Saturday, April 3, 2010

Doing the Right Thing...

It was my intention to transfer the registration of SV BLISS to Arizona, get new documents and present them to the Port Captain upon my return... so the 1st Mate and I, our Maltese-mix pets Sophie and Chica drove up to Tucson to the Game and Fish Department to do just that. Upon arrival, I was told that being a non-resident of Arizona would cost me $292 each and every year for the boat registration. A shock. I said, "OK, but just for one year..." Then they took a look at my California registration and the title and said, "This hull number has the wrong number of digits. We can't register it."

According to AZ regulations, the number of digits in a hull number must match the Coast Guard requirement. The law must have gone into effect after my boat was built, in 1973. So in order to register the boat, they needed a rubbing (put a piece of paper over the hull number etched into the hull and rub a pencil on it to transfer the image, take that to Game and Fish). Of course, the boat is 2000 miles away.

Another obstacle. This whole thing looked impossible to do.

The 1st Mate suggested that I contact her son in Petaluma, California and use his address to re-register the boat... then it occurred to me: Why not have Jay, her son, do the registration for me?

I called Jay on the US cell phone we have, and proposed paying him $50 to take my paperwork to DMV and emailing me back copies of the documents. He agreed. We stopped at the Tubac Deli and Coffee Company where I ordered a double espresso. Took my coffee, my digital camera, old documents and laptop to a table. Spread out the docs and photographed them, emailed them to Jay using the coffee shop wifi system. Drank my espresso. Got in the car and headed back to San Carlos.

When we got home, the new registration was sitting in my email inbox. I logged into and faxed the docs to the Port Captain, logged into Paypal and paid Jay the $50 plus the registration fee of $60 (for 6 years of past due fees). I felt fantastic.

I could have done this from the boat. Duh.

But, the 1st Mate and I would still be separated, the Quest would still need to be moved back to San Carlos, and the 3 kilos of coffee and 5 kilos of seedless raisins I bought would still be on the boat instead of in the hands of the 1st Mate. I would still be missing the dog kisses I got. And the time we all had together.

And, with the Arizona registration, all my other documents would have to be redone: the insurance papers, the temporary importation permit for the boat from Mexican Customs (a biggie).

And although I was sorely tempted to create a forgery for the Port Captain (being a certifiable computer artist), I would always worry that  I would get caught... the boat impounded; me arrested, jailed, fined and deported. So the price I pay for keeping my serenity is doing the right thing, regardless of how long it takes, how much it costs, and how much work is involved.

The rewards are worth it.

Back in Zihuatanejo, warm puppies and the good life.

No comments: