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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-19-2013 10:42 AM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

As an alternative consider a charter in the Grenadines. St Vincent Canouan or Union Island all have charter boats on offer.

It is a great cruising ground and no nasty passages providing you don't try to go to St Lucia.
11-19-2012 09:15 AM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

Minnewaska - while in the Caribbean there is one more very important time that you need to be able to identify - "Happy Hour"! Have fun!
11-19-2012 06:42 AM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

Thanks for all the info.

We only recognize two times on the clock, while we are there: dark time and light time. We just didn't want to waste too much light time on a customs process that took forever. Sounds reasonable.
11-18-2012 08:05 PM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

You've gotten a bunch of good info. Suggest you take some time and learn St John, its worth it. Try to adopt the 'island time' and take your watch off.
For years we chartered out of St Thomas, then moved to Tortola, then on our own boat. We live on our mooring in St John. Clearing St John is ez, just dont follow a ferry or large passenger boat clearing. There are at least 6-10 eating places from high end to not to high on the beach or within 5 minutes walk.
Uncle Joe's and Candy's do the best grilled ribs/chicken in Cruz bay, price point $12-15 per order. Candy (used to work for Unc Joe) is a walk up the hill just past the laundry.
Both, along with Hercules for Pate's, Johnnie cakes and other local favorites, are among the best local places in Cruz Bay. Beach bar is a local fav. lunch specials usually $13-15.
These are all very casual. Stepping up in price is High Tide, just to the right of the ferry terminal, with a more expansive menu. There are a few more along the beach located in between High Tide and the Beach bar. Spyglass is on the next level, great view, a little more pricey. They were offering specials to get folks to climb the steps. A few new places are in the process of opening, across the street from the Beach bar. There's Fish trap, Lime Inn, Rhumb Line, Asolare, ZoZo's, Fatty Crab, Morgans Mango and at least 3 more in Mongoose Junction, St John's version of a tastefull shopping center, all walking distance from Cruz bay's dinghy/ferry dock.
Provisions, laundry are readily available and walking friendly from Cruz bay. Fuel and water are right across from customs. You can anchor for a limit of 3 hours on the left side of the creek, out of the channel, while clearing, or making a provision, laundry run.
The moorings in Cruz bay are private. Closest public moorings are to the left of Cruz bay. With public moorings, if you're a senior, you'll get a discount. (may have to ck in at Park rangers in the same creek as customs, fuel, water, etc). Also a dinghy dock there.
There's a bunch of anchorages that offer privacy, beaches, snorkel and part or all of the above. It depends on your needs. Some of my favorite places are Lameshur, Little Lameshure, Salt Pond, all located with 2 miles of each other, all offering something different. If your a diver, Booby (named for the birds, not the boobs) rock offers a shot at some lobsters. Snorkel sites exist in all of the places. There's no anchoring in the Lameshurs or Salt Pond. When in Salt Pond, hike to Drunk Bay or Ram head, or both. Sunrise at Drunk bay is outstanding. Also, while at Salt Pond have dinner at Concordia, owned by the same operator as Maho Camp. You can call them and request the pick you up at the parking lot above Salt Pond. I would then work my way around Ram Head and explore Coral Bay. Take care while heading to Coral Bay, as Eagle shoal is a caution area. Not marked other than a few mooring balls as its a dive site. Anchoring is permitted in Coral Bay. Leaving Coral Bay, head to Hurricane Hole, Round Bay, then off to Newfound Bay. Careful entering as there are no markers and you have to navigate between 2 reefs. Then Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Cay and just around the corner, Mary's point, across from Whistling Cay, continuing in to Frances Bay/Maho. Moorings available. As you leave Maho, be aware of Johnson's reef, look it up and stay away. You can hug the beach and can work your
way past Cinnamon, Trunk, Hawksnest, Caneel, and Honeymoon.
I'm sure I've left a bunch out.
SHout if I can help.
11-18-2012 04:46 PM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

One of the ways to expedite the BVI ckeck in process is to have the forms filled out before walking into the office. CYOA supplies the forms for their boats and I assume Island Yachts does too but I do not know for sure. With completed forms in hand it's never taken me longer than 20 minutes to clear in. Typically it's more like 5 minutes.

Spanish Town is an exception... I've cleared in there once and cleared out of there once, never again!!!! Maybe that is part of their master plan to discourage boaters from making them do their jobs. It sure convinced me to avoid them at all costs. Jost is my favorite.
11-18-2012 02:55 PM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

Checking in at JVD can take 30-45 minutes, including filling out forms and allowing for one or two boats ahead of you. The skipper alone shows up with passports, ships papers, and money for the cruising and park permits. You tell them how long you will be in the BVI and they charge you accordingly.

When we checked in at Spanish Town it took longer, but maybe the procedures have changed overall in the BVI. I ended up going back to the boat to get individual forms signed by everyone. That process took an hour and there was no one ahead in line. My impression was that they didn't see many US charters check in there. I'd allow an hour here.

