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Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs #212651
12/31/2019 12:11 PM
12/31/2019 12:11 PM
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 46
Annapolis, Md
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bviicatter Offline OP
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Annapolis, Md
Hi, does anyone bring in frozen provisions such as meat and fish from US to BVIs? Is it legal to do so, if yes, doe s anyone know the procedure?

Thanks!

BVI Sponsors
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212653
12/31/2019 12:28 PM
12/31/2019 12:28 PM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 4,214
Toledo, OH, USA
Orange_Burst Offline
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We take a cooler with a us every year. This allows me to prepare things at home, making meals on the boat so much easier. We have never had a problem at customs. Sometimes we have been charged a duty, put other times we have not. Never more than $10.

We normally bring 5 dinners; bacon wrapped filet mignons, marinated chicken breast, injected pork tenderloins, homemade lasagna (for a rainy day that you don't want to grill) and burgers made into patties and spiced. I also bring taco meat for lunch. I cook the bacon and sausage for breakfast and package it in one meal packages. Keeps from having all that grease on the boat.

We vacuum seal and then freeze on a cookie sheet. That way they stack very tight, helps keep everything very frozen. Husband packs the cooler the night before we leave and puts 5# of dry ice in the cooler. Before we leave for the airport we toss the dry ice. We don't want the hassles at the airport.

We have been there for 3 days prior to our sleep aboard and everything is still frozen solid. The last couple of years we stayed at Rhymers before our bareboat trip and they allowed us to keep our cooler in their walk in cooler.

Hope that helps


Colleen

[Linked Image]


Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212665
12/31/2019 01:45 PM
12/31/2019 01:45 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 863
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Georgia & South Carolina
I pack similar.
Have some frozen "extras"(Sausage or pork tenderloin for us) to fill cooler as much as possible. The pork tenderloin or link sausage can be cooked on the grill after evening meal is done. I use the tenderloin for next day sandwiches for lunch. Also, sausage goes in zip lock bag for breakfast next morning or 2.
Up to 5 pounds of dry ice is legal for carry on. But I have gone 24 plus hours with Polar Bear cooler without dry ice and all still frozen solid upon arrival at boat.

Customs not issue. Declare and state a value and they may tax you $10 or so. And often hear "buy here and support economy" . The reason we take it down is to be certain of good quality meats(frequently grocery stores are out of some items) , but more importantly we can prep food before going, making it easier on Galley Winchs. Also less chance of blood drip into freezer since vac pac'd, and allows for quick thaw in bucket of water when time slips up on you.


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212699
01/01/2020 07:34 AM
01/01/2020 07:34 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,611
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Offline
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The duty is 10% of the value. They will generally accept what you state the value is but I try and keep it honest. For the most part we just purchase locally.
G

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212712
01/01/2020 09:52 AM
01/01/2020 09:52 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 492
Ohio
jagmansr Offline
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We go down 3 times a year and always bring frozen meats. We cook on the boat a lot. I always declare what I have and have yet to be charged a tax. Just the $10 environmental tax.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212798
01/02/2020 09:58 AM
01/02/2020 09:58 AM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 38
Streamwod il
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joeboo Offline
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W have been bringing down frozen meats for more then 20 years. We buy a cheap cooler for about $20.Check it in as a piece
of luggage with AA. Use it thru out the trip, and just leave it there.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212801
01/02/2020 10:05 AM
01/02/2020 10:05 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,359
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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JasonHelmbrecht  Offline
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Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
I haven't brought any meats in but sometimes I bring some sand from Ohio. I prefer the feel of it to the sand in the BVI and sprinkle it under my beach chair to feel more at home. I always declare it and so far have never been charged duty. They did ask for a small fee when I bought salt water one year.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212816
01/02/2020 04:00 PM
01/02/2020 04:00 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16,757
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Manpot Offline
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Jason...we take wine back to Sonoma from Tortola. The vineyards on Tortola provide a much better product.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: Manpot] #212824
01/02/2020 05:12 PM
01/02/2020 05:12 PM
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sail445 Offline
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Originally Posted by Manpot
Jason...we take wine back to Sonoma from Tortola. The vineyards on Tortola provide a much better product.

