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Southwest Florida YachtsThe FROLI System, developed in Germany has made a big hit with the USA  recreation and leisure travel market. Nickle Atlantic will be at the Annapolis Sail Boat Show, October 8 - 12, in Booth  Welcome to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, your own paradise in the middle of the beautiful Exumas.I’m sure you have been reading about the digital revolution in marine electronics. Each month almost every boating publication has an article about new gadgets and advances in electronic navigation
The Pilot House Marina is located on secluded Lake Largo just minutes from downtown Key Largo. This choice location borders on John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, an underwater park famous among snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.Royal Marsh Harbour Yacht Club

Archive For: Bahamas

  • Grand Lucayan Waterway Discussion

    The discussion below was copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list!

    Has anyone recent (or any) experience with the Grand Lucayan Waterway, cut across Grand Bahama Island at Freeport?
    My boat, 49 CPMY, needs 5 feet.
    Book that I am looking at shows a low water depth of 4 – 4 1/2 feet at the north entrance (ext going north) before heading to Mangrove.
    Thanks
    Chet
    DeFever 49 CPMY, Cygnet

    Chester,
    I know you specifically asked about the north entrance, but I’ll post this information in case it is of some benefit to you. If you’ve been there before, it is doubtful any of this information will come as a surprise. If you haven’t, maybe you can make some use of it.
    We spent several weeks in the waterway last year, our second visit. One boat drew 5’0″ and the last visit was in a boat that drew 4’9″ and had no problem going in the south entrance either trip. Depth in the waterway is greater than this, by many, many feet. I’d like to say that the depth is 15 feet, but I’m not real sure on this. No matter, once in the waterway, it was deep enough for either our or your boat, with plenty left over.
    We did not use the north entrance. There is a bridge across the waterway about half way across the island, height somewhere around 15 feet, maybe a little more. Closest grocery store, is 5 miles away from this bridge (west), but it is a large supermarket style- not Bahamian like at all!
    Anchoring in the waterway is dicey in high winds. This waterway was cut out of the coral rock. Sand on the bottom is generally just a shallow layer over limestone. On the other hand, it is not well developed at all and we had extensive number of places to choose from to tie up to along the sides of the waterway. Either plant anchors in the ground or tie to trees.
    A couple of cautions: Below the water level in the waterway is a coral ledge that sticks out from the seawall, up to around 18″ in places. No way to keep the hull off this ledge unless you have wide enough fenders or tie in an area where the ledge is not so wide. We had no trouble locating places to tie up at and with our 18″ fender balls had no difficulties. The seawall is 20,or maybe 30 years old, and is crumbling in places but these places are easy to see… good place to look for lobster, conch and fish though. Many cul de sacs and canal off shoots so you don’t have to tie up in the main canal.
    Another caution, but a big one, are the poison trees. The place is heavily loaded with them. It is their equivalent of our poison ivy or poison oak. Even barely touching them or getting in the smoke, if they are being burned, can prove harmful. Be sure to get someone that is familiar with what they look like to show you before you touch one. Once poisoned, it takes an exorbitant amount of time to get rid of the itchy, miserable rash. You’ll be shocked at how many trees are there. In the areas that we were in they outnumbered the pines.
    Theft is rampant on that island. Try not to leave the boat unattended; or, at least have someone close by watching it, if at all possible.
    With all of the side roads, if you have bikes it is easy to get around the island, from one end to the other although the port end is serviced with one, fairly narrow, two lane highway. No bike paths at this end, and no side roads either, and the drivers go fast. Otherwise, on both of our visits to Grand Bahama Island, we had many enjoyable bike trips around.
    As a side note, Grand Bahama Island gets their water from a fresh water aquafer. If you have to pay for water, it is usually the cheapest water in the islands.
    We’ve enjoyed our time in the waterway, potential for theft and poison trees included. We looked up from our breakfast one Sunday morning and there were about 15 little sailing skiffs from the local yacht club using our anchored boat as a windward mark. They had a kid’s sailing program and didn’t want to pass up the opportunity. We were glad that they didn’t. Friendly, smiling little tykes… most of them were trying so hard!
    Rudy and Jill
    Briney Bug

    I went through the north end of the canal again this year at high tide & saw 6′ plus for depth
    George
    Time Out

