Dave Heath

Dave has a medical emergency. An aggressive Leukemia. We are writing a detaield description soon, but Dave is getting Chemo at UWMC at the UW. We will be discharged within a few days as a min, but it might “who knows when”? and then need 2 weeks lodging then one week at the UW, and repeat as needed, but they make it up as they go along. Usually a 21 day cycle and they might do this until Christmas, or for 6 months. No one knows, yet. It is just beginning, and I may just croak. We cannot say yet. We must be in a LOW germ environment and able to make our own meals, due to Dave’s Chemo destroying his immune system. (The poison them to save them idea, that will be found to be really dumb someday soon.)

We can live in our RV, if we can park it and have 110V hookup, until we get freezes as some of the plumbing is exposed. But, it is far from ideal and indoors looks easier.

We must be within 30 mins of the UW at rush hr/bad weather. It would be nice if we could afford it. So far, things are looking $1,800 / mo since we must pay for the full month.

Suggestions? Our room phone is 206-906-7475, but it may not have a machine. Cells 360-824-2781, 360-728-4966 and we do not always notice SMS & VoiceMail, so try various ways if we seem to have not heard. Email, works too, sort of.

Our days are 24/7 chaos and getting sleep between IV beepers, Dr visits at weird times, ect is a challenge, so be persistent, but we may be getting desperately needed sleep because we were up all night.

Do you know of friends, family, a guy that owes my booky some dough? Whatever. We can pay, even to our relatives, but want to go as cheap as practical. We have the money. We are adaptable and like an adventure with some restrictions, of course. We are used to tiny spaces and sharing is OK, but we must keep Dave germ free, at least by most folks’ standards. Like we, so far, wash celery well and make juice and drink it, But, that may need to stop and we just do not know what the Future Holds.

Thanks, in any and every case,

Dave & Robn

Our news

Here is some update on the work on Alegria in Finike, Turkey.

Even though I had to really disassemble our Shop Vacuum to get the switch out, I had good news. I traced the wires and the PC Board that does soft start & ‘Turns the Vac on when you turn on a sander,’ etc and discovered that I could just reverse the switch and get full function again without bastardizing anything.

The Double Pole Double Throw rocker switch has 6 terminals on the back. The ONE bad terminal was the mirror image of the ONE terminal that was not connected to anything. So, I just swapped out the wires with the switch put in backwards. I really wish that I had noticed that the other time I had everything apart.

It is a good vacuum. I think it was about US75 back in 2006. It is very nice to have the switch dependable again. (Update: After a couple of weeks it stopped dead, but one of the wires was not put on the switch correctly. Once I took it all apart again, it was easy to fix and I triple checked all of them this time.)

The deck and cabin of Alegria are all wood with a thin layer of fiberglass with polyester resin and then paint. There were about 30 places where the 500-ish galvanized nails were making a tiny bulge. "Nail pops." The little nail finder magnet that I found at the hardware store was easy to convert into a useful tool. It is odd that I needed to modify it.

We found 39 steel fasteners, I think, just in the Stb Cockpit, which was the worst area for pops and de-lamination. Most had not yet popped, but, we wanted to re-glass that area with epoxy & glass this time and felt it safer to just remove ALL steel fasteners. We have been dealing with these for many years. My current solution is that I bought some high strength steel tubing, Alloy 4130. I can shape the end of the tube to create 4 tiny saw teeth and then I harden it with my propane torch and quench it in water. This makes it pretty hard and it lasts many nails. I will come back to that.

I drill 4 or more small holes close around a nail and then I "router out a groove" so that the top 1 or 2 mm of the nail is sticking up. Then I use the steel tube like a skinny hole saw and drill out the nail. They are about 2 inches, 50mm long.

I bought some high quality marine bronze wood screws to replace the drilled out nails, but at the last minute decided to epoxy in dowels instead.

