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USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report #239012
11/05/2020 03:10 PM
11/05/2020 03:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 33
Annapolis, Md
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bviicatter Offline OP
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Hi TTOL Friends- hope everyone is well as can be.

We switched from BVI to USVI on Owners Time charter. We were on a 2019 Lagoon 40 Blue Iris out of Compass Point. The short version: go for it! We had a great trip!

More Details: Two families with total 4 kids, two Dads, wives elected to pass on this experiment. We have chartered/owned cats in BVI, Martinique, St. Lucia, about 30 charters since 2000

Entry/Exit: flew BWI to STT, cost about $400 per person. Note that there is no cruising tax, or exit fees. No clearing in or out. We had to get covid test five days before trip and fill out USVI entry portal questions. On arrival, it took 15 minutes to get temperature check and voila! off we went.

Provisioning: the supermarket near Compass Point Marina (walking distance) had a good selection of quality foods at reasonable prices.

Marina: Compass Point is comparable imo to Hodges Creek on Tortola. It is no Scrub Island. Marina staff are helpful and friendly. Only two heads on the grounds. Cluttered, long walk to boat out the pier. Decent restaurant bar on site (the Dive Bar) and small sundries store. Stand up boards can be rented at charter office. Internet by ALGlink surfworkplay There are still trashed boats off the marina. The place is serviceable and that is what we needed. Kudos to DYC for making a quick business decision to get their fleet up and running for benefit of locals, boat owners, and charterers.

Cruising: Best part. We spent our week circumnavigating St. John. It is probably like BVI was 25 years ago. Maho, Leincester, Coral Harbor, Great St. James, Lamshur, Caneel- all these bays are unspoiled most with no shore bomba shacks. The natural beauty is on par with BVIs. The fact that St John is undeveloped could be a plus for some cruisers. Snorkeling wonderful. Easy to snag mooring balls with self service drop boxes. Cruising guide tells how many balls per bay.

On Land: good trails and lots of historic sites, such as Annaberg Plantation. Cruz Bay for water and groceries, Coral Bay for Taco Boat- believe it or not, the Taco Boat is one of the best meals and values we have experienced in years of cruising. Try the ahi tacos!

Biggest Downer: cruising past Mary Point towards Great Thatch and seeing White Harbor, Great Harbor, and Little Harbor JVD empty. Not a single sail to be seen in BVI waters. Large barge anchored S/W corner Great Thatch to chase any charter boats that dare try to edge too close to BVI waters. That was a sobering and sad sight. A reminder that covid is real and will hurt and kill. That said- BVI has a policy that is strangling tourism to the death point to protect against covid.

Charter Service: our generator went down. After checking strainer, intakes, everything I could think of, we called for tech support. Melray was there in three hours on a fast rib. Courteous, professional, and efficient. Ran down a burnt wire, installed a fuse, briefed skipper, and departed. GREAT SERVICE, thank you Melray and Compass Point charter operations staff!

Return to base: no stress. Scooby and crew came aboard, put the boat on the fuel dock and into the slip. Boat debrief and off we went to Tickles and then airport.

Final Verdict: I love BVIs! I am saddened by the dislocation caused by covid! This USVI cruise was an eye opener for me. USVIs are easier in and out, less expensive for everything, and the places we cruised (St John) scenically beautiful, well custodianed, and just plain neat. We enjoyed the access to on land trails and historic sites. The beaches (Maho) are like a picture postcard. We will charter USVIs again, and I suspect USVI will become the new popular cruising grounds. The situation will flip, where USVI will be the secret gem. People eventually will again flock to BVIs- and cruisers wanting peaceful anchorages and unspoiled beauty will be mooring at Christmas Bay on Great St James and similar.

With Aloha!

JAM
Annapolis, Md

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Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239016
11/05/2020 04:26 PM
11/05/2020 04:26 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 807
Northern Virginia
ecm56 Offline
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Great to hear. Thank you!

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239020
11/05/2020 04:53 PM
11/05/2020 04:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 76,370
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Hi, bvicatter, since this trip was actually in the USVI, could you also post the report in the USVI forum? Thanks.


Carol Hill
Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239036
11/05/2020 10:20 PM
11/05/2020 10:20 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 1,150
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Sounds like a lot of dink and dunking around St Johns.
If and when on a sailboat - cat or mono - I always try and maximize time with those white floppy things up on that tall stick On a sailboat!

