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Old 09-08-2010, 11:12   #16
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@Easterly: I believe the Niagara is on the first or second pier in Orleans. I don't know what the inside looks like, but the price seems about right. If you see anything else that looks promising, please let me know.

@Denverd0n: So far, the USVI is the place to go for employment. My Spanish is working knowledge, though I shudder to think of rapid arguments in that language. Initially, work would be for service industry, but possible attending the Land School the year after. From the research I have done, it's a needed skill in the USVI and cruising ships in general. I'm curious as to the work permit process in foreign countries, wondering if it's any easier to starting a business (LLC?) and making it through the red tape. So far, it's a pipe dream, but it appears that I am in good company!

@Osirissail: Thanks SO much for the detailed travel plans! I have picked up VanSant's book and am enjoying it thoroughly. This is the Thornless Path? As to the pleasures/dangers to a young man, I'm a native New Orleanian. It's a BIT different from the rest of the US, but still much different from the Islands. Perhaps a nice middle ground? Stories I could tell you about my Mexico excursions - Oye.

When you speak of down island, is this Venezuela or Trinidad?

As to crime, NOLA and the USVI (from what I've read) are similar in those aspects. What's the CCW permit regulations on USVI? Or is this even necessary? It seems that, other than the Bahamas, PR and USVI, it's not allowed.

What's the (What would I call myself if I worked there?) community? Close-knit? Friendly? As to employment, would it be worth gaining Master Diver certification and getting employed as a second gig? Thus far, bar tending, waiting tables and hospitality jobs are in the forefront. Is there a market for Marine Systems Technicians?

Thanks everyone who has commented thus far! I appreciate the outflow of support as I'm gathering information for this milestone!
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Old 09-08-2010, 12:10   #17
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Originally Posted by osirissail
A very critically important point to remember. You DO NOT want to get "DEPORTED" stamped in your passport. That will end all your international travel opportunities until you get a new passport. You will be a persona-non-grata everywhere except in your home country.
I'm pretty sure I've told this story before, but it bears repeating.

I know a fellow who did the stereotypical backpacking through Europe trip after graduating from high school, some 30+ years ago. He ran out of money along the way and decided to get a job. Of course, he did not have a work permit, but he soon found a pub in Glasgow that would hire him to work off the books. Long story short: a few weeks later he got caught and was deported.

Fast forward 20 years. He is now a very successful businessman, working for a large corporation. His company decides to send him to a meeting in their London office. Can you see it coming? When he lands at Heathrow they turn him back. 2 decades later he is still persona-non-grata in the UK, is not allowed out of the airport, and must turn around and buy himself a ticket home.

You can imagine how embarrassed he was. You can imagine how annoyed his boss was. That was the end of his days on the fast-track at that company! Not too long after he left and continued his career elsewhere. He also spent considerable time and money to get the problem cleared up so that he can now travel wherever he wishes (including the UK).

Like osirissail said, you really DO NOT want to get "DEPORTED" stamped in your passport!
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Old 09-08-2010, 17:31   #18
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Originally Posted by Preposterous View Post
. . . @Osirissail: Thanks SO much for the detailed travel plans! I have picked up VanSant's book and am enjoying it thoroughly. This is the Thornless Path? As to the pleasures/dangers to a young man, I'm a native New Orleanian. It's a BIT different from the rest of the US, but still much different from the Islands. Perhaps a nice middle ground? Stories I could tell you about my Mexico excursions - Oye.

When you speak of down island, is this Venezuela or Trinidad?

As to crime, NOLA and the USVI (from what I've read) are similar in those aspects. What's the CCW permit regulations on USVI? Or is this even necessary? It seems that, other than the Bahamas, PR and USVI, it's not allowed.

What's the (What would I call myself if I worked there?) community? Close-knit? Friendly? As to employment, would it be worth gaining Master Diver certification and getting employed as a second gig? Thus far, bar tending, waiting tables and hospitality jobs are in the forefront. Is there a market for Marine Systems Technicians? . . .
**** DON'T even think of carrying a weapon in Puerto Rico or the USVI - you will end up in jail faster than you can blink. The local regulations are written so that you must have a "local permit" and "only local residents" can get a permit. And it is just a really bad idea in general. Local crime in the islands is present but still way below the levels inside the continental US. Be prudent and street-wise as was described earlier and you will not have any problems unless you are a really an unlucky sort of person. Prepare your boat to be secure and lockable when you are gone. Chains and bolts for your outboard and be able to raise your whole dinghy/motor by a mast halyard so that it is about 9 feet off the water at night. The older and more rotten "looking" your dinghy motor the better.

On to lighter subjects - - "Down Island" refers to any island from the Bahamas to Trinidad - it is more of a direction than name - traveling eastward and southward is "down island". Traveling north up the island chain and then westward is "up island."

Venezuela is not included in most discussions as a destination because the security situation there sucks. It is politically driven and lawlessness against "gringo's" is considered good sport. If you are from any country other than a Spanish speaking country - you are considered a "gringo."

Getting work permits was discussed earlier and is not really an option currently as unemployment in the islands is about 50% +/- and jobs are hard to come by for the locals - which doesn't help the crime situation at all.

Learning Spanish is personally nice and handy in the Spanish speaking islands but of no use for working in the Virgins - French or German or British would be more useful as all the cruise ship tourists are from North America or Europe.