There are several areas where the glass has delaminated, but very few, in the scheme of things. Where there is not yet anything wrong, the bond is similar to the blue 3M tape for masking in sunlight. Better than a Post-It, but not as good as mediocre duct tape. There have been a very few places where it was stuck better, but darn few. We believe that this is due to Polyester resin not cross-linking when it cures. It is our experience that epoxy sticks to the wood better than the wood sticks to itself. When (if) you break it, the epoxy joint is very seldom where it fails. Almost always the wood splits. You cannot do better than that.

See the photo of the area wetted out, before I added putty. The worst of the dark, beginning to rot, areas are not too bad at all. I am not concerned, But I wish I had some of the very watery Clear Coat Epoxy by System 3. It soaks in much better, but you can no longer carry most liquids in your luggage.

Sanding the plywood with my Random Orbital dished into the soft grain a lot more than I expected. Most fasteners were 6D galvanized nails. There were 5 #10 x 2" Reed & Prince screws on the Stb side and 4 on the Port that were hard to get out. A few were beginning to get rusty, which really glues them in. One was so tight that I was able to twist it off. Several were buggered when we screwed them in which was bad. Also, I did not have any larger steel tubing, so, I used my old standby of brass tubing, which is way too soft for the job, but can be used carefully and reworked several times per fastener if needed. I was able, with great effort, to unscrew about half of the steel screws. 4 whole screws and one twisted off. I tried grinding a slot in some and using a slotted screw drive, but they were so tight that that just twisted the head off.

Some screws and nails are like new, but most are somewhat corroded. 44 yrs in wood on a boat in a warm climate, make them not eager to come out.

I will buy a few more sizes of that 4130 steel tubing. It is very nice, at least compared to brass. Do you recall the Hobby Shops that had nest-able brass tubing in many sizes? Back in about 1981 I decided to keep on hand one of each size. They nest,so they are easy to store, unless you damage one. That was what I used in the past. It is far too soft to be fun, but it works.

For the steel skinny hole saw, I use a very thin abrasive disk in my new Dremel Tool. I cut slits in the end of the tube, a little more than a diameter long. Then, I use the same disk to cut the back of each "tooth" and make a 4 tooth hole saw. I then guess at the color and heat and water quench, but I do not bother to try to anneal. Which, means that twice a tooth has broken off down hole, but I survived. With some digging. Out of abut 35 holes, I think I have remade the end 3 or 4 times. In the future, I will slightly anneal the end. It should still be hard, but ‘tougher’ and not as easy to break.

The rig is very capable of sawing right through a nail that is not pointed the way I am "hole sawing", which is also a bother, but I figure out what went wrong and hole saw the remainder. No steel left behind is the goal. I think I got all of them, but a few times I could see the glint of steel at right angles, that I ignored. It implies that another nail is coming up from inside.

As I had more time to think about the whole thing, I decided to use dowels instead of bronze. One small problem, no one sells dowels here.

But, Robn noticed that several stores have long slender "rolling pins" that sure look like dowels to us. I hope that their choice of wood is good. It seems to be a dense hardwood. I also noticed an article about a way to make your own dowels. You know the metal gizmo with all of the drill sizes to use to sort your drills?

Someone made his own in 0.5mm increments out of perhaps 6 mm thick steel, with nice sharp edged holes and then hardened it and he puts in on an anvil and pounds a hardwood stick through it to make a round dowel. He did not say how many times one needs to pound it into smaller holes. He did say that pounding worked for hardwood, but softwood worked better with the wood chucked in a drill and spun through. And, usually I would not care if there were 4 small flats on the sides. Some store bought dowels are star shaped, with, perhaps 10 or 15 points. I recall others that had a spiral groove, like 1mm wide and deep and on 8 or 10mm pitch.

My dad had some Stanley dowel making cutters that worked like a pencil sharpener from 5th grade but with the minor dia the desired dowel dia. One could make an adjustable one with two rollers and a cutter.

Along the top row, in the photo, the points of the nails were visible on the outboard side of the coaming. Once I noticed that, (This is a learning process, every step of the way.)

Once I noticed, it was much easier to excavate around the head, so as not to explode the plywood, and then use a thin drift punch the correct size to drive the nail back out. A few were corroded enough that the vise grips pulled them in two, but then I just keep driving the nub out, or hole saw if I must.

