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Old 02-12-2014, 01:42 PM   #1
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Cay Sal Banks

Have any of our Bahamas frequent (boaters) flyers even gone? I have read several reports ranging from its awesome you have to go, to its a barren no man's land where drug runners and USCG battle.

So anyone with first hand experience they want to share?

In full disclosure. I have no intention of going anytime in the foreseeable future.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:50 PM   #2
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yep...stopped many a druggie in the vicinity...
but rampant gunfire was decades ago...what do you REALLY want to know????

I'm sure it beautiful as many out of the way places...not sure who you check in with as I still don't think there's habitation there.

http://www.bootkeyharbor.com/CaySalInfo.htm

Cay Sal Bank Cruising Information:
The Cay Sal Bank is situated about 60nm SE of the Florida Keys, between Andros Island Bahamas, and Cuba. It is part of the Bahamas but there are no facilities nor Bahamian officials there at all, and it is too far away to be patrolled by the Bahamian Royal Defense Force. It is patrolled by USCG Cutters looking for drug and Cuban smuggling operations. Many fisherman from the Keys make this a day trip, though itís at least an overnight stay for slower cruisers. This is the most remote area of the Bahamas, with more Blue Holes than any other place in the world. It consists of almost 100 small Islands spread out over an area about 40 nautical miles across, but over 140 nautical miles in circumference. Please take note that you FIRST have to check in with Bahamian customs and immigration, and there are NONE in the Cay Sal Bank. Closest are Bimini and Andros, so it's not practical (legally) to go directly from the Keys to the bank. Many fishing boats do, but it is illegal and you could lose your boat. You should write to Bahamian officials to encourage them to develop some mail-in permit system where you can pay a fee and get back a short term permit by mail, and then just go directly to the bank. In the interim your best bet might be to hook up with one of the commercial diving groups out of S. Florida that take you via liveaboard boat and check in along the way. However, if you've been in the Bahamas cruising for a while, it might be a good spot before you leave, and you could go straight on up to the Keys.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:59 PM   #3
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Lol mostly just curious as if it is a dangerous place...i mean of the people variety. i understand its very isolated and there is a good chunk of open ocean to get to anything.

Does the USCG or Bahamian authorities care if you day trip? Does Cuba assert any authority over the area? Legally i understand that don't really have any...but.

Fishing, is it good? Is there anything worth seeing? I did read the account on the link you posted but that was 12 years ago. Is it unchanged, more or less from those accounts?

From a legal stand point couldn't you fly a marine quarantine flag and remain legal?

I suppose i am just looking for a good story to live vicariously.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by eseyoung View Post
Lol mostly just curious as if it is a dangerous place...i mean of the people variety. i understand its very isolated and there is a good chunk of open ocean to get to anything.

Does the USCG or Bahamian authorities care if you day trip? Does Cuba assert any authority over the area? Legally i understand that don't really have any...but.

Fishing, is it good? Is there anything worth seeing? I did read the account on the link you posted but that was 12 years ago. Is it unchanged, more or less from those accounts?

From a legal stand point couldn't you fly a marine quarantine flag and remain legal?

I suppose i am just looking for a good story to live vicariously.
That's a definite no...the Q flag is only as you are in the process of clearing...now if you fly it, state your intent to the authorities and they say OK as long as you leave by nightfall and follow everything else they say...maybe but doubtful...I still thing they want their cruising permit money and to check you out so you AREN'T a druggie/human smuggler, etc...

Besides...I'll be someone checks you out no matter what you do...
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:31 PM   #5
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If you do enter the Bahamas legally, the cruise permit is good for 6 months. You could later maybe go back to the Cay Sal Bank. You are really on your own out there with a lot of reefs and shallow water. Probably good diving.
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Old 02-12-2014, 04:11 PM   #6
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If you have a permit do you still have to clear into customs each trip? Seems to me the answer should be yes. But I may be wrong.
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Old 02-12-2014, 05:47 PM   #7
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If you have a permit do you still have to clear into customs each trip? Seems to me the answer should be yes. But I may be wrong.
I think as long as you have your valid cruise permit with you, you are good to go. You would have to clear back into the US each time. Big brother is watching. Those blimps and satallites see everything. Don't take any bales with you.
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