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Old 07-12-2008, 08:42   #1
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Bahamas Checkin ?

Bahamas Checkin?

Hi, y'all,

Well, the best laid plans, etc. We're not going to the Keys, after all. Instead, we'll cross to from Miami to the Bahamas later this week, assuming the weather holds.

We'd love to have the least-hassled, simplest, checkin possible - and since we don't have to go ashore, nor pick anyone up, for a while, anywhere in the north end of the bahamas would work, essentially.

So, who's been there, done that, that can say which to avoid, and which to favor, as well as how to get the longest visa? And, of course, any advice would be appreciated on low-budget entertainment and low-level diving or snorkeling. We'll not dock other than to take on fuel and water, and unlikely we'll moor, either, unless safety or inevitability intervene. We have a hookah rig which we'll use at 1 atm or less. From the north end we'll head south after the new year to the Exumas, so suggestions are welcomed for activity (sightseeing, "don't miss" places, fishing and shallow diving, etc.) in that area as well.

As I may not have access to this, please cc me directly on any response? Thanks. (skipgundlach atsign gmail dotsign com)

L8R

Skip, Lydia and crew Portia the seagoing cat and Lydia's 83 yo mother, back for her second cruise with us.

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Old 07-12-2008, 11:21   #2
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I usually check in @ Bimini:
Free dockage at the Governent dock, but we use Weeches marina instead. Usually we spend the night, have dinner and drinks in Alicetown.

The custom house is right next door, 2 minute walk.

Don't try to dock while the current is running, easy to loose control.
Go in a slack hig or low.

We have also checked in at Cat Cay: Anchored the big boat, then taking the dink in.

(In Bimini they insist you take the big boat to a dock or marina)

Some folks check in @ Chub Cay or Nasseau.
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Old 07-12-2008, 12:50   #3
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I was not aware that you had to be at a dock! I have seen many people anchor out and come into customs in their dingy! But I agree about Weeches they only charge about 40.00 for check in
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Old 07-12-2008, 16:23   #4
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They have made me come in twice when I was anchored...they are just being bloody minded as they then do not check the boat...I prefer the Big Game Club...nice pool and bar. I then anchor out and continue to eat, drink and shower there.
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Old 07-12-2008, 17:20   #5
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My last trip to Bimini there were no slips available anywhere, plus a 15-20 kt east wind making it a bit dicy to dock anyway. I anchored off the beach and took the dinghy in and was never asked one way or the other the location of the boat.

Not sure if this is still the policy, but in the past when I spent a good deal of time in the Bahamas I was told by several customs officers that they were rotated to different islands on a regular basis. So a friendly officer in one spot may not be there the next year.
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Old 07-12-2008, 20:39   #6
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I anchored off the beach and took the dinghy in and was never asked one way or the other the location of the boat.
Yup, that could happen once in a while:

I have been to the Bahamas 26 times and checked in at Bimini 23 times.
Every time they asked where the boat was?

If you tell them it is anchored off the beach you will be told to come back after your bring the boat to a dock.

Before 9/11 you could get away with cheating and lying, but not anymore.

Cat and other places are more casual about bringing the boat to a dock.

Looks like a local policy in Bimini to support the economy.
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Old 07-12-2008, 20:53   #7
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At Cat you will pay big bucks for dockage or a substantial fee to land the dinghy and clear in.
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Old 07-12-2008, 21:16   #8
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Yup, that could happen once in a while:

I have been to the Bahamas 26 times and checked in at Bimini 23 times.
Every time they asked where the boat was?

If you tell them it is anchored off the beach you will be told to come back after your bring the boat to a dock.

Before 9/11 you could get away with cheating and lying, but not anymore.

Cat and other places are more casual about bringing the boat to a dock.

Looks like a local policy in Bimini to support the economy.
Well, 26 beats me a mile. Would have to stop and count but I think I've made about a dozen, but only checked into Bimini 3 times. Of course if asked I would have confirmed my location but didn't seem to be an issue. I had always thought one had to be at the dock to clear but there were NO slips. Some kind of sport fishing tournement going on.

