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Old 25-06-2012, 04:45   #16
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Heathsville, VA
Boat: Gemini 105Mc 34'
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Re: Cruising

The length of the cruising permit seems still to be at the whim of the officer, and I know cruisers who have checked in a the same time, with the same requests, but getting different lengths of time. There are new discussion on the Abacos cruisers net about run-ins with Bahamas Defense Force boats. Four boats on the way to Green Turtle Cay to clear recently were reportedly turned back from the Mangrove Cay area and forced to return to West End to clear customs. The recent issue of the Abaconian reports a story of a dinghy with a two hp motor and two couples in it on their way to a snorkel, receiving a warning shot because they didn't stop for a patrol boat. They then received a warning for not having their cruising permit with them in their dinghy! There have also been reports of C&I charging a "transportation fee" over and above the Entry Fees, even at West End. Considering all this, you may want to plan on checking in at the first place you encounter (Bimini, West End, or Lacaya). I have contacted Bahamas C& I and the Ministry of Tourism to get their take on these reports, but they are always very slow to get back to me. I had followed up on an issue with them just a month ago when they abruptly changed the length of boat cutoff for the $150 vs. $300 charges to 30' instead of the 35' (they abruptly changed it back). I have no reports of problems with cruisers checking in at Bimini as of late, other than being charged $300 for a 32 footer during that change.
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