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St. John / St. Thomas Logistics #248021
02/21/2021 12:40 PM
02/21/2021 12:40 PM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 11
Breckenridge, CO
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reverie Offline OP
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reverie  Offline OP
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Hey everyone,
We are starting to prepare for our rescheduled 10 night USVI trip in June with 4 adults and 3 children. We are booked with CYOA and have seen the suggested USVI itinerary's! Thanks for everyone's contributions and trip reports. They are oh so helpful!
I have a few questions that I'm looking for your advice and expertise on. We have chartered in the BVI's in the past and this will be our first time in the USVI's.

1. Where are you able to re-provision around St. John? (water, groceries, ice, fuel) (Unfortunately we will not have a water maker onboard. The boat we originally wanted had one but sold and now we are on a boat without one!) Or do we need to try and make it back to St. Thomas before re-provisioning? smile

2. Most people who have sailed around St. John and St. Thomas mention clockwise around St. John and counterclockwise around St. Thomas. Given the concern with tacking through the narrows given the recent BVI fining boats for crossing their waters, we thought a reach through the narrows would be a safer bet. However, all the itineraries and recommendations we have read have people going the opposite direction. Please share your insight!

3. Given current circumstances, how early do you need to get to the St. Thomas airport prior to departure?

4. Additionally, Avis car rental used to let you pick up a rental car from the airport and drop off at the Seaplane location but they don't give that option anymore when trying to book. Has anyone used Avis? I realize most folks on here recommend Paradise. Avis is $35 per day vs. Paradise $100 per day. Just looking for a one day rental to provision.

Thanks in advance!
June cannot come quick enough,
Sarah

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Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248040
02/21/2021 04:07 PM
02/21/2021 04:07 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,096
JAX
jphart Offline
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Reverie:

Good questions, we leave this week for our first USVI sail, 10days.

1. Have you read Simon Scott’s Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands? I’ve devoured it, and keep re-reading. Looks like Cruz Bay and Coral Bay are best options for provisioning, Doubt you’d need fuel, maybe water half-way. Less restaurants than a BVI or Med trip, we plan on 3-5 dinner meals. Maybe more late lunch, early dinners - “lunners” followed by sundowners and heavy appetizers.

2. I have similar questions about an itinerary, and planning two options based on pre-departure meeting and weather conditions. Are you planning on a St Croix trip? We are, and one of the reasons for 10 days. I figure exploring the north shore bays would be under power as the distances are short, against the prevailing winds and seas, and to stay close to US waters. Most suggest start from Coral or Salt Bay early for the trip to St Croix, and come back a bit westerly, thus counter clockwise around St Thomas. That would give you the re provisioning option mid trip.

3. STT - Most suggest at least two hours. Even domestic flights, I use FlightAware.com to track flight status as it allows you to see the inbound flight of your aircraft for performance info.

4. We have booked w Paradise, yes expensive. But for six adults we need the space. Figure that cost about the same as taxi fares, with greater convenience. We’re using for inbound transfers, provisioning run, r/t dinner, etc. we are doing a first night sleep aboard, so will leave it at the marina, and they will pick it up. Doing the same on the return, but that will be subject to first day experience. Broken down to a $33/couple cost, that’s easy math.

Sorry you have to wait, I hope to do a sail trip report on return.
JP

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248051
02/21/2021 06:54 PM
02/21/2021 06:54 PM
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Cleobeach Offline
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I am a 25+ year USVI visitor. The STT airport is a disaster on a high season Saturday or Sunday afternoon departure. We use a porter, have GE and PreCheck and it took us 30-40 min last week from drop off to clearing TSA. The lines were long and had we used the regular route, it likely would have taken at least 90 minutes. The three hour recommendation is not crazy on a weekend.

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: Cleobeach] #248081
02/22/2021 10:06 AM
02/22/2021 10:06 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 562
BaardJ Offline
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For mid-week provisioning, I use Dolphin Market in Cruz Bay. it's a short walk from the NPS dinghy dock and it's usually well stocked. They also have ice.

There is a a fuel dock in the Cruz Bay creek near the NPS headquarters. I've been seeing lots of boats going in there in the past few weeks. I'm guessing they also sell water.

