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Old 23-08-2013, 08:52   #1
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Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

I'm looking to take a trip on my Bayfield 25 to the Bahamas with my Jack Russell Terrier.

My question is how much money do I really need? I think I will probably come into a marina maybe once a week, other than that, I will anchor wherever I go. I'm wondering about food costs, fuel (diesel), customs fees, dockage estimates, and whatever else I may be forgetting.

Any help and advice would be appreciated!
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Old 23-08-2013, 10:50   #2
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

Food: Take all you can provision from the states, especially if you like snack food, beer. Rum is cheap

Fuel: Expect to pay $5.50/gal or more (lots more in some places)


Entry Fees: They say they rescinded the increase, so it would be $150 for a 30' or less boat; however, I suggest you be prepared to pay the new $250 amount...things change very quickly.


Dockage: Runs the gamut -- You can find decent dockage in Bimini for under a buck, but most other areas run in the $2 - $4/ft. range. Anchoring is my favorite, especially in the Out Islands.


Have a great time!!!
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:05   #3
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

We will be there mid September. Flying in thou. If you are near Culmer's Cay, drop in. We will be camping and surveying the island Sept 16- 23.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:06   #4
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

Unless there is something specific you need in a marina there is no need to go into a marina, ever. We like to go into a marina in Nassau to clear in and get supplies which are cheaper than in the States, (essentially rum ). In most places you'll visit in the Bahamas there are few marinas.

Food is nearly twice the price as the States. Meat is the highest and the quality in most places not the best. $5 for romaine hearts, sometimes they're $7 and not the freshest. Eggs are about the same price as the States. Milk much more, we use powdered. Limes are .50 to a dollar each but they do add a lot to a rum drink. (Here in Toronto they're ten for a dollar.) Take all your paper products with you, very expensive in the Bahamas. If you're a beer drinker it's about $40 a case. Don't know about dog food but take it with you if you can. Water is readily available, free if you know where.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:18   #5
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

we just got back last week from a two month cruise in the abacos. i will write here of the abacos, although most comments apply to anywhere in the bahamas.

1. you will have to get papers for your dog. this website has some info about that subject under 'pets'.

Bahamas Ports of Entry - Bahamas Vacation Travel Guide by Bahamas-Travel.info

2. your entry fee is currently $150 which is good for 3 months with a free renewal for 3 more months. there is a rumor that the fee for your size boat is going up to $200. this fee also includes a fishing/spearfishing permit.

3. we paid an average of $5.50 for fuel -gas or diesel. you will also have to buy water. we paid 20 cents a gallon at treasure cay; some places want considerably more. bottled water was $1.50 to 2.00 a gallon.

4. dockage is optional - you will probably never need to take a dock. off season (right now) it's less than $1 a foot at many places, excepting the 'upscale' marinas where it might be double or triple that. better to spend the money on a good dinghy and anchor gear.

5. food costs more. often double what you pay in the states. if you're budget minded, bring all you can. any 'specialty' foods - like oreo cookies - can be outrageously priced. we average $15 per person at the restaraunts, but one of them in particluar (junovia's in marsh harbor) is so good it's worth it - and the portions will keep you full for a day.

beer is also expensive. if you consume mass quantities, you might want to bring your own. averages $2 to $3 in stores, $5 at bars.

don't count on catching fish.

6. depths are mostly shallow. in the abacos the deepest water is 20 feet, but anchorages are normally less than 8 feet. you won't need a lot of rode, so i recommend 100 feet of chain. after 35 years i have finally found the best anchor i've ever owned - the manson supreme. it has never failed to take a deep hold and hang on like a bulldog. a 25 pounder would probably work great on your boat. don't go cheap on anchoring gear. you will spend most of your cruise at anchor, and you don't want to worry every time a blow comes through.

7. get the explorer charts for the part of the bahamas you will be in. if it's the northern bahamas, it's the explorer chartbook for the near bahamas. this is the bible of charts for the bahamas - even the electronic charts are based on this one (except navionics, and boats have run aground or been lost using their charts). a couple of handheld gps', a good ships compass, binoculars, hand bearing compass, and your eyeballs are, in my humble opinion, all you need for navigating to, through, and back from the bahamas.

http://www.explorercharts.com/

having said that, the steve dodge cruising guide to the abacos is also desirable, and for thirty bucks it's worth it. it has lots of pictures of entrances to inlets and aerial photos that make navigating a whole lot more visual.

White Sound Press

7. money. the u.s. and bahamian dollars are 'on par', meaing they're worth exactly the same, and you'll find them used interchangeably everywhere you go. there are banks with atm's in the large towns, some that are open five days a week. in the smaller islands there may be no bank at all or it just opens one day a week for a few hours. i don't ask locals to take credit cards; many of them either don't or will charge you an extra fee for accepting them. how much should you bring? how much you got?

on the other hand, we were gone for two months and when we got back i sat down and figured out about how much the two months cost us. i've come to the conclusion that it was cheaper to live on our boat in the abacos then back home in florida.

while i'm on this subject, let me remind you to bring your passport and drivers license. you will need your passport to enter the bahamas and it will be your id when you do your banking.

