POA Caribbean Adventure Caravan

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by TangoWhiskey, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    UPDATE: CURRENT TRAVEL DATES HERE

    Itinerary HERE

    =====================

    OK, here's the deal! My wife and I've been imagi-planning a general aviation two to three week adventure that starts in South Florida, and visits the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) and St. Martin/St. Maarten, with two or three days at each location. From St. Martin, for the truly adventurous, one can go with a CFI the few miles over to St. Barts (TFFJ) and get the official "check out" to be able to land at one of the world's most challenging approaches.

    Here's what the route would look like, departing from Fort Lauderdale Executive; all the airports on the route are good GA fields with fuel, and customs AOE where needed. The longest overwater leg is well within the capabilities of most GA aircraft, at 227 nm, from the Bahamas to the Turks. The colored triangles on the routes are 100nm markers for that route's segment. The 227 nm leg DOES have airports one can land at, at Crooked Island and Mayaguana Island, but they are marked private (resorts) and have no fuel.

    [​IMG]

    Another POA member heard about this adventure, and thought I should consider throwing it out there as a POA fly-out adventure. And so I am!

    If we did this, say May 2013 or so, would anyone else be interested in joining? This is before hurricane season gets going, but it's still warm and nice on the islands!

    Sharing the adventure is more fun--we could negotiate rates or rent multi-bedroom homes at destinations, or go "solo" once on the islands--your choice. Those that want to shorten the trip duration could do part of the route, then head back earlier than the rest.

    Consider this the "testing the warm waters" post!
     

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    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  2. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Go a month earlier and catch the Heinekin boat race in Antigua. Hell of a party.

     
  3. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm not married to a date! April works for me! You going to come?!
     
  4. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No thanks, I've been there more times than I can count and need to go the other way if I make another long trip. It's sho-nough fun the first time, so I hope you get it put together.

     
  5. MarkL

    MarkL Pre-Flight

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    April right after Sun N Fun perhaps?
     
  6. ki4lzk

    ki4lzk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My wife and I would love to go. She has wanted to go to the turks and caicos for years. April and may both work for us. This would be a fun adventure
     
  7. flygirl34q

    flygirl34q Ejection Handle Pulled

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    How come we gotta wait until 2013???!!! Let's go sooner than that! How about NEXT year May?? :D
     
  8. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ok! I was thinking some folks would need more time to plan funding and accrue 'paid time off' to use for the Adventure! ;-)

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
     
  9. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    How about a night or two on Anegada?
     
  10. HPNPilot1200

    HPNPilot1200 En-Route

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    If you do, be sure to give me a heads up. Two of our check airman at work are the only US certificated pilots authorized to give SBH checkouts as far as I know. If they are down there when you are, they may be able to help you out. They check everyone out at our company toward the beginning of our season (end of October) each year. :)
     
  11. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Don't let that deter you from using them though, fuel can be delivered, you will have to pay of course, and you may have to stay a day or two, but it can be done, it's just on island time.


    I'd be interest this September, May of 2013:dunno: Is that even a real published date yet? Hurricane season is the best diving though, as long as there isn't a hurricane, and you get plenty of warning to get out with an airplane.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  12. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Troy - you planning around accommodating school year?
     
  13. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The only schooling that will be going on will involve drinks and a beach!

    Please restate your question, counselor. Are you wondering if we'll try to do this when kids are out of school? So Tommy can come?

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk
     
  14. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Oh, this is a dream trip for me! I'm definitely interested! And if it's late May, I can work anniversary plans into it, too! (Sorry, AdamZ)! Heck, let's relocate the Wings FlyBQ!
     
  15. ki4lzk

    ki4lzk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I know that I would have to go fishing at least one day. It would be a travesty not to.
     
  16. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Now there's a great idea! :yes: Count me in for April/May 2013.

    Looks like it'd be about 2,150nm each way for me... So, planned at just about the same length as my "Grand Adventure" a few years ago, which was a bit shy of 4200nm if you just plug the airports in but turned into 5800nm after all of the "Hey, look at that!" moments. :D It also turned into 55.87 hours on the tach, 63.9 on the Hobbs, and about $7,000. So, this one should be within reach, as long as food and lodging costs can be contained... Especially since I'll be graduated and making money again by then.
     
