Saturday, February 11, 2012

BVI Immigration

The window for passage never came before our one month visa expired, so we had to make a run to Road Town to see an Immigration officer to extend it. On Tuesday, February 7th, we started at 7:30 am, and anchored at our usual place. Of course the harbour was rolling like crazy, but we did not have too long to stay.

Al put on white dress pants and an islander shirt, brick in colour, to look formal; I had my usual colourful dress that my sister in law Marlies had bought at a market in Istanbul, and we dinghied to Village Cay, without getting soaked by the waves, since the wind was at our backs. When on land, somebody asked Al if we were going to the Immigration office. It seemed that we looked well dressed! Usually people are in shorts and t-shirts, flip flops on feet; nobody bothers to wear pants, except islanders who work in banks and offices. What I do not understand is how the ladies can survive in the heat with those long dark pant suits, long sleeved shirts inside and ultra-high heels! I guess it is their winter now, and their attire might change in summer. Of course their offices are air-conditioned; they might not feel the heat inside.

Anyway, we took our number, and were called in without much delay. The officer was a middle aged Islander lady, very nice and charming. She asked why we needed an extension to our visa, and we explained that we were waiting for favorable weather. She agreed whole-heartedly, said there was no need to take any chances while making that long passage to St Martin/Sint Maarten, and gave us the latest mishaps that occurred because of reckless boaters; first, three people were missing, and their deserted boat was found in Vieques, Puerto Rico; the second had to come back half way to St Martin, because of a leaking vessel. She said she would not set foot in a boat, if the weather were not crystal clear (a rare occurrence in Tortola), and her husband was a captain of a big power boat, taking people around in BVI for sight-seeing. She said her husband urged her not to tell anyone that she was the wife of a captain, when she talked about her attitude about boating. She also mentioned that she did not allow the captain to take somebody’s one engine boat to St Vincent, just because the owner wanted to take the plane, and not accompany her husband. I think she is a bit extreme, even with my standards, but she might have a point. The only thing I did not understand is her outrage about the engine, for instant do not most of the power boats and mono-hull boats have single engine, except the multi-hulls. She probably likes catamarans.

After all that, she extended our visa until March 15th, longer than a month. We were delighted, and started debating about going back to Cane Garden Bay or Great Harbour. We ended up staying the night and checking the weather before making any decisions. While looking at his multiple sites, Al saw that Sunday, the 12th looked promising. So, back to Great harbour to wait out the few days.

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