I pulled up to the gas docks at the few marinas with empty slips but was told that they were all reserved and I could not even dock long enough to clear customs. So while I was cruising around trying to figure out what to do the Nekton dive boat dropped anchor off the beach and someone came in in a dinghy with a briefcase full of papers and headed up the street to customs (definitely supporting the economy there). Figured if they could I could. Of course it would be quite a trick to fit that boat into the cut at Bimini so maybe that's how they qualified for special treatment.

So I wasn't asked where the boat was, but the situation does beg the question, what does one do when there is no room at the inn? If there is no place to dock do you have to turn around and go back to FL?
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:25   #9
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I will add a bit of fuel to the controversy here. When we crossed the Gulf stream last year and came into dock, our instructor (who has been doing this for 40 years) said they (the marina) could not charge us for tieing up for customs, just for staying the night. We were'nt charged too much that night, but it wasn't during the busy season either. I saw a few boats dock, clear customs, then move off to anchor.
I guess it helps when you know everybody there too.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:40   #10
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I will add a bit of fuel to the controversy here. When we crossed the Gulf stream last year and came into dock, our instructor (who has been doing this for 40 years) said they (the marina) could not charge us for tieing up for customs, just for staying the night. We were'nt charged too much that night, but it wasn't during the busy season either. I saw a few boats dock, clear customs, then move off to anchor.
I guess it helps when you know everybody there too.
newt, that is great but it might help a bit if we knew exactly where this happened since we were not with you
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:52   #11
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but the situation does beg the question, what does one do when there is no room at the inn? If there is no place to dock do you have to turn around and go back to FL?
In that case you have a valid reason to anchor off the beach and take the dink in.

Before they dredged the new channel you did not have to come in if your draft was over 7 feet or some such number.

Quote:
At Cat you will pay big bucks for dockage or a substantial fee to land the dinghy and clear in.
Heard the same thing, but checked in a Cat twice and was never charged for dinghy-docking. 'Course I never really tried to look up the DockMaster to check in and give him money: Just found a suitable space for the dink, tied it up and walked across the street to the custom house, cleared in and quietly left minus my $150.00 for the Cruising Permit.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:00   #12
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In that case you have a valid reason to anchor off the beach and take the dink in.

Before they dredged the new channel you did not have to come in if your draft was over 7 feet or some such number.



Heard the same thing, but checked in a Cat twice and was never charged for dinghy-docking. 'Course I never really tried to look up the DockMaster to check in and give him money: Just found a suitable space for the dink, tied it up and walked across the street to the custom house, cleared in and quietly left minus my $150.00 for the Cruising Permit.
When was the last time you checked in over there cause it is now $300.00 and has been for a while.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:21   #13
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When was the last time you checked in over there cause it is now $300.00 and has been for a while.
August 2008.

$150.00 for boats under 35 feet, $300.00 for bigger boats.
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:28   #14
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Entry fees must be paid by all visiting yachts and are as follows:
- $150 for all vessels under 35 feet
- $300 for vessels over 35 feet

These fees are inclusive of a 12 month cruising permit, 3 month fishing permit and departure tax for up to four persons (captain plus 3 crew). Each additional person (over the age of 6) will be charged departure tax of $15 per person. These fees are not applicable to dinghies and life rafts imported via such vessels.
One should be sure to obtain a receipt from the clearing officer.
Extensions to the fishing permit cost an additional $150 for 12 months.
The cruising permit may be extended for an additional 2 years on application to Customs and payment of a fee of $500 per year's extension (further details above in the Customs section).
There are no overtime or other charges.
Last updated October 2008
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Old 08-12-2008, 10:52   #15
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Forgot about the size difference, with the new boat we will only be paying $150 instead of $300. There is something to be said for downsizing.
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