Of course they do, there’s no better grape then pure Cane Cabernet.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: sail445] #212836
01/02/2020 07:27 PM
01/02/2020 07:27 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,706
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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OK, guys, you've had your fun.

If someone could respond to the original poster's question, that would be good..


Carol Hill
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212877
01/03/2020 10:26 AM
01/03/2020 10:26 AM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 4,214
Toledo, OH, USA
Orange_Burst Offline
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A question was asked, I answered it. I'm tired of defending myself. To each their own.


Colleen

[Linked Image]


Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: Orange_Burst] #212881
01/03/2020 10:51 AM
01/03/2020 10:51 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 79,706
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Colleen--you certainly aren't the only one who takes down fish or meats, and you shouldn't have to feel you have to defend yourself. Sorry that my post seemed to imply that no one had addressed the original poster's question.


Carol Hill
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212885
01/03/2020 11:11 AM
01/03/2020 11:11 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 4,557
Toronto, Ontario
gordaguy2 Offline
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WE bring down a frozen Costco tenderloin usually as well as an assortment of cheeses when we bring a group to the villa - no problems declaring it and never had to pay a duty as they are for personal consumption.


GordaGuy2
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: gordaguy2] #212886
01/03/2020 11:19 AM
01/03/2020 11:19 AM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,579
Woodstock, GA
RickinAtlanta Offline
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This topic resurfaces every couple of months. Can the threads be made an easily seen link so those asking can find the answers without going through this same ritual? Just asking.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: Carol_Hill] #212888
01/03/2020 11:29 AM
01/03/2020 11:29 AM
Joined: Feb 2001
Posts: 4,214
Toledo, OH, USA
Orange_Burst Offline
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It was't your reply Carol.

If it was just the 2 of us I wouldn't bring anything down. But with a group of 8, it just makes making meals on the boat SO much easier. No frying up bacon or sausage in the morning. Taco meat for lunch, or when we had an afternoon at White Bay and don't feel like making a big meal, just nuke the already made up meat, cut a few things up and dinner is ready. Chicken breast are all trimmed of fat and marinated, filet mignons are bacon wrapped and seasoned ready for the grill.

We live in the midwest with some great steaks available to us. I know what I'm bringing is good and available. I can't say that for some of the meat I have purchased in the BVI's.

We spend several thousand dollars on provisions. We are down for a minimum of 16 nights. We take 5 dinners with us. We spend PLENTY at restaurants.

Rant over.


Colleen

[Linked Image]


Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212901
01/03/2020 02:26 PM
01/03/2020 02:26 PM
Joined: Sep 2016
Posts: 46
Annapolis, Md
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bviicatter Offline OP
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Annapolis, Md
Thank you everyone for your courteous and helpful responses- and I agree with Rick- if the topic comes up every few months it would be great to index it.

For background, I would like to mention that I have owned charter cat and bareboated in the BVIs since mid 1990's- I have about 40-50 charters done in Nature's Little Secrets.

The most experienced and competent skippers I know mentioned to me that they bring provisions in- for them it is not only about cost, but also quality control and saving time. I have never done it, and i was curious if there is some elaborate procedure or paperwork, and judging from this forum, the answer is no.

Wishing all fair winds, followings seas, and good times wherever the wanderlust takes you......

Best-

Josh
Annapolis, Md

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212922
01/03/2020 06:08 PM
01/03/2020 06:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 114
Englewood, Florida
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DaveF Offline
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These may be a foolish questions but I have never done the dry ice routine. Typically I pack the frozen food with gel packs and it lasts. So maybe some odd questions but here I go:

1. Dry Ice is really cold, -109.3 F. Does this super low temp effect the quality of the food?
2. Normally we pre- prepare the food with spices. Does the dry ice effect this?
3. Do you need to vacuum seal with dry ice? We normally just zip lock and squeeze out the air.
4. Does vacuum seal protect the food in any way compared to Zip Lock and squeeze out the air?
5. Any issues with separating the dry iced frozen food bags?
6. Say we leave the house at 5 AM and arrive BVI at 3 PM. We will stay on the boat overnight, do you think we can just keep the food in the Polar Bear Cooler overnight then load up the fridge in the morning? Or should be load up the fridge that day we arrive? Maybe it helps cool the fridge?
7. What about foods that you cannot / or do not freeze? Yogurt for example? My wife has special brands / issues, so can you bring this in? With the dry ice frozen food effect something like this?

