vallarta, but not Cabo San Lucas. But doing it online is the easiest and least time consuming.
    In the past, nobody seemed to care that much about TIPS. As long as your boat didn't stay in Mexico longer than the length of your tourist visa — 180 days — and as long as you didn't leave Mexico without your boat, you theoretically didn't need one. While most marinas asked for a copy of your TIP when you checked in, lots of them didn't follow through if you didn't have it on you when you first came into the office. Now all foreign boats need them, and all marinas are insisting on seeing them before allowing any boats in.
    We talked to many people who had their boats checked by officials from SAT, and all went swimmingly. Those who didn't have their TIPS on file with the marina were given five days to have one on file with the marina office. For example, four days and 22 hours into the deadline, the Wanderer and Doņa de Mallorca, traveling inland, knew nothing about it. We then, while riding a bus from Guadalajara back to La Cruz, got a call from Mike Danielson of PV Sails saying the marina office needed a copy of Profligate's TIP within the next 90 minutes. Fortunately, de Mallorca knew where the document was, and Danielson took it up to the Marina Riviera Nayarit office. Once that was done, we were good.
    To our knowledge, no boats on the hook were checked for current TIPs.
    For whatever reason, apparently a lot of foreign boats either didn't have a TIP or didn't have one on file with the marina — the latter, in theory, being "responsible" for your boat if you leave the country without your boat. Those not in compliance with the TIP law were/are subject to fines and even seizure, although we have yet to hear of any boats being fined or seized, and we certainly don't expect any boats to be seized.
    A couple of days ago we received an email from a friend of John Hards of the Beneteau 36 Pelican, currently in a marina in Nuevo Vallarta, saying Hards reported that, as of November 29, "60 boats had been seized" by "rogue officials," and that "yellow tape had been used to secure the seized boats." According to the email, "[Hards'] new TIP, validated by the military and Banjercito, had been declared invalid by the rogues." His new TIP, it was said, didn't show up on SAT's computer so, according to this letter, his boat had been 'seized', with yellow tape put around it, and Hards was not allowed to stay onboard. The friend was shocked because Hards had been cruising Mexico for 16 years, was laid back and well-known by locals, was familiar with the customs, and never had had a bad word to say about Mexico. The email ended with "have had no reply and no radio contact" with Hards, mildly implying that he might be in a wretched Mexican prison, likely never to be heard from again.
    The term "rogue" is incendiary, of course, as it suggests out-of-control government officials imperiously abusing foreigners. While there may be some truth to this in cases of DWG — 'driving while gringo' — just before Christmas when officers need to buy presents for their kids, it hasn't been our experience with boats in Mexico. And we've had a boat in Mexico almost every winter for three decades now.
    Fortunately, and not surprisingly to us, Hards is not in a Mexican prison. The SAT officials aren't "rogue." His boat wasn't "seized" in any common understanding of the term, or even wrapped in yellow tape. Furthermore, Hards will not have to make the long trip to Guadalajara to clear things up because the Port Captain in Nuevo Vallarta will take care of it. According to Hards' update email, the problem was that the marina Hards' boat was in didn't have his boat's TIP on file.
    What is the chance of a boat being confiscated in Mexico over a TIP violation? We believe nil. There was a minor stink a number of years ago when, as we recall, the owners of about four foreign boats in Mexico were not only found to not have TIPs, but inexplicably refused to get them for their boats. As we recall, after government officials all but pleaded with these folks to come in compliance with the law, the boats — all of them old and beat up — were indeed seized. But trust us, the Mexican government wants two things: 1) Marine tourists in Mexico to be happy; 2) Marine tourists to respect and comply with Mexican law. Fortunately, it's easy to accomplish both.
    - latitude / richard

  10. #30
    After reading both articles again, I come to the same conclusion. Things have been lax in Mexico for
    decades and now laws are being enforced. It sounds like the folks at Latitude had a 30 year run of enjoying
    non enforcement but that has changed? Ironically, it seems like their own writings may have awakened the Mexican
    government to the generous loopholes that they are now closing.

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