Wednesday, 17 July 2019

FRENCH LONG STAY VISA AND OTHER DIFFICULTIES. 15th July 2019



Vista Mar Marina, new in 2018. Its an easy day sail from Panama City, roughly 45 miles to the northeast. Entrance is very simple and the T jetty is usually available for arriving boats. There is loads of room. The docks are long and wide with nice big cleats and a variety of power options. Water is free. There is some surge but its not been a problem while we've been here. Rates are considerably better than Panama. The Marina is part of a larger Golf Resort Complex and there are some nice facilities available for marina guests use. Two restaurants, Tennis courts, Gym and a very nice swimming pool with a bar! In the hot humid weather of Panama in July, this is a welcome respite. 

There is daily transport available from the Marina to Coronado, the nearest centre, for $2 per person. Coronado has at least 4 major supermarkets, several hardware stores, and a small chandler.  There are a lot of Expats living in the area so there are plenty of choices.


To get to Panama city you can catch a big touring bus from the bus stop in Coronado for just $5 per person and after an hour and a half on the bus, you can be in Panama City's Albrook Mall. The traffic in Panama is awful so it's worth making sure you avoid the peak times. There is also a Mail Box Etc. facility with an outlet in Coronado making the purchase of tricky items, from the US for example, very simple. (You can google Mail Boxes Etc)

Janake, David. Kris, Leanne, Grahame, David and Trevor. Leela, Taipan Perigee and Red Skelton
Enjoying another evening at the French Restaurant in Visa Mar.
Vista Mar Marina, Panama, has been our home for the past three weeks. During the period we've ordered from Massachusets and received,  our replacement anchor, a Rocna 40.  Brian Edwards (507 66752254) made a timely modification to our bow roller to accommodate it. 




The wretched batteries were sourced locally, just a ten-minute drive inland. Casa de las Baterias in Coronado delivered very quickly and one of the staff spoke perfect English which really helped. 

Nice long dock. Forestay replacement and modifications to the battery area.

The forestay has been replaced, whether it needed it or not, and the Furlex was dismantled checked, cleaned and reassembled while we waited on the 18m of half-inch wire to be delivered from Florida. Yes at extortionate Fedex rates.. Mike Barker, Marine Scene (67276722) local rigger assisted and also did a rig check. 

During our first week here we had to apply for a Long Stay French Visa so we can stay in French Polynesia for longer than 3 months. This process was annoyingly complicated by language difficulty. No French. As luck would have it two other boats here had recently gone through the process and Leanne off Perigee offered to help me which was much appreciated. 

I will try to simplify the steps for anyone following me down this path.

We had made our appointment for the application before we left Galapagos so all we had to do was get the supporting documents, create an account on the website and fill in the application before the appointment date. (We each needed an appointment.) Link to make your appointment.

Step 1. Go to this website..


Step 2
Follow the instructions! (Don't be confused by the fact that it's a US website. All will be revealed.... just follow the instructions.)

Step 3
When you have filled in the form and checked and rechecked it you will submit it and its done. You will receive a confirmation email.


We went to our appointment on the big bus from Coronado and then caught a taxi from the Albrook Terminal. It's about a 20-minute ride if the taxi doesn't get lost. The Embassy is easy to find. The old town area where the Embassy is located is a tourist area and there are numerous souvenir outlets and some good coffee shops and restaurants. It was an easy and enjoyable way to fill in the spare time we allowed.


Enjoying the Old City


The interviews were conducted separately and it was all over in half an hour. Now we wait for the Visas.




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