    I went through a couple years ago with a 4 1/2 draft and 24′ height. The north entrance is your only concern as you need near high tide and it is much later than at Freeport. Some of the marker poles are missing and you need to ignore the colour of reflectors on the poles. If you have a chart that shows poles the channel goes straight but with some missing it looks like you need to go around some especially with red or orange reflectors on all? This may have been changed by now but I doubt it. This canal is a memorable experience and you should do it at least once.
    Duane
    MT44

    I have run the waterway several times, last time at low tide in 25′ cruiser with a sterndrive it bumped on the north end while headed out. The water was like glass. Since then, I trim the outdrive while heading out here. I would recommend hitting it at high tide and no wave action to avoid prop damage
    Jim

  • Staniel Cay Eastern Weekend Activities

     Welcome to the Staniel Cay Yacht Club, your own paradise in the middle of the beautiful Exumas.Please support the Eastern weekend Staniel Cay Activities. These good folks are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, and notice below that the proceeds go to benefit a worthy cause!

    We will be having a variety of activities this weekend in honor of Easter. All the proceeds from this weekend’s cook-outs/beach activities will benefit the Staniel Cay All-Age School.
    Friday: 11AM, Mt. Olivet Church is holding Good Friday Services. Everyone is welcome and invited!
    Saturday: 12noon, Public Beach (just south of Staniel Cay Yacht Club & Welcome to Staniel Cay Wall), Cook-Out featuring traditional Bahamian fare. Curry Mutton with Rice, Fry Frish, Bake Macaroni & Cheese, and more. Cold beer and sodas available too.
    Sunday: 11AM, Mt. Olivet Church is holding Resurrection Sunday Easter Services. All are welcome and invited!
    Monday: Beginning @ 11AM, All day Easter celebration on the Public Beach on Staniel Cay. Cook-out with cold beer/sodas. Easter egg hunt and games for the kids. Sunset dinner planned too!
    All cook-out/dinner proceeds to benefit the Staniel Cay All-Age School.
    Thank you!
    Sarah Hampton

  • Man of War Cay (Abacos)

    Subject: Man O’ War Cay (Abaco)
    Cruising News: A lot of cruisers who are ‘first timers’ on Man O War Cay do not realize that both the ‘Settlement Harbour’ and ‘Eastern Harbour’ contain many permanent moorings, and have extremely limited space for anchoring. The “Dodge Cruising Guide To The Abacos” still indicates both harbours as ‘Anchorages’ (anchor symbols) and does not mention the moorings #although the moorings have been here for years#. Occasionally, moorings are available for rent, but most are \”Private\” moorings. Additionally, a lot of “Charter” boats run aground coming into the harbour entrance. Boat drawing over 5 feet should consider entering the harbours at mid-tide. Additionally, one of the markers denoting the harbour entrance channel is missing. Cruisers should exercise caution and good sense in entering the Man O War Cay harbours. Man O War Cay is a GREAT place to visit.
    Tom Assenmacher
    (S/V SHEARWATER)

  • Bahamas Duty on Imported Parts

    The discussion below was copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list. As I’ve said many times, this list is a GREAT adjunct to the Cruisers’ Net if you happen to own one of these fuel efficient vessels!

    Skip Allen’s View from the Pilothouse column is always worth reading. In the April 2010 Southern Boating says, in part:
    “I keep quite a number of spares on board for the expected things like impellers, belts, oil filters and fuses, but knowing that the Bahamian government has reversed a previous unpopular decision and is no longer charging hefty duty on imported repair parts for those boats with valid Bahamas cruising permits gives me more peace of mind and means I don’t have to provide for complete redundancy.”
    This is the first mention I’ve seen of the Bahamas doing away with “hefty duty” on parts for cruisers. Does anyone have more information on this?
    I’m headed to Abaco in a couple of weeks.
    Thanks,
    Milt Baker, Nordhavn 47 Bluewater

    Milt,
    The duty was lifted last summer (I believe May) but the vessel must have a valid Bahamas Cruising Permit.
    Ted
    Ted Stehle, Editor
    Waterway Guide/Skipper Bob Publications

