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USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy #263727
09/11/2021 11:05 AM
09/11/2021 11:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 491
Vail, CO
caribbeangirl13 Offline OP
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caribbeangirl13  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 491
Vail, CO
Here is my input in regards to the USVI. I will admit that we were a bit bummed at first to have to reschedule our November 2020 annual family sailing trip from BVI to USVI, especially since the BVI was planning on opening up the day after we left, but we really enjoyed exploring new territory and found it to be so much cheaper than our previous trips to the BVI in regards to provisioning. We did do a sailing trip to the BVI (just the 2 of us) for 2 weeks in January 2021 and of course loved it and didn't really mind the quarantine. For just the 2 of us, the quiet was really nice and reminded me of the BVI of my childhood but we knew the kids (22, 22, 26 plus significant others) would have missed the hustle and bustle of the bars/restaurants and meeting people. When graduation trips were being planned for our twins who were graduating from CU they both decided (after our November 2020 experience in the USVI) that it would be much easier and still a ton of fun to do those trips in the USVI rather than go through all the BVI protocols. Both May and June trips were a blast and we didn't lack for a bar scene or dinners ashore at most places. We just had to plan around dinners on the boat and dinners ashore and made sure to make reservations were we went, especially since we had 8 people one trip and 9 the next.

Provisioning: We typically rent a car for the day and have them meet us at the airport and arrange to leave the car at whatever marina we are picking up the boat at. We like to provision at Cost U Less and Pueblo (the one in Havensight). We go to Cost U Less first (kind of like a Costco but you don't have to have a membership) and get everything we can there. Alcohol, beer and seltzers were in general cheaper here. We then go to Pueblo to fill in the gaps. I like the Pueblo in Havensight a lot better than Food Center but a lot of people like Food Center better. There is also a Moe's in Havensight and one in Redhook. Moe's is really nice but very pricey. I don't recommend going to the Pueblo near Crown Bay Marina.

St. Thomas/Surrounding small islands
Redhook has some great restaurants and bars. It is sometimes hard to find a spot to anchor due to all the private mooring balls. Our family boat has it's own mooring ball with the management company we use so we usually started out and ended up at Redhook. You can also get a slip for the night here if you want. My adult kids love to go to Duffy's which is a dive bar in a parking lot across the street from the marina. They have cheesy drinks that come in a variety of different souvenir cups that I think are a waste of resources but my kids and their friends love. I've had lobster all over the Caribbean my entire life and I think I had one of the best lobsters I've ever had here on Wednesday night lobster night. You have to get there early though! We are also big fans of Taco Chelles which is west of Redhook close to the Food Center.

Charlotte Amalie Yacht Haven Grande: If you want a night on the dock in a very lovely marina, we recommend Yacht Haven Grande. There is a beautiful pool area that was a refreshing break from the salt water. From here you can walk or take a cab into Charlotte Amalie or you can go to many of the restaurant choices near or in the marina or in nearby Havensight. We loved the Smoking Rooster for BBQ. We also ate dinner once at Tickles which is west of Yacht Haven Grande (you would want to take a cab) and near Crown Bay Marina. It is a cute little place, right on the water and our Mahi sandwiches were delicious. There are also tons of higher end restaurants in Charlotte Amalie and Havensight but we don't frequent those with 6 college kids, LOL!

Magens Bay is gorgeous. It is surrounded by a white sand beach and has a sandy bottom which was great for anchoring. No mooring balls here. Be careful of the shoal in the middle of the bay if you are trying to go from the east to the west or vice versa. There is a cute little beach bar and restaurant right on the beach and if you anchor close enough to shore you can swim in and out. They are very strict about boats accessing the beach and even a paddle board has to go down to the far east end of the beach for access. You can do water sports here also so if you like that, great, if not then I would suggest not going on a Sunday. Seems to be busier with Jet Skis, etc. on Sundays.

Lindberg Bay also has a beautiful sand beach and a water sport area. They rent jet skis and other things from the beach. You can go to the bar/restaurant at Emerald Beach Resort. No mooring balls and pretty deep but we had good holding once we found a shallow enough area to anchor. We didn't spend the night here, we just used it to drop off/pick up people from the airport which was easy to do from the far end of the beach closest to the road.

