We arrived and anchored off the short of Norfolk in a drenching rain yesterday afternoon. We are anchored off the large Navy base here. We can see three aircraft carriers from our deck and during the day we are entertained by a steady stream of helicopters to-ing and fro-ing from the airbase.
Once again, as soon as we arrived, we tried to check in with Customs and Border Patrol. Once again we found the staff friendly, but completely ignorant about what to do with a private boat arriving from a foreign country. This time we decided not to fight the system, but accept the word of the Customs officer we spoke to that we had complied with the rules, and we were done.
He first asked for our cruising permit number. I explained (again) we were a US flagged vessel and neither had one, nor needed one. He asked for the name of the boat, and our decal number, proving that we had paid our annual Customs fee, and… that was it!
Not one question about what goods we had on board. Not one question about who, or even how many how many people were on board, if they were all US citizens, or—anything! Now, I am all for reduced government interference in my life, but this really makes me wonder what the heck we are paying these people to do!
In every case we have gone through this process–outside of Florida and Puerto Rico–I have known more about the procedures and rules than the Customs officers I was dealing with. We filed all our required online notifications, and made the calls we were required to make, and fully complied with all of the instructions we were given. But I know the proper procedures were not followed. If our next blog post is datelined Fort Leavenworth, you’ll know why…
With that rant done…
We said good by this morning to our crew so they can head on to Maine to get back to work. It was a real delight having Alicia and Annie along. Hopefully we can catch up to them later this summer in the cold waters of Maine.
Karen did a quick swing by the grocery store this morning to restock the galley. We will be heading up the Chesapeake to Annapolis where we will be having mostly minor boat repairs and maintenance done before we head further north.
Now the part you all have been waiting for… Pictures!
First a short slide show of Karen’s photos from Cape Eleuthera, including one of her favorite shelling beaches:
And then photos from our passage north with Alicia and Annie: