CBA III - COPA Bahamian Adventure Update

The Bahamian trip is Just a week away! This time next week we will all be at John Kinsey’s hangar party.

I will be sending out the Guide Books this Weekend. Everyone should have them by Monday or Tuesday. If you need your earlier, please let me know. I can email the majority of it to you (14 megs).

Remember: “It is better in the Bahamas!”

Just a further update on the timing of the binders. About half will go out 2-3 day mail today. I will give preference to those whose will be joining us for the first time. (You old salts - yes, you know who you are Dennis - know the info better than I do anyway. [:)] )

The US & Bahamian immigration cards will not be included in the binders but will be available at the hangar party. If you will not be able to attend the hangar party on Wednesday night, I will be carrying spares, of all forms, and of course, they can be obtained upon arrival into the Bahamas.

As a reminder, these are the forms that we will be using:

  • International flight plan (2 are included)
  • C7A “Cruising Permit” OR “General Declaration” (6 provided - 3 copies inbound and 3 outbound)
  • Bahamian Immigration card (1 per passenger - Available at hangar party)
  • US Arrival Form (1 Provided)
  • US Immigrations Card (1 per family - Available at hangar party)

I have included airport diagrams, copies of the relevant portions of charts and some approach plates (terminal Procedures). While these are legal to use, I strongly recommend that you are prepared with whatever charts you feel that you will need.

Remember: It’s Better in the Bahamas!

Teri Jackson Sent me an email on Thursday with two names that have not confirmed their raft orders. I sent out an email yesterday to those folks, and as of 11:30 (EDT) on Friday, she still has not heard from them.

If you have any doubts, please call (or email) Teri Jackson per my earlier emails.

(Yes, Mike was correct, I am out and about, but I was lucky to fine an internet connection to catch up.)

“See ya all real soon now, ya hear!”

Here are some answers to a few questions that I have received:

The hangar party will be at John Kinsey’s hangar at the Boca Raton airport (BCT). A map is included in the binder which will show the location of the hangar parking area.

When you arrive at the airport, we will have asked that the tower direct you to parking close to the hangar on the south or southeast end of the ramp. We have also asked that Boca Aviation keep one isle set aside for our use, but there are no guarantees. The party begins at 7:00.

For those of you staying at the Fairfield Inn & Suites on Wednesday night, it will be walking distance from the aircraft parking area. If you need transportation, the FBO, Boca Aviation, will be happy to provide you a lift to the hotel.

Boca Aviation will waive any ramp fees and discount the price of gas. (They haven’t said how much yet, but they have promised me an answer on Friday.) If you have any problems, look for me or ask for Linda Hernandez, the Customer Service Manager.

Even with the fuel discount, the Boca fuel will probably not be cheap. While it is always nice to by gas at the facilities providing you services, especially when they waive some fees, Pahokee (PHK) 10-15 minutes west on the SE shore of Lake Okeechobee, used to have good gas prices.

Rafts, if you have ordered them through us, will be waiting for you at the hangar party. You will have to return it yourself to the Banyan FBO at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE) after you clear customs there.

When we depart from Boca in the morning, we will take off one at a time and fly in a very stretched out line. It is unlikely that you will be within sight of other planes unless you make prior arrangements with another pilot to do so. Practically speaking, ATC will keep the IFR traffic very spread out and at different altitudes. Expect a few minute gap between IFR aircraft on take-off. The VFR traffic will fly a slightly different (more direct) route.

When we arrive into Marsh Harbour, there is no tower. While planes may begin to bunch up as we enter the traffic pattern, we have never had any sort of congestion or confusion (that is as long as you are not following Mike Murdock[;)] ) . Typically when we arrive there will be no more than 2 or 3 panes within 10 miles of the airport.

If the WX is very clear and any IFR planes are interested in flying as a flight of 2 or 3, (not a close formation, but within sight) I would be willing to discuss it at the hangar party.

Once you land, there is parking on the ramp North Side just past the middle if you’re landing on RW 9. Park you plane and secure it as best you can. There are no tie down facilities, but you will probably want to set your brakes, use chocks, lock the plane, and deploy your covers. Unless things have changed, they will not move your plane. There will be Bahamian “porters” with carts anxious to help you with your bags, for a small tip of course! If the first couple of planes give good tips, we will all get good service from them.

If you want gas, you can call for “Zig-Zag” the cheapest gas in the Bahamas, either before or after you land. The gas truck will probably be pretty busy, so cut the guy a break. If the gas truck is not immediately available, I suggest that you clear customs with all you baggage and then go back to the plane to pay for the gas. The Bahamian agents rarely inspect the planes.

Once you clear customs, take taxis to the hotel. I think the fares are about $4 per person, unless you are Bahamian then it is $1! I would ask about the rates before you get in the cab, but haggling is not likely to be successful.

I will be available at the hangar party and in the hotel breakfast area to answer any questions and provide help with the forms.

Oh, one more thing: It’s Better in the Bahamas!

FWIW, I just got back from Harbour Island and learned that Customs (at least at HI) wants everyone to come in and clear as soon as you land. Do not spend time at the plane tidying up. Clear customs first. I don’t know if it was a power thing or what but they weren’t happy I stopped to put the sunshields in.

Marty left me a message to ask that I post that he’ll be offline until Saturday. If you need to reach him, check my post on the Members Discussion forum with the same subject for his cell phone number.

Late news: Boca Aviation will sell 100LL for $2.99/gal, down from $3.89; they will waive overnight parking fees if you take 10 gallons.

  • Mike.

In reply to:

Marty FWIW, I just got back from Harbour Island and learned that Customs (at least at HI) wants everyone to come in and clear as soon as you land. Do not spend time at the plane tidying up. Clear customs first. I don’t know if it was a power thing or what but they weren’t happy I stopped to put the sunshields in.

Richard: I generally agree, but we will pretty much overwhelm them. I have never had a problem doing as I suggest, and quite frankly, it seems a bit more orderly in the small customs and terminal building.

BUT, If they ask anyone to do anything in any particular order, I 100% suggest that we follow those suggestions. As I say in the Binder, it’s their country and for all intents and purposes they make the rules, even if they change every flight[;)]. It rarely if ever pays to argue with them.

See ya soon.