Druif Bay also known as Honeymoon on Water Island has a delightful little bar on the beach called Dingy's with delicious frozen drinks and fairly good food. The beach is nice although not the gorgeous white sand of Magens. There aren't typically mooring balls to rent here but you can anchor. I suggest finding a spot off the north east point of the bay. It is very crowded further into the bay. Holding is OK and you might have to try a few times to find the right holding spot. The first few times we held on the first try and the last time it took us multiple times to get a good hold. We keep meaning to rent a golf cart to explore the island but haven't done it yet. We have also heard of a good restaurant up the hill called Heidi's but haven't tried that either.

Buck Island is supposed to have great snorkeling. We went there one day and didn't see a ton but my husband had just had shoulder surgery so couldn't swim too far away from the boat.

Christmas Cove on Great St. James is a must do if you like to snorkel. There is great snorkeling around Fish Cay and an octopus has been spotted up against the rocks on the far south end of the bay. The bay is also known for Pizza Pi VI which is a boat that makes their own pizza in the cove. If you want to order from them, put your order in early, especially if it is a weekend.

St. John
Cruz Bay is a must stop. There are tons of shops and great restaurants. We like to spend more than a day here exploring the town, doing happy hour at The Beach Bar and having dinner. You can also reprovision here. There is the town area near the waterfront and then Mongoose Junction is further up the road and home to many shops and restaurants as well. Our favorite there is the St. John Brewery. They have great food! We also like Longboard and above Longboard is Cafe Roma which is excellent as well. You can't get a mooring ball or anchor in Cruz Bay. We have done a variety of things to access Cruz Bay. You can get a mooring ball off of Honeymoon Bay or Lind Point (Lind Point is a shorter dinghy ride) and take the dinghy into town. It can be a wet ride and is a bit long but doable. We have also contacted Colin at Proper Yachts (colin@properyachts.com) and reserved a ball with him in Great Cruz Bay. This is where the Westin is and you can tie the dinghy up on the south east side of the beach (you will see all the dinghys) and walk up to the Westin to catch a cab into town.

Honeymoon Bay has another gorgeous white sand beach. You do have to get a mooring ball here and it is a popular spot so get there early. If you can't get a ball outside of Honeymoon you can usually find one at Caneel and dinghy over. You aren't supposed to beach your dinghy here. Go in between the buoys and drop off at the beach, then tie up to the dinghy area and have the driver swim in. There is a beach bar here and they serve food as well. They even have beach service and the waitress will take your order while you are sitting on the beach.

Trunk Bay is a very touristy spot and has great snorkeling. There is even an underwater snorkeling path that has underwater signs that tell you what different things are. At least I think that is still there. I haven't snorkeled there in years. We haven't moored at Trunk but you can. Next time we go, we will probably take a ball here and then get a cab up to The Windmill Bar. The Windmill Bar is built into a historic site which was an old sugar plantation. Get there early so you can watch the sunset. Make sure to arrange with your cab to come pick you up at a certain time.

Cinnamon Bay has another amazing white sand beach. There are mooring balls here but it can get kind of rolly. Some people like to do a day stop here. There are no services due to the campground being rebuilt after the hurricanes.

Maho/Francis Bay is one of our favorites. Turtles pop up everywhere and the snorkeling is pretty good at the northeast end of the bay between Maho and Francis. It is near the dinghy access area of the beach at Maho. If you can't find a free mooring ball at Maho, you can usually find one at Francis. No anchoring here. We really like Maho Crossroads which is across the street from the beach. It has a Grateful Dead vibe (we are deadheads) and a cute little sitting area. The drinks are strong and good.

Coral Bay is not what I would call a beautiful bay. It is home to lots of liveaboard and some derelict boats so the water is dirty, although relatively shallow. There are no mooring balls here as they are all private so you have to anchor but it is difficult to see your anchor even in 25 ft of water. Our kids love going to Lime Out, we would skip it if they weren't with us as the drinks and tacos are very expensive and I just can't get over sitting in that gross water and eating and drinking. That being said the tacos are delicious as are the drinks! We also love Skinny Legs. They have great food and a unique atmosphere. My husband loves the Veggie Reuben. Last time we were here we anchored right off Lime Out and the kids did Lime Out while we went to lunch at Skinny Legs. We then took the boat over to Hansen Bay for the night which was delightful! You have to anchor in Hansen Bay and I have heard rumors of them not allowing people to anchor here lately, so do your research.

