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Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete #243544
12/28/2020 11:19 PM
12/28/2020 11:19 PM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 21
C
cbf Offline OP
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cbf  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 21
Thank you to TTOL advice, esp @hotdogman

Exec Summary: Outstanding bareboat catamaran charter in USVI through VIYC that exceeded high expectations. Did not get to everything we wanted to do in 1 week in USVI and saw even more things we would do next time. Looking forward to return to BVI in June 2021, but will happily do another USVI trip if necessary.

Highlight Video:

USVI 2020 Charter Highlights Video

Charter and Boat: We chartered “Twin Fins” a 2019 42” Astrea offered by Virgin Island Yacht Charters. The yacht was in brand new condition and performed superbly throughout the week. Despite some start timing miscues, VIYC was great to deal with. Onboard ice maker and water maker were unexpected luxury accessories.

Provisioning: Primary provisioning was done with Food Center near Compass Point with planned and follow ups at Love City Market in Coral Bay and Dolphin Market in Cruz Bay that worked out well.

Timing: We chartered Sunday to Sunday. Based on this and previous charters, I will go out of my way in the future to start and end the charter on a weekday.

Logistics: As many others have pointed out, chartering from St Thomas does make travel to and from the charter easier, faster and less expensive. We arrived shortly afternoon on the 24th, stayed overnight at Marriott Frenchman’s Cove before starting charter Sunday morning. Frenchman’s Cove was excellent. We used Paradise Rental Car on day of arrival and day of departure. Absolutely will use them again next time we visit. We flew out on Nov 1 after spending several hours touring St Thomas including Magen’s Bay, which we did not get to by boat.

Weather: The wind was forecasted to and did blow 15-25 kts, usually closer to 25 every day. Fortunately, it never rained as much as it was forecast but there was considerable cloud cover which obscured sunrises and sunsets and the 31 October Full Blue Moon rising and setting.

Itinerary: Plan A was a Bowtie - clockwise around St John followed by CCW around St Thomas. Based on weather and good advice of Walter at VIYC, we abandoned that plan for an extra day on St John.

25 Oct: Christmas cove for late lunch stop and then on to mooring at Hawksnest Bay. Three beautiful beaches but only one that allows you to walk inland. Northern swell made this the least comfortable Anchorage of the entire trip.

26 Oct: Trunk Bay for lunch and snorkeling…excellent. Maho Bay for overnight. Too late for Maho crossroads closing at 4 PM due to COVID but very comfortable anchorage; many more boats than Hawksnest but still plenty of open moorings.

27 Oct: Before departing Maho, we did a sunrise hike to Annaberg ruins via Annaberg School. Fascinating ruins and beautiful views north to the BVI. Snorkeling upon return with numerous turtles, sting rays and fish and coral also spectacular. Then motoring east directly into wind and hugging St John coast before heading south under sail toward Coral Bay. The view into Drake Chanel was a bit surreal as we were the only vessel underway as far as we could see north and east. The sail south around the eastern shore of St John was highlighted by a short escort by a pod of dolphins. Plenty of room to anchor in Coral Bay. Lunch at Lime Out was great fun, great food and drinks to accompany the novelty. Picking up some extra provisions at Love City Market was easy and dinner at Skinny Legs delicious.

28 Oct: Short and fast sail to Salt Pond Bay. Only one other boat there, perfectly protected beautiful little mooring field. Best snorkeling yet and epic sunset and moonrise hike to Ram Head Point.

29 Oct: Short and fast sail for quick lunch stop at Little Lameshur Bay. Beautiful beach and snorkeling once again and nice hike on Yawzi Trail. Then on to Honeymoon Beach. Fun sailing with following wind and following seas and despite late afternoon arrival, plenty of mornings available. Another minor provisioning trip, this time to Dolphin Market and also a catering run from Christies of St John. So many great meals, but this one was another highlight. Will definitely buy from Christie again in future and hopefully next time after COVID it will be dinner on the beach.

