Spain, Cartagena - checking in and out
The wonders and joys of the Schengen space and freedom of movement, in our case this means hunting down the immigration offices responsible for the task of controlling non-Schengen passports. Nowadays most entries are done at airports so in some places finding the related immigration offices seems to be a real treasure hunt for that precious stamp that proves the exit of Schengen space legally and on time as a yachtie/sailor.
Checking in Cartagena was not exactly easy, it’s a port of entry but Customs seem to be only used to handling the big cruisers and cargo ships not giving much attention to yachties even when the marina calls them because they have a foreign vessel to deal with.
We arrived in Cartagena Friday night after office hours, so the following morning we made our first attempt to get in contact with the authorities with the assistance of the marina staff but we were informed they would only come Monday so we should remain within the marina space. Monday we returned to the marina reception office to wait for the authorities as indicated Saturday but after when the lady called immigration they asked if we were ok to walk by ourselves to the commercial harbour (half an hour walk) to go to their office because they were busy with the cruise liners that arrived that morning.
We accepted and got on our way there, with very vague directions: exit the marina, turn right, walk to the roundabout, turn right and walk to the roundabout with the big blue crane, and the commercial harbour is on the right. Once we arrived the immigration officers were still not very convinced they needed to stamp us into Schengen but eventually agreed that we needed indeed otherwise we would be illegal in Spain.
Anyway, in case anyone needs the precious stamp to legally enter or leave Schengen from Cartagena and on time here’s the address and phone number:
Policia Nacional - Oficina Extranjería y Fronteras
Paseo del Muelle, 48
(Yacht Port Cartagena knows the direct phone number and of good assistance)
With a stamped passport we prepared to sail to the Balearic Islands knowing we needed to stamp out of Schengen in Menorca, Mahón (confirmed port of entry).