    Many thanks, Bob and Ted.
    The definitive word seems to be that duty is no longer payable on “replacement boat parts,” though the 7% stamp tax is. Details are at:

    http://www.bahamas-travel.info/ports_of_entry.htm

    Specifically, that URL reports:
    BAHAMAS CUSTOMS DUTY FOR BOAT PARTS
    There has been a rumor circulating that boaters now have to pay duty on replacement boat parts coming in to the Bahamas. Customs Superintendent Raphael Whyms said that boaters who have a valid cruising permit should have to pay only a 7% stamp tax on replacement boat parts. They should not have to pay any duty. If a boater is assessed a duty fee, he should call Mr. Whyms in Nassau at 242-302-3531 to report it and have the problem corrected.
    In addition, I just heard this from friends living on Grand Bahama:
    “Yes, the Bahamas has reversed their short-lived practice of charging duty on parts (it lasted for about 1 year) that come in for boats, provided that the in-bound shipment is accompanied with a valid cruising permit. Just recently, my brother came for a visit and was carrying several parts for us — some of which were clearly boat related, the the others that could had been for boat or house use. The clearly boat-related parts were allowed in duty-free without a problem when my brother presented the cruising permit. The other parts that could be used either on a boat or in a home were allowed in under the normal tourist terms — first $100 duty free.
    “It is very important that when you order parts from the States that you provide a copy of the cruising permit and request that it be included in the shipment.
    “Keep in mind that duty is the main source of income for the Bahamian government and, with the decrease in tourism, and the increase in unemployment, Customs officers are like mother lions protecting their kids!
    “Now if they would just change the terms of the $300 cruising permit and allow us to come and go freely for one year, that would be great. As it is, you can exit/re-enter one time within the first 90 days of your 1 year cruising permit.”
    Thanks again,
    Milt

    Milt,
    I’ve seen reference to this also, several times recently, but I can’t quote where other than in several magazines.
    Rudy and Jill
    Briney Bug, Panama City, Fl

    Thanks, Rudy.
    It surely represents a change back to the way things ought to be.
    When I owned Bluewater Books & Charts we sent hundreds, maybe thousands, of packages to yachts in the Bahamas, each package with a neatly labeled with something like “IMPORTED DUTY FREE FOR “YACHT IN TRANSIT” UNDER BAHAMAS LAW (law number included here)” and it always worked really well.
    While I’m at the computer, let me say thanks for you frequent posts–they are knowledgeable, valuable, witty, and a thorough joy to read. We on this board are most fortunate to be the beneficiaries of your knowledge, Rudy, and your willingness to share it. Bravo Zulu!
    Cheers,
    Milt

    Importing parts for vessels “in transit” with a cruising permit are duty free. Here is the link to the official Bahamas.gov website. Once there, click on the Tariff Act amendment to see the PDF file. Read the
    title of the amendment which in part says “to restore the exemption from duty …. parts for temporary cruising vessels”

    http://tinyurl.com/y942j7h

    Folks in George Town report problems with local customs still charging duty. I shipped many parts to Staniel Cay and never paid a cent of duty this past winter.
    Doug Gould

  • Pets and Tick Disease in the Bahamas

    Subject: Pets and tick-borne disease in the Bahamas
    Cruising News: Since we arrived in Long Island and later in Georgetown, I’ve been made aware that there is an outbreak of a tick-borne disease called Ehrlichiosis in pets. It’s carried by the brown dog tick and can be very
    serious and/or fatal. If you’re cruising with a dog that you let run ashore, make sure you are using sufficient deterents for ticks and check your dog frequently for ticks. The symptoms of the disease are loss of appetite, high
    fever and lameness. Diagnosis is done via a blood test. Treatment includes a dose of antibiotics but once infected, the disease can resurface. The vet in Georgetown has treated several dogs and is very helpful. Please take care…
    Harriet Hardy

  • Bobby Is Back at Sumner Point Marina

    Subject: Rum Cay, Sumner Point Marina
    Cruising News: We are currently in the Sumnet Point Marina and are happy to report the marina operator Bobby is back and getting things ship shape. They are open for business, actually 10 boats in here right now. Just wanted to get the word out as in Georgetown we kept hearing that they were closed.
    Laura Croop

    That is great news! Haven’t been back for some time but now it’s time to plan a trip.
    John S.

  • Bahamas On-Line Weather Source

    I appropriated Captain remarks below from a string on the T&T list (Trawlers and Trawlering), concerning how to get accurate weather forecasts for the Bahamas.