The working community servicing the cruise ships are all young adults from 20 to 50 and very strange and wonderful people. It is a great community and making friends is the least of your worries. Everybody is focused on earning their money but when "off" like to party hardy. If you have "people skills" you will do just fine and make your cruising kitty during the season so you can head out to other places during the hurricane season and not have to worry about money. If you play an instrument that you have with you - you can actually get gigs in other islands but normally they are limited to dinner and whatever you can drink.

The biggest problem is that the lifestyle becomes addictive and you don't want to go or do anything else. You are away from all the lunacy and paranoia of mainland USA and end up happy, content, and down right healthy - except for some killer hangovers.
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Old 10-08-2010, 09:31   #19
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@denverd: Point taken. It seems like the easiest (and honest - funny how those things go hand-in-hand) is to corral any work activities to the USVI and PR. Having "DEPORTED" on my passport will cause an end to cruising - and therefore the adventure.

@osirissail: Thanks for the excellent advice! I don't walk around NOLA with a CCW and I don't see why I would in the Caribbean - perhaps it was romanticizing the whole "pirate" thing (which is rare - just like a polar bear walking down St. Charles avenue in New Orleans). As for securing your boat, should you rely on one of those "circle" locks - the ones that cannot be cut with bolt cutters? As to the dinghy situation - do you suggest bringing the outboard below? And for the dinghy - davits or bring aboard? I suppose if it will used to dink to the dock everyday, davits would be the way to go.

Horse is dead. I'll stop beating it.

As to the rest of your comments regarding the island mentality and the folks I would meet - that sounds amazing. Looking forward to his adventure.

Thanks so much!
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Old 10-08-2010, 17:28   #20
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There is major unemployment in the eastern Caribbean primarily as the fall-out from the world financial collapse that took a delayed hit of about one year as folks who had already booked and paid for their vacations took them but the next wave never left to come down island by boat/plane/cruise ship.
- - This has most likely caused the marginal workers to lose their jobs first especially those with a drug habit. As a result minor theft and break-ins are up significantly this year. Thefts of dinghy motors and even the motors of local island fisherman (very democratic thieves) are way up at record levels.
- - So I would suggest extra precautions such as never leaving the dinghy in the water at night and lifting it about 9 feet off the water. That height is determined by the average thief standing on the bow of his piroque/panga while he unbolts your motor.
- - Multiple stainless steel chains and "circle" locks like you mentioned or "all stainless steel" padlocks on motor to dinghy and dinghy to dock. Wire cable (lifeline type material which I used to have) does not work as it can be cut with a simple nail clippers strand by strand.
- - The boat - the standard simple "hasp" latch on companion way hatches even with the most elegant padlock can be separated from the hatch with a simple screwdriver. I saw it done on my neighbors boat last month. So you need to engineer some kind of flat bars system to lock the companion way shut again with a circle padlock. Also some way of positively locking the normal deck hatches to keep them from being opened from the outside.
- - I do have a slide latch pin system on the inside of my companionway hatch to lock it when we are sleeping inside the boat.
- - You just need to pay more attention to securing your boat when you are ashore and a way to protect your stuff from being looted. Paradise is still paradise in many ways but now security is an issue just like as if you were living in a major city.
- - Take a little extra time and precautions and you will wonder why nobody is thieving from you while the naive boat next to you gets looted. The philosophy is to make it very difficult for the thief to access your boat and then he will go next door to another boat instead.
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Old 17-08-2010, 19:02   #21
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The post above sounds like the old joke about two guys running from a grizzly. One says "we can't outrun that bear!" The other says "no we can't....I just have to outrun you."
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Old 17-08-2010, 19:15   #22
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The post above sounds like the old joke about two guys running from a grizzly. One says "we can't outrun that bear!" The other says "no we can't....I just have to outrun you."
Haha, yeah you right.

Ok. Thus far, it's looking like leaving...Christ. I have no idea. I suppose September might give me the best shot to get down there casually. Like Mid-September. I have all of October and half of November to get down there. Done deal.

But damn, that's a long way away. There is that Isla Mujeres Race in May...

Looks like I'll be living like a pauper for the next year to outfit the boat and live like a pauper on the boat! Looking forward to it and looking forward to being more of a part of this forum.
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Old 17-08-2010, 20:31   #23
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The post above sounds like the old joke about two guys running from a grizzly. One says "we can't outrun that bear!" The other says "no we can't....I just have to outrun you."
Sad to say but that is exactly the best way to protect your boat and stuff. Taking some additional precautions to make your stuff more difficult to thieve encourages him to go to your neighbor who is oblivious to the situation and gets hit. Crooks are inherently lazy.
- - However, don't lose sight of the fact that the thefts are happening to a very minor percentage of all the boats cruising the Caribbean. I would hazard that the percentage is also a fraction of the number of incidents being reported by folks living on land in the USA or elsewhere. Personally I think that your own Karma has more to do with it. Some folks just walk about with the perpetual "black cloud" over their head. While others can walk through a chaotic traffic intersection blind folded and never get a scratch.
- - But on average just a few added precautions like "real" locks and security devices and some prudence about where you stop and anchor will, IMHO, put you in the group of cruisers who wonder what all the fuss is about as nothing has happened to them.
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