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Old 03-05-2013, 12:09   #1
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Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

I plan to sail the Caribbean, beginning in March, and am having a hard time getting info on mooring costs and time limits. I have the guide books, and they talk about customs and clearing in and out, but nothing about extended stays and costs, just to drop anchor.

If, for example, I decide that Simpson Lagoon is a place I want to sit for 6-8 months, is that a problem?
I realize that there are fees for mooring balls, but what about dropping anchor in English harbor, or Exuma by Chat and Chill?
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:18   #2
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Re: Time limites when visiting Caribbean Islands

Each place is different. In general, you can easily get 90 days in one country and then have to move on, but they each have different ways of extending your permitted stay. Lots of Caribbean cruisers spend most if not all of their time at anchor, which is free to do. I personally avoid the places I can't do that, so can't report on dockage and mooring fees.

This website has a lot of information on Caribbean marinas.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:23   #3
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Re: Time limites when visiting Caribbean Islands

Great. Thanks for the info. Funds will be limited, and I will be anchoring most of the time too. So it sounds like there are ways around the 2-3 month limits. Not sure I will want to stay in one place for 3 months, but you never know.
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Old 03-05-2013, 12:41   #4
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Re: Time limites when visiting Caribbean Islands

This site is a good place to start to learn about the regulations in different countries.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:13   #5
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Re: Time limites when visiting Caribbean Islands

I'm currently at anchor in Falmouth, Antigua and when I cleared in I got 3 weeks, but only because I stated I was only staying 2 weeks. Each country here is different, the BVI I've found to be the most restrictive as you'll get only 3 weeks and then have to stand in line for a half day in order to extend that - and they'll want compelling reasons before granting that extension. St. Martin (French side), Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barths are Departements exterieur of France, so you need to check your limits on duration of stay in the EU/Schengen countries. Dominica is cool, they will let you check in and out at the same time and give you a very long duration stay. The list goes on, but as stated in earlier threads each country has their own regulations and your first stop should be that country's immigration website, then www.noonsite.com for further information.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:38   #6
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Re: Time limites when visiting Caribbean Islands

I find that there is plenty of time if you go for the maximum allowed. If it is a problem extending a visa, go to the next island for a week and then return resetting the clock. It is usually only a short sail to the next island/country.

Be aware of cruising fees. For example, $4.00 per day per person in the BVI's. Most places you need a cruising permit, Doyle's guides usually have the up to date info. Also are areas that have extra fees such as Marigot Bay, St. Martin; English and Falmouth Bay, Antigua; The Pitons and surrounding park, St. Lucia.

The cheapest to enter are Martinique and Guadeloupe. However, everything else is more expensive. That said, most places are well worth visiting even if for a few days.

As a side note, Simpson Bay Lagoon is great if you ned repairs or provisioning, but you can't swim in it and you are right next to a major international airport.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:30   #7
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

I'm picking up the boat in Martinique and think it will take 2-3 weeks to deregister and reregister under US flag. From there, I plan to go to Rodney Bay or back to St. Martin, Simpson Lagoon for repairs. Why can't you swim in the Lagoon? I was there a few weeks ago, doing the Maho Beach thing, and saw people kayaking in and out of the boats.
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Old 05-05-2013, 05:35   #8
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pirate Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

Oh you can swim in it... no guarantee what it will do to your skin... or your stomach come to that if you ingest any...
Very low/slow water change as both entrances are small so crap builds up and the boat yards around are not environmentely friendly.
Otherwise you'll have no problem.. just park on the right side of the frontier.. last time folk were getting hassle for that
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:15   #9
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

Wow! I thought there was a pump out that went around. Is that the same for Le Merin and other crowded anchorages?
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Old 05-05-2013, 10:10   #10
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

There is no pump-out that I know of in the Lagoon. I would arrive, anchor off Marigot, dinghy into the inside marina Capitainerie and clear in for 5 Euros (don't go to the ferry terminal to clear in, they charge a non-existant Marigot Anchorage Fee and clearing in there can cost 30-40 euros. After clearing in, take the next bridge into the lagoon and anchor on the French side, not the Dutch. The line is easy to see as the Dutch side is almost empty while the French is full. The French bridge entrance is narrower and not too good for any boat in excess of around 6 feet draft. The new swing bridge across the lagoon isn't finished yet, so you can pass through the Dutch side and motor back across to France. All of the services are accessible via dinghy but, as mentioned earlier, don't think about swimming inside. Most of the boats anchored in the lagoon are permanently there and since there is no pump-out guess where all the effluent ends up?
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Old 05-05-2013, 13:01   #11
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

That's sick, and I don't mean cool! I thought the only place that did that was a lagoon on the SW side of DR. Unless it's extremely rough out, I will plan to stay in Grand Case or Marigot. In fact the food is better and cheaper in Gran Case, but was told it can get quite uncomfortable in a NW. So it must be fun to dive the anchor in these anchorages that are iffy?
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Old 05-05-2013, 13:43   #12
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

I've spent many weeks in both Marigot and Grand Case. You can anchor very close in to the ferry dock in Marigot (even I can with my 8 1/2 feet draft) and only a big NW swell makes that uncomfortable; the ferries are usually very nice and slow coming in and going out so only the Saturday market in rather loud in the early morning hours. Grand Case is even better, you can anchor over a kilometer from shore in sand in 15 feet, or go in very close and have just about the same depth; depending upon how much solitude you want. I've been there in NW swell and it isn't fun, but you can set a kedge to ameliorate the effects. I don't dive in Marigot and in Grand Case the waters are very clear and one can almost see the anchor dug in there. The LoLo's ashore are unbeatable for food pricing, and there are more fine restaurants along the main street than you can shake a menu at!

In Marigot I would dinghy into the lagoon for shopping and it is a longish haul in a small dinghy, but a hard-bottomed Caribe with 10 or 15HP makes light work of the chop inside the lagoon. Grand Case is too far in a small dinghy but car rentals can be had for $15-$25 per day. Traffic on St. Martin sucks, getting anywhere by dinghy is significantly faster than by car!
I'm in Antigua now but expect to be in Grand Case in 4 days or so, since the seas are calm I am going to try to visit Saba.
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Old 05-05-2013, 13:53   #13
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

I love Antigua. I was there a year ago (not by boat) and had a lot of fun. It was windy every day=lot's of kitesurfing for me. English harbor looks like a great place to sit out a storm. Also had lots of fun up on Shirley Heights? The Sunday party was great. I could easily spend a few months there. Stayed for two weeks and had 6 months of depression after flying home. Same with Grenada and Exuma. That's the main reason for getting the boat. Now all I need to do is learn how to sail the damn thing. Ha! And a bunch of other things.
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Old 05-05-2013, 14:07   #14
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

I've just spent the past couple of days aboard a Lagoon 420 (named "Katzenellenbogen") which was acting as a committee boat for the Antigua Sailing Week. It is a very spacious catamaran indeed. I'm waiting for a bit of wind so that I can head out of here; but Antigua is certainly a wonderful island.
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Old 05-05-2013, 16:09   #15
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Re: Time limits when visiting Caribbean Islands

Let me know what you think of Saba. Never been there, and always good to hear personal op's of these places.
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