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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
The thread is intended to be a repository of factual information about travel restrictions in the Caribbean region and closely related topics. The Genisis of this thread is the anticipation that various islands may impose restrictions due to the Coronavirus.

The idea is to have a single place where we can go to look up the current status or where folks can post their experiences.

Thanks
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Good contemporary idea for a thread, especially for those cruising there for the winter. I'd contain the replies to something that literally happened directly to the poster in the last day or two, or information that can be linked. Rumors will spread and often be incorrect.

I remember when there was a zika outbreak (I think it was zika) a couple of years back. You'd think there were bodies in the street (exaggeration), by the sound of the news. I sailed there and didn't come across a soul that directly knew anyone with the disease. It existed for sure, but nothing like imagined.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

"With immediate effect all ships arriving in Trinidad and Tobago waters must submit the supporting documents requested under the Single Electronic Window e-maritime module as per arrival/departure habour master requirements to the maritime services division of the ministry of works and transport. This submission is required 72 hours prior to arrival of the ship."
Further information here; https://safety4sea.com/update-global-port-restrictions-due-to-coronavirus/
Yesterday St. Lucia has apparently re-instituted their health office check-in for pleasure craft, though I do not have a link to verify this one, yet.
 
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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

I found this UK government site with travel information for the islands and elsewhere, should anybody be traveling beyond the eastern Caribbean be interested. Just put your destination into the search bar.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/grenada
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

We’re back in St. Lucia. Was in customs and immigration yesterday. Big sign about coved-19. They’re not letting anyone into the country who could be at risk. Everyone needs to go the Health Office before immigration. In front of us was a couple from Britain. They flew in the day before and intended to leave on their cat charter. Boat was not going to be cleared out without a visit to the Health officer.
Other than wet stored boats we are the only couple actually living on our boat in IG Rodney Bay.
Leaving here Monday. Have been continually in the windwards since coming back from Xmas and can prove it. Still, it will be interesting if the French islands do anything more than have me sit in front of a computer and pay 6 bucks.
Through out the Caribbean due to direct contracts between governments there’s a lot of Chinese construction workers. No longer see any.
Only upside is other than an occasional French boat seems just about all the charter cats are sitting in their slips. Nice not dealing with lousy loud music (please take all of me and sink it) or drunks. (Just kidding).
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

I can confirm that Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique and Antigua currently have no restrictions when checking in (Antigua info a week old but things don’t move that fast).

You are right about everything being a bit quieter than normal...
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Still, it will be interesting if the French islands do anything more than have me sit in front of a computer and pay 6 bucks.
They charge 6 bucks now?!? Used to be you went to a bar, got a drink, and filled out the computer form. I guess the drink was probably 6 bucks (if you stopped at one), but they weren't obvious about it.

Got to love the French islands - most civilized in the Caribe.

Woe be to those going to ex-British islands...

Mark
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

3 each. Easiest place to clear. Funny you should mention ex Brit islands. Was in BVI. Beyond the hostility other than north sound every time I cleared it was a different price. Did a lot of going to and from USVI or islands off P.R. Learned to import the boat (had to put up with the filth in Road Town harbor to do so) and only clear in north sound.
St. Lucia is a joke. They try to game you into clearing when they can charge overtime. You get 24h so you learn to use them. Dominica is difficult. Spot to clear is on the Atlantic side so you have no choice but to pay for a scary cab ride. Used to be a restaurant that would help you out. With the current scare don’t know if they still do it. Seems to make no sense anywhere.
Let’s say you were a carrier. Everywhere you have to leave the boat to clear in or out. The two internet services still require Internet and most wont pay for satphone data for this task. Doing it through a SSB modem doesn’t seem practical Many places you go with your crew. Then go to a crowded office. Often after a bus or cab ride. Perfect way to spread germs through the population.
In the old days the yellow flag put you under quarantine. The locals authorities came out to you and gave practique. Often they made everyone stay on the ship/boat with nothing offloaded until they were satisfied your vessel didn’t present a risk. Unfortunately that’s good public health policy. With these economies so dependent on tourist dollars don’t see that happening until after the pandemic hits this region of the world.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

I can't say anything positive about the BVI officials anywhere other than at Gun Creek, where they were perfectly pleasant. Cruz Bay wasn't known for it's welcoming attitude any more than ST. Thomas, though PR and Culebra were both easy and pleasant, though I must admit that was before Trump sh*t on them after the hurricanes, so I wouldn't blame them if they were a bit hostile to Americans now.

I've cleared in & out in Portsmouth and Roseau in Dominica (both on the leeward side) without any problems at all since the late '70's. No bus or taxi needed and both places were walking distance or you could go by dinghy.

I've never had any official in St. Lucia (in any of the three ports, Rodney Bay, Marigot or Vieux Fort, try to "game me into clearing when they can charge overtime" EVER. Once, when I accidentally left my outbound clearance on the port officer's desk, they faxed it to me in Bequia which saved me a ton of grief.

However, if you think Dominica and St. Lucia are difficult, do not go to Trinidad! The normal clearance procedures there are very strict (1 hour to check in or out, 24 hours a day and serious OT), and god save you if you show up at any government office in shorts and/or flip flops.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

...Dominica is difficult. Spot to clear is on the Atlantic side so you have no choice but to pay for a scary cab ride. Used to be a restaurant that would help you out. With the current scare don’t know if they still do it. Seems to make no sense anywhere...
Dominica is the easiest place to clear into and out of after the French islands. The offices are in Portsmouth (there are no facilities on the Atlantic side of Dominica apart from one fishing port that only accomodates shallow boats) and you can clear into and out of the island at the same time - and the outbound clearance can be 2 weeks hence!