When you check back into the US, everyone has to show up in person. The process is relatively quick, as they process lots of folks from the excursion boats and are used to keeping things moving. Just be sure you are not importing agricultural products that you might have picked up in the BVI. This includes Washington state apples you bought in Spanish Town! Allow 15 minutes at customs and there is no fee unless you tied up at the customs dock. We paid about $26 for a 42 ft boat and they pushed us off within 20 minutes to make room for the parade of excursion boats.

As far as locking the dinghy goes, I've heard that it is increasingly recommended in the populated areas in particular, like Cruz Bay. Otherwise, I wouldn't worry. The charter company has your deposit, just in case, so its your call.
11-18-2012 11:41 AM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi


Thanks. How time consuming did you find all the checking in and out?

I've sailed out of Saphire Bay, but would return to our slip. Never heard of the lock your dinghy issue, since we never used one. I've never locked a dinghy in BVI. Is it really a law or is the theft issue just huge on St. John?
11-18-2012 10:06 AM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

To Minnewaska's question: We've chartered out of the BVI a couple of times, but never left the BVI then, and don't know about the check out/check in procedure when you go to the USVI. We've done the USVI-BVI split at least 4 times, but always out of Red Hook. You might consider this for the convenience of flying in to STT and skipping either the ferry or a puddle jumper to Beef Island from San Juan.

We've always stayed aboard the night before the charter in Red Hook. Island Yachts has had a very reasonable rate for staying aboard the night before the charter. You've got several restaurants within a hundred yards of the charter base and you can self-provision across the street if you wish.

Here's a suggested itinerary for a 3 night/4 night USVI/BVI split:
Day 1 - get off the dock and head to the north shore of St. John (Maho Bay) and start to unwind. Park mooring for the night.
Day 2 - sail around Mary Point to Leinster Bay and pick up another park mooring. Snorkel off the beach or (better) at Waterlemon Cay. Hike to the Annaberg sugar mill. Day 3 - Sail to Jost van Dyke and check in/out of the BVI, allowing for 4 days in the BVI (fees based on your stay). There are moorings in Great Harbour now. You might check out Sand Castle/Soggy Dollar Bar at White Bay (you might leave your boat in Great Harbour and take a taxi.) You can hang out at the beach and may consider making a reservation for the 4-course dinner at Sand Castle (not cheap, but worth it.) It's casual, but beachware is not appropriate. You have the very casual Foxy's in Great Harbour, if that's your choice. An alternative is Little Bay where you can pick up a mooring and take your pick of restaurants. You'll definitely have a quieter night here.
Day 4 allows you several options: check out picture-perfect Green and Sandy Cays before the upwind slog along the north side of Tortola. A snorkel stop at Monkey Point, Guana Island, is nice. From there you'll motor to Marina Cay and hope for a mooring. Pussers restaurant is OK and you can replenish your water the next day at the dock or wait til you get to Spanish Town.
Day 5 - head to Virgin Gorda. You can try your luck with the day moorings at the Baths, but we prefer to take a slip at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour in Spanish Town. You can pick provisions there, get a hot shower, top off your water tank. You can take a taxi to the Baths, which is more relaxing than approaching from the water side. Bring your snorkel, towels, camera etc., in a backpack. The Top of the Baths is another restaurant we'd recommend: $$, but worth it.
Day 6 - Leisurely sail down the Drake Channel,with optional stops at HMS Rhone, Deadmans Bay (lunch on the hook or ashore) and eventually pick up a mooring in the Bight, Norman Island. Snorkel off the boat (if your mooring is close to shore) or the Caves, where you might arrive by dinghy. Dinner at Pirates; suggest reservations if you have a time in mind. You can also hike on the island, but suggest sandals rather than flip flops.
Day 7 - sail to Caneel Bay/Lind Point to pick up a mooring for your dinghy ride into Cruz Bay, where you'll check back into the US. Bring the whole crew--at least it's fast and free. You can check out the shops and restaurants (bring a flashlight for the trip back to your boat if you are staying for dinner. Hopefully you locked your dinghy!)
Day 8 - Short sail back to Red Hook for your check-in.
11-18-2012 07:27 AM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

Thanks for all the great feedback. Seems best to leave SVI for a dedicated trip sometime.

Now down to considering USVI or BVI. We're going to have to wait to book, due to scheduling this winter, but looking forward to whatever we decide to do.
11-18-2012 07:14 AM
Re: Bvi - usvi- svi

Hi all,

For best info on SVI sailing, I can recommend you contact Jim Veiga at Sail Caribe. Bareboat charters out of Fajardo, PR. Passage from Fajardo to Vieques or Culebra is much more comfortable than from St Thomas. You can do a week of sailing, best beaches in the caribbean, snorkeling, some laid back hangouts and restaurants, and no customs to waste time on! If you want to do all three (BVI,USVI,SVI), maybe Jim can arrange a downwinder and return the boat to Tortola for you.

Fair Winds
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