Sunday, February 22, 2015

Semi-International Doggy

The world continues to spin on a 23 1/2 degree axis, the sun rises and sets as normal and water laps against the hull constantly while we await word from the Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture regarding Wyatt's Domestic Animal Import Permit. As your can imagine, this is an arduous process and becomes more complex with a Caribbean laid-back attitude. 

We initially submitted our import permit on December 29, 2014 via USPS. This was likely our first mistake as we didn't track the package to its final destination. I should have done a better job of researching our delivery options and done it properly. I recently called the Ministry over Google Voice ($.10/minute to call Bahamas) to inquire the status of our permit. Not to my surprise, our paperwork was nowhere to be found. After a few personal deep breaths, the woman on the other side was very patient, professional, and gave me next steps.

Later the same afternoon, our second attempt at sending off Wyatt's application was underway to a new ministry address and with an additional permit and fax fee. We sent the app on Friday with an expected arrival on Monday. We could get his 'approved' import permit back as early as next Thursday. From there we obtain a health certificate from a local vet and present this when we clear into customs. As I track the document, Nate looks for a friendly weather window to cross from Ft. Lauderdale into the Bahamas. We're not quite sure where we'll clear customs, but our likely options are either Freeport, Bahamas or Bimini, Bahamas. As soon as we get our pet documents in order and find a weather window by watching Windfinder and listening to local weather reports, we'll weigh anchor, sail the 40-50NM and spend time sailing in Bahamian waters before returning to the US.

For those of you traveling internationally with your pets please note the process may take 4-8 weeks to get your permit approved if they don't lose your paperwork first. Be persistent and track your documents to the end!

Check out the Ministry's website for more helpful information. This dog-permit specific site can explain in greater detail than I can describe what you need in order to safely and legally bring your pet to run free on Bahamian beaches. Of course, each country is unique so be sure you check with each country's appropriate department regarding their import requirements. 

Our next step is purchasing charts for the Bahamas and provisioning food and beverages. We are told that local provisioning is extremely expensive so we'll do our grocery shopping in Ft. Lauderdale before we leave. There are rumors that beer sold in the Bahamas cost upwards of $40/case, if they even sell it at all! At least the rum is cheap. Until then, we listen to the water lap, watch the earth rotate around the sun and selfishly find entertainment from this guy...
I know I already shared this, but he can barely contain his excitement!

~Jenn & Nate


  1. Fingers crossed it all works out for Wyatt and the weather window!

  2. We'll be sending our dog's import papers to the Bahamas in the next couple of months, I saw the recommendation to use a courier with a way to track progress but didn't think it was really necessary. Guess I'll be doing that now though! Good luck, keep us posted on how it all goes :)

  3. Check with about animal papers. They, Dee Dee and Dylan should be in the area.
    Uncle Jim