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post #4 of Old 11-13-2001
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VIP Charters in St. Thomas

It''s too bad that all the charter business has migrated to the BVI. CSY, VIP and other "reputable" charter companies have a tough enough time competing. Up at Sib''s Bar on Crown Mountain there''s a 1970''s picture of Charlotte Amalie Harbor. The number of boats is amazing. Looking out my office window, I''d say there''s about 70% of the boats here right now than there was last year at this time (end of H-season). Doing business in the heavily economically and immigrationally protected BVI is difficult for non-belongers. Further, belongers arent'' required to have any form of captain''s license, aren''t generally held to strict liability standards, etc., etc. The disadvantages can be insurmountable without appreciable cash. SO, chartering out of St. Thomas doesn''t work bad. Get in, get checked out, sail across Pillsbury Sound, anchor in the lee off Cinnamon Bay or one of the other beaches in that series beginning with Caneel (easily rivaling anything in the BVI), get your clearance goodies in order, get a good night''s sleep and head for West End Tortola or Jost Van Dyke the next morning. West End (Soper''s Hole area) Tortola is generally (I say generally b/c...) open from early morning until evening because it''s a heavily used ferry terminal, harbor left as you enter. Sometimes they disappear at lunch time if no ferrys for awhile. Jost immigre'' is to the left of Foxy Callwood''s place toward the right hand end of the island as you sail towards it. Get your clearance paperwork done with the charter company before you leave the dock. Collect all documents, passports, etc. in one place. If you sail to Jost and immigration is closed and you later get "pulled over" the completed docs can save you some headaches and a small fine. I''ve often done the docs and never actually cleared in because the office was closed on Virgin Gorda by 3:00 P.M. and we were headed either to SXM or off to the seamount fishing. Fairly common, albeit likely not a good idea, occurrence. Never been checked. Patronize the U.S. if you can. More later on why the charter industry has gone to hell (and to the BVI) since hurricane Hugo....
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