    Weather Underground is fairly good:
    http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/hdfForecast?query=bahamas&searchType=WEATHER
    The above URL returns a list of all their reporting sites in the Bahamas. Click on any item to get additional details and the forecast.
    Regards,
    Wayne B
    Grand Banks 49, “Long Legged Lady”

  • Clearing In At Bimini

    Subject: Clearing in at Bimini
    Cruising News: MV 34 “Easy Riders” arrived Feb 23, 2010. Tied up at Blue Water Marina ($1/ft + $10 elet + $10 Wifi +$10 per day toilet/shower + $.60/gal water. Diesel is only $3.95.
    Bargain Bill

  • Man of War Cay Entrance – Missing Marker

    Subject: Man of War Cay Entrance
    Cruising News: There is a marker missing at the entrance to Man of War Cay. It is the marker referenced in Steve Dodges guide as the “piling with the double arrow in front of the powerboat at the dock. It should be centered in the opening.” This marker is used was a red when going into the main harbor and as a green marker when going into Eastern Harbor. Please note that many markers are really not maintained as green or red in the Bahamas. You have to look for the arrow stick at the top of the piling. The entrance to Man of War it self is narrow thru a rocky pass but easy to navigate. It’s what you need to do after you get thru the pass that this missing marker is causing grief to many a boater. I’ve been here only a few days and have seen at least 3 boats to aground on the sand bar to the North East after entering the pass.
    Dennis Lawernce
    S/V Thate Wata

    The point is that you hve to turn sharp left or even sharper right (more than 90deg.) immediately after you enter. Don’t approach the opposite shore, and be sure you’re at idle speed.
    Ted Guy

  • Crossing from Florida to the Bahamas

    I really enjoy reading the various comments regarding “going to the Bahamas and “”The Crossing””. My first time across was in 1984 with a portable DF radio, a compass and a VHF radio. I don’t remember having a depth finder and probably didn’t since I went aground so much. I always left Fort Lauderdale (just as good as Miami in a sail boat) and plotted a course directly to Bimini with adjustments for the northward Gulfstream current. ON one occassion due to a late start and some very rough seas that developed about midway across, we arrived at dusk. Not the best way to do it, but it worked out well. I would not have tried it at night then and can’t imagine doing it now. My rule: if you can’t see it, don’t go. All the best. I hope to join all of you again someday. Capt Dave on At Last
    David Jenkins

  • Missing Marker Near Guana Cay

    Subject: Mising Marker
    Cruising News: Ran across this info concerning a missing (broken) marker that cruisers exiting the Whale should be aware of. A piling at the north end beach on Guana Cay in the Bakers bay beach area was broken off at the water line. Be careful in this area!
    Jeff Bacon

    The missing piling is reported, via BarometerBob.com, to be at about 26 41.06N 77 10.01W
    Rick Emerson

  • Bimini Fuel Prices

    Subject: Fuel
    Cruising News: Hello to all going to the Bahamas. Have checked in at South Bimini, no problems. Did not have up to date pirmit for our dog, went to gov\\\’t offices on North Bimini and showed up to date health cert. and paid $10.00. As for fuel at the Bimini Sands Resort Gas $4.73/gal and Diesel $4.11/gal. Nice place to dock and can take ferry over to North Bimini. $2.00 each way.
    Wilger, Mary and Peanut
    s/v Moonlit

  • Crossing to the Bahamas Strategy from Stuart, Florida

    Having formerly lived in the Stuart area for 20 years, and made crossings to the Bahamas in sailboats, I suggest an alternative.
    Anchor for the night in Manatee Pocket. At first light, follow a large sport fishing vessel out the St. Lucie inlet, setting a course for the area known as White Sands. Once you reach the bank, head for Great Sale Kay.
    This is the shortest, fastest route to the Bahamas. Why travel another 100 miles if you are going to clear customs at Green Turtle. I have done this route several times and it exposes you to bad weather for the least amount of time. Just pick a good weather window.
    Martin I. Veiner & Margaret Rogers Shearon

    Can you do this with a vessel that draws six feet?
    DICK RYAN

    Are you talking power or sailboat?
    Tom Preston

  • Abacos Anchorage List

    The “list” below is reproduced from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) list with the permission of Wayne & Lynne Flatt. I have done some editing, due to the length of this list.

