Sailing Sailing Tipsy Gypsy Travels

Bahamas Cruising – Clearing Customs + Getting Stuck at Old Bahama Bay

Making it to West End and officially being in the Bahamas was by far our most challenging accomplishment yet. Read about our crazy night here –> Our Gulf Stream Crossing.

Checking into Customs

As soon as we arrived (9am), we parked our boat on the wall, near the marina office and customs office. I already had our paperwork ready to go, here’s a list of all the things I had ready:

  1. Passports for Tharon, Brennan, and I – needed
  2. Radio License – not needed
  3. US Coast Guard Bill of Sale – not needed
  4. Watercraft Title – not needed
  5. Registration – needed
  6. $300 for Cruising Permit – needed
  7. Pet Health Certificates & Rabies Vaccination Certificates – needed
  8. Pet Permits. Waiting on a fax but didn’t have yet – needed

Brennan and Tharon slept while I cleared customs. I am the captain after all πŸ˜‰

Both individuals in the customs office were extremely helpful and had a good sense of humor at the same time. They gave me recommendations of food to try, places to visit, and an idea on fishing regulations. We still hadn’t caught a fish yet!

I was then given our paperwork and passports back, arrival/departure cards, receipt of payment, fishing permit, and temporary cruising permit all stamped and approved. They also gave me a number to call about checking on the pet permits.

Oh, Pet Permits.

Checking in was seamless besides the pet permits. They asked about our dinghy and about other β€œtoys” we might have brought with us. At the time, I could only think about the kayak we brought but know now we probably could have mentioned other items. It’s good to keep it simple anyways.

After calling the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, I learned that the fax might still be a few days and the customs office would need to have it before we leave. We were not planning to stay at the resort long and decided to take care of it right away. Typically, this process should be taken care of before arrival but I sent everything through snail mail and took longer than expected. Luckily, a friendly lady in their office told me she could fix it up that day. I’d have to pay for them again but then it’d be done. While the guys slept, I rented a car for us to travel to Freeport.

The boys only slept a couple of hours but I was determined to be done with the technicalities of traveling and couldn’t sleep. The dogs couldn’t touch land until we received the pet permits either so I was happy to get on the task.

As we left the resort, we remembered that driving in the Bahamas is opposite of the states. I had never driven this way but very excited to try! It’s pretty easy and ended up driving into town a couple multiple times for us and others around the marina that week. It takes 45 minutes to get into Freeport and it was fun for me to drive around for a while.

Okay, back to the pet permits. Once we arrived, it only took about 15 minutes to get the permits. It was a relief to get them because normally they cannot be produced so last minute. Our entire crew was officially cleared to enjoy the Bahamas!

Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour

Initially we had thought we’d anchor outside of the harbor but after such an intense crossing we decided it’d be best to stay on their wall for the night. That night turned into two. Then, we moved into a slip. The wind would build that entire week reaching 40-50 knots at times. It wasn’t a good time to leave. We were stuck at the resort (oh, darn) for an entire week.

Brennan had a flight out of Marsh Harbor early the next week but changed it to go out of Freeport instead. Other than that, it wasn’t a big deal. In fact, it was a very pleasant stay. The slips were only $1/ft and the amenities were impeccable. Plus, it’s their off season so there was only us and a few other boats in the marina. How amazing is that!?

Features & Amenities

  1. 73 spacious beachfront suites
  2. Full service marina – although the hurricane did a number on it being full service
  3. Wi-Fi
  4. Oceanfront Pool
  5. On site Restaurant & Tiki Bar
  6. On site Car Rental & Taxi Service
  7. Fishing
  8. Snorkeling
  9. Kayaking & Stand Up Paddling
  10. Tennis & Basketball Court
  11. Bicycles
  12. Fitness Center
  13. Massage & Spa Center
  14. Games – Giant Chess, Giant Connect 4, Horseshoes, etc.

**If you’d like to learn more about this resort, visit their webpage here –> Old Bahama Bay

Overall, our stay in West End was much more than we had ever expected. We were officially in the Bahamas, Brennan was with us, and we immediately got to relax in a luxurious resort for the week. Pinch me, is this real life!?

Cheers & thanks for reading!



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