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Old 11-10-2005, 08:00   #16
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"Horse's Mouth

Thanks again.

However, the decal issue was making me nervous, esp as I will be leaving here in 4 working days. I therefore called Customs in Eastport, and got the info from the "horse's mouth".

It is more appropriate for me, clearing in for a cruiser's permit and leaving only once more in a calendar year to enter Canada, and esp where I have never had the decal before, to pay the fee and get the decal when I clear into the US.

Likely, the next time I enter the US, they will prefer I already have a current decal.

They also clarified that I have to call each state office as I touch any shore or dock, and that I need only call Maine's office as I leave for Canada. Quite reasonable for a country at "war".

Now, have you guys arrived at a consensus as to the best option(s) for clearing in? We seem to have Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Cape Canaveral, Fernandina Beach (can't find this on charts - can you help?), and Lake Worth (West Palm Beach, right?)Saving time in the Gulf Stream to waste fighting a river current and searching for a far-away office in a bad part of town doesn't sound like fun. Still, the charts make the Jax option look rational wrt the crossing, and if you guys say it is worth it, then it becomes "Plan A". What are the most northerly Bahama ports I might consider for clearing out?

I am glad to hear that many do attempt to use the Stream to their advantage in this area. When attempting to get experience for our travels, we once chartered a boat and captain ("Footloose" and Vince Travato) from Miami to Bimini and back. His philosophy seemed to be to get a good weather window but to spend as little time as possible in the Stream. This impression may have been the result of his course and the particular weather, however.

Vasco: I once took my father to the boat show">Annapolis boat show, and loved the place, at least during the show. Is it cruiser-friendly and economical for a stop? Got any other Chesapeake recommendations?

I hope I'm not stretching my welcome. I'm sure I will get more advice from sailors as I explore the Bahamas. There is comfort in having a plan, even if it is just to be able to ask (non-stupid) questions. Hopefully, this thread can help others, as well.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:12   #17
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Sonosailor,

First, you don't have to clear out of the Bahamas. When you clear in (and pay your $300) they give you a little form that you're supposed to mail back to them sometime after you leave. It's more like a"how did you like your stay form". They don't ask for a clearance from the Bahamas when you check into the States.

Fernandina Beach is off the St. Mary's River (watch out for big, big nuclear subs- there's a base up the river) which is also the entrance to Cumberland Island. It's about 25 miles north of the St. John's River which leads to Jacksonville. If you want to make good time, Fernandina Beach is the place to clear in. Daytona is no good, the closest inlet requires a bit of local knowledge and you'd probably have to go to the airport as there is no shipping there. The Customs office in Fernandina is fairly close by as there is some shipping there.

As for the Chesapeake, where do you start. Been cruising there since 1990 and still haven't been to all the good spots. Get one of the crusing guides in Norfolk, the marina in Portsmouth by the hospital anchorage has them. I like the quiet places on the west side. Jackson Creek, Indian Creek, Mill Bay. On the Eastern Shore St Michaels is very popular, lots of history but a bit tarted up now. There's a good nautical museum there. Tighlman Is. is nice you can still see working Skipjacks there. Then there's Annapolis , I always anchor in Back Creek there and it's a short walk to Annapolis. Further north there's lots of anchorages, I like the Sassafras River. Unfortunately all my guides and logbooks are down south on my boat so I'm just relying on my memory here. It seems you can anchor darn near anywhere in the Chesapeake without hassles. During boat show week Back Creek must have at least a hundred boats anchored there. At St. Michaels you can anchor just off the Museum.
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Old 11-10-2005, 09:46   #18
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There is a customs office within a 1/2 mile of the municipal marina in Fernandina Beach (Inside the Saint Marys river inlet). It would be worth calling them and finding out the normal hours of operation as they are there to service the few cargo ships that come to our small port.

I would think that the hard part would be immigration. I don't think they have anybody locally. You would probably have to go to Jacksonville. Don't non-US citzens have to check in in person? The customs offical may know. Here is a link...

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/toolbox/c...ts/fl/1805.xml

If/When you pass through give me a call and I'll be glad to help with what ever I can, and fill you in on Cumberland Island. PM me and I'll give you my phone number.



In this image the inlet is near the top of the photo with the south end of Cumberland forming the north shore. Watchout at the inlet as the jetties are awash at high tide. You can see the fernandina marina and downtown near the right. The customs office is north of the marina near the red cranes. The main anchorage is in the river across from the marina.

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Old 11-10-2005, 10:29   #19
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Everybody has to check in in person

Exposure,

Everyone, including US citizens, has to check in, in person now. It's now US Customs and Border Security. Immigration , the old INS doesn't appear to exist anymore. In any event the same office handles it all now. It's all part of the Homeland Security Department ( I think ).
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Old 05-11-2005, 19:04   #20
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For some photos of Cumberland Island, drop in and look at our website. I have just updated it with pictures from our many trips there. Look for the link under "adventures".

http://www.sailexposure.com/
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Old 05-11-2005, 19:40   #21
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Cumberland's a special place. It was always one of our favourite spots, either heading south or heading home going north. Last time I was there was last fall. We had the boat in Jacksonville for the summer but decided to go "backwards" to Fernandina and Cumberland before heading south. Don't know when we'll be there next as we are tending to keep the boat south of St. Augustine in the summer. Might see it again next spring if we decide to head north to store the boat in the Chesapeake. Don't have to make that decision till next April. Breathless anchored at Cumberland.
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Old 08-12-2005, 12:25   #22
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One thing no one will tell you about Cumberland Island / Fernandina Beach / St Marys GA area is that there are 3 paper mills closeby. I lived there on Fernandina Beach in the mid-80s and the stench can be unbelieveable - especially at the Fernandina waterfront when the wind is out of the south. Blows the stench from the ITT plant right at ya. And, if the wind is from the NE, you get the stench from the plant on the north end of the island near Ft Clinch.

I heard that the ST Marys plant closed down, not sure if the other 2 are still in operation.

Beautiful area - unfortunately fouled air & water courtesy of the paper industry.
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Old 09-12-2005, 07:06   #23
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Yes, the mill in Saint Marys has closed. The two mills in Fernandina are still running, althought the one at the north end of town is at a reduced capacity.

I must say that there have been several new regulations put into effect over the last ten years that have required millions of dollars to be spent and have reduced the odor considerably. These are called MACT regulations or, Maximum Available Control Technologies. They involve capturing many of the sulfur compounds and destroying them. Those are the gases most responsible for the odors. That being said, there is still some impact from the mills. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time (down wind on a calm day) there is still some smell, and they also have the sounds and sights associated with an industrial operation.

I think the impact is heightened for folks traveling south on the ICW because they have just come from the quiet marsh lands and that makes you even more sensitive.

Foul water from the mills is just not the case. It used to be in the 70's, but that has changed with the introduction of recovery boilers and the capture of spent cooking liquors instead of discharging them. What is discharged these days is well treated.

FYI, for the sake of disclosure, I am an engineer at the mill south of town (the Rayonier mill, formerly ITT).
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