Bahamas Errands: Dog Import and Humans Export

The trip from our haul out down the ICW was drama free until we were (you guessed it) under the Julia Tuttle. Miami boaters read “No Wake” signs and interpret that to mean “maximum wake”. We had cleared the first rung of the bridge when a boater gave us “maximum wake”. We had planned our transit for low-low tide and even with the wake the antenna never hit. I will be happy if I never see the Julia Tuttle again. 
This is how Miami does "minimum wake" 
Now we are back in Miami and working through our pre-Bahamas errands list.

Hastings Import:
1. Sign up for a free fax number
2. Get International Money Order for $15.75 - this took 4 attempts at 3 post offices and one bank, but I persevered. Please note, the bank does not do international money orders, 1/2 the post offices do not issue them, the remaining 1/2 relegate the money orders to Felicity, who is out sick, and when she finally feels better, you have to have a debit card and not a credit card to pay for it, and the final insult is the expectation that you know your debit card pin.
3. Send Money Order and Application to Bahamas Dept of Agriculture via International FedEx. It will suddenly start raining as you walk to FedEx. You will not have an umbrella.
4. Receive by fax the health certificate that will need to be signed by a vet before departure.
5. Receive by mail the printed health certificate
6. Pending: Take Hastings to the vet for the health certificate and make sure all the Bahamas required vaccinations are up to date 48 hours or less before arrival in the Bahamas.

We joined the Small Vessel Reporting System.  This means we should just have to make a phone call to clear back into the country. Those who don’t join the SVRS have to present themselves in person at a port of entry upon returning to the U.S.

We made appointments online and went to the Port of Miami to have Customs look at us.  The website says there is a 15 minute interview, so I spent some time chanting the first 13 states to myself and muttering things about 1776 and George Washington in mental preparation for the inevitable pop quiz.

To get to the Port of Miami, we took “the tunnel” which goes under water! There were people boating on top of us! How do they keep water out of the tunnel? Surely there’s a scary movie where someone forgets to press a button and the tunnel fills with water, and there’s a sign that says no stopping or U-Turns, so what would you do?
We are tunneling under Cruise Ships! 
I like to plan events for the max amount of fun, so we went to the port on Sunday, Cruise Ship load-up day. There were approximately 99 billion people wheeling luggage around while looking very unhappy about going on vacation. Hopefully they’ll cheer up soon. 

Now, the Customs agents will pretend that you aren’t there, but if you press your face against the glass long enough they will finally acknowledge your existence. They try to take your finger prints, but you, beastly member of the public, are unable to even perform a simple task like getting your fingers scanned. They explain to you again about keeping your fingers straight and rolling them from right to left after pressing in the middle, kinda like the customs agent is rolling his eyes at you and giving you the middle finger. You are then vanquished to the waiting room so they can recover from the aggravation you have caused them.

You get to stare at the picture of President Obama and wonder if they already have the next President’s photo to deploy on Friday. Do all government offices sync their watches and switch out the photos at the exact same time? Who is responsible for getting each office the new photo? Is there a mass email with the photo attached and everyone has to print it? Because that would never work. Very few people can operate a printer. I have questions! No one had questions for me though, so all that muttering about Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia was for nothing. 

After all that, we are ready to import one cocker spaniel into the Bahamas and, possibly, if we decide to grace America with our presence in the future, get back in.

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  1. Oh no! The dreaded presidential photograph looming at every government agency. I'd forgotten about that. :-(

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    1. I'm sure the picture will be a many tweet fiasco. The first one printed won't be flattering enough, the next one will be too small, we'll end up with a life size portrait, framed in gold, some senator will get sick of it and introduce a no Presidential photo rule, and Matt and I will be wondering if we really want to come back to all that!

  2. Did you get the customs sticker too. You'll need your number off the sticker when you call in upon return. It's a different process to get it- online, pay, mail to anyone (just need the #). You'd think they do it during the office visit, but that would be, well, logical. Can't have that. But the call in process was NICE.

    1. Thanks for the reminder! We got the customs sticker a while ago. I bet it will be nice to just call in when we get back instead of having to find transport to the nearest port.

  3. The SVRS worked really well for us when we came back from the Bahamas last time. A quick phone call and we were done.

  4. I remember having to get the Bahamas permits for our dogs as well. I wonder what takes longer, the process you went through or checking back into the US the "normal" way. :-) Mark keeps reminding me about the changed presidential picture that will stare down on me if and when I get my citizenship in two years! I wish I could do that interview right now, within the next four days, instead.

    1. We have access to a car at the moment, so it made sense to do it now as opposed to paying for a txt etc in the future, but I'm not sure which is the best use of time! When I did my US citizenship, George W Bush had a very nice video welcome message for new citizens. I wonder what your video message will be like!

  5. Is there any way you can set sail on the 20th? That would be "amazing"! Then you can say "Did we see the inauguration? No, that was the day we left America!"


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