30 Oct: Crew so loved Honeymoon beach we stayed another night. Great hikes on Lind Point trails and to top of Caneel Hill. Just a great day on one of the most beautiful beaches.

31 Oct: Off early on great broad reach to Buck Island for lunch and snorkeling. Once again, only one other boat there and spectacular snorkeling. Then on broad reach on starboard tack to Honeymoon Beach on Water Island. Anchored at mouth of bay and enjoyed Halloween including a trick or treating visit by dinghy from some local children. Dinner at Dinghys.

1 Nov: Up early for rough motor back directly into wind and swell to get to Compass Point. Turn in of yacht easy and professional with VIYC. Paradise rental car waiting in marina parking lot.

Currently booked in June 2021 for BVI trip but looking forward to returning to USVI as well when time allows.

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Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #243560
12/29/2020 08:32 AM
12/29/2020 08:32 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,762
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Central Florida!
Thanks for the report!


Carol Hill
Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #243689
12/30/2020 06:32 AM
12/30/2020 06:32 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,345
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
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toast  Offline
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Posts: 1,345
Bucks County, Pa.
Nice reading your report. Thanks for giving us a taste of the boat life.


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #243829
12/31/2020 07:34 PM
12/31/2020 07:34 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,150
JAX
jphart Offline
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jphart  Offline
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Posts: 1,150
JAX
I’m liking this as an option for Jan or Feb.
Looks like the USVI travel portal is working and easy to work?
We have folks who have the positive antibody test, what and how do they proceed? Do you upload tests to the portal?
we also have folks who have done the quick tests and just received an email confirming negative status. How do you submit that?

Info on this portal is much appreciated!

Just checked airfares and found them dirt cheap! Gonna move on this quickly I hope.

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: jphart] #243841
01/01/2021 08:42 AM
01/01/2021 08:42 AM
Joined: Feb 2020
Posts: 21
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cbf Offline OP
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cbf  Offline OP
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Posts: 21
We found the portal easy to use for rapid and PCR test results. We did not have antibody test results and I am unsure if they are treated differently. For PCR and rapid tests you must get tested and get the results within the 5 day window immediately prior to your arrival. Submission was easy to do and acceptance responses were received back from the portal in less than 24 hours. We brought printed acceptance reports and test results with us on flight to present as backup for the arrival screening at STT.

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: jphart] #243865
01/01/2021 04:45 PM
01/01/2021 04:45 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 501
Vail, CO
caribbeangirl13 Offline
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Vail, CO




jphart: We had both antibody and PCR tests and the antibody upload was easy and done just like the other test results. We highly recommend the USVI. We have chartered all over the Caribbean and this was just as great a trip as our other trips and it was kind of fun to explore new spots. Plus provisioning and flying into St. Thomas is SO MUCH cheaper. If you want to do your own shopping go to Cost U Less. It is kind of like a Costco and everything is very inexpensive, especially the alcohol! We can second a great review of VIYC!

Sue
s/v Ripple


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

[Linked Image]
Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #243867
01/01/2021 06:05 PM
01/01/2021 06:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 341
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MIDiver Offline
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Thanks for the great report. We're chartering with VIYC in February (pivot from BVI) and really looking forward to it. Spending alll our time around St. John (we love St. John) this trip and looking forward to some rendevous diving with Busy Bee.

Last edited by MIDiver; 01/01/2021 06:06 PM. Reason: Change text
Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: MIDiver] #243876
01/01/2021 10:55 PM
01/01/2021 10:55 PM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 163
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FLJim Offline
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FWIW - We've never used Busy Bee for anything, but have encountered them a few times here&there, and they have been remarkably friendly to us random boaters. Presumably they're at least that friendly to their customers.

