The discussion below is copied from the MTOA List-Serve, an organization, by the way, which all of us at the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net continue to recommend highly!!!!
We are looking for an inexpensive place to check-in to customs/immigration. Bimini has moorings to tie to but we can’t find out who manages them or what they cost. Cat Cay charges $100 to tie up a dinghy to clear customs. Chubb Cay has an anchor area but no information on whether they also charge to tie up the dinghy. Any ideas/information would be helpful.
By far the easiest place to check in is at Old Bahama Bay / West End. Tie up to their dock, near the fuel pumps for FREE and check in 30′ away. Reliably Open 7 days a week, minimum from 9am to 5pm. Great customs people. Best bet is to try to arrive at about 2pm. all the Go Fast boats have cleared by then. Fuel is good and is about the cheapest in the Bahamas.
Barry, Our experiences are long ago, however we loved checking in at Turtle Key. (Abacos) Anchored out and then went ashore. May have changed. We did anchor at Chubb last time, however arrived too late to check in and went on to check in at Nassau. There we rafted up to a tug boat……did not allow you to anchor and check in. Out of date information I am sure…..Later Dude.
Barry, Things in the Bahamas are constantly changing, so what is OK today may not be next week. We have anchored in Bimini and outside Chubb Cay and checked in. We immediately moved on after check in. The holding at Bimini is poor and there is strong currents. We have also anchored and checked in at Green Turtle. Most other stops are either convenient to find a slip or required as at Cat/Gunn. Walkers Cay marina was closed but Customs and Immigration is still there so that may be another option. Of course the marina could re-open by the time you get there. That is how quickly things change. Good luck.
Sounds like you will have to spend a night on the banks. Bimini, the banks, Chub Cay anchorage and then on to Nassau to check in. You might get lucky at Chub Cay!
Last fall we stopped at the Berry Island Club, just a few miles east of Chubb. Lincoln, the manager drove us to the airport customs office in his truck for $25, and we rented moorings from him for $15/night.
There is plenty of room to anchor just off of the customs dock and further up by Bimini Bay. There were several boats at anchor when we were there in December.
Gerry & Linda Etzold
We just cleared Customs at the West end…Anchored over night for free and tied up to the Customs dock ,,,Were in and out in fifteen minutes and 150.00 cash…..our boat is the Stella Maris Ip35 Enjoy….
We just returned from Bimini and checked in to customs and immigration by temporarily tying up to the government dock there. we then anchored out several days in an area just south of the new Bimini Marina at the very end North Bimini. this is the 3rd time doing this and we find it works nicely with our 49 ft Endeavour power catamaran.