started good and ended good. BUT in between it was horrible!
Dave, a subscriber from youtube, picked me up yesterday morning. He wanted to see ZERO and crew LIVE, while we are so close to his home. I gave him a tour and afterwards we drove throught the 2,5 miles long tunnel which connects Whittier with the rest of the world. Its a one lane road and every 30 min the direction changes.
We had a nice ride, the weather was awesome and traffic was low.
I asked him to stop at the airport to do customs, check into Alaska and renew my cruising permit. The moment I handed them my papers the good part of the trip ended immediately.
I left Hawaii the day my Visa and cruising permit expired. I called customs on Hawaii and asked what I have to do. The answear was easy.. No need to check out, just let them know what day I leave and check in in Alaska. So I did.
In Kodiak I called customs and they told me to come to Anchorage, everything was easy. But now..
In their understanding I never left the USA. Sailing around 2300 nm through international waters doesn’t count as leaving the US. That means I exceeded my given time in the visa and that means I was illegal in the USA. They treaded me like a criminal, asking tons of questions and let me wait for over 3 hours before telling me that I have to leave the country and my visa is canceled. F**K. Words like ARREST, COURT, IMPOUNDING THE BOAT scared the s**t out of me.
I tried to explain but they didn’t listen. Why the hell did the customs officer from Hawaii told me wrong things?
Another hour later I was told I can apply for volunteer departure. That means I can leave on my own and have to leave US Territory within 30 days. But they can’t process this because their system was down and I had to come back the next morning.
Without passport I left the Airport. Dave was waiting the whole time and I felt very bad about that. He dropped me off at my Hostel and offered me to drive me to the airport next morning.
I tried hard not to run into a bad mood and strolled around the streets. Downtown Anchorage has a couple breweries, bars and restaurants. But they weren’t all in one area, between some busy street with lots of bars, tourist shops and restaurants where streets without any of them. It was strange.
I shared a pizza with Peter and Robin, who had their last evening in Alaska, for dinner and went to the hostel. My thoughts were occupied from the visa drama and with horror-fantasies I fell into a deep sleep.
I was at the airport again around 8. This time the officers, the same than the day before, where way friendlier and we went through the whole process of paperwork. I had to sign and put my fingerprints on so many papers it was ridiculous. I had to swear and was officially informed that when don’t leave within 30 days I’ll be arrested.
I tried to apply for a longer period and explained that it is a long way from here to the Canadian border and that weather issues can slow me down. NO. If there are weather issues I can call them and try again.
Anyway. I left with my passport, but without VISA. They canceled it and I have to apply for a new one when I plan to enter the US again. HAHA.. plan to enter the US again. How can I not enter the states again when I leave Canada..? SO much trouble..
Dave was waiting and picked me up. This time it only took 2 hours. We did some errands and finally were heading out of town to explore some nature. With every mile we put between Anchorage and us the GOOD came back into my mind. We stopped in the tiny city of Hope. One of Alaskas old Gold Rush cities, very nice. and then.. turned right into a dirt road leading into the forest. We drove for miles and were stoked from the views we had left and right. We were in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in the Chugach National Forest, which is huge! Except the little snow patches on top of the mountains everything was green, green, green. We drove all the way to the end of the road, stopped here and there and agreed that this would be the perfect place to hike and camp.
I want to thank you very much for your friendly help, mental assistance and turning right into that road… It was a pleasure to meet you Dave. Aloha!
I’m now back on the boat and cant wait to leave tomorrow. I wanna be out here, out of any civilization, far away from anything what looks like an uniform. I want to anchor in front of a glacier and there are plenty to chose from east of here..