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post #11 of 24 Old 11-10-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

There are charters available in several places on St. Thomas. We have chartered at least a half dozen times from Island Yachts in Red Hook, which is a hop, skip, and jump to St. John. We've done the USVI-BVI scene 4-5 times and the check-in procedures are a nuisance, but tolerable. If you've got a week-long charter with the little one, you might consider the following itinerary out of Red Hook: Day 1 & 2 - sail/motor to Leinster Bay. Enjoy the beach, which you can snorkel from and maybe hike to the Annaberg sugar mill. You'll be eating on your boat. Day 3 - sail and mostly motor (you want to spend more time at the Baths and can sail another day) to Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor and take a slip. You'll check in (and out at the same time) at the customs facility next door to the marina. [The skipper only goes to customs and will pick up forms for the crew to sign. He will bring them back with passports and pay the requisite fees. This process could take an hour if you have to go back and forth to the boat.] Take a taxi to the top of the Baths and hike down to enjoy this fabulous area. Consider it a beach stop for the young one, but you'll be hiking through the boulders (20+ min each direction) to a really nice beach (no facilities) at the west end of the baths. Bring your snorkel. There is a good restaurant up top that you might consider to treat yourself that night. You'll want to take a taxi back to the marina for a shower and change. You can eat at the pub style restaurant at the marina, but only if you have to. If you care to, you can splurge on a taxi back to a nice dinner at the Top of the Baths ($$--but you get what you pay for). I seem to remember it was $5/person each way 2 years ago for the taxi, but this will be a day to remember. Day 4 - top off your water and pick up any additional provisions at the marina before sailing westward in the Drake Channel on your way to Caneel Bay. You are required by law to check in at US customs (everybody has to show up in person) at Cruz Bay. You pick up a mooring anywhere to the west of Caneel Bay and dinghy into Cruz Bay and don't forget to lock the dinghy. You may want to check out the shops and maybe have another dinner ashore. You'll be on a park mooring that night. Days 5-6 you can explore the bays east of Caneel Bay or go around St. John in either direction to Salt Pond Bay (another of our favorites), which has a nice beach, but no facilities. You can hike over to close-by Drunk Bay, past the salt pond. An alternate is either of the Lameshur Bays if the moorings are taken. The last day is an easy jog back to Red Hook to turn the boat in. BTW, you can check out the boating scene at http://www.nps.gov/viis/planyourvisi...oringGuide.pdf. Note that the moorings are $15 in the US vs. at least $25 in the BVI and you will have to use them on this itinerary.
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post #12 of 24 Old 11-10-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

In the BVI, plan to get to a mooring field between 2pm - 3pm to be sure you get mooring, if that's what you prefer. However, if it isn't forecast to blow like stink, the sand is usually pretty easy to anchor in. I've sailed in the USVI, but had a slip. The 2-3 rule of thumb has worked in many places I've been, so assume its good there too.


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post #13 of 24 Old 11-11-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

I've done both, Abacos and BVI. Chartering, Capt'ing, and deliveries. Hands down the VI's win, especially with the 5 year old. My daughter is 3 and we just got home after 8 days down there.

Don't discount the "land" scene. Most of the restaraunts/bars are VERY kid friendly and it gives the kids a great break from the boat, plus interaction with other kids. Ivans - White Bay, Beach Bar - St. John, Skinny Legs - Coral Bay STJ, Capt Mulligans - Nanny Cay Tortola, Pirates Bight -Norman Island, Leverick Bay Marina - Virgin Gorda are all perfect for kids and you'll see lots of them running around and playing. The VI's are way more kid friendly than the Abacos.

The Baths are another excellent shore excursion that the kids love.
Make sure you get a mask+snorkel for your little ones. Lot's of good shallow spots for them to play in the water and view the fish.

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post #14 of 24 Old 11-11-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

For a first time charterer BVI is the best bet. All deep water, eyeball navigation. The main reason I'd say no to Abaco is the weather. BVI you're more or less guaranteed, 84 degrees and sunny. But in Abaco your week might be ruined by a cold front. Cool, cloudy,blowing. Not the best for a first charter.

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post #15 of 24 Old 11-12-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Abacos or BVI

Wow, thanks everyone. fallard, you have shared some invaluable info. Those Island Packets at Island Yachts are beautiful boats. I'm liking the idea of chartering out of St. Thomas. Thanks again.
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post #16 of 24 Old 11-12-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

Do take a look at CYOA as well. I've nothing bad to say about Island Yachts. The biggest differences seem to be the vessel options and location on St Thomas. Both companies have a solid reputation with many repeat customers.

Enjoy your trip.

Last edited by FarCry; 11-12-2012 at 11:13 AM.
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post #17 of 24 Old 11-12-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

May be this is off topic, just wonder how expensive the house or Apartment rental in USVI. I assume there is no restriction for US citizens stay in USVI in a long term basis. ???


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post #18 of 24 Old 11-12-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

I don't have any experience with CYOA, but I've found a qualitative difference between the Island Packets and the typical Beneteau/Jenneau charter boats, having chartered from Moorings, Sunsail and others besides Island Yachts. The Island Packets won't appeal to racers, but may be more suitable for the kind of sailing you have in mind.

If you compare pricing, you'll find some differences among the charter companies, like 6 nights instead of 7 for a "week's charter". You might also consider the cost of an overnight on the boat before the charter starts.

If you are considering a USVI start, Red Hook is more convenient to St. John than Charlotte Amalie, but it isn't a huge difference. Charlotte Amalie provides the duty free shopping and local vendor scene and is closer to the airport, however, but then you'd miss the taxi ride to Red Hook, which provides an introduction to the island culture and topography and some nice views.

If you are going to St. Thomas for the first time, you ought to stay overnight in a B&B style hotel in the Charlotte Amalie area and check it out.
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post #19 of 24 Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

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Originally Posted by rockDAWG View Post
May be this is off topic, just wonder how expensive the house or Apartment rental in USVI. I assume there is no restriction for US citizens stay in USVI in a long term basis. ???
That's hard to answer. How expensive is a boat, car or house? It all depends on what the individual wants. Is housing expensive here compared to Manhattan? Probably not. Is housing expensive here compared to the boonies? Yes. Like most places in the states, location dictates price. If you want to live on the water in a house, break out lots of money. If you want a place to lay your head and don't care about anything else, it can be done for hundreds instead of thousands per month. For truly long term, unless you are very close to a main road, expect to rent a vehicle. Transportation costs can be high, along with food. The bright side is that alcohol is very cheap.

There are no restrictions for US citizens wishing to stay here, unless you are a wanted felon. If you want to do some reading I think just about everything can be answered at VImovingcenter dot com. If you can provide more specific questions I can attempt to answer your questions.
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post #20 of 24 Old 11-13-2012
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Re: Abacos or BVI

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Originally Posted by caberg View Post
Wow, thanks everyone. fallard, you have shared some invaluable info. Those Island Packets at Island Yachts are beautiful boats. I'm liking the idea of chartering out of St. Thomas. Thanks again.
If you haven't already been to TTOL (traveltalkonline dot com) you might venture over there and read more comments from people who have chartered in the area recently. The USVI and BVI boards are pretty active and you don't have to join to post or search.
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