This photo was taken on March 18, 2020 at the anchorage at Isla Mujeres, Mexico.
That day marked a small step for mankind, one giant leap for me: I could finally clear in to Mexico. What sounds like the most ordinary thing in the world, in times of pandemic masterplans it becomes an extraordinary achievement.
When I left Havana, Cuba on Thursday, March 12, 2020 no country in the entire Caribbean had taken major measures. When I arrived at Isla Mujeres on Sunday, March 15, 2020, just three days later, things had changed drastically and Mexico was almost the only country that had not closed its sea borders yet. A few days later, Europe went into a lock-down and France enforced a strict curfew, including its overseas territories.
Under these circumstances I was naturally concerned that, in the admittedly lengthy course of Mexico’s clearing-in procedure, things could change here, too. More than once I had the feeling that necessary signatures or stamps were being delayed because officials were waiting on updated orders from their superiors.
After I was medically checked by a doctor who came to the Port Captain’s office from the nearby hospital, after I paid my immigration fee, my passport was stamped and my immigration card issued, after I paid the customs fee and I was cleared by customs and the veterinarian, finally my arrival was approved by the Port Captain and I received the much wanted “Autorizacion de Arribo”.
This document is my ticket to stay in Mexico for the next 180 days, so I won’t end up as another Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship that never was able to call at a port. In the meantime there is not a single country left in the area that has not closed their sea borders in the fight against the pandemic.
After I received my clearance I went to the local supermarket to stock up my provisions that have suffered a bit during my time in Cuba. It was late in the evening when I made it back to Seefalke. The sun had already set and little light was glooming over the horizon, just enough to illuminate the scene so I could use my iPhone camera to make this photo.