I sure wish we had known to use epoxy instead of WeldWood and Resorcinol. The deck beams all delaminated by the 1990s. 20 years is much too soon to fail. And I remembered that my Grandfather made a BEAUTIFUL aromatic cedar chifferobe, that all was glued with WeldWood and came mostly into pieces. Sadly SOME joints held well enough to split the beautiful planks when other joints failed, so it was pretty much ruined. Also, by that time my Grandfather was crippled with arthritis to the point of needing a wheelchair by age 55ish, so he was done working with his wood shop tools. He had been VERY active, with many projects.

Here is a photo of the charming Kazakhstan family that we met. She wants to improve her English. Her Russian and Kazak are excellent. Apparently Kazah, Uzbek and several other languages between Kazakhstan and Turkey are all pretty similar, so she speaks them all well enough for most things. She is a devout Muslim and has studied Arabic, but is still working on that. And she has a very useful amount of English that we are helping her with. Robn was trained in "English as a Second Language" (ESL), so she is way above average at helping her.

She has 4 kids, ages between 22 and 12. The last two are still at home and she is now single, working and going to University in Turkey. The two kids that we know ‘only’ have 3 or 4 languages with very little English, but some. In our travels, many people have several languages. Robn’s husband, was born in what is now Poland, but was German, near border when it was all Russian and he began life knowing Russian, Polish and German.

He escaped to the West in about 1954, and in his various jobs and travel, including over 5 yrs in the French Foreign Legion, fighting in North Africa, he learned French, Spanish, Greek, English and many smatterings of other Languages. After about 2 years in America, an American made fun of how he said something. Gerhard asked how many languages the heckler spoke.

One, was the answer (and that probably not correctly.)

Gerhard pointed out that he spoke 7 and in much of Europe and the World, only speaking one language was similar to being illiterate.

We have noticed that until you learn another language, few notice some the weird things that English does. The Greeks had more that 4 words for love. I do not "love" Robn, blue berry cobbler, and my dad the same way at all. Many languages use the same word for "to earn" as "to win", but they are quite different to me. Spanish has two very different verbs that we can only translate as "to be" and they have no word "to like". They use "to please". I like "Beattles" music becomes, "Beattles" music pleases me. And so on.

Dave & Robn

A small update. We are now in Turkey.

We had a crazy last couple of weeks in Washington State, as we went to donate blood and both failed the hematocrit. We took iron supplements to bring it back up and mine climbed 4 points allowing me donate next time. However, Dave’s remained the same despite the iron supplementation after falling during three tests this year. This had us concerned enough to consider cancelling our flight out! We got a CBC test done and received the results while visiting friends. A further drop. Both red and white cell counts low. A bunch of other figures that meant nothing to us. Luckily our friends were able to get us a rush appointment with their doctor in a few days to go over the CBC. He said it was early to get too worried but should be followed up by a hematologist to be certain. We managed again, to get a rush appointment in another few days and had yet another test done by each of these doctors.

Our travel plans involved mass transit from Port Townsend to Crown Hill (Seattle) on July 3rd, and a flight to SF on the 4th. The appointment with the hematologist was on the 2nd. If good news, we could still make our flight. If not, then at least we were already close to medical facilities. We have no problem with the quality of care in Turkey but the language barrier makes for potential problems.

So we made our preparations on the assumption of good news, which we got. He said it was probably just a nutritional issue – lack of B12 and/or folic acid. The numbers were not dangerous. Spend a few weeks dealing with the diet and see if the numbers improve. If not, consider a bone marrow biopsy. To the diet – returning to vegetarian instead of vegan – we added Silva meditation and a treatment by our healer friend. Dave suspects that it is due to some supplements he was taking, so he stopped them.

So we wrapped up our travel preparations, made it to Crown Hill; had a wonderful laughter filled evening with cousin Bill, and the luxury of delivery to the airport instead of mass transit.