  17. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No itinerary is "set", but with a two week trip, we're looking at about two days at each destination (Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas (US VI), and St. Martin). 2 days x 6 stops = 12 days. Considering it a day's flight back to Florida, destination stay length and activities can be highly variable. I think it would almost be more fun that we were all in the same area, not necessarily tied to the same destinations / activities / lengths of stay.

    What do you think? This is a POA trip being proposed, most definitely not a "Troy wants to spend xx days on island A and yy days on island B, and if you come along you have to do the same" kind of trip! Let's keep it flexible, pair up on flights over water for safety (somebody knows where you went down, if you did!), and pair up on activities / outings at destinations as desired.

    A FlyBQ on the beach would be awesome, huh?!? It would be great to have you and Leslie along, Grant! Are you able to celebrate your anniversary early if "late May" isn't the exact target date that works for others?

    Agreed! And chartering a boat as a GROUP, for SCUBA, sailing, or fishing, should be cheaper than doing it individually.

    Start saving your pennies!!

    Keep the ideas coming, folks... we'll formalize plans later. I think there's enough interest here to make it happen!
     
  18. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm in, as I don't have to clear it with anyone.
     
  19. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, as long as you don't have a problem clearing it with these guys, welcome to the trip!
     
  20. stagecoachco

    stagecoachco Line Up and Wait

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    OK, May of 2013 is a ways off, but this trip sounds very fun!! I would love to go. <starts putting pennys in the piggy bank>
     
  21. ki4lzk

    ki4lzk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    A lot of us could meet up on the way down to the miami area. My wife is excited about this. I plan on trying the local drinks:)
     
  22. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Leslie is interested too! We're looking good!
     
  23. flygirl34q

    flygirl34q Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I'd like to come too! And I guess I'll bring the husband along as well. :D
     
  24. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    I'm 100% sure if I mention this to the Mrs, she'd say yes. But she's also been working too many hours lately and wouldn't be thinking of the costs. ;)

    2013 is a ways off. I'll say a solid "maybe" but who really knows...?

    Plus I thought that Rapture dude said that was coming before 2013. ;)
     
  25. ki4lzk

    ki4lzk Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Well youcan just say you will do it because if the world ends no one can call you a lier.
     
  26. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's OK - We're gonna be in heaven either way. :yes:
     
  27. jandersen

    jandersen Filing Flight Plan

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    I'm very interested in this! Can we fly the whole trip VFR? If you're making a list put myself, and my wife on it... We're also up for SCUBA. When you have firm dates, please post them.
     
  28. Lance F

    Lance F En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Normally I don't plan 2 weeks out, much less 2 years. But in general count me...IN.

    Sue, too.
     
  29. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Excellent! Are you going to OSH? I'll be at your home drome Sunday 7/31, departing Monday 8/1 for Fort Worth, after dropping a friend off on my way back. Would be nice to meet you and see your 182.

    Political statement? :dunno:

    Absolutely; this entire trip would be planned daytime VFR; those that want to file IFR can do so, but the weather (especially in the mornings before afternoon cumulus builds over the islands) is generally VFR in the Caribbean. Landing after official sunset or prior to official sunrise in the Bahamas (at least, I haven't checked the other countries yet) is only permitted if you're on an IFR flight plan.

    I'm not making a list yet, but we can start one, like we do in some other trip threads.

    This is worth planning in advance for! Would be great to have you both along. You going to bring the Lear? :D
     
  30. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    UPDATE: CURRENT TRAVEL DATES HERE

    REVISED dates / itinerary:

    Sun-N-Fun 2013 in Lakeland (Central Florida) is Tuesday April 9 - Sunday April 14 2013.

    To accommodate those that would like to piggy back off that event ("another reason to visit Florida!") or who might like to hit Disney World in Orlando or the Kennedy Space Center (VERY cool--pay extra for the "inside bus tour"!), I propose we plan on launching from Fort Lauderdale Executive for the Bahamas on the morning of Sunday March 31st and return to Florida Saturday April 13th.

