accosted by street traders selling African art all the time. And there was one
in particular, who kept an eye on me. His name is Robert and he makes a living
as a wood carver. He and his brother have been here for three months. They are
looking to move on. There are not as many tourists here as they thought before
coming. They are from Ghana and told me that they came here looking to make some
money to lay aside, so they would be able to start something up when they
eventually return to Ghana. The prospects of a good future or a job in Ghana are
Robert also told me that now they are all having problems getting out of here.
Some have the money to go back home. But with the lack of future prospects
there, they want to go to Trinidad, Tobago or one of the former British colonies
in the Caribbean instead. The problem is just that they are unable to get a visa
to anywhere. It is a well-known problem in this part of the world. You see
illegal workers everywhere, obviously working at starvation wages. He has a
brother in Trinidad and frequently asks me if he can come along. On a daily
basis actually. I have told him no at least a hundred times. My boat is too
small. Problems with weight, water, etc. I like him and without mentioning
anything to him, I am considering bringing him along.
Robert often waits for me to come ashore. Some days, he spends all day sitting
on the beach. It usually ends with us having dinner on my boat, or me buying
some and sharing it with him on the beach.
I "forgot" to declare that I have been here for 14 days now, so I went to get
that done. If I bring Robert along and run into trouble with the authorities, I
will get even more if my papers are not in order. And run the risk of being
detained until they find out if I am wanted by the police, involved in any crime
such as people smuggling. By the way, I also forgot to clear through customs at
Gran Canaria, so it would be nice to make a fresh start.
I had to lie about my arrival date. It turned out to be easy, since they are not
controlling the boats at all. It went smoothly at the first office, but there
may well have been a lump in my throat at the next one. Just outside the window
was my boat with TROJKA DANMARK on the side in capital letters. And had been
there for the past 14 days. Incredibly, it went well. From now on I think I'm
done with negligence and will declare as I have to.
I have decided to bring Robert and his brother along across the Atlantic, and
have told them to bring with them 5 kg of rice and 50 litres of water. I cleared
out at the same time as getting an inward clearance at the Customs House, so now
I have my paperwork sorted out. The clearance certificate states that I am alone
I had to go to the immigration office to get their passports stamped. The jerk
wanted me to pay 50 US$, but I escaped having them registered in my papers. I
had decided not to, because then I would surely get into trouble at the next
port. Even if they get caught by the police after I drop them off, they would
never inform against me for fear of the police finding me. They know that then I
would be ordered to pay for their return tickets to Ghana. They are not
interested in going back, so they have come up with a story in case they get
caught. I have already planned that as soon as they are dropped off, I will sail
far away so I won't get into trouble later on.