Greetings All,

We are still working out some of the details but here are some general guidelines for those interested in the disaster relief mission to Haiti.

Will I need a Passport?
You will need a Passport. More specifically, you will need a current passport that will not expire for at least 30 days after you expect to return. The vagaries of wind and wave coupled with the uncertainties of any relief mission make it prudent to have at least that much of a buffer period on your travel documents.

How long will I be gone?
For our first voyage, figure on 5-6 weeks minimum. It may take up to 14 days to get to our final destination in Ile a Vache, Haiti. We've got a few stops to make along the way to meet up with other like-minded sailors and spread the word of our humanitarian mission. We're positive these few extra days will pay great dividends in future assistance from those we meet and network with enroute.

Then we plan to spend 3 weeks working and establishing local relationships and a presence; many times in disaster relief, the hardest part is getting the people who need help to realize that you are a resource and how to get to you. Then it'll take a week or so to get back to the mainland. If you can stay longer, that's great, but if you can't be gone that long, that's fine too. 

When hurricane season officially starts (June 1st), we plan to sail Tandemeer north up the US East Coast on a fundraising tour, the biggest event set up right now is July 4th in Philadelphia, hosted by the boat's donating family. We may get as far north as Boston, completing the tour back in Florida at the end of the hurricane season late September to continue our missions to Ile a Vache.

There will be other missions later in the season where we may be able to fit you in. We'd love to hear from you with details of your future availability.

OK, so what's the plan?
What will we be doing when we get there?
Meeting other aid groups, establishing networks, making contacts and, above all, helping make a difference in the lives of thousands.

Can you be more specific?
Not right now, there are too many details to be worked out once we arrive. However, if you were the kind of person that needs a stable, rigidly ordered schedule, you probably wouldn't be considering the opportunity anyway. Right?

How about money?

Everybody on this mission is a volunteer so nobody is going to get paid for the voyage or the work we do. You will however, be free to claim bragging rights for participation, resume/CV points, and good karma. We are obviously going to provide transport to and from Haiti on day trips that will be in company (none of our crew will be expected to travel alone), as well as your berth on board during the mission. You will be responsible for the costs of transport to and from our port of embarkation and for your lodging once there when not on one of our boats. You will also be responsible for your own lodging and board once we return to the mainland. We recommend that you find a sponsor or sponsors to help defray the costs of your travel and lodging. Any excess sponsor monies will be gratefully accepted by IRG in the furtherance of this mission. All our members can create their own personal profile on IRG's website and develop fundraising messages, invite their friends, family and colleagues to watch your boat's progress and use our online infrastructure to accept donations that can be tracked to your efforts.

HOWEVER - we are all sharing in food costs ($200/month) and immigration fees (latest information was $20 per person in Haiti).

Note: In the interest of friendly competition, there will be a very nice prize for the person who presents IRG with the largest monetary sponsor donation.

What about phone and internet access?

We can't answer this right now. Our boats are not equipped with satellite WiFi and Ile a Vache isn't exactly bristling with cellphone towers, but we are likely to have mobile roaming access for emergency calls, and our shore support people on the island do have landline telephones. We also have SailMail by SSB radio (long-distance) so you are likely to be able to send and receive short emails.

What should I plan on bringing?
Nothing out of the ordinary, but no hard luggage - plan on a soft duffel or "sea bag". Packing lists and the details of required and suggested items will follow. Multiple layers of light clothing are recommended. Our boats have enough foul weather gear for all crew including harnesses and personal flotation devices.

How about food?

We will provide meals on board from the point when you embark in Florida until the point you return to Florida. We'll work out diets and preferences in the next several days. 

What about my medical conditions?
If you should have any chronic medical needs (hypertension pills, allergy medicines, etc.) you will need to bring enough to carry you through the mission with plus at least 10 additional days, just in case. For vaccine recommendations, please read this bulletin from the CDC (click here).

IRG does not carry medical insurance for our crews, that is a matter for personal decision.

What if I have to leave early?
If, in case of personal emergency back home, you need to return to your home sooner than your vessel arrives back in Florida you will be responsible for your own airfare. This can be quite expensive so if you have any doubts about the stability of things at home, we strongly discourage you from applying for this maiden voyage. There will be other missions throughout the year and you'll accomplish more if you can keep your mind in the game without having to worry about your home situation.

Speaking of back home…
You will need to provide us with a solid point of contact to chat with if something happens to go wrong while you are there. This should be a mostly responsible individual who has some inkling of your past and your ongoing doings. Therefore, if you happen to be an international spy who is deeply undercover and/or wanted by Interpol, you should probably forego this opportunity.

Please don't let our application form daunt you, it solicits much of the information mentioned above, please fill it out as best you can and if we have any questions we'll contact you. There will be more to follow very soon.

All the best,

Captain Ray
IRG Vessel Tandemeer - Nautical Development 56' Marconi-rigged ketch.

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Replies to This Discussion

We have been working in Haiti nearly 30 yrs. Several years at Ile a Vache where we lived there full time. Since 05 we've been sailing in and out of Ile a Vache,  carrying aid. We usually pass about three months there annually.  There is good internet there, and excellent cell phone service.   Much cheaper to purchase a local Digicel cell phone to call the US. We are IEM, " Islander Evangelistic Ministries" we work also with Capt.  Bruce Leeming, president of Friends of Ile a Vache. Capt. Bruce has been sailing into Ile a Vache for many years & has carried alot of humanitarian aid, not to mention the fish farms and water projects. We are very familiar with that area .   If we can ever be of any help , just let us know ?

                                                                                              cpt. rev.  r.  bideaux

                                                                                              La victoria /  IEM Ministries

Hello, thanks for the excellent advice on the area. Concerning internet, how would a boat's crew access that? Is there an internet cafe?


The Captain

There is an internet cafe that Capt. Bruce has set up with a local named: Wagoner. Also there is the option of purchasing a data card through one of the local providers, and pre paided data for that devise.  Then Hotel Port Morgan has WiFi that we can usually receive from the harbor there.  I have the data card ;last voyage I sat at my nav station doing skype with my wife in Florida.  

Captain Ray Thackeray, IRG said:

Hello, thanks for the excellent advice on the area. Concerning internet, how would a boat's crew access that? Is there an internet cafe?


The Captain

What does the data card cost?

I'm looking for a 3G HotSpot so I can give access to the crew for important emails.

Captain,sorry just getting back.  I believe the card is about $,then you purchase data. The option is you can make arrangements with Mr.  Didier  at Hotel Port Morgan.  More than likely you will  be anchored in that bay. 

Hello Raymond,

I gave Wagner Tanis and Sammy Altema your regards, we are in Ile a Vache and distributing the medical supplies, tools and sails now. A lot of boat loads!

Captain Ray

capt. rev. Raymond Bideaux said:

Captain,sorry just getting back.  I believe the card is about $,then you purchase data. The option is you can make arrangements with Mr.  Didier  at Hotel Port Morgan.  More than likely you will  be anchored in that bay. 



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