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  #1  
Old 10-17-2012
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Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

As some of you may have read on another thread, we are chartering in BVI in January 2013. Although we'll be satisfied if we stay entirely withing BVI, we really love St. John and might like to pop into one or two of their coves during our trip. In addition to hitting some favorite restaurants and meeting up with some friends we know there, it might be nice to pop into Starfish Market about halfway through the week to update our provisions.

What is the procedure for doing this? I assume you first have to go through Customs in Cruz Bay to enter the US, right? What about re-entering BVI on the return trip? Do you have to pay another fee to re-enter, or is there a weekly fee that we pay at the beginning that would allow us to re-enter later in the week?

Any other suggestions?
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Old 10-17-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Don't know about prepayment for a return to the BVI, but I do know that the US officials expect you to check in (e.g., at Cruz Bay) with Customs/Immigration when you come to the USVI and that you have to have everyone in your crew show up in person. When you go back to the BVI they only want the skipper to show up in person, but with passports for all.

BTW, you can tie up to the US customs pier, but they will charge you and you will have to get off the dock ASAP, because it can get very busy. I've done it and don't recommend it for the faint of heart because of the tight quarters and heavy traffic. After 15 minutes they practically pushed me off the pier to make room for other boats. At least the check in process was very fast compared to the BVI.

There is a very small anchorage in Cruz Bay, to your port as you enter, but you probably should pick up a mooring around Linde Pt, towards Caneel Bay, and dinghy in.
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Old 10-18-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

You will need to clear in and out each time and pay the fees in the BVI. All people aboard your boat must be U.S. citizens or non-citizens with a valid U.S. visa as the visa waiver program doesn't apply to entering the U.S. in private boats. The U.S. doesn't enforce clearing out, but the BVI does require clearance in both directions. Depending upon traffic it can be a breeze in 5 minutes or can take 30-60 minutes.
I agree with fallard that picking up a mooring in Caneel bay and then dinghying over to clear in is a better approach. remember to bring a lock and key for your dinghy while in Cruz Bay.
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Old 10-18-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

It's PIA. I would only do it if I had plenty of time and had a great desire to go to the other country. As Zanshin noted you have to check in and OUT with authorities. So you can't just sail from the BVI's without first going to Soper's hole to get an exit visa. Then you have to get clearance to come back in.
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Take5 make sure your charter vessel has the proper paperwork onboard to clear into the USVI. I suggest you make your charter company aware of your plans. Not all companies keep the documentation on the vessel. The process has been described accurately by the previous posters. The difficulty and times listed are not what I have ever experienced in 7 years and 100s of entries. The most time I recall it taking was 20 minutes from the time I set foot on the Custom's property. That was because I came in just after two ferries landed. Just bad luck once...
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Thanks for the advice - keep it coming. Since we only have a one week charter, we will not attempt this if it's too onerous. There's plenty to do just staying in BVI. But I was just curious whether it's an option if we choose to. The warning about being sure to have the paperwork onboard is great advice!
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Waste of time. Provision enough in the beginning , but run out the last day. Bring a few easy to fix stuff in you bags and supplement with fresh produce, fish or seafood when you get there. Why waste time at a store when you can be our sailing, snorkeling, or napping.

Dave
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Old 10-19-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by chef2sail View Post
Waste of time. Provision enough in the beginning , but run out the last day. Bring a few easy to fix stuff in you bags and supplement with fresh produce, fish or seafood when you get there. Why waste time at a store when you can be our sailing, snorkeling, or napping.

Dave
Dave - As I mentioned in my OP, we have friends who vacation on St. John during that week, and for various reasons 2013 might be our last chance to see them. Re-provisioning would not be our primary objective - it would just be a side trip if we decided to stop off there for other reasons.
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Old 10-20-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Rick,

Ok I reread that, sorry. I guess what I intended was that when we chartered down there three times we tended to eat only early and lunch meals on the boat and I think 2 dinners at anchor so don't over provision.

Which company have you settled on? We d Sunsail 3 times with good reviews. Twice with catamarans. Having a monohull I wanted a different viewpoint. I am still a. Monohull guy, but the room was incredible.

Dave
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Old 10-20-2012
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Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

I suspect this will really be a time eater and add stress to the vacation, but certainly understand wanting to see your friends. If possible, why not add a day or so on either end of your trip and take the ferry over. This would be much easier, if you're already flying in/out of St. Thomas.
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