I don't bother trying to tack upwind through the Narrows. Once you get to Whistling Cay, just motor to Leinster Bay or until you pass East End Pt. There you can roll out the jib and sail to Coral Bay or Ram Head.

I leave the CYOA base 3 hrs prior to STT departure. Last Friday, it took our friends 1 hr to get from AA checkin to the gate. They got to checkin 2h45m prior to departure and said the line was just starting to get long behind them.

It's hard to beat the convenience of Paradise Car Rental - no overbooking of cars like Avis or Budget or waiting 30m-1h waiting for your car to show up. Budget does have a downtown office for dropoff that is about 15 minute walk to CYOA.

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: jphart] #248178
02/23/2021 09:41 AM
02/23/2021 09:41 AM
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 11
Breckenridge, CO
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reverie Offline OP
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JP - Enjoy your upcoming trip and please report back! Yes we have the Cruising Guide, I just love hearing from folks on this forum too!

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: BaardJ] #248179
02/23/2021 09:42 AM
02/23/2021 09:42 AM
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Breckenridge, CO
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reverie Offline OP
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reverie  Offline OP
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BaardJ - Thanks for sharing your insight! And, it looks like we will go with Paradise.

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248186
02/23/2021 10:31 AM
02/23/2021 10:31 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,709
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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St. John, USVI
Looks like you have good answers to your questions. I'll give you some local knowledge on Coral Bay, St. John. The anchorage for visiting boats is to port as you pass the first channel marker. The inner harbor is tight and you will swing into moored boats if you anchor there. If you visit Lime Out you can drop off crew in the dinghy, but DPNR does not allow you to tie up your dinghy to Lime Out due to COVID no-rafting protocol; you can anchor your dinghy and swim or enjoy from afar. Do not let crew swim across the busy channel. We like to visit Lime Out at 3PM after the early crush. There is a dinghy dock on the NE side of Coral Harbor; there is signage, but please leave the front of the dock open for loading/unloading and use a long painter when you tie up. It is possible to tie up on the West side near Dolphin Market, Aqua Bistro, Jolly Dog, Salty Mongoose. There are steps where you can drop crew. Bring shoes you can get wet as you will need to wade in. It is possible to tie up at the fish hut, but that is private.

There is a trash drop-off to the left of the dinghy dock for $5 per bag. It is honor system and the trash bin is managed by Coral Bay Community Council and Coral Bay Yacht Club to reduce trash in the dinghy dock area; payment via your smartphone. From the dinghy dock counter-clockwise you have Skinny Legs, Busy Bee Dive Shop, Fire Station, Rhumb Lines, Pink Corner as you turn left at the cross-roads, Coral Bay Cafe (breakfast), Love City Mini Mart, public trash dumpsters, Coral Bay Caribbean Oasis closed permanently last week, Salty Mongoose pizza, Zemi jewelry store (20% cheaper than Cruz Bay), Jolly Dog for shirts/caps/beach stuff (my Sweet Christine works at Zemi/Jolly Dog), Dellyvon Breakfast, Aqua Bistro, Dolphin Market, Crabby's beach rentals. You can walk down the road that goes past Love City Mini Market to Josephine's garden center; they sell fresh greens and produce. As you walk down the flat road you will find Josephine's past the sign that says "You are lost."

If you want to take a short cut to the markets and free trash dumpsters from the dinghy dock you can take a left as you leave the dinghy dock and walk past the trash bin, picnic tables, and the masts and other salvage to the donkey path behind the ball field. The donkey path is maintained by Coral Bay Yacht Club and has been cleared this month. You can hike to Leinster Bay or Brown Bay on the Johnnyhorn trail that goes up past the Moravian church next to the graveyard.

The Coral Bay Community Council has a FEMA grant to remove derelict boats in the harbor that is being coordinated by the yacht club. You will see a half dozen partially submerged boats and two onshore left over from Irma and post-Irma storms. They will be removed in March along with many floating derelict boats. This exercise has been a long time coming and is driven by the community rather than DPNR or the government. Coral Bay has low/no VI Government support.

