Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 07-07-2016, 06:35   #1
Registered User
 
JBChicoine's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan for the time being
Boat: Bock, 14'
Posts: 105
Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Although I’m writing fiction, I hate to ignore some of the less romantic aspects of cruising, such as dealing with port authorities.

The setting is in the spring of 1984. For reasons important to my plot, the boat in question, a 47’ Bermuda yawl, needs to arrive at the Southern Yacht Club (on Lake Pontchartrain) in New Orleans. In a few days, the boat will return to Grand Cayman where it is registered. The captain is Cuban-American residing in GC. Two additional passengers are US citizens. Whatever takes place at the port authority is not important to the plot, but I don’t want to ignore the issue, either, as it does affect the timeline.

My question is: Rather than motoring or sailing up the twisty-windy, busy Mississippi to the port authority in NOLA, could the boat gain clearance in Gulfport and then simply sail up the Rigolets to Pontrchartrain, reprovison, pick up its passengers, and report back to the PA in Gulfport where said passengers would have their passports stamped?

Once they arrive in Grand Cayman, how would all that work? From what I’ve read, they could check in by VHF radio, but it seems the passengers would again need their passports stamped. I understand that sometimes the customs officer might arrange a time and place to come aboard, even traveling by car to a private marina. Did they have authority to stamp the passport? Any information on how all that works would be very helpful.

Thanks,
Bridget
__________________

__________________
I'm unsupervised & at large while trying to write...
JBChicoine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2016, 07:56   #2
Registered User
 
Sea Dreaming's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Whoo! Finally made it back to Mexico!
Boat: Cheoy Lee Offshore 38
Posts: 1,447
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Why not call the port and find out?
If you are looking for accuracy thats your best bet.
Sure, they will ask you questions. But that might lead to more authenticy and possibly new fiction threads too.
__________________

__________________
If toast always lands butter side down, and cats always land on their feet, what would happen if you strapped toast to a cat's back and dropped it? - Steven Wright
Sea Dreaming is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2016, 08:02   #3
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Carrabelle, Florida
Boat: Self-built 44' steel trawler
Posts: 840
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Gulfport Mississippi is a port of entry and has a customs office.
__________________
tkeithlu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2016, 08:03   #4
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: May 2012
Location: New Orleans
Boat: We have a problem... A serious addiction issue.
Posts: 3,823
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Coming in from off shore there is no need to check in anywhere. You would sail up the rigolets, or motor up the industrial canal to the lake. When you get a few hours out from the marina you call immigration/customs and they will typically send someone to meet you, or ask you to catch a cab to the airport to check in. It depends on how tight it's being run that week, but I have been told to check in sometime in the next two days, or wait on the boat until someone shows up. I have no idea why the difference.


Edit to add: no one ever sails up the Mississippi River. I am pretty sure it is illegal to sail on the lower Mississippi due to the at raffia seperation scheme, but even if you can do it, it would be pretty stupid. The current can easily exceed 5kn, there are all sorts of floating debris, and the amount of commercial traffic is immense.

All recreational traffic comes up the ICW, or thru the rigolets with the deciding factor being mast height. 67' is the maximum local knowledge height of the bridges thru the rigolets, the design height is 65'.
__________________
Greg

- If animals weren't meant to be eaten then they wouldn't be made of food.
Stumble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-07-2016, 08:16   #5
Registered User
 
JBChicoine's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan for the time being
Boat: Bock, 14'
Posts: 105
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Coming in from off shore there is no need to check in anywhere. You would sail up the rigolets, or motor up the industrial canal to the lake. When you get a few hours out from the marina you call immigration/customs and they will typically send someone to meet you, or ask you to catch a cab to the airport to check in. It depends on how tight it's being run that week, but I have been told to check in sometime in the next two days, or wait on the boat until someone shows up. I have no idea why the difference.


Edit to add: no one ever sails up the Mississippi River. I am pretty sure it is illegal to sail on the lower Mississippi due to the at raffia seperation scheme, but even if you can do it, it would be pretty stupid. The current can easily exceed 5kn, there are all sorts of floating debris, and the amount of commercial traffic is immense.

All recreational traffic comes up the ICW, or thru the rigolets with the deciding factor being mast height. 67' is the maximum local knowledge height of the bridges thru the rigolets, the design height is 65'.
All great information--thanks!

I'm curious about when the boat leaves, taking on passengers that will be sailing to Grand Cayman. Any idea what the procedure is when departing NOLA? Could they have their passports stamped at the port authority and then meet up at the lake and depart on the sailboat from there? Or would a customs officer be willing to meet them to take care of papers where they are moored?
__________________
I'm unsupervised & at large while trying to write...
JBChicoine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 09:23   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,105
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Nefarious folks simply ignore checking into anywhere. Famous drug merchant years ago traveled up and down the americas without bothering to go through customs, did not register his boats and vehicles, and thus left no tracking info. Before he screwed up, had a mega million dollar operation going for more than a decade.
__________________
reed1v is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 10:36   #7
Registered User

Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 436
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

If you want to add some realism to your fiction. In 1984, that area was still recovering from Hurricane Alicia (TX and LA 1983), and that may affect your passage. And the most note worthy event in Grand Cayman in 1984 was the SS RHAPSODY was grounded off of George Town for 6 weeks and some of the old bars will still make you a "Rhapsody on the Rocks" today. The night she came free, it was not long after the mosquito plane flew over Seven Mile Beach that her horn blew and blew as everyone gathered on the beach to finally see her floating once again. The next morning the landmark that stood for 6 weeks was finally gone. Grand Cayman was something truly special in the 80's before...


I would go with your thought of checking in in Gulfport, then the logical entry from the Gulf into Pontchartrain or meeting the CG at the boat at the YC. As far as Checking back into GC on the return, I think the story would be accurate to include getting to the airport to clear in from anywhere but the port in Georgetown. Things were a little more fuzzy back then and most of the locals I knew travelled on a British Passport.
__________________
tdoster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 11:14   #8
Registered User
 
SailRedemption's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: New Orleans
Boat: Kaufman 47
Posts: 671
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Coming in from off shore there is no need to check in anywhere. You would sail up the rigolets, or motor up the industrial canal to the lake. When you get a few hours out from the marina you call immigration/customs and they will typically send someone to meet you, or ask you to catch a cab to the airport to check in. It depends on how tight it's being run that week, but I have been told to check in sometime in the next two days, or wait on the boat until someone shows up. I have no idea why the difference.


Edit to add: no one ever sails up the Mississippi River. I am pretty sure it is illegal to sail on the lower Mississippi due to the at raffia seperation scheme, but even if you can do it, it would be pretty stupid. The current can easily exceed 5kn, there are all sorts of floating debris, and the amount of commercial traffic is immense.

All recreational traffic comes up the ICW, or thru the rigolets with the deciding factor being mast height. 67' is the maximum local knowledge height of the bridges thru the rigolets, the design height is 65'.
I was born in 87' so I'm not fully sure, but in 84 there would have been just swing bridges in the Rigolets and the Twin Span back then had high rises for 65'....? Or was there a bascule bridge like highway 11?

See more @ redemptiverepair.com
__________________
SailRedemption is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 12:09   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,105
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailRedemption View Post
I was born in 87' so I'm not fully sure, but in 84 there would have been just swing bridges in the Rigolets and the Twin Span back then had high rises for 65'....? Or was there a bascule bridge like highway 11?

See more @ redemptiverepair.com
So you missed all the action! Back in the late 60s through late 70s the Caymans were "lawless" in many ways, especially the parties. Kind of like a giant Prospect of Whitby's without walls nor last call hours. Unfortunately by the 80s, the rich and famous got wind of the place and destroyed it, imho.
__________________
reed1v is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 12:13   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Ladys Island, SC
Boat: Catalina-Morgan 504
Posts: 44
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

With so much research, how much will be left at the end?

I can't help thinking this exercise is headed towards research overkill, especially given the book is set in 1984. Does anyone actually remember check-in/customs procedures 32 years ago? A description of the people involved or some snappy dialog will usually draw more reader interest.

In writing my own books about murder and mayhem while cruising (see Neil Barry's Chicken of the Sea, Chicken Too, and Free Range Chicken), I did a great deal of research. Very little of it actually made it into the finished books.

How a writer's research contributes to plot, character development, a sense of realism etc. is really the issue. Too many books lecture the reader/dump unneeded facts because the writer is afraid to lose all his/her work. Weaving research so closely into the story that it belongs there, is really the key. Then, it makes the story both believable and interesting to read.

In my case, I used the research to develop a website for readers who wanted to learn more, everything from classical music to how to tie knots. A reader will quickly lose interest if the plot is overwhelmed by unnecessary detail.

For example, when my cruising family arrives in the Dom. Rep. there's interaction with some customs officials--a couple of days of research were reduced to about three words, though I learned how the process worked. Along the way I got lots of ideas and pictured the officials, and then I invented the rest.

Incidentally, I love the first paragraph of what tdoster wrote (#7). It's full of fun facts that build visual images and give character.
__________________
Wallaby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 15:56   #11
Registered User
 
JBChicoine's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan for the time being
Boat: Bock, 14'
Posts: 105
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Quote:
Originally Posted by tdoster View Post
If you want to add some realism to your fiction. In 1984, that area was still recovering from Hurricane Alicia (TX and LA 1983), and that may affect your passage. And the most note worthy event in Grand Cayman in 1984 was the SS RHAPSODY was grounded off of George Town for 6 weeks and some of the old bars will still make you a "Rhapsody on the Rocks" today. The night she came free, it was not long after the mosquito plane flew over Seven Mile Beach that her horn blew and blew as everyone gathered on the beach to finally see her floating once again. The next morning the landmark that stood for 6 weeks was finally gone. Grand Cayman was something truly special in the 80's before...
The SS RHAPSODY would be a really great detail! Alas, it seems she was pulled off the sandbar by April 2, a month before my plot timeline. I will certainly do a little more research on Hurricane Alicia though! Thanks for the suggestions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailRedemption View Post
I was born in 87' so I'm not fully sure, but in 84 there would have been just swing bridges in the Rigolets and the Twin Span back then had high rises for 65'....? Or was there a bascule bridge like highway 11?
I forget which bridges did what, but I thoroughly researched that also and wrote it, and subsequently forgot it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
With so much research, how much will be left at the end?

