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Old 03-02-2013, 07:07   #61
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
Most folks that leave from Miami now no longer stop at Bimini. Most go to Nassau, some go to Fresh Creek. I don't think you're supposed to check in at the first port you pass. For many this is not possible. I've cleared in at Nassau listing my last port as Miami for the last ten or more years and never have the authorities questioned this. The same rule applies to sailboats as ships as far as clearing in is concerned. On a voyage from A to B, you clear in at B. Now if you stop somewhere else rather than complete your voyage, that's another matter.
Have to call you on this.

There are lots of local South Florida/Miami boaters who cross to Bimini for a weekend of fishing/diving multiple times during the year. A go fast boat can easily get there in a couple of hours in the right weather window, maybe faster. Some folks even make the trip for a day and are able to sleep in their own beds after a day of fishing.

I have no doubt you cleared in Nassau but would point that the Explorer web site (and other sources as well) have reported folks bypassing West End and being asked to return there to check in. As with most enforcement in the Bahamas things are spotty, but this could ruin your whole day.

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Old 03-02-2013, 07:21   #62
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

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Have to call you on this.

There are lots of local South Florida/Miami boaters who cross to Bimini for a weekend of fishing/diving multiple times during the year. A go fast boat can easily get there in a couple of hours in the right weather window, maybe faster. Some folks even make the trip for a day and are able to sleep in their own beds after a day of fishing.



Customs Clearance and RBDF | Bahamas Chatter

Sorry, I thought we were talking about cruisers, not weekend fishermen whose destination is Bimini. That traffic has dropped a lot since the $150/300 was implemented. For that matter since the $100 fee was implemented many years ago.

As for that report about a cruiser being harassed by the RBDF and having to return to West End to clear in, it was a rumour that has not been verified although the Explorer folks tried hard to get to the bottom of that.. Rumours have a way of spreading like wildfire in the Bahamas cruising community.
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Old 03-02-2013, 07:49   #63
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

I consider offshore to be anywhere you can't outrun the weather. For a sailboat that could be just a few miles from land.

If you have ever made the crossing from Miami to Bimini and the wind shifted to the north midway, you'll definitely feel you are "offshore" regardless of the formal definition.
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Old 03-02-2013, 08:46   #64
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

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Sorry, I thought we were talking about cruisers, not weekend fishermen whose destination is Bimini. That traffic has dropped a lot since the $150/300 was implemented. For that matter since the $100 fee was implemented many years ago.

As for that report about a cruiser being harassed by the RBDF and having to return to West End to clear in, it was a rumour that has not been verified although the Explorer folks tried hard to get to the bottom of that.. Rumours have a way of spreading like wildfire in the Bahamas cruising community.
None of which changes my claims.

A lot of fishing boats burn $US1,500+ a day of gas. The $US150/300 is good for at least 3 months and extensions are easy to get. I know folks who claim the bad US economy is more responsible for the drop than a small increase in the Bahama fees.

Bimini is a popular POE because it is the closest one to the US and unlike some other places, especially Nassau, there is really no crime problem and boaters are welcome.

I am well aware that Bimini is not the only POE and lots of folks check in elsewhere. But I still stand by my claim that Bimini is popular because it is close, boaters are welcome, and there is little crime compared to Nassau. Explore has had several stories about recent crime in Nassau.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:06   #65
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

If being out of sight of land is offshore stage one, not being able to locate a continent via radar has to be stage two.

Funny how "offshore" means a totally different thing to sea kayakers. For us, offshore is anytime we're beyond the breakers and outside the protection of a bay.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:37   #66
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

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I think for OUR purposes, not as racers or paid delivery drivers or crewed charter skippers but as cruisers, Offshore means outside of the sphere of influence of land. Outside the range where you might normally expect to be able to dash in for refuge. Outside the normal coastwise traffic and weekender yachts. Outside SeaTow or TowboatUS range. See a crab or lobster bouy? That's not Offshore. Tall buildings on the horizon? Nope, not there, either. Where you must be an entirely independent and self contained entity, you and the boat. Where help is not a given, and you must plan on helping yourself. If you had to put a number on it, I would say a passage where at least one full day is always at least a day's sail from the nearest land. That, I would consider Offshore, in the yachting sense. The difference is fundamental, requiring a fundamentally different skill set, outlook, and equipment. Do you need an HF radio to sail from New Orleans to Gulfport? I think not. Do you need an HF radio to sail from New Orleans to Belize? Well, you certainly ought to have one, anyway, just as an example. Offshore, you generally have an entirely different feel and outlook. You feel more alone. You might feel the way you would feel if you were the last person on Earth. Land becomes a different world, not jsut a different medium. A strange memory. You cel phone is just a curiousity, unless it contains a usable GPS or some navigation apps. You turn on your FM broadcast radio and get nothing. At night you try AM and get stations from a thousand miles away without interference from nearby stations, because there aren't any. Offshore you see the night sky untainted by the masking glow of city lights 50 or 100 miles away. Offshore you don't have the rhythm of the diurnal wind changes that characterize coastal weather so much. Offshore, no matter which way the wind blows, the quietly assertive, irresistable power of the sea is fully apparent, The water looks different. The sky looks different. Different world? Different universe, different dimension, maybe. If you have to ask the question whether you are offshore or not, you aren't.
Beautiful post. Who can read that and not feel the urge to get out to sea?
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:40   #67
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

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If being out of sight of land is offshore stage one, not being able to locate a continent via radar has to be stage two.

Funny how "offshore" means a totally different thing to sea kayakers. For us, offshore is anytime we're beyond the breakers and outside the protection of a bay.
Offshore also means different things to fishermen. Around South Florida offshore fishing means fishing in the Gulf Stream to a lot of folks. There are times when you can be in the Gulf Stream and see land. If a boat has a tuna tower and is off Miami it is almost a given you can see downtown buildings from the Gulf Stream.
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Old 03-02-2013, 14:33   #68
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Re: How OffShore to be an 'Offshore" passage?

I guess this is a fishermen's forum now
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Old 03-02-2013, 15:39   #69
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Offshore.

Keep going out till you are so far away from the coast you have no doubt you are Offshore.

More than a 24 hour sail from land.

When the chart doesnt show nuffin but sea.

When manatees start looking like mermaids... When U cant find a manatee, Boatman61 starts looking good.

When the beer runs out and the Coast Guard refuses to drop more.

So far out that all the Beneteaus have sunk and only the double enders with paper charts remain afloat.

Prolly nearly outside Chesepeake bay?
That is awesome! I love the fact that the Beneteaus have all sank! What a wonderful world that must be!
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