    Here is the list of favorite Abacos locations as promised and secondary info that came with the responses. There were twice as many requests for info than responses to the question. Enough I think to justify printing the results here once for those who have requested a copy of the list. This is it cut and paste from here:

    If the weather is settled, you may want to spend a night behind Mangrove Cay instead of going up to Great Sail. One can usually find a lee on one side or the other. The holding is good, but be aware of the current that runs around the key. Going to Mangrove shortens the run to Green Turtle as one doesn’t have to go around Great Sale. If you go to GS take your dink into the shallows up in the anchorage on the West side. You can usually find nurse sharks and other interesting sea life as you pole around. Clearing at Marsh is another option if the Whale Cay passage is doable.

    ALL of Abaco is delightful and each harbor offers something different. The beauty of it is that you can really get from one end to the other in a day at 7 knots. The only difficulty is getting from
    Manjack and Green Turtle across “The Whale” to the southern Abaco or vice versa in bad weather. Listen to the forecasts carefully. Staying right where you are is also a great alternative.

    With only one spot I would suggest Manjack. I normally anchor in the bight between Manjack and Crab Cays, just west of Rat Cay. Great holding but open to west wind. Good snorkeling along the north shore of Crab, found an old barge wrecked along the shore that held good fish. Uninhabited and only one other time did we have another boat in the same area.

    I think I would have to select Tahiti beach (south end of Elbow Cay) as my favorite. Easy access to a number of resturants (Elbow Cay and Lubbers Quarter) and Tahiti beach for afternoon cocktails. Close enough to Marsh Harbor that I can go over in the dingy, if supplies needed. A long but do-able dingy ride to the reef at Sandy Cay, and on to Little Harbor. This anchorage provides adequate holding, protection from most wind directions. Anchor south of the entrance to White Sound (Elbow Cay).

    MK has mostly headed from FL to Great Sale Cay day one, then cruised all the way to Marsh Harbour before clearing customs at the Jib Room. Customs and Immigration both come to you in MH, kinda nice. No one has questioned why we did not check in earlier. Our paperwork always accurately showed that we entered Bahamas waters the day before…and we had not set foot on terra firma
    before clearing.

    Populated: Little Harbor…you need to play the tides, but MK (5 ft draft) could go in two hours either side of high.
    Unpopulated: Double-Breasted Cay…only there once in not so great weather…it beckons me back.
    Green Turtle Cay is a delight. Anchor off the government dock, dinghy into the small cove that is adjacent to it, and everything is within walking distance.
    New Plymouth, the settlement that you are in when you anchor off the government dock, is a clean, friendly place with enough to keep your interest for several days as you walk around the town. There are two coves (aka: sounds) that you can go into. White Sound is the better to anchor in as it is sand, but quite a bike trip, and even more of a walk to New Plymouth. The other sound, Black Sound, is closer to New Plymouth, but is mostly grassy bottom and thus moorings, but there is a marina and boatyard in this sound.

    Fishers Bay:

    http://tinyurl.com/yz3uyym

    Reasons:
    - Great protection from the north
    - Easy walking to Nippers and the incredible Great Guana Beach (miles
    long)
    - Excellent internet access from OII
    - Easy Abaco beach access for landing a dinghy
    - Sunset Bar & Grill (now Grabbers): http://www.grabbersatsunset.com
    - Walking distance to other restaurants, grocery, etc.

    If you go there, you’ll find out what a Guana Grabber is. You might not come back.

    Manjack Key – ( Nunjack)
    Go ashore and enjoy the beach graciously offered by the residents on the bluff. Walk 1/2 mile on marked path through jungle to the incredible beach on
    ocean side.

    You need to state drafts for each anchorage.. We draw 6 feet which limits us in places.
    DICK RYAN

  • Clearing Bahamian Customs at Green Turtle Cay

    Unless my information is outdated, you can also clear in at Green Turtle Cay, or if going further north Walker’s Cay. I’m not certain at this point if Walker’s Cay is still a clearance point, I seem to remember hearing that after one of the hurricanes they closed that station. Maybe someone can clarify this point.
    Compared to the “land of barking dogs” (aka: Marsh Harbor), Green Turtle Cay is a delight. Anchor off the government dock, dinghy into the small cove that is adjacent to it, and everything is within walking distance.
    New Plymouth, the settlement that you are in when you anchor off the government dock, is a clean, friendly place with enough to keep your interest for several days as you walk around the town. Jill, and a couple friends, even engaged some locals in a basketball game one evening.
    There are two coves (aka: sounds) that you can go into. White Sound is the better to anchor in as it is sand, but quite a bike trip, and even more of a walk to New Plymouth. But, at least when we were there, the resort would run you to the town in their golf cart. The other sound, Black Sound, is closer to New Plymouth, but is mostly grassy bottom and thus moorings, but there is a marina and boatyard in this sound.
    With all the golf carts on some of these cays, you’d think that there would be alot of golf courses, but we never saw any!
    Now that you know all about Green Turtle Cay, please go there and leave all the other places that have been suggested alone. You don’t want to go to these places, believe me on this. They are too nice, some are too quite, others are isolated with no settlements and I’m sure that you won’t enjoy yourselves at all.
    Now if we can just get everyone else to stay in Marsh Harbor and stay away from the rest of the Abacos…
    Rudy

