Initially much more straightforward was obtaining our required Health Visas, now required due to COVID. You fill in all of your information, dates, locations, vaccine dates, download PDFs of your vaccines, COVID test results, passports, etc. Finally, click “APPLY” & wait. An hour or two later you are notified you’re “Approved”! Apparently not really?! Appearing before the Customs officer, the very first question she asks is “where are your COVID test forms?” I show her our beautiful Health Visas. “Not those, where are your COVID test forms?” I pointed out the “Status: Approved” on the Health Visas – she shook her head “I don’t care about that – I need your COVID test forms”. I dug thru my pile of documents & found our COVID negative testing letters from the clinic in Vero Beach signed by the doctor (the same letters I had sent PDFs of to obtain the Health Visas). “No – I need your COVID test forms”…
She began the phone calls – her boss, then Customs in Nassau, the Ministry of Health, tried to call our COVID testing site in Florida & who knows else. Although Bahamians (of course) speak English, when speaking to each other it can be with such a quick & clipped pattern I can usually make out only some of it, but I did make out a few bad words like “quarantine”. Finally, after what seemed like forever, she got off of the phone, sighed, shuffled all of the papers & dramatically started rubber stamping all of our documents. “We may still require your proper test forms, but since you were initially approved on-line, we’ll approve your entry … Enjoy your stay in the Bahamas”!
All of our rushing around to cross to the Bahamas a week early was indeed well worth it. In addition to the dead calm seas during our 2-day crossing to Green Turtle Cay, we continued with an additional 2 beautiful days continuing onto Hope Town with brief stops on Guana Cay & Man-O-War Cay before the winds kicked up. Now on a protected mooring in Hope Town, while the winds are gusting to 24 knots, it is very calm in here. On the other hand, anyone crazy enough attempting to cross over from Florida today, would be facing winds gusting to 30 knots with seas of 4′ – 6′, along with an occasional 8′.
With the current weather pattern, there may be a large delay for our continuing travels, but at least … We have arrived!