Flew down to SF and had nearly a week visiting with my brother and sister-in-law. I got to play in the garden and go for walks as well as lots of conversation. We were limited in luggage capacity on the trip down and were maxed out, but were allowed an additional 100 lbs on the next leg of our journey to Turkey. So one of the week’s activities was ordering more stuff needed in Turkey and rearranging all the packing to accommodate the additional weight and different baggage rules. Dave was glued to the computer more than even HE likes, but he got a LOT done. Amazon promised two packages would arrive 2 days before we flew to Turkey, but one was “damaged in transit” and returned for refund, and the other. . . We were driven to the airport by my brother at 2:40PM, and the package arrived at 8PM – 48hrs later than promised.

Speaking of “damaged in transit”. We ordered some special tools for the repairs in Turkey from McMaster-Carr. They arrived in 3 separate packages over two days, early in our stay. BUT, the 3rd small box arrived with the end torn almost completely off and no content to be seen. Empty except for the packing slip! Would we have time for a replacement? OH NO!! They were critical parts.

However, while Dave was explaining this to the Customer support person, he noticed that the "empty box" rattled when shaken! Upon closer inspection, the 5 small carbide burrs were hiding, obviously terrified, in the far end of the large box. Dave coaxed them out and calmed them down and all was well. At least for them. It could have been worse, we only lost 8 non-essential items. Not good, but we can make do.

The flight to Turkey was the nicest flight we have been on for quite a while. As I wrote to my brother:
Door to door was close to 24 hours. On July 10th, we spent half an hour or more waiting while a lone check-in attendant worked with a single couple, but then everything sped up and TSA was a breeze this time with pre-check thanks to frequent flyer miles. (Though it has not always helped in the past).

Arrived at the very new, Gigantic airport in Istanbul and spent an hour walking with the help of moving sidewalks from one end to another. Had to go through security yet again, but it was quick. Up and down escalators, convoluted route, and finally ended up in a section of the airport that loads people onto buses to get to the plane!

Brand new airport and they are using buses! Seems poorly designed in terms of getting people from gate to gate. There was a gantry next to the plane so I gather that that part is still under construction and the buses are temporary – but the waiting area looked mighty permanent, so I’m puzzled. Anyway, they managed to feed us a snack of a sub sandwich with beverage even though the flight aboard a Boeing 777 was only 53 minutes!

The earlier 13 hour flight included a proper decent evening meal for supper of smoked salmon & grilled artichoke; and moutabel, tabbouleh (no idea what that is); plus grilled chicken breast w/ broccoli, carrot, potato gratin, rosemary butter OR mascarpone and spinach canelonini w/ creamy parmesan sauce; plus raspberry and chocolate brownie; and a breakfast of cheese omelet, cooked veggies, fresh fruit, and assorted cheeses and a bun. There was also help yourself cheese sandwich or marble cake in the galley between meals. All good. Best catering I can remember. Both flights were Turkish Air. Ask yourself exactly how you can serve 400 excellent cheese omelets 10 hrs into a 13hr flight? They were nice and hot, but not rubbery and the fruit was cold. Magic.

Seats were decent sized, etc. All in all, a nice experience – especially considering how chintzy most flights have become.

Our Taxi driver was there waiting for us and, having taken someone else to the airport, gave a discount for the trip back to Finike – a two hour drive for 40 Euros! We were only able to verify that we even had a ride a minute before he found us. Until then we had not been able to check for a return e-mail and were unsure what was happening.
We made it to the boat about midnight the 12th (10 hour time difference), got the luggage all aboard and crashed till around 10 AM.

As of today, the 16th, we are still getting over jet lag and adjusted to the heat. Getting communication back up and running. Marina Wi-Fi is iffy and we are unsure of how much phone data we can use. Usually there is no problem but sometimes you can’t buy additional data after running out here in the past. But, rules might change.

Robn and Dave

Harassment in Nashville, Tennessee

Once upon a time, way back when I was in High School, I got detention for not identifying the person who, unbeknownst to me, had thrown a spitball at the teacher. I was one of those kids who kept a low profile and never challenged authority. I truly don’t know if I would have ‘squealed’ on my classmate if I had known who it was, or not. I do know that I would have preferred to stay out of it. I still remember the sense of injustice I felt, however, since I had no option. I had no idea who had thrown it.