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: FLJim] #243907
01/02/2021 02:07 PM
01/02/2021 02:07 PM
Joined: Jun 2020
Posts: 341
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MIDiver Offline
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Busy Bee is professional, courteous and fun. We dive with them multiple times a year - when land based smile

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #243980
01/03/2021 01:12 PM
01/03/2021 01:12 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 637
Ft. Worth, TX
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Lcrich Offline
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Ft. Worth, TX
Great report and I loved the video! Thanks

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #243984
01/03/2021 01:47 PM
01/03/2021 01:47 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,150
JAX
jphart Offline
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jphart  Offline
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JAX
Thanks all for the trip report and travel insights. One last question about national Park moorings. My research shows that you can buy the annual pass which gets the payment for the moorings sites all around Saint John. There is even a discounted rate of $13 a night with a senior on board! How does this work for multiple nights? I’ve read that there are self-pay stations, but how do you pay in order to get the discount and the annual pass deal?

Last edited by jphart; 01/03/2021 01:48 PM.
Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #243997
01/03/2021 04:46 PM
01/03/2021 04:46 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,191
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content
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GeorgeC1  Online Content
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Posts: 6,191
GA/NC
I don’t know about the annual pass but to get the 13 dollar senior rate you need to purchase a senior national park pass. The cost is 80.00 for a lifetime pass or 20 for a yearly. Here is a summary and website to purchase.

There is a self-registration fee of $26.00 per overnight for anchoring or mooring between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Golden Age/Access Passport holders pay half price. Overnight fees must be paid prior to spending the night. Overnight stays in the Park waters are limited to 30 nights in a particular calendar year, and no more than seven consecutive nights in one bay. Payments are deposited in an envelope (found at this station) within this floating pay station. Floating Fee Stations are found at Leinster Bay, Francis Bay and Caneel Bay. Land-based fee stations are found Cruz Bay Visitor Center (near the flag pole), Salt Pond Beach and on the VIERS dock in Lameshur Bay.

https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm

Last edited by GeorgeC1; 01/03/2021 05:00 PM.
Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #244003
01/03/2021 06:41 PM
01/03/2021 06:41 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,150
JAX
jphart Offline
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jphart  Offline
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Thanks George! Yes that is what I had found from the park service.

I said “Annual” - guess that is yearly. And I’m aware that spouse/partner/guest is included for admissions too, so that is a good deal. And at half off on moorings, it pays for itself on the second night. I was wondering how you substantiate the senior discounts, but perhaps there is a member/account number that is included with the registration, and that is noted on the self pay envelope, etc. But no big deal as it looks like it would work well for us.

Good info on the pay locations. I hadn’t found that info yet. That will work for our intended itinerary.
Thanks, you are always a valuable resource!

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: jphart] #244012
01/03/2021 07:57 PM
01/03/2021 07:57 PM
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Posts: 163
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FLJim Offline
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FLJim  Offline
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Yes - write the senior Golden Age number printed on your card where indicated on the envelope. You're supposed to pay in advance, but I've never see anyone check, and I usually pay the next morning after deciding how many nights we'll be staying.

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #244018
01/03/2021 08:25 PM
01/03/2021 08:25 PM
Joined: Nov 2020
Posts: 3
Santa Barbara, CA
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Debra319v Offline
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Santa Barbara, CA
We paid for six nights in one envelope. It has a place to write the senior park pass number and the envelope has a tear off strip with a control number to show you've paid. No one checked on us any of the nights we were there. Also, outside the National Park Service building there's a box where you can get a paper slip they call a "coupon" that lets you pay with credit card. We found this easier than cash. The charge went through about two weeks after we deposited the envelope in the floating pay station.

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #244022
01/03/2021 09:02 PM
01/03/2021 09:02 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,150
JAX
jphart Offline
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jphart  Offline
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FANTASTIC!
Great info and insight from our fellow TTOLers
We will put that knowledge into practice soon!

Re: Trip Report: 11/25-11/1/20 St Thomas and St John Complete [Re: cbf] #244026
01/03/2021 09:27 PM
01/03/2021 09:27 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 234
Gallatin, Tennessee
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Murdock Offline
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Gallatin, Tennessee
Thanks for that report Cbf, and the video...much appreciated as we have a March trip coming up.

Based on the video it looks like everyone was having a great time!


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