    Yes, you can still clear Customs at Walkers Cay – the docks and the entrance chanell are in poor repair, and the whole place is a wreck, but there is still a functioning airstrip and Customs office. Agree with you on Green Turtle – I have never been in White Sound, but we stayed at Black Sound Marina, an easy walk to New Plymouth, a charming and very friendly little settlement.
    Jonathan

  • Favorite Abaco Anchorages

    The following string of messages is copied from the T&T (Trawlers and Trawlering) mail list. As there are so many contributors, it was impossible to get individual permissions, so I’m just using first name.

    I can and have reviewed the literature for years about places to go in the Abaco’s. . . But there is nothing quite so special as a personal referral to a interesting place. So I ask:
    Whats your single most wonderful anchorage/place to visit in the Abaco’s and why?
    Preferably lat and lon, but a good location description will work. The why is most important.
    I will collate, edit and redistribute to any one that wishes a copy in the next few days.
    Bones

    Populated: Little Harbor…you need to play the tides, but MK (5 ft draft) could go in two hours either side of high.
    Unpopulated: Double-Breasted Cay…only there once in no so great weather…it beckons me back.
    Bob

    Manjack Key – ( Nunjack)
    Go ashore and enjoy the beach graciously offered by the residents on the bluff. Walk 1/2 mile on marked path through jungle to the incredible beach on oceanside.
    Ditto on previous postings
    Enjoy
    Greg and Susan

    Wow, that is a tough one with only one possible anchorage. With only one spot I would suggest Manjack. I normally anchor in the bight between Manjack and Crab Cays, just west of Rat Cay. Great holding but open to west wind. Good snorkeling along the north shore of Crab, found an old barge wrecked along the shore that held good fish. Uninhabited and only one other time did we have another boat in the same area. Great place to watch the original black and white Cape Fear movie, boat seems to swing at just about the time the houseboat hits the rocks in the movie, kind of scary. Anyway, wife and I love that spot, as well as many others in the Abacos. Have made about 10 bareboats trips thru the Abacos, call or email if you have any questions about places and best ways to get groceries and liquor.
    Roy

    A single “favorite” anchorage in this area is difficult.
    Manjack, Green Turtle, many others.
    I think I would have to select Tahiti beach (south end of Elbow Cay) as my favorite. Easy access to a number of resturants (Elbow Cay and Lubbers Quarter) and Tahiti beach for afternoon cocktails. Close enough to Marsh Harbor that I can go over in the dingy, if supplies needed. A long but do-able dingy ride to the reef at Sandy Cay, and on to Little Harbor. This anchorage provides adequate holding, protection from most wind directions.
    Anchor south of the entrance to White Sound (Elbow Cay).
    Chet

  • Taking A Dog to the Bahamas

    The discussion below about taking a dog to the Bahamas is copied from the MTOA List-Serve.

    Hey Y’all,
    We will be leaving next weekend from the Sassafras River (Northern Chesapeake) for our trip south and have jumped through the hoops for taking Boomer (our dog) to the Bahamas with us. Based on the permit we received, we need to have the little noise-maker checked by a vet 48 hours prior to arriving in the Bahamas.
    Since I am sure other MOTAers have done the same, I though I would pose the question: “Does anyone have recommendations for a vet in the Fort Lauderdale area that is convenient to the waterways?”
    Once we enter the Bahamas, we have to have him check again within 48 hours as stated on the permit. Since we are clearing in Bimini or Cat Cay, which has no vet, it appears the first available vet will be in Nassau. Baring weather delays, we will not pass through Nassau until after the 3rd day, which pushes us beyond the 48 hour requirement. Oh well — we are trying…
    Thanks to anyone who has a recommendation for a vet in the Fort Lauderdale area.
    Ken

    Ken
    Since you may miss the 48 hr window in the Bahamas, bring plenty of cash for bribery and bail money !
    R.

