May 14, 2019
The hundred nautical mile distance between Grand Cayman and its two smaller sisters meant we were traveling in International waters while we were in transit to Grand Cayman. Not a big deal, but it put into play an Immigration/Customs confusion that, in the end, all we could do is put up our hands and recite one of our recurring responses to baffling situations… it is was it is, even though it’s not what we thought.
Before departing Cayman Brac, we had to clear out with the Customs and Border Control; and we would have to clear in again upon arriving at Grand Cayman. Though our passport visa was valid for thirty days and would have to be renewed, the CBC Officer assured us that Exit was authorized to be in the Caymans for six months.
Unfortunately, the passage to Grand Cayman was reminiscent of our previous passage from Jamaica… namely, insufficient wind that was coming from behind us and too much swell directly on the beam. The wind barely touched over ten knots the entire time.
Of the few entries in the log, one read “17:00 – This sucks… shit wind from behind and shit swell on the beam.” Another read “Genoa getting beaten to Hell. Ridiculous swell from two different directions bouncing us all over the place. Can’t keep the sails up.”
Regardless, we arrived at Grand Cayman the following day after twenty one hours.
But instead of taking the dinghy ashore to go to the CBC office, or being visited by an official on our boat, we were instructed to follow the escort of the Harbor Patrol boat to a government dock were we would meet the CBC Officer.
I mentioned in an earlier post that, in my opinion, the construction of a dock is a direct reflection on how much the person who built the dock values your boat. In this case, it couldn’t have been much.
The dock was composed of a giant slab of cement without a single rail, bumper, or post built right next to a giant rock that we were supposed to tie up to. Maybe okay for a tug boat equipped with an army of truck tires hanging off the rail; but for a sailboat… really?
During the hour we were there, the constant swell (and wind, which had finally picked up) threatened to pound us into the cement, despite having four large fenders deployed.
We were also informed that, though Cayman law allowed a boat to be in Cayman waters for six months, they only issued thirty day permits to coincide with the duration of our Immigration Visa. Contrary to what the Cayman Brac official had told us, we could easily get an extension stamp on our passports but would have to apply for an extension for the boat in writing, and pay $100 for each additional month… arrrrrrrgh!
CI CBC, WTF?… Cayman Islands Customs & Border Control, What The Fuck?
But at least we had made it… apparently to cruise ship heaven.