Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Start the Schengen clock!

Note update at bottom of this blog posting.

Before I describe this day, here is what Bill posted on Facebook this morning:
One of the old fort entrances by ferry dock in Rhodes.

"Yesterday we rented a car with 2 other couples and drove 2 hours to a fast-ferry; which in 1 hour goes from Turkey to the island of Rhodes, Greece (Car = $50 and Ferry = $116 per couple - round trip, or total $166/couple).
Then, a taxi to a market that sells pork ($22 round trip/couple). Next, picked up ham, bacon, pork chops, salt pork, sausage, etc. ($104 for Judy and me). Had Lunch ham & cheese on a baguette ($33 for Judy and me). Back to the ferry and back to Turkey.
Crenelation above one of the fort entrances 

Turkish Customs officer called his supervisor to inspect my bag full of pork. Asked were we were going with all of that pork. We said our boat in Fethiye which is about 2 hours from Marmaris...he waived us through (whew!). Back in the car and 2 hours back to our boat.
Cost of having pork = Priceless"

No need to read any further.  That is a perfect synopsis.

L-R: Bill (BeBe), Robin & Rick (Endangered Species),
Barbary and Frank (Destiny)
Lunch in Rhodes

There are 3 American boats docked here at Yacht Classic Hotel in Fethiye for the winter.  All of us did travel back to the States during the winter and have all returned to our boats.  And we all needed to make a trip to somewhere in Greece so we could start our Schengen clocks.  As I have mentioned many times previously, the Schengen Treaty wreaks havoc for most non-European cruisers.  The only people who have no problems with the treaty limitations are those from New Zealand; they get 90 days in each country.  The rest of us are allowed only 90 days within the Schengen territory out of 180-day period.  Usually, because boats are a slow mode of transport, that really means 90 days IN and 90 days OUT.  But technically there is a way to get almost 6 months IN.  
Looking at tip of Rhodes harbor; Turkey in distance

It means making a day trip to a Schengen country.   Have your passport stamped in and out; that starts the first 180-day clock for Schengen purposes, with one day of your allotted 90 days being used for that one day in/out clearance.  So you have 89 days left to be in Schengen territory during the next 179 days.

This is what we did yesterday.  Cleared in and out of Greece on 11 March 2014; 180 days will end on the 7th day of September.  Then we can start a second 180-day period on 8 September 2014, or any day thereafter.   We can then stay within Schengen countries for another 90 days. 

More of the tip of the Rhodes harbor with Turkey
in distance.  Lovely views for lunch.

Each of the 3 boats owned by the 3 couples who visited Rhodes yesterday have very different plans for this year's sailing season.  Rick and Robin on Endangered Species will be sailing to Italy and then points farther west, as they plan to cross the Atlantic near the end of this year.  Frank and Barbara on Destiny plan to cruise the Greek isles, then return to Turkey and berth Destiny while they make land trips to Europe.  Bill and I on BeBe will be sailing through Greek isles of both Aegean and Ionian for a couple of months, then Montenegro for a few weeks (not EU or Schengen territory), and then Croatia for a couple of months (EU but not Schengen until 2015).  We will depart Croatia and sail to Italy.  We will depart Croatia around 7 Sept so that when we arrive in Italy on 9 September or after, then we will be starting a second 180-day period for the Schengen Treaty countries.  We will be able to stay in Italy until 7 December, when we must leave for minimum 90 days.  We will return to the USA, then return to Italy in March 2015 to start the process all over again.  All of the European countries bordering the Med are participants of the Schengen Treaty except for Croatia, which is supposed to join Schengen next year.  There really is nowhere for boats to go to get out of Schengen territory now that the northern Africa countries are no longer 'safe.'

Castle inside the old fort at Rhodes

The closest Greek isle to Fethiye is Rhodes.  Normally there is regular ferry service, but since this is the winter season the ferries will not resume operation from Fethiye until mid-April.  That is too late to help for any of us, so Bill rented a van large enough to accommodate the 6 of us and we drove to Marmaris to catch the ferry to Rhodes.  It was an easy trip and accomplished 2 things for all of us: 1) Start that Schengen 180-day clock; and, 2) Buy pork!  And there is very good pork to be purchased in Rhodes.

More of the old fort.  This thing is enormous!
Bill and I wanted to shop a Lidl store.  This is a German supermarket chain found in many European countries.  Their stores are small and the selection is minimal, but what is sold is good quality at good prices.  No frills; just good basics.  We had checked online before this trip and knew the nearest Lidl was supposedly 30 km distant, so Bill bargained with a taxi driver at the port to take us and Robin and Barbara to Lidl, wait 30 minutes for us to shop, and then deliver us to the nearest bar/restaurant to the taxi stand in the old city.  Frank and Rick would walk around while we shopped and would meet us there.

Orthodox priest waiting for the ferry to Marmaris.  This
photo does not do him justice.  Need to view him head-on
to appreciate the full effect of his garments.