    Every time I’ve gone to the Bahamas the only thing they care about is your $300 and whether you carry any guns. Any bullet will sell on the black
    market in Nassau for $5 apiece. I carry a 12 gauge and you need to count your ammo at check in.
    With the possible exception of Nassau, no one cares about dogs. I’ve never been stopped for anything, anywhere and never even seen BASRA outside of Nassau harbor. There may be a vet in Marsh Harbor or Nassau, but the “pot-licks” never need vets so I’m guessing they are rare.
    They do like you to send in your “check-out” form. I got snarled at in South Bimini for having come over twice without having “left”.
    Next time we go over with the dogs we’ll take their health records but skip the nonsense paperwork and “beg forgiveness” if we should find someone who cares.
    There is a dog story I should tell. Some friends returned from a month in the Bahamas and brought back with them some of the most pesticide resistant fleas vets in the states had ever seen. They finally tore out all their carpeting washed everything with bleach and bombed the boat repeatedly.
    The fact is the Bahamas are a third world country. If the “tingum” breaks, you’d better have a spare onboard.
    Regards….
    Phil & Aven

    We’ve taken our cats to the Bahamas numerous times with no problems. I spoke directly with the Bahamas Ministry responsible for pet imports ans she told me that the 48 hour vet requirement was really meant for those arriving by plane. She said that they understand that it is nearly impossible for personal boaters to see a vet within 48 hours of arrival. We have never been asked about pets when we check in at the Bahamas. Our pet permits have only been checked once and that was when we were boarded by the police in Nassau

    We took our dog to the Bahamas last year and are heading there again this year. The vet office near Lake Worth called Town and Country was very helpful in giving us a health certificate. You can walk there from the dinghy landing. He provided a signed health certificate and said that I can add the date when we arrive (to avoid the 48hr dilemma.) Someone told me that they changed the rule to ‘within one month” but I haven’t seen anything written as such. We didn’t do the vet check within 48 hrs of arriving in the Bahamas as those instructions were very ambiguous. We checked in at West End and they seemed only interested in the Dept of Agriculture permit. I wrote up some notes on taking a dog to the Bahamas on my web page (http://moondance38.wordpress.com) if you’re interested…
    S/V Moondance

    We’ve brought out dog in the past 3 years. We send for the certificate and have our vet fill it out before we leave the states. (we live in Florida) It is usually signed about 2 weeks before our check-in. Have never had a problem or brought him to a Bahama vet.
    Jacki Leahy

  • Bahamas Cruising Advice

    The discussion below was copied from the AGLCA mailing list! Many thanks to this worthy organization!

    HI ALL, LOOKING FOR BEST PRICE FOR DIESEL IN THE BAHAMAS, ALSO WHERE DOES ONE STAY FOR THE FIRST DAY AFTER CROSSING TO THE BAHAMAS AND HOW DO YOU GO AROUND THE ISLANDS? IS THERE SUCH A THING OF A BAHAMIAN LOOP?
    WAYNE ASSALY ON THE OTTAWA RIVER
    EAGERLY WAITING FOR HURRICANE SEASON TO PASS SO WE CAN GO BACK TO CONTINUE THE LOOP

    In 2008 we went Miami, Bimini, Chub Key(Berrys), Bullock Harbour (Berrys) Pete’s Pub (Abacos) then meandered up the Abacos, then Grand Bahama West End, and across to Ft Pierce Fl, and continued north on the loop.
    In 2009 it was Marathon, Bimini, Chub. Spanish Wells, Eluthera, Exumas (down to Black Point) Nassau, Spanish Wells, Abacos, West End, then back to Florida, and northward again.
    Great trip, you will love it. We cleared Bimini both times of course.
    Peter

    I recommend you buy a copy of The Explorer Charts “Near Bahamas” Chartbook , the very best charts, guide and helpful advice to all the Bahamas. It will answer most of your questions. Contact Bluewater Books or info@explorercharts.com. Check in after crossing the Gulf Stream at (north to south) West End, Green Turtle Cay, Port Lucaya, The Berry Islands, or Bimini or Gun Key –all have Customs on site.
    Hope this helps,
    Olrick

