Moving south and east from Florida is frequently a challenge. The usual direction of the wind is from the East or Southeast, right on the nose. This trip was no different. You have a choice of a lot of tacking and a slow passage, or motoring to go upwind. We choose to motor, running our Volve diesel for 43 of the 48 hours it took to get from Hollywood, FL to Spanish Wells in the Bahamas.
Check-in went smoothly, although it was all done on “Island Time.” Our Health Visas were handled smoothly, and made everything easy. When traveling by private sailboat, we have found that it is always very helpful to have carefully done your homework ahead of time. Know what the rules and options are.
The case here in Spanish Wells is a typical one. The officer who handles immigration and customs does so for yachts as a sideline. His primary job is as a customs duty collector for all of the supplies being imported to the island. His familiarity with the rules and regulations for cruising yachts is not broad or deep. By way of example, Karen had to specifically ask for him to make out the Bahamian fishing license. She’s also had to insist that he prepare a 12 month cruising permit, not a 90 day one.
These kinds of issues are not limited to the third world. Some of the customs officials who were most confused and uninformed about private boat procedures and policies we have dealt with were in the USA.
After checking in, we spent the night at Yacht Haven Marina in Spanish Wells, and left with the rising tide this morning. We are making our way south on the east side of Eleuthera. We’ll anchor tonight, and tomorrow will continue south, probably as far as Cape Eleuthera.
Private boats are very few and far between here. Never exactly “crowded,” the local waters are close to deserted. The weather is beautiful. The water is all those amazing colors that never fail to amaze. All is excellent!