I can understand the ease of using dry ice as no need for carrying the gel packs, but you see I have some crazy questions to get a better understanding of using dry ice.

Dave


Dave
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: DaveF] #212933
01/03/2020 09:41 PM
01/03/2020 09:41 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 863
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Dave

If trip is less than 24 hours, I would not use dry ice. I do fully pack with frozen meats, as full as possible (except for space reserved for non-frozen items such as cheese. I do Vac packs as more secure than zip locks). I pack polar bear cooler night before (we usually leave 6am for airport) and then place entire cooler in freezer. I pull out in morning and load items from the fridge.

I don't think dry ice changes the spices or the meats.
Gel packs are not necessary if your Polar Bear cooler is full or nearly full of frozen meats.


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: Deepcut] #212935
01/03/2020 11:22 PM
01/03/2020 11:22 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,579
Woodstock, GA
RickinAtlanta Offline
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Polar Bear soft side, frozen and vacuum sealed, no dry ice. Lasts about 24 hours as carry on.

BTW BVI wine is comparable to Sutter Home as to Sonoma/Napa just cheaper which is what sone focus on🍷

Last edited by RickinAtlanta; 01/03/2020 11:24 PM.
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212959
01/04/2020 10:06 AM
01/04/2020 10:06 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,391
Finger Lake Region
crmoores Offline
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Great feedback here from Colleen and others.

What are the limits for bringing wine in (a favorite not available on Tortola, for ex) via ferry? I see varying responses on other sites ranging from 1 liter/pp to 3 liters/pp...
Thanks


"Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.”
-Anthony Bourdain
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #212981
01/04/2020 01:45 PM
01/04/2020 01:45 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 114
Englewood, Florida
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DaveF Offline
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Thanks for all the info and the discussions on this tread.

I do like the fact this and other subjects are brought up now and again. I for one am not a regular visitor, basically I start reading and looking about 6 months before a trip, which is about every 2 years or so. Seeing this (and other routine subjects) helps refresh my thoughts and plans.

Dave


Dave
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #213008
01/04/2020 07:25 PM
01/04/2020 07:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 615
Vail, CO/St. Thomas, USVI
caribbeangirl13 Offline
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Make sure to bring your receipts. I have been asked for these to prove how much I paid. I think if you keep the cost below $100 you are not charged a duty.


Sue
s/v Ripple
Leopard 40

[Linked Image]
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #213029
01/04/2020 11:56 PM
01/04/2020 11:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,391
Finger Lake Region
crmoores Offline
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So there is no official volume limit (litre)? I’m not finding anything in the customs site which is odd...


"Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.”
-Anthony Bourdain
Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: crmoores] #213082
01/05/2020 02:48 PM
01/05/2020 02:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,579
Woodstock, GA
RickinAtlanta Offline
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Originally Posted by crmoores
So there is no official volume limit (litre)? I’m not finding anything in the customs site which is odd...


It'[s either 40 or 50 pounds of meat.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: RickinAtlanta] #288369
09/05/2022 09:05 AM
09/05/2022 09:05 AM
Joined: Jan 2021
Posts: 45
Brookline, Massachusetts and M...
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Before resurrecting this thread and asking for guidance on this issue, I did undertake the gruesome process of trying to find answers on the government's website for customs, but came up empty. Has anyone recently had occasion to declare dairy, fish or meat/poultry at a port of entry and been asked to pay a duty? I don't mind doing it and would definitely have receipts handy, but just wanted to get feedback from anyone who's recently done this.

As an aside, part of what drives this inquiry is that I can abide getting meat from Steakation on Tortola and having them put it on the ferry to VG, but I've just been unable to find some dairy products about which I'm a bit particular, such as decent yogurt that isn't essentially liquid sugar, and cottage cheese that isn't a soupy and inedible amalgam of curd separated from its water base.