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Bond Deal & Parties for Jumpers

You’ll know you’ve arrived in French Polynesia when locals wearing flower garlands paddle out to welcome you.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Veteran cruisers will tell you that the people of French Polynesia are among the friendliest folks in the South Pacific. Ironically, though, their government is the only one we know of that requires every arriving sailor with a non-EU passport to post a cash bond equal to the price of a plane ticket home — unless you have made special arrangements for a ‘bond exemption’.

We’ve been working for months with several Tahitian associates to facilitate a bond exemption for this year’s fleet, and we’re happy to report that the details have finally been worked out. The French Polynesian yacht and ship agency CMA CGM has offered a special deal to Pacific Puddle Jumpers who register for the rally at our site, which includes clearance in and out, bond exemptions for crew, and duty free fuel in the Marquesas and Tahiti (a savings of roughly $2/gallon). 

Last year’s price of $110 per boat, offered by a different agency, proved to be more trouble than it was worth, and that agency did not renew their offer this year. CMA CGM’s offer is more expensive, but we feel it is still quite a good deal. Cost for two crew will be $188 USD (payable in advance via PayPal). Cost for four crew will be $222 USD. Puddle Jumpers may also use their services on an a la carte basis, such as individual bond exemptions for $67 per person. All other services are charged at $44/hour.

We’re delighted to extend CMA CGM’s offer to the fleet as most former cruisers consider the bond issue to be a substantial hassle. We should note, however, that fleet members are under no obligation to use CMA CGM’s services. And Latitude 38 is in no way involved with the financial dealings of this offer. Also, it is possible to avoid paying the bond if you have a return air ticket to your home country. Details of the ‘deal’ will be emailed to fleet members soon.

In late June passage-makers will come together for the annual Tahiti-Moorea Sailing Rendezvous. Idyllic Opunoho Bay is the site of our activities in Moorea.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

The ‘bond deal’ news comes none too soon, as many boats along the west coast of the Americas are now making final preparations for departures in late February or early March. Latitude 38 will help usher them on their way with two Pacific Puddle Jump send-off parties in February:

February 4 — at the Vallarta YC, Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico (just outside PV), 2 – 5 p.m. Digital media presentation, free snacks and drinks, and Q & A on pertinent issues. All attendees will be interviewed for mini-bios in Latitude 38 magazine. Members of this year’s fleet only, please.

February 12 — at the Balboa YC, Balboa, Panama, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Cohosted by Latitude 38 and Tahiti Tourism. Digital media presentation, free snacks and drinks, and Q & A on pertinent issues. Open to all westbound cruisers.

If you’re in the Seattle area and are curious about the Puddle Jump, come see us at the Seattle Boat Show. We’ll be giving seminars both this Saturday (2 p.m. red stage) and Sunday (2 p.m. red stage). These presentations will immediately follow 1 p.m. seminars on the Baja Ha-Ha cruisers rally, from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas. Hope to see you at any or all of these events!

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