    Route and dates might look like this:

    • Get yourself to southern Florida by Saturday March 30th for a dinner/briefing, Sunday March 31st departure.
    • Sunday 3/31/2013 - KFXE - MYNN: clear customs into the Bahamas, spend Sunday/Monday in Nassau
    • Tuesday 4/2/2013 - Depart Nassau for Grand Exuma (MYEF) , 124 nm - Spend Tuesday in Grand Exuma
    • Wednesday 4/3/2013 - Depart Grand Exuma (MYEF) for the Turks and Caicos (MBPV), 227nm; spend Wed/Thur exploring the islands
    • Friday 4/5/2013 - Fly three legs (MBPV-MDPP, MDPP-MDPC, MDPC-TJIG) to Puerto Rico. Friday afternoon/evening activities.
    • Saturday 4/6/2013 - Spend the day in San Juan, Puerto Rico (TJIG), one day shopping / playing.
    • Sunday 4/7/2013 - Hop over to St. Thomas (TIST), 64nm. Two days of beaches and fun.
    • Tuesday 4/9/2013 - Final leg from St. Thomas to St. Martin, 110nm. Stay three or four days, then start the journey back the way we came on Friday 4/12 to be back in South Florida on Saturday 4/13.

    Folks that don't want to do THAT much flying, or who have a favorite destination along the route, can alter the plan, and stop-and-stay as long as they like at earlier (or other) destinations, and catch the group on the way back if they like.

    I'll do more digging on the specifics of activities, customs requirements, etc. for each location later... right now this is just to get some schedule ideas on paper (screen?) so we can adjust as needed. If this is "too rushed" of a schedule, speak up... I have a tendency to try to pack too much into one trip, so it could be that a single day at some of the earlier stops to allow us to press on to the final destination and spend MORE time in St. Martin would be a better plan, and I'm totally open to that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  31. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I've been to the Turks and Caicos. I give them a solid "meh." If it were me, I would use Provo only as a fuel stop.
     
  32. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Hey, I just want to get back to St. Martin! If that's the general concensus, I'm good with that. ;-)
     
  33. n12365

    n12365 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I recently did a very similar trip in my 172 from Virginia to the British Virgin Islands. I could only spare a week of vacation, so I combined it with Memorial day and did the trip in 10 days. Most days involved two legs between 3 different countries, so it would have been nice to have more time.

    From Fort Lauderdale, I went to George Town in the Bahamas for a night. The next day we flew to Turks & Caicos for fuel before continuing on to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic for the night (fuel was cash only, no change available). Next day flew from Puerto Plata to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico for fuel (cheapest fuel in the Caribbean) and then on to Beef Island in the British Virgin Islands. Stayed 2 night in the BVI, then reversed the trip.

    I did the entire trip on international IFR flight plans and it was similar to flying IFR in the US. A lot of places don't have radar coverage, so I got to do some non-radar IFR flying for the first time. Also, there was ~50nm section between the Bahamas and Turks& Caicos where there was no communication coverage with Miami Center. If you have XM weather & radio, you will loose coverage soon after leaving the Bahamas.

    I have attached two google earth files. One shows my overall plan and the other shows the actual track log of my flight. I hope they are helpful.

    Ryan
     

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  34. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks, Ryan! That's great feedback and info, and confirmation that it's "doable" in a 172!

    I also haven't done any research into whether or not there's anything worth stopping for in Punta Cana, D.R.; I too have a stop planned for Puerto Plata, D.R. for fuel. I see you went direct from there to Puerto Rico, and that may make more sense. This whole plan is very fluid at this time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2011
  35. n12365

    n12365 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Glad to help. If you have any questions, let me know.

    I bought the "Bahamas and Caribbean Pilots' Guide" from http://www.pilotpub.com/ and found it to be a great resource for the trip.

    Ryan
     
  36. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I bought it in 2003, and it proved to be a great resource--it's still on my shelf, and is useful in the early planning stages of this adventure. I'll definitely acquire an updated copy before the trip...
     
  37. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I won't do Grand Exuma (Georgetown) because I wasn't allowed to donate blood for a year after visiting there. :( If that has changed, however...
    Fuel there was cash only, IIRC.
     
  38. n12365

    n12365 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No sure about the blood situation, but I didn't have any problem paying with a credit card in May.
     
  39. gprellwitz

    gprellwitz Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My visit there was in November 2009, and I was denied blood donations for 12 months due to a malaria infestation. As I said, I don't know if that's still current, and I can't swear to the cash only fueling. Regardless, your refueling was more recent. I'd still either call ahead or ensure I had enough cash on my person, just to be sure!
     
  40. TangoWhiskey

    TangoWhiskey Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm sure a call to the Red Cross, a Blood bank or the local island's Health Ministry can ensure we don't visit someplace that still has an issue.