I can't help thinking this exercise is headed towards research overkill, especially given the book is set in 1984. Does anyone actually remember check-in/customs procedures 32 years ago?
You're right about that! All this information is that part of the research iceberg, only the tip of which I'll use. I just hate to get sloppy or lazy with details.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wallaby View Post
Incidentally, I love the first paragraph of what tdoster wrote (#7). It's full of fun facts that build visual images and give character.
I Agree!

Quote:
Originally Posted by reed1v View Post
Nefarious folks simply ignore checking into anywhere. Famous drug merchant years ago traveled up and down the americas without bothering to go through customs, did not register his boats and vehicles, and thus left no tracking info. Before he screwed up, had a mega million dollar operation going for more than a decade.
Excellent! I just happen to have a nefarious character, and he doesn't care about legalities. It's my law-abiding characters that want the information!

Thank you all for your input! Now if I can just find someone who recalls something about Grand Cayman's canals in 1984, I have a thread begging for input: Grand Cayman Canals in 1984: Question for a Work of Fiction
__________________
I'm unsupervised & at large while trying to write...
JBChicoine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 15:59   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: W Carib
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
Posts: 6,827
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Things were much more casual in the '80s. You may be looking at it through post 9-11 lenses.
__________________
belizesailor is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 16:06   #13
Registered User
 
JBChicoine's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan for the time being
Boat: Bock, 14'
Posts: 105
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Things were much more casual in the '80s. You may be looking at it through post 9-11 lenses.
Yeah, I think you're right and I appreciate your weighing in. I'm also a little OCD when it comes to detail, always nervous that I'll annoy someone who knows better! And in all honesty, I knew nothing of how all that works, and hate to overlook something as basic as gaining clearance in a foreign land.
__________________
I'm unsupervised & at large while trying to write...
JBChicoine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 16:30   #14
Senior Cruiser
 
Jim Cate's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2008
Location: cruising SW Pacific
Boat: Jon Sayer 1-off 46 ft fract rig sloop strip plank in W Red Cedar
Posts: 10,340
Send a message via Skype™ to Jim Cate
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBChicoine View Post
Yeah, I think you're right and I appreciate your weighing in. I'm also a little OCD when it comes to detail, always nervous that I'll annoy someone who knows better! And in all honesty, I knew nothing of how all that works, and hate to overlook something as basic as gaining clearance in a foreign land.
I've said this before, but will reiterate: I applaud your research efforts, and hope that you can successfully weave the facts into the fiction. I dunno if I am typical, but when authors drop clangers (wholly erroneous events, practices or devices) into their works, I really puts me off.

Because of my past work, I get annoyed when stories that involve nuclear terrorism are technically ridiculous. These sorts of things spoil the story for me, and now that I'm a long term cruiser, the same sort of reaction boils up when sea going stories fail the reality test.

So, JB, good onya for going the extra mile. I await your publication with hope and interest! And BTW, if you would like an old fart sailor's opinion of the technical issues of your story, I'd be glad to offer my services as a reader.

Cheers,

Jim
__________________
Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II back in Pittwater again.
Jim Cate is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2016, 16:46   #15
Registered User
 
JBChicoine's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Michigan for the time being
Boat: Bock, 14'
Posts: 105
Re: Question for a Work of Fiction: Port Authorities—NOLA and Grand Cayman

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I've said this before, but will reiterate: I applaud your research efforts, and hope that you can successfully weave the facts into the fiction. I dunno if I am typical, but when authors drop clangers (wholly erroneous events, practices or devices) into their works, I really puts me off.

Because of my past work, I get annoyed when stories that involve nuclear terrorism are technically ridiculous. These sorts of things spoil the story for me, and now that I'm a long term cruiser, the same sort of reaction boils up when sea going stories fail the reality test.

So, JB, good onya for going the extra mile. I await your publication with hope and interest! And BTW, if you would like an old fart sailor's opinion of the technical issues of your story, I'd be glad to offer my services as a reader.

Cheers,

Jim
Ha! Your ilk is the reader I fear! So good to see you on another one of my threads...I may very well take you up on your offer!
__________________

__________________
I'm unsupervised & at large while trying to write...
JBChicoine is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Grand Cayman Canals in 1984: Question for a Work of Fiction JBChicoine Off Topic Forum 0 04-07-2016 08:11
Weather, Navigation, and Communication Question for a Work of Fiction JBChicoine Seamanship & Boat Handling 23 11-04-2016 05:43
Need NOLA to Caymans Advice for a Work of Fiction JBChicoine Seamanship & Boat Handling 61 13-03-2016 04:57
Grand Cayman and Jamaica sadia Atlantic & the Caribbean 5 10-05-2011 22:34
Do Mexican Port Authorities Know English? EvermanJ Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 19 17-12-2009 08:20


Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:31.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.