Other places to visit in the broader Coral Bay include Hurricane Hole, Round Bay/Hansen Bay, Flanagan Island, and Leduck Island. There are four bays in hurricane hole and three of them have free NPS day use moorings. Hurricane Hole and and parts of Round Bay are in the Coral Reef National Monument and no anchoring is allowed. You can see the bounds of the monument/no anchoring in the map https://www.nps.gov/viis/planyourvisit/upload/2014smalleranchoringmap-2.jpg. The West side of Round Bay is a very nice anchorage and Pelican Rock is a dive/snorkel attraction. If you anchor near Pelican Rock please be certain that you are anchoring in sand. Flanagan and Leduck islands are great day anchorages with good fishing, snorkel, and diving.

Coral Bay Yacht Club is working on a new web site and will feature a Coral Bay cruising guide. I will post that when the site is up. Our Beneteau 423 is on a mooring in Coral Bay an we liveaboard. I hope you enjoy Coral Bay, we do!

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: RickG] #248218
02/23/2021 03:03 PM
02/23/2021 03:03 PM
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FLJim Offline
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Hey RickG - Many thanks for that summary of Coral Bay - I've printed it out and taking it with us on our next trip. I'm really glad to see the Yacht Club is cleaning things up, too. We ventured into Coral Harbor once pre-Irma, it was a bit of a mess!

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248233
02/23/2021 05:58 PM
02/23/2021 05:58 PM
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TC42 Offline
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RickG - great information! We will be there sailing in April. What other nuggets of information do you have on the other coves / islands? Seems like you have the place dialed in.

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248249
02/23/2021 10:30 PM
02/23/2021 10:30 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,096
JAX
jphart Offline
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RickG:
wave dance
Well be looking for you!
Hope to buy you an adult beverage next week!

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248257
02/24/2021 08:41 AM
02/24/2021 08:41 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,709
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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St. John, USVI
Capt. Jay's itinerary hits the rest of the area nicely. There are dive buoys at Lindt Point, Carval Rock, and more. Here is a good list of sites: https://www.stthomasscubadiving.com/st-thomas-diving/st-thomas-dive-sites/

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248295
02/24/2021 01:41 PM
02/24/2021 01:41 PM
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Posts: 562
BaardJ Offline
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Rick - the Carval Rock (off Congo Cay) dive buoy had been missing for a couple weeks.

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: BaardJ] #248346
02/25/2021 08:21 AM
02/25/2021 08:21 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,709
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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RickG  Offline
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St. John, USVI
Originally Posted by BaardJ
Rick - the Carval Rock (off Congo Cay) dive buoy had been missing for a couple weeks.


Yes, they come and go. Did you see a buoy at Congo Cay?

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248609
02/27/2021 07:06 PM
02/27/2021 07:06 PM
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Posts: 562
BaardJ Offline
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Where is that mooring located? I did not see any sailing between Congo Cay and Lovango last week or in January.

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: jphart] #248697
02/28/2021 08:15 PM
02/28/2021 08:15 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 403
Vail, CO
caribbeangirl13 Offline
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Vail, CO
Originally Posted by jphart
Reverie:


Have you read Simon Scott’s Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands? I’ve devoured it, and keep re-reading.
JP


We did the USVI in November and I was very disappointed with Simon Scott's new edition that is allegedly Post Irma/Maria. The information was very dated and having done a land based trip last February, I knew more going in than the book helped me with.

Provisioning and water is a bit different in the USVI and the sails are definitely shorter. We honestly did not do much sailing but we were with our kids ranging in age from 21-25 so it was more about the destination than the sailing. We went clockwise around St. Thomas and also clockwise around St. John. I swear to God it didn't matter what direction we were going in, the wind was almost always against us! duh It is more difficult to find places to fill your water tanks. Luckily, my kids have been trained to use as little water as possible and we were able to go 9 days with 6 people on 100 gallons of water. If you think you will need water try to plan your trip in a way that allows you to be near a marina (St. Thomas) in the middle of your trip. There are tons of places to provision on St. Thomas and it is pretty inexpensive. We stock up at Cost U Less. Most provisioning on St. John has to be at Cruz Bay and it is quite a bit more expensive.