Worked perfectly.  We 3 ladies filled our insulated bags with bacon, ham, tenderloins and pork chops.  Amazing how quickly one can shop when only want very specific items and space is limited as well as weight.  Back past the port and over to the old city where we easily located Rick and Frank.  We enjoyed a very leisurely lunch.  Then Bill, Rick and I found another taxi to bring us and all the loaded bags back to the port while Frank, Barbara and Robin walked back.

We all hit the Duty-Free shop for scotch, vodka and rum and whatever treasurers were to our individual liking.  Then a pleasant ferry ride back to Marmaris.  Rick did a mad dash to an electronics store and we were headed out of Marmaris at exactly 17:00 because the van had to be returned to the rental agency in Fethiye before 19:00.  We made it back with 10 minutes to spare.  A great day!

Mehmet with good-sized sea bass

As for happenings here in Fethiye, nothing much going on -- yea!

Mehmet is the dock master and during slow work times he enjoys spear fishing.  Here is one he shot from the dock recently.  It is rare to see fish this large in this area.  Way to go Mehmet!  Excellent shot right through the head.

Minjun (Cathy) and Peng (Roc) aboard BeBe

One day a couple from China were walking the docks and Bill chatted with them.  Later they returned and took some photos aboard BeBe.  Cathy and Roc (Minjun and Peng -- Chinese always have English names as well as Chinese names) were married 6 months ago.  They have been traveling all over the world since their wedding.  Minjun brings her wedding dress along and Peng photographs her in the wedding dress in each country.  They visited with us for an hour or so.  This is what we love about cruising foreign lands -- meeting people from different cultures.  Who would think of meeting a Chinese couple while traveling in Turkey!  Both Minjun and Peng speak good English but for any words they did not know they used their iPhones for translation.  Technology makes communication so easy today, even between different languages.  Hope they enjoy the rest of their visit to Turkey.

Oh!  And there was a big party at the hotel recently.   Held outdoors at night even though it was cold, live band and all.  Supposedly hosted by an Australian celebrity.  The staff at the hotel do not say which celebrities visit but there are many signed photos on a wall near the lobby.  One photo is of Russell Crowe.  Hmmmmm.....could it have been him visiting here again?  Rumor is that he is filming another movie which is being filmed on location in nearby Karakoy.  Do not know anything about this movie but if it is being filmed in Karakoy then just maybe it is a movie version of the book 'Birds Without Wings' -- and I would love to see a movie about that.

P.S. added 14 March 2014
A few people contacted us after reading this blog posting to inform us that we were wrong about the 90/180 Schengen rule and that what we were planning to do is illegal because the 180-day period is constantly rolling.  That is not true!  Below is a response from a contributor on Cruisers Forum to a question I posed about the 90/180 rule; I stated that one must leave for 90 days after staying 90 days within Schengen territory.  I would never accept advice from a poster on any forum as being correct but he provides a link to the actual court case pertaining specifically to what we plan to do.

"It seems that everyone gets this wrong. First, there is no rule about how long one must stay out of the Schengen Area before re-entering -- not 180 days, not 90 days. It all depends on one's history of prior visits. One must understand the Schengen concept of "first entry". Every "first entry" starts a new six month period during which up to 90 days may be spent in the Schengen Area. These 90 days need not be consecutive. Every entry is either a "first entry" or a re-entry. Only a "first entry" starts the six month clock running. One must be outside the Schengen Area at midnight six months after every "first entry". Then the next entry will be another "first entry" and one has another 90 days -- even if one was in the Schengen Area for 89 days in the previous three months.

If one is entering, departing, entering, departing, entering, .... frequently, then it becomes necessary to trace all the way back to the beginning in order to figure out which entries are "first entries" and which are re-entries within a six month period. Staying outside the SchengenArea for six months would break the chain and it would not be necessary to trace the entries and exits further back to a time before a six month hiatus.

The European Court of Justice case which definitively interpreted these rules is Nicolae Bot v Prefet du Val-de-Marne." 

Link to that court case:

Read the court case.  What we plan to do is perfectly within the law regarding adherence to Schengen Treaty tourist visa limits.

Got a headache yet?  We do.  People often ask what is the most difficult thing we have to deal with as we cruise around the world.  Our answer is always BUREAUCRACY!  Dealing with Customs and Immigration rules for each country.  It is a royal pain.  But necessary.  After all, it is their countries; they can write whatever laws they wish.  It is our obligation to obey.
Added 17 March 2014

A friend continued to research current rules regarding Schengen day limitations.

(I do not understand the final paragraph in  '2. The short-stay calculator" in the above link.) 

As of 18 Oct 2013 the rules changed yet again.  The judgment of the court case of Nicolae Bot v Prefet du Val-de-Marne is no longer valid.  The new rules are 90-days in within ANY 180-day period, with no specific beginning date or ending date for that 180-day period.  Isn't that just as clear as mud!

Basically, I construe that to mean the rules are now what I originally thought were the rules years ago: can only have 90 days within all Schengen countries combined and then must leave for 90 days.

Good damn luck doing this on a boat.  Really, I am sick to death of dealing with this.  
Cruising the Med is just not worth this stress and I will be glad to wave goodbye.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will be posted after we confirm that you are not a cyber stalker.