Monday, December 20, 2010

Nassau and Clearing Customs


We arrived at the Nassau Harbor Club in mid afternoon to a nearly empty marina with our "Q" Flag flying and hoping for a good result with immigration. There has been a lot of bruhaha this year over the snotty attitudes of the officials and their erratic enforcement of a new guideline handed down by Nassau which stipulates that visitors may only receive 30 days before they have to report back for additional permitted time to stay in the country. We heard that this was being widely enforced, no matter where you checked in, but heard from a few folks who had received 90 or 180 without any issue. This can be a real problem since check-in locations are limited, are not at every harbor you may be anchored at, and in fact, can be days away from your chosen temporary home. And, you could only check in "a few" days before your permit expired, and God help you if you let your permit lapse.

Our official greeted us warmly alongside First Edition, and welcomed Peter to join her in her office, a lounge chair by the pool. Peter returned shortly with loads of paperwork and a big smile on his face. He was awarded 180 days! How did you do that, I query. "Well, I just asked for 180, and she said OK."
While toasting our good luck, our Bahamian cell phone rang. It was Bev on Savage Son. One of The Group who had chosen to go elsewhere.

We really thought The Group would have an easy time of it going to Morgan's Bluff, as it seemed they were at least two days ahead of the North winds, to be avoided when stiff at their location, and it is not a very popular check-in destination, so the agents were likely to be accommodating. Wrong on both counts. We chatted about their coming here to Nassau, and Peter talked his way into getting them slip reservations, although the Marina was to be full by tomorrow with many heading this way to ride out the cold front.
So, it was not all that long before we saw The Group again.

For years we avoided Nassau but once we were forced to come here to catch a flight home, we recognized we had given it a bad rap. Directly across from the marina is a small shopping center, with a US quality grocery store, a video store selling discounted phone cards ($18 for $20)a Dairy Queen, and a Starbucks with free internet. A short walk will take you to the bus stop where you can catch a $1.25 ride anywhere. Most importantly, it will provide transportation to those $27 bottles of Johnnie Walker. With what we save on scotch we nearly cover the cost of the slip!

Water is free here, but don't put it in your tanks. Electricity is available on an as-used basis. Most boats are here for several days, so there are loads of opportunities to make new friends and socialize.

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