Provo Passage: Days 3-4

Fri, April 4, 2014 –

Anchor up for our last day in the Bahamas as we sailed on to Provo, Turks and Caicos.  Again the forecast was for high winds and seas, but we managed to sail most of the way.

The Turks and Caicos is not as casual as the Bahamas.  As we reached about 10 miles from Provo we heard Provo Radio, the government group make a general announcement that any boat entering or leaving Turks and Caicos waters must declare themselves within a 12 mile radius.  They have good radar and already knew we were there.  They are as efficient as the U.S. for watching border activity.  Since it was getting late we declared ourselves via radio and headed to Sapodilla Bay to anchor for the night before going by dinghy to Customs and Immigration the next day.

In talking to other boaters since, we learned that a small boat with 100 Haitians had attempted to make it to Provo the week before and been stopped by the Marine Police Force.  They do not have the same “wet foot, dry foot” agreement that the U.S. has.  Even if the refugees had made it to land, they would be sent back.  The country spends a significant amount of funds each year returning refugees to their home country.  Most are from Haiti.  It is a human trafficing issue.  Those refugees have paid large fees to be on the boats hoping to get a start on a better life.  The boats are small, generally unsafe, and overcrowded.  Once stopped, instead of immigrating to the new country, the refugees are jailed until they can be returned to their homeland.  Most of them have paid all of the money they had and even gotten funds from family to get a seat on the boat.  What they are promised is not what they get.

(CLICK) Quintessa reefed in 25k winds video


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