Flying out of St. Thomas on a Saturday is a nightmare! I was there last weekend and had to fly out on a Saturday. I heard people talking about being in line for over 3 hours. Luckily I have Global Entry and so went to the entrance to security, asked a guard where I should go and she escorted me to the front of the line. I was the first person in the Global Entry line. I am sure there were Global Entry people ahead of me but they didn't think to ask or assumed it just wasn't available.

Have a blast! We loved the USVI!


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40


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Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: caribbeangirl13] #248702
02/28/2021 08:50 PM
02/28/2021 08:50 PM
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MIDiver Offline
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We ventured around STJ Feb 14-26, with the last three days spent in a villa getting our land legs back. Note I said ventured because, like Sue, we didn't sail much. VIYC's policy was no sails up with wind speeds over 20 and it was crazy windy most days we were there. We did get a few nice runs in. It was also really busy. Most mooring fields, except Francis, were completely full. We felt lucky to get balls in our favorite spots in Maho (near the point between Maho and Little Maho, Caneel, close to Zozo's, and Little Lameshure). Many boats did the hover game around the Honeymoon/Lind Point area. When a friend recommended getting to a certain field by 11am he wasn't kidding.

We had a watermaker on board but the portable ice maker was on the fritz. We needed to get ice in Cruz Bay (fuel docks) and in Coral Bay - quick dinghy ride to Dolphin Market - they could really use a dinghy dock there. We did a rendevous dive with Busy Bee and they brought us a few bags as well. Our food provisioning held out for the duration. Dolphin Market in Coral Bay is a good mid-week provisioning stop if you need items, although not as great a selection as Starfish in Cruz Bay (which is a hike and 1/2 from the dinghy docks).

We had great meals at Zozo's at Caneel and Morgan's Mango in Cruz Bay. We had hoped to try Lovango but the wicked winds did not make the overnight moorings there seem attractive.

We used Amalie for our jeep rental. They met us at the aiport, we loaded up and headed to the marina to unload, and then out to dinner in Red Hook. (I brought a cooler of frozen meats and cheese and a bag of dry goods - balance provisioned via Moe's). Amalie picked the jeep up at the marina the next day and had a jeep waiting for us at the marina when we returned (for our post charter stay on St. John). They aren't cheap, as there is a marina pick-up and drop-off surcharge, but the service is incredible.

We flew out of STT late on Friday afternoon (Delta). We used a porter (lots of bags and the cooler) and have global entry. Note for global entry - you need to have your physical cards and they need to be presented to customs. We were curb to gate in 15 minutes.

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248840
03/02/2021 09:46 AM
03/02/2021 09:46 AM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,096
JAX
jphart Offline
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Currently in Coral harbor, been here since last Wednesday. Really been blowing, with small craft warnings. Slowly making our way on the north shore Harbours. Tough 1.5hr slog yesterday from Francis to Coral Bay. (We tried it the day before but turned around and went back to Francis.) Dead into the wind, staying close to St John looking at Tortola. Didn’t see any boats in Drake. Some crewed boats came behind us a few hours later as well.

Nice anchorage here. Thanks to RickG for his insight. Spent $500 at Love City market. Got a ride back to the dingy dock from the owner. Nice people who spent three months out of power after Irma. Skinny Legs for burgers and shirts. Not bad at all.

NPS moorings have been available on north shore. Trying to figure where next. Had hoped for a STX sail, don’t think it will happen.
Loving the water maker and ice maker. Still have two commercial bags of ice in the freezer!! Had some minor boat issues, but we got em figured out.

More later...maybe.
JP

Re: St. John / St. Thomas Logistics [Re: reverie] #248960
03/03/2021 09:55 AM
03/03/2021 09:55 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,709
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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St. John, USVI
Coming soon / stealth opening - David Baysden of Driftwood Dave's and Shambles restaurants has opened a new business in Coral Bay. Pending final inspection and permits (any day) he is opening "Meals to Go" in the Isola building next to Dolphin Market that contains Jolly Dog, Zemi jewlery, and Salty Mongoose pizza. He has fresh local fish, shrimp/prawns, steaks, pulled pork, prepared meals, and specials including buttermilk brined fried chicken. All of his raw food is vacuum bagged and frozen as is the pulled pork.

I'll post more when he is officially open. He is a long time successful restaurateur and a solid guy. This will be a great addition for cruisers and those of us living here.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI

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