i was hailed by bdf last summer.
i crossed west palm to memory rock to great sale
to spanish cay to green turtle cay where i checked in. i flew q flag and never went ashore until green turtle. spanish cay, by the way, is a port of entry but i chose not to clear in there.
we had anchored off spanish cay for the night, well within view of the marina and the possibility of clearing in there. in the morning we picked up anchor
and i began
heading back to the channel so we could turn to the course for green turtle. as usual, i had my handheld at the helm
. my wife was looking back and said to me 'there's a big boat coming up behind us'. i just assumed it was a fishing
boat coming out of spanish and didn't look back. a moment later she said 'it's getting pretty close'. as i was about to look back i get a call on the radio
bdf: 'one step, p49'.
me; 'p49, one step'
bdf; 'one step, go to 14'.
me; 'one step going to 14'.
me; 'one step standing by on 14'
bdf; 'one step, what was your last port of call?'
me; 'p49, last port was west palm beach florida'
bdf; 'one step, what is your destination
me; 'p49, my destination
is green turtle cay where i will be clearing in'
bdf; 'one step, you are required to clear in at your nearest port of entry. you should have cleared in at west end'.
me; ' p49, i came by way of memory rock, great sale
, spanish cay.'
bdf; ' one step, next time clear in at west end'.
me; 'thank you for the information, p49'
bdf; 'going back to 16'
me; ' going back to 16'
i went on to green turtle and cleared in. saw p49 patrolling next day but they never called me again.
i don't consider this encounter anything but ordinary. bdf was very business like about everything. i don't agree with them about having to clear at west end but it's their country and if that's the rule
then so be it. i'm not crazy about west end mostly because of having to enter the banks through poorly marked indian cay channel; memory rock is shorter and less bothersome.
two years before i was boarded by our coast guard after leaving bimini
enroute to fort lauderdale
. about ten miles out of bimini
i saw a cutter
about two miles off. after a bit they sent an inflatable
over with four kids
. they asked me a few general questions, then checked back with the cutter
and told me they would be doing a boarding for inspection
. two came aboard. one walked through the boat with me to check for safety gear
while the other sat in the cockpit
and filled out a form. they were on my boat for about ten minutes, then left me a copy of the form they had filled out and left.
two weeks later, friends of ours made the same crossing and were boarded by the same cutter. they're a very ordinary looking middle aged couple in a prout 39 cat. they had a different experience. the coasties nearly took their boat apart looking for contraband, and of course found nothing.....