  • Entering Bimini Late Afternoon

    Subject: Entering Bimini late afternoon
    Cruising News: Hello,
    I have a 35 foot sailboat and want to make my first crossing to Bimini from Miami. I have always heard that you need to sail all night and arrive at around noon to enter safely.
    My question is, now with color GPS and I would go with two identical units, would it be safe to enter say around 3:00 PM? Say leave Biscayne channel at 5:00 am and arrive between 2 and 4 PM.
    Is it really now necessary with color GPS to come in at high noon and my contingency plan if I had a problem along the way and it got dark would be to heave to until morning or turn back as going back into miami at night is no problem, with our withoug gps.
    Thanks
    Jules

    I have cruised the Bahamas the last 6 years and agree the Navionics charts are dangerous, unfortunately the only option if you have Raymarine. If you want accuracy make sure your charts are based on the Explorer Charts which are available for Garmin.
    Terry

    I crossed from Miami to Bimini for my 1st time in late July 2009. I read the warnings about navigating into the north Bimnmini channel at noon but I had no problem at any time of day.
    GPS makes it very simple – just head for the Bimini Sands resort entrance then turn north into the channel about 1/4 mile offshore from the Bimini Sands entrance. After I was familiar with the area, I came in from south of South Bimini in the evening and after nightfall (great star viewing!).
    While my boat only draws 2.5 feet and yours probably draws 4 or 5 feet but I had more than 4-5 feet of water at all times approaching and in the north Bimini channel.
    Paul

    I would caution against too much reliance on the GPS plotter. The last time I came into Bimini Harbor, my chartplotter (Navionics cartography), showed my track plot on dry land! The base map was off by 200 meters. Eyeball navigation still rules, and you want the sun right above you or a little behind you for that
    jgorham@ircgov.com
    Jon Gorham

    We left early morning from No Name Harbor and arrived in Bimini in the early evening. With the fact that the markers were missing for the Bimini channel, and that it was dead low tide and we draw 6′ (so we had issues trying to enter the Bimini Sands Marina, where I would highly recommend staying over the marinas on North Bimini), we ended up going a few miles south and anchoring off of Gun Cay. Personally, I would recommend entering the Bimini channel during the late morning hours, depending on draft. Also, the current running through the channel can get pretty big, so if there’s an opposing wind be careful.
    Chris
    S/V Pelican

    Subject: entering bimini late
    Cruising News: I agree with the previous post that Navionics charts in the Bahamas are worse that useless, thay are DANGEROUS. I found that near Allens cay in the northern Exumeas that they were 200 yds off – till I changed scales – then they were about a half mile off. Lon/Lat were correct, the electronic chart picture was wrong and varied from scale to scale. It is so bad I tossed it and bought a Garmin. It appears to be correct but ALWAYS CHECK THE PAPER CHART AND YOUR EYES
    V. Weaver

  • New Info On Clearing Bahamian Customs

    The posting below was copied by permission from the “Cruising News” section of the Explorer Chartbooks, Lewis Offshore website at http://www.explorercharts.com/customs_update.html. Clearly, this is vital info for anyone visting the Bahamas. Please visit the Explorer Chartbooks web site for full details!

    Claiborne,
    We just put an updated report on clearing Bahamas Customs on our website under Cruising Information>Customs. It is a new “wrinkle” in the policy of allowing boats to clear in twice in 90 days under the same initial Customs fee. What we have just found out is that a vessel clearing in the second time in 90 days has to pay a transportation fee. A bit of a surprise to the persons who cleared into Nassau to learn this. I guess it doesn’t happen everywhere if officials don’t have to come to a boat but rather the person goes to the official.
    Sara

    The normal Bahamas clearing-in fees (also referred to as “boarding fees” by Customs officials) are as reported in our Explorer Chartbooks in the Customs articles–$150 for vessels under 35′ and $300 for vessels over 35′. The newest policy allows a vessel to clear in a second time within a 90-day period under the applicable fee. On the second visit, a note indicating such is written on your cruising permit. However, we just learned that a vessel clearing in for the second time in 90 days is subject to a $30 transportation fee each for the Customs and Immigration Officers. Recently, a vessel reported to us being charged $60 in Nassau for officials to come to the boat. We verified with Customs that this is a valid charge for a second visit within 90 days as the officers provide their own transportation for the visit.

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