Salt Bay has a gorgeous beach but just a few mooring balls. You can access the Ram Head hiking trail from here which I hear is amazing. We keep wanting to do this but haven't been able to get a free ball yet.

Great Lameshur and Little Lameshur are nice bays. Great Lameshur has more mooring balls than Little and there is really good snorkeling off the point there. Word is that there is a resident octopus that you might be able to see while snorkeling. At Little Lameshur you can access the hiking path that leads you to the Reef Bay Petroglyphs. This is a pretty strenuous hike and I recommend you do it early in the day and take lots of water. There are also lots of wasps so bring sunscreen and maybe wear long pants. I got stung on our hike there and it HURT!

So...that is my two cents on the USVI. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I'm sure I left things out. If I don't know the answer I have some good resources in St. Thomas where I can probably get the answer.

Last edited by Carol_Hill; 09/11/2021 12:41 PM.

Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

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Re: USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy [Re: caribbeangirl13] #263730
09/11/2021 12:41 PM
09/11/2021 12:41 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,294
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,294
Central Florida!
Hi. I made this a new thread, since it is sort of a trip report.


Carol Hill
Re: USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy [Re: caribbeangirl13] #263825
09/14/2021 09:02 AM
09/14/2021 09:02 AM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 8
St Louis MO
F
falcon20 Offline
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falcon20  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 8
St Louis MO
This is a great report, thanks much for the info Sue.

We have sailed the BVI several times and been to the USVI more times than I can count, but doing our first sailing vacation in the USVI late November, we will certainly be adding some of the stops you mentioned.

I do have one question, I like your idea of renting a car for the first day to provision, do you have a company you would recommend? We will be sailing with DYC out of Compass Point


Scott
[Linked Image]
Re: USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy [Re: caribbeangirl13] #263837
09/14/2021 12:33 PM
09/14/2021 12:33 PM
Joined: Apr 2020
Posts: 12
V
Volle Maan Online content
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Volle Maan  Online Content
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Joined: Apr 2020
Posts: 12
I have same question about rental. Charter mid November for week out of CYOA. Appreciate any info and enjoyed your previous write up

Re: USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy [Re: caribbeangirl13] #263841
09/14/2021 12:43 PM
09/14/2021 12:43 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 18
Ken Caryl, CO
SVGrenadine Offline
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SVGrenadine  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 18
Ken Caryl, CO
We're renting a mini-van from Hertz to shuttle people and gear and provisions between STT, grocery stores, CYOA base, etc. at the start of our Christmas charter trip.

Re: USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy [Re: caribbeangirl13] #263859
09/15/2021 06:12 AM
09/15/2021 06:12 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 578
BaardJ Offline
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BaardJ  Offline
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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 578
Go with Paradise Car Rental - no question. They will call/text you shortly after your plane lands and meet you at the airport, drive you 1 mile to their office at the airport entrance to pickup your vehicle. You'll be back at the airport by the time your crew has claimed their checked luggage. They will pickup your vehicle at CYOA or DYC when you're done with it. All included in the rental price.

I stopped using Avis a couple years ago after several 1 hr delays at their airport counter waiting for an overbooked vehicles to be dropped off. It became a no-brainer when Avis closed their downtown seaplane base office 400 yds from CYOA and vehicle return meant going back to the airport.

I used Budget a couple times when Paradise was sold out as their downtown dropoff location is 15 minute walk from CYOA.

Re: USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy [Re: caribbeangirl13] #263883
09/15/2021 02:43 PM
09/15/2021 02:43 PM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 8
St Louis MO
F
falcon20 Offline
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falcon20  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 8
St Louis MO
Went with Paradise. you do have to take a 2-day rental but the price was not bad, and they pick you up at the airport and will get the car from the marina, which is a huge plus, so no taxis.

Thanks all for the help


Scott
[Linked Image]
Re: USVI/SVI COVID Charter Strategy [Re: caribbeangirl13] #264057
09/20/2021 05:28 PM
09/20/2021 05:28 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 491
Vail, CO
caribbeangirl13 Offline OP
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caribbeangirl13  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 491
Vail, CO
Sorry, was on a mini Midwest tour following my favorite band. We also use Paradise Car Rentals. We just send them an email at paradiseRcar@gmail.com. We have also used Discount Car Rental.


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

[Linked Image]

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