I felt that sense of injustice again, recently. Not just for myself but for all the people treated similarly to this latest event, an injustice suffered by many on a daily basis, whereas I, living a privileged life, have not previously experienced it.

Dave and I had just flown from Trinidad & Tobago to Nashville, Tennessee. We then took the city bus from the airport into the Main Bus Station, downtown where we planned to buy SIM cards for our phones so that we would have communication and Internet access. After the purchase, we planned to continue on by bus to our AirBnB. We had 2 suitcases, 2 back packs, a computer bag, and another personal bag for a total of 6 items weighing about 150 lbs total.

I made use of the waiting room at the bus terminal downtown, while Dave went to the nearest MobilePCS store to get the new SIM cards. After some 10 minutes or so, a security guard informed me that I needed to leave! I explained that I was waiting for my partner who was getting SIM cards since we had only just arrived in the country. Irrelevant. Waiting in the waiting room was only permissible for a few minutes until the next bus arrived. When I showed her my bus pass for the day, she agreed to allow a few more minutes, but reiterated that no one was supposed to stay longer than absolutely necessary to catch a bus.

Dave’s errand took longer than I expected and he was gone an hour or more. The security guard reappeared with a colleague who turned out to be her boss. He was more insistent and told me flat out that I had to leave. This made no sense to me and I have to admit that I challenged him. What was the problem? Isn’t this a public facility? How would I reconnect with my partner? What did he intend to do if I stayed? ‘The Boss’ said he would have the police escort me off the premises if I failed to leave peacefully. That reconnecting with my partner was my problem. He said the buses were public transportation but that it was a private company and I had already been there an hour which was way too long. I needed to go outside to the sidewalk. I was totally flabbergasted.

Luckily, I had some thin rope with me, so I tied bags to each suitcase, put a backpack on my back, and actually managed to get my 150 lbs of luggage out to the sidewalk. I was worried that my partner would come into the station aboard a bus and not find me at the waiting room and, of course, would not know to look for me outside. I was there for a few minutes when a police officer showed up and told me that I was still behaving unacceptably. That the side walk was also off limits! I thought maybe he meant the bus shelter and stepped outside and asked if that spot was okay. No! Well, where? The entire sidewalk was off limits. I was having a hard time understanding his demands. I think he indicated that if I was constantly moving and not obstructing other people, I might be okay. (Although I’m sure I would be far more ‘obstructive’ on the move with all my stuff.) If I went across the street where there was less traffic, he MIGHT not bother to arrest me even though I would still be illegal! Again, there was absolutely no suggestion for how to deal with the situation of needing to connect with my partner who had the phones and the address of our AirBnB. I am old enough to remember when police officers were there to help rather than harass.

I went across the street. Dave returned on foot and I was able to get his attention.

(Dave: I was carrying both phones. If I had returned and Robn was not there, I have no idea how I would have found her. File a Police Missing Person’s report? The bus station covers the whole block. It was just luck that I approached from the side that Robn could see and that she saw me entering, and could yell loud enough for me to hear her. Due to the bus schedules, I returned as fast as was possible.)

We figured out what bus to take which happened to be leaving in a few minutes. So we went to the bay to catch the bus. The cop shows up and tells us that we could not be there for 24 hours – he had already ‘thrown me out!’ Nothing had been said before about a 24 hours prohibition. This all felt like totally unjustified harassment for a completely unknown reason. At some point I mentioned my mystification of what was going on, and he said that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” not that he ever cited anything beyond the usual catchall ‘obstruction.’

So, we were being told that we could not catch the bus to our AirBnB. Dave looked on the phone app and it said there was a bus stop for the bus we needed, a few blocks away. We had to lug our luggage to that bus stop and hope that we did not miss the bus, as it was due any minute, and they ran once an hour.

Eventually, we managed to get to our lodgings. Everyone else in Nashville was friendly and helpful, including the bus drivers, but some people seemed to think that the behavior was acceptable because they were ‘having problems there with other people’.

