Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Treasure Cay Bahamas - Planning

After moving to Florida and realizing the dream of aircraft ownership, the next big goal was to fly to the Bahamas. Over time I scoured useful websites and forums on Bahamas flight planning, accommodations, regulations, survival kits, etc., and built a decent "library" to begin organizing our trip. Another really helpful tool was the Bahamas & Caribbean Pilot's Guide.

With numerous options, the first task was to decide where in the Bahamas we wanted to go. For our first over water and international trip I wanted it to be as straight forward as possible, and I wanted to go to The Out Islands. Kristi and I had vacationed in Nassau years before and I wanted something a little more laid back. Treasure Cay, located in the Abaco Islands, seemed to fit the bill just right. The airport was a Port of Entry and it was close enough to home that we could fly down nonstop.

Now we needed to look for accommodations. There really aren't any large hotel chains or resorts in Treasure Cay like you find on Nassau. The largest is the Treasure Cay Hotel Resort & Marina. My one requirement, if we could afford it, was to stay right on the beach. After a little more research I found Sanddollar Dreams. This looked like the spot!

Okay, now we got the where figured out, how about when? For Spring Break 2008 we made our first real trip with the plane and had a great time in Key West. We were planning to do the same thing this year, but I resurrected the dream files for the Bahamas and proposed an alternative to my lovely wife who said yes! So after contacting the owner of the condo and arranging the vacation time at work, we decided we would go from March 27th to April 1st.

With the dates set, the rest of the preparations were completed. We obtained our Customs & Border Patrol Sticker, got the FCC pilot and plane licenses, and bought life jackets and a life raft. The life raft is not required, but the one we purchased from Survival Products, Inc. weighs only 12 pounds and is the size of a large binder. Some of the other equipment we chose to take included a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) and my marine band VHF radio from work. We already have a backup handheld radio for the plane, but if we had a forced landing on the water, I now had a radio to talk to ships as well. The requirements and other information for flying to and from the Bahamas can be found here: Private Flying - Bahamas. Next Post: The Flight Down!

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