8. google 'rebecca burg'. she's based in the florida keys but has made trips to the bahamas, first on her bayfield 25, now on her bayfield 29. she also has videos on you tube which are worth watching. you might even email her for her views - as a fellow bayfield owner i'm sure she'll be receptive.

those are the basics that i can think of right now. if i think of anything else important i'll get back to you. in the meantime i'm sure you'll get many more responses. you can also search the forum for 'bahamas' and probably come up with lots more (and probably better) information.

all of the above notwithstanding, just go. you'll have a great time.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:39   #6
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

Quote:
Originally Posted by onestepcsy37 View Post
we just got back last week from a two month cruise in the abacos. i will write here of the abacos, although most comments apply to anywhere in the bahamas.


2. your entry fee is currently $150 which is good for 3 months with a free renewal for 3 more months. there is a rumor that the fee for your size boat is going up to $200. this fee also includes a fishing/spearfishing permit.

.
The entry fee or cruising permit is good for one year. That's for the boat. Then there is immigration. Some places the officer will give you 6 months, some places 3 months and in some cases only one month. This can be renewed by an immigration officer when it's close to expiry.

There is no charge for the immigration visa or renewal.
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:42   #7
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

I too have a sailing vessel "Stargazer" and have been cruising the Abacos for the past forty years. Onestepcsy37 gave the best advice but you neglected to say what time you were planning on. Remember hurricane season lasts until November and the nights can be chilly in the northern Bahamas. If you go down around Georgetown and the Exumas the water and weather stays warm even during he winter. Always check the charts and get local knowledge as to where to duck into if the weather turns bad. If your ground tackle isn't what it should be, make it a priority or take a mooring ball in a protected area. Black Sound in Green Turtle Cay comes to mind and I know you can get a good rate for extended stays.
All the best,
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Old 23-08-2013, 11:52   #8
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

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Originally Posted by clifford sloan View Post
If your ground tackle isn't what it should be, make it a priority or take a mooring ball in a protected area. Black Sound in Green Turtle Cay comes to mind and I know you can get a good rate for extended stays.
All the best,
Clif
It may be that the moorings around Green Turtle are ok but be very wary of mooring balls in the Bahamas. Most of them are seldom inspected. I have seen many boats ashore that relied on mooring balls. Met one guy that couldn't believe that he drifted through a tricky channel in the dark after his mooring ball failed and didn't run aground or hit anything. He said he had sweat buckets getting into the anchorage!!

I never pick up a mooring in the Bahamas.
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Old 23-08-2013, 12:40   #9
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

vasco is right about the mooring balls. the only place i took one was in hopetown harbor, and that's because you pretty much have to. the mooring balls in settlement harbor, great guana cay, were downright scary. best to rely on your own anchoring system, so make sure you spend your money on that.

i forgot to mention that modern marvel that has become almost a requirement for modern cruising - wifi. we used it to get weather reports and calling home using skype. it works. wifi is free some places and expensive other places. it's such a jumble that you just have to get in there and ask around. for instance, at treasure cay we had free and powerful wifi 24/7. at marsh harbor we paid $35 a week for pretty good service. at great guana we had none.
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Old 23-08-2013, 14:20   #10
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

You didn't say how long your cruise is. If it's relatively short you can save money by taking as much of your provisions as possible. We plan on $1000 per month. That includes provisions, fuel, water, occasional restaurants/entertainment, occasional marina. Make sure to take some extra for emergencies.

Marinas are budget killers. If you anchor out, then you can cruise as frugally as you are comfortable with. Some costs are fixed, like the customs fees. Others like fuel and water are variable. Try estimating your usage and come up with a budget. Assume you will motor alot, especially if you plan to go down the ditch.

Where are you in Beaufort? We keep Painkiller at Marsh Harbor on Lady's Island. We'll be heading south this winter. When are you going?

Scott
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Old 23-08-2013, 14:42   #11
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

Don't forget to apply for your pet import permit well in advance. It usually takes a month or more to get it.
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Old 23-08-2013, 15:08   #12
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

What is the fee for a 50 ft sail boat to check in to the Bahamas?
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Old 23-08-2013, 19:50   #13
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

at the moment, it's $300; there's been talk about raising it to $400.

the rule at the moment is, boats up to 30 feet = $150. over 30 feet = $300.
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Old 24-08-2013, 05:14   #14
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Re: Planning a Trip to the Bahamas

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Stargazer.
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Old 26-08-2013, 10:15   #15
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Wow, thanks for all the responses, I really appreciate the input! I think I will take the next two months and work my tail off. There are a few things the boat needs before we go. I'm going to buy a second anchor. I need a stove, a boom vang, an EPIRB, a dinghy, and probably a lot of other things. But I'm not going to let all my needs deter me!
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