I think this was/is unjustified and inexcusable. I am fully aware of this trend to criminalize the poor for their poverty and I find it abhorrent. It appears that anyone using a city bus qualifies for harassment. There were other people at the waiting room who were being treated similarly who were not being the least bit disrupted in any way. So much for the land of the free! I fear for society if their answer to any problem is this kind of marginalization. I’m guessing that there are mentally ill and addicted people who cause financial losses to businesses and make people uncomfortable, but I consider them the victims rather than those who are inconvenienced. We need to find a better solution.

I fear that people will think that I am objecting to this happening to me as opposed to others. Rather, I am objecting to it happening to anyone. My first person account merely gives me proof that this is the new (unacceptable) norm.

In almost two circumnavigations and visiting many countries, I have never experienced such treatment.

Robn

My Experiences With Schengen in the EU

This was an email that I recently sent to a friend that wanted to know how it worked.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I’ll do my best to help. I’m sure that you know that the answer depends on what country your passport is from. In the beginning we would often get advice from people from other countries, that did not apply at all to what Americans need to know.

Question, "Have you been able to stay longer than 90 days in Schengen countries while living on your sailboat?"

Yes. When we were in Portugal, some Canadians showed us how to go to a carefully hidden office in Porto Mao, that gave work permits and visa extensions to foreigners. Most of the people there were from countries looking for work permits inside Portugal.

As I recall, back in 2006, we spent most of the day waiting in line, and then filling out some paperwork, and giving them some photographs of the correct size and location of your head, similar to passport photos. It is possible that they use passport photos. I do not recall. Many places have a different requirement.

As I recall, it cost us €45 each, for an extra 90 days. And we were able to renew it at the end of that time, for an additional 90 days.

I believe that it only allowed us to stay in Portugal. I think if we had traveled to any other country after the initial 90 days was up, we would’ve been breaking the law.

Before the end of the third 90 days, we were in Spain. At that time, dozens of people told us that Spain did not care how long we stayed. If we were there three or four years, then they might come after us.

Our British friends were quite concerned, because when the time ran out, they believed that they would then be liable for attacks on their total net worth. Not just the value of their boat. They were wealthy, so that really frightened them. I think they felt it safer to leave after a year, and be out for a time before returning.

We flew from Spain to Houston, by way of Frankfurt and several officials looked at our passports that clearly showed that we had overstayed, but said not a word. And the Immigration Official in Frankfurt was REALLY angry with the man he had just waited on ahead of me.

When I walked up he was still FURIOUS and I am sure that if he could have, he would have loved to fine me, just on general principles.

When we got into Italy, we were told virtually the same thing. We were told that the Italians were quite aware of how long we were in the country, but they did not care as long as we did not break any other laws and that we could stay for several years if we wished. This was back in 2006 through 2008. We did meet one American couple, that I think had a problem in Genoa related to overstaying. So, it may depend on which official you are talking to, on the day that you are talking to them. And, it may well have changed by now.

We flew in and out of Rome and were clearly over our time, but not a peep at the airport.

And, I think you are aware that it is now gotten very easy and relatively inexpensive to get a two year residence permit in Turkey. We did.

A Canadian boater recently posted that they could get an official extended visa. I think it was for one year in France, but they believed that they would then have to pay VAT on their boat. The % required for VAT varies a LOT by country, so, if you plan to pay it, do it in the best Country and low-ball the value of your boat as much as you legally can. Cruising boats are sometimes selling for VERY low prices in some ports.

I have some American friends that were able to get a six month visa before flying to Florence, Italy. They were not boaters. They got it at the Italian Embassy in Washington, DC. And, they said it took several trips. One of the problems was they had to show that they had health insurance that would cover them while in Italy. That was annoyingly expensive.

Ironically, the wife had to go to the hospital while they were there and was treated extremely well. When they were done, my friends asked where is the office that we go to give you our insurance information to pay for the service that we received?

This was met with total confusion. No one that they could find, and they tried, was able to find any way that they could compensate, or file insurance papers, for their healthcare.

You actually asks several questions, but I believe that I’ve answered all of them. Please ask more if I was not clear, or you think of something else.