I usually clear into and out of the BVI in Gun Creek, but that port of entry no longer exists. A couple of weeks ago I cleared into the BVI in Soper's Hole and that went fast, apart from a slew of new fees including a "harbour fee" of $1 per foot of boat length that needs to be paid upon each entry. I also cleared in at Spanish Town and that was, without exception, my worst experience in 15 years of cruising the Caribbean. It took 3 hours for a simple inbound clearance. The officials were incredibly slow, but they made up for that by being surly and disrespectful and downright rude.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Dominica is the easiest place to clear into and out of after the French islands. The offices are in Portsmouth (there are no facilities on the Atlantic side of Dominica apart from one fishing port that only accomodates shallow boats) and you can clear into and out of the island at the same time - and the outbound clearance can be 2 weeks hence!

I usually clear into and out of the BVI in Gun Creek, but that port of entry no longer exists. A couple of weeks ago I cleared into the BVI in Soper's Hole and that went fast, apart from a slew of new fees including a "harbour fee" of $1 per foot of boat length that needs to be paid upon each entry. I also cleared in at Spanish Town and that was, without exception, my worst experience in 15 years of cruising the Caribbean. It took 3 hours for a simple inbound clearance. The officials were incredibly slow, but they made up for that by being surly and disrespectful and downright rude.
What is the level of enforcement? Are there boats out patrolling the anchorages looking for uncleared boats? Years ago (90s) when I cruised in the Islands I was unaware of enforcement. And from what I read compliance seemed less expensive and easier to do.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Most islands might have a patrol vessel or two and some of them might even be in working order :) To date I've only seen regular enforcement on the French Islands and the Dutch ones (they used to patrol Simpson Baie, then Saba, then St. Eustatius). Antigua occasionally will patrol the anchorages, I saw a customs boat in the BVI once (pre-Irma) and doubt that Dominica currently patrols - although the boat boys with PAYS do security patrols in Portsmouth. Of course the USVI has numerous patrol boats and they are quite active in St. John and St. Thomas.

There is a shared reconnaissance aircraft based in St. Martin that flies around as well, I've been buzzed by them before.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

You’re absolutely right Z. Misspoke. Was thinking of Union island. The good harbor is Chatham Bay. You take a ride up this very steep rutted road . Then go to the opposite side to get to Clifton. We did it in the rain with a 4 seated rusted out mini Jeep like thing. One door wouldn’t open at all. None of the window handles worked. Screeching brakes (no pads). Getting to Clifton was scary. Getting back to the boat was terrifying.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

https://www.noonsite.com/news/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-special-procedures-being-introduced-in-ports-of-entry-worldwide/

Perhaps a useful resource for this thread?

On check in to BVI, I have found JvD the most consistently good natured, efficient (even if variably priced) experience. All the others seem to have good days and bad days so, if I am coming from the West, it is a no brainer to go there.

I have never had a problem in St John, St Croix, Culebra or PR whether in a UK or US flagged vessel. I hear that if you are on a charter boat it can be tougher but unverified.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Know they are patrolling throughout the Windwards. Seen them in St. Anne’s, Rodney, Bequia, and due to possible boat break ins south Bays of Grenada. We left Grenada in November so that’s second hand information. Last year Upper Woburn was patrolled so suspect that’s true.
For St. Vincent and St.Lucia think it’s more about making sure people don’t skip fees not anything to do with immigration and disease ingress. We (like others) have anchored, slept, and left within 12 hours more than once. They don’t like that both in the island you skipped the fees and the next island you go to where you actually clear. Regardless of the law people do leave their boats and wander about on land well before clearing so take no comfort beyond security issues by the presence of patrols. Do take comfort in that most travel is intra island or through an airport. It’s at the airports where the rubber hits the road. Historically, not impressed. Up side is other than Italy likely EU, Uk and NA travelers are still a low risk population.
Think my family who are in New England are at more risk then me in the Caribbean.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Over the last 40 years, I've seen the local officials cruise the anchorages checking papers on almost every island at all times of the day and night. No biggie, if your papers are in order. They are mostly very considerate, but if your papers are not in order..........
One French captain dropped a crew member off on the dock in Roseau Dominica without clearing in while I was there and they got in their CG boat and chased him down. They arrested him, took his boat, and did considerable damage docking it on the commercial pier in Roseau. End result, beyond the damage, was a fine around us$5k.

Grenada has several very nice USCG type outboard powered patrol boats and they do patrol often.

By the way, Clifton, Union Island, is actually a very easy port to get in and out of in daylight (easy at night too, once you know it), in any weather. There are government and private moorings available. We use Buddha for moorings, but you can anchor if you prefer. It is a good sand anchorage behind a great reef, so being windward side only means a nice steady breeze (zero swell) all night with none of the radical swinging that you get in Chatham. Clearing in there is easy, either at the yacht office in town or the airport. Be warned, it is illegal to anchor in Chatham or Frigate Island before you have cleared in. Many do it, but........
SVG is the only nation in the EC where unoccupied moorings do not have priority. You can anchor and interfere with a mooring and nobody can ask you to move to use it. Those who rent the moorings aren't happy about it, but if you are just clearing in/out and need a spot for an hour or two, this is nice to know.
 
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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Good to know Capta. We had a brief but salty sail to get to Union. So just wanted an easy open bay to crash. Will go into Clifton next time. Definitely had more going on on shore.
 

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Re: Caribbean Quarantine Status

Great.
Probably spend south. Fair amount of movement as people look for work. Many locals vacation and see family between islands. Whenever we’re forced to take cab always ask the driver where they have been. Other islands lead most lists followed by NYC, Miami and London.
 
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