Monday, December 19, 2016

December 15, 2016 Customs and Immigration at Grand Cay, Bahamas

This morning, Dave showered and shaved to look presentable for the customs agent.  I thought it reminded me of the first day of school.  “The books” tell you that only the captain should go to shore to clear customs.  But we have had to return with the immigration forms before.  So we decided to both go to shore.  We tried calling customs on the VHF, but didn’t get an answer.  From everything we have read, you just go to Rosie’s Place and they will tell you anything you need to know. 
ready for Customs, looked like the first day of school
We saw another sailboat in the harbor flying a quarantine flag, so we stopped there first.  We met 2 guys that were crew.  The captain was on shore checking in.  They were from NC and had crossed from Ft Pierce, like we did.  They were going to be there a week and fly home from Marsh Harbor.  The captain was staying 3 months. 

We took our dinghy to Rosie’s Place.  He has a marina and restaurant.  When we walked up the sidewalk, the customs agent waved to us from the deck of Rosie’s restaurant.  She had been there having breakfast and was checking in people right there.  We met the captain of the other sailboat.  Then another couple came in before we finished.  The actual office was at the end of the island in the government building by the telephone tower.  But she was fine with checking us in at Rosie’s and had all the necessary paper work with her. 

She was very personable and one of the nicest agents we have met.  We don’t have to be back north of Florida for insurance purposes until July 15.  So we asked for 215 days and SHE GAVE IT TO US!!  No agent has ever given us more than 3 months.  And that has dictated where we had to be at times to request an extension. 

After that was completed, we walked to the Bahamian Telephone Company office, BTC, to get our SIM cards and “top up” our data.  It was a very small office and the person there was very helpful.  We went back to Rosie’s Place for lunch and use their wifi to get caught up on a few things.  We totally forgot to tell our credit cards about our travels this year.  Would hate to have them refused. 

After lunch, we took a walk around town.  We saw Danny again (he sold us the lobster).  He told us where to find everything including his grandmother’s grocery store.   We stopped in there and there really wasn’t much on the shelves.  It was about as big as a single garage.  They had onions and potatoes, rice, grits, some canned goods, soda pop but no diet coke, laundry detergent and chicken in the freezer.  It reminded me of the song “you can’t always get what you want, but you find sometimes, you get what you need”.

We also found the government building with customs, post office and police.  We found the fresh made bread and bought a $3.50 loaf.  After our walk about town, we returned to our dinghy and the boat. 
changing quarantine for courtesy flag
We’re going to have strong winds for a couple days.  So we are going to stay put and do some long overdue cleaning.  AND eat lobster :)

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