I would suggest that anyone always get several opinions of local knowledge. This is sometimes harder to do than you would think as most of the people you would talk to, do not need to deal with Schengen, because they are not Americans, so they did not have any correct information but think that they do. Ask many Americans, Canadians, or whatever country you are from and then take your best guess. Greece has its own system. The EU is NOT homogeneous and does NOT clearly spell out the rules. Similarly, RECENT info about specific ports where the officials are nasty, or friendly is valuable intel.

noonsight.com usually has excellent, up-to-date information.

An boating acquaintance spent a year in Greece, illegally, in 2006 & 2007, without permission and when he was about to leave the particular Immigration Office that he went to, was as nice as they could be. I think they fined him 300 Euros or some-such and strongly suggested that he just leave with his boat for Turkey without telling any of the other offices that legal people need to visit for checking out. Your experience may be quite different. We are told that some Greek Islands had nice officials and some had BAD officials. We used the good ones and avoided the bad.

And, that is a good question to ask people that have been through various offices. We a Canadian friend that, when they entered Greece at Corfu, the wife’s passport was not stamped. Her husband is British. When they left Greece, some Greek Port of Entry, near Bodrum, the official was going to fine them a lot of money because of that.

I have never understood that when a professional official makes a mistake, that I am supposed to pay a fine. They are the ones that are supposed to know what the laws are. If you want to fine somebody, fine them!

Therefore, when we entered at Corfu, Janet made sure to get both passports stamped. The official swore up and down that it was not necessary, but she politely insisted until it was done.

She also asked, very carefully, where else do we need to check in with an official and get stamps on our paperwork?

The agent quite clearly said only in Thessalonia, or Athens. Nowhere else. When we got to Itea, Greece, and official came down to all the boats in our part of the harbor and said that we must come to the office at specific times to deal with our paperwork. He gave each boat a slightly different time.

Several boats immediately left rather than have to deal with that. But, we had just arrived and wanted to spend three days and go to Delphi by bus.

So we went and were charged about four times the going rate for the Moorage. We were surprised that it cost so much to stay there, and asked a neighbor when we returned to our boat. He decided that they had misread our documentation and thought that we were a dramatically larger boat.

He suggested that we go back and get a refund. We had already formed the opinion that the person we were dealing with, was an idiot. The amount of money was not gigantic, and we thought it unlikely that we could get a refund. But, we went anyway.

Happily, there was another man in the office, who, especially by comparison, was quite bright. He immediately saw the problem and order the other man to give us the appropriate refund.

And, when we checked out of Greece at Simi, Janet was mildly criticized that we had not gotten our papers stamped every few weeks. "For our safety". What??? But, there was no drama. Just different rules in different offices.

In Mexico, and some other countries, the normal situation was that you officially entered Mexico, at the first port of entry. Then, you have to check in when you pass another administrative office for that part of the coast. In Mexico, that was every 150 miles or so. As I recall, there was no money involved, just lots of walking kilometers in the hot sun to find offices that were carefully hidden.

Therefore, when we first checked in and the Azores, we asked where else do we need to check with officials. We were told that the answer was nowhere. If an official asked to see your papers, then you must display them, but you were officially entered and did not need to go to another official office until you were ready to leave the EU.

When we got to Cascais, Portugal, there was a customs office nearby, and so we took our paperwork to see if we had understood correctly.

It was curious that she very carefully copied all of our paperwork for her records, but then she told us that we did not need to check in anywhere in the EU, and did not stamp anything that gave us a record of having checked in. So, why did she photocopy everything?

Once, or twice in our travels, as we were rowing ashore, some official did ask us for our paperwork, so we went back to the boat and got it.

I’m pretty sure that I remember all of the above quite clearly, however, it covers the time from 2005 until 2008, so much may have changed.

Each Summer we sailed to Morocco or Tunisia or Turkey, for a few days to re-set the 18 month VAT exemption.

Many years ago now, we heard that Brussels was changing the law, so that cruisers could easily stay for a year or two without leaving. But, I think that idea never materialized.