Where is the sailing in a St Johns sailing trip?

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239058
11/06/2020 11:34 AM
11/06/2020 11:34 AM
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Rush Offline
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JAM, thanks for posting and glad you had a great trip! It sounds like we had a very similar experience and I look forward to going back in February.

Jphart, I think you can make this as much of a sailing trip as you like or just dink and dunk around St. John and have fun doing that. We started our trip out sailing south around Little St. James and Dog Island and then headed North to Caneel (rather than the more direct trip through Current Cut), just to get out on the water and sail a little. We sailed some from Maho then down around to the southside to Salt Pond (headed further south, then tacked back north), and repeated in opossite direction the next day. Obviously, you could get a good sail to St. Croix (Buck Island) and back. Next time we will sail from Maho to Magens (downwind), may may continue around the island the next day to Water Island (motoring once we round the island). While it does not set up as perfectly as the BVI for a simple sailing itinerary, we found we could do as much or as little as we wanted.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: jphart] #239065
11/06/2020 12:57 PM
11/06/2020 12:57 PM
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Posts: 33
Annapolis, Md
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bviicatter Offline OP
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bviicatter  Offline OP
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Annapolis, Md
Hi JP- I second what Rush just wrote. For a real sail head down to St. Croix. Here in Annapolis many sailors get friends, food, and refreshments and spend a day on the boat. Just leaving the pier is an adventure. Yes less point to point sailing on the USVI trip but still on a boat, with flippie floppies!

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239071
11/06/2020 01:18 PM
11/06/2020 01:18 PM
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sail445 Offline
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Originally Posted by bviicatter
Hi JP- I second what Rush just wrote. For a real sail head down to St. Croix. Here in Annapolis many sailors get friends, food, and refreshments and spend a day on the boat. Just leaving the pier is an adventure. Yes less point to point sailing on the USVI trip but still on a boat, with flippie floppies!

From St Croix you can run to Culebra in the SVI and then a short beat back to STT.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: jphart] #239075
11/06/2020 02:47 PM
11/06/2020 02:47 PM
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cyclingdoc Offline
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Originally Posted by jphart
Sounds like a lot of dink and dunking around St Johns.
If and when on a sailboat - cat or mono - I always try and maximize time with those white floppy things up on that tall stick On a sailboat!

Where is the sailing in a St Johns sailing trip?



I’ll mirror what others have said. We‘ve done many trips to the islands and actually just returned from one. We sail most of our trip. Plenty of sailing to be done in the USVI without even leaving st Thomas and St. John. Say you charter from CYOA in Charlotte Amalie.

You could sail around buck island then up to north shore St. John, caneel . 20 miles
Sail from caneel up to maho. Maybe 5-10 miles if you sail north and over.
Maho to coral bay. 15-20 miles.
Coral to lameshur. Maybe 10 at most.
Then lameshur around to caneel or maho. 15-20 miles
Then caneel to magens. 20+
Then magens around west side of st Thomas to airport area. 25+ miles.
Water island to Xmas cove for pizza. 10-15 miles
Then Xmas cove back around buck to base. 10-15 miles.

Stay a night or two at your more favorite spots. Easy 7-10 nights.

Just examples. These aren’t map distances but more so sailing distances.

Granted we’ve done a 25-40 mile day tacking our way from Jost to Norman or cooper. Or running from anegada back down to white bay but most aren’t doing that.

Have fun. It’s what you make of it.

Cheers!


EDIT: not an itinerary, just ideas on sailing distances in case there were any doubters about sailing around the USVI.


Last edited by cyclingdoc; 11/06/2020 07:33 PM.
Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239077
11/06/2020 03:27 PM
11/06/2020 03:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,855
Maine
Breeze Offline
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Vacations don't need a daily itinerary, or any demand other than enjoy the day.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: Breeze] #239083
11/06/2020 05:51 PM
11/06/2020 05:51 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 552
Kannapolis, NC
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Originally Posted by Breeze
Vacations don't need a daily itinerary, or any demand other than enjoy the day.


Perfect reply!!


[Linked Image]
Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239167
11/07/2020 09:38 PM
11/07/2020 09:38 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 491
Vail, CO
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Thank you for posting this! We are going for 10 days around Thanksgiving and are super excited to explore JUST the USVI. Yes, love the BVI but honestly it is kind of nice to figure out a new itinerary and new places to visit and it is SO nice to be able to fly into and provision in St. Thomas.


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

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Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: caribbeangirl13] #239171
11/07/2020 09:52 PM
11/07/2020 09:52 PM
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sail445 Offline
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Another plus in the USVI is dining..The positive refreshing service in restaurants puts the BVI to shame.
In the BVI entering a restaurant is like entering a morgue with angry inattentive wait staff. Who needs it.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239227
11/09/2020 08:00 AM
11/09/2020 08:00 AM
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Andiamo Offline
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How busy were the anchorages? We’re heading down on Dec 5th, curious if we’ll need to plan on grabbing a mooring early in the day or if we can comfortably come into the anchorages later in the afternoon without worrying availability.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: Andiamo] #239245
11/09/2020 11:26 AM
11/09/2020 11:26 AM
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MIDiver Offline
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Reading the latest posts in BVI Abroad about the increasing number of BVI boats in the USVI, I am getting increasingly concerned about field availability in the USVI this season. IMO, this probably won't change in the short term (through Q1) unless the BVI protocols change - considerably.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: Andiamo] #239255
11/09/2020 11:54 AM
11/09/2020 11:54 AM
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cyclingdoc Offline
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Originally Posted by Andiamo
How busy were the anchorages? We’re heading down on Dec 5th, curious if we’ll need to plan on grabbing a mooring early in the day or if we can comfortably come into the anchorages later in the afternoon without worrying availability.


not busy. maybe salt pond or little lameshur you might want to be careful with but otherwise moorings abound everywhere. but you always have a bailout at great lameshur.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239256
11/09/2020 12:08 PM
11/09/2020 12:08 PM
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Rush Offline
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We were Oct 16-24th (so obviously right at the start of the season) and it was wide open (except for Christmas Cove which was full). Here is what we saw:
Caneel/Honeymoon/Scott Bay ~ Maybe one quarter of the balls taken
Maho/Francis ~ about one fifth taken
Leinster - only one ball was taken the day we were there
Great and Little Lamshur - we were the only ones in both that night
Salt Pond - there were 2 of us there
Hawknest was pretty wide open

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: Andiamo] #239362
11/10/2020 01:03 PM
11/10/2020 01:03 PM
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Bvicatter Offline
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Hi Andiamo- the anchorages were not al all busy. We had no problem finding mooring balls anytime- however check cruising guide to find out number of balls and if anchoring is permitted.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239420
11/10/2020 09:05 PM
11/10/2020 09:05 PM
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Andiamo Offline
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Do most people order provisions ahead of time or just hit the grocery stores once they arrive? We're also leaving out of Compass Point Marina for reference. Our only experience has been in the BVI's and we ordered most of what we wanted ahead of time, but we spent every evening eating out in one of the coves. This time in the USVI's we're planning on cooking more on the boat. Appreciate any advice!

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: Andiamo] #239421
11/10/2020 09:08 PM
11/10/2020 09:08 PM
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Posts: 491
Vail, CO
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Cost U Less is awesome! It is kind of like a Costco and alcohol is VERY cheap. Food Center is right near Compass Point where you can also shop or get the things you couldn't get at Cost U Less.


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

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Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: Andiamo] #239492
11/11/2020 03:06 PM
11/11/2020 03:06 PM
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Posts: 33
Annapolis, Md
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bviicatter Offline OP
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Andiamo- decent grocery right by Compass Point.... just a note- Caribes were about $30/case on St Thomas- about $70/case on St. John....that is the price.... the value: incalculable......

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: bviicatter] #239502
11/11/2020 04:52 PM
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MIDiver Offline
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I like Moe's in Red Hook. Great meats and gourmet items. A bit pricey but they have hard to find items. They will do full provisioning.

Re: USVI October 25- Nov 3 2020 Trip Report [Re: MIDiver] #239503
11/11/2020 05:05 PM
11/11/2020 05:05 PM
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sail445 Offline
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They just opened a Moe’s at Yacht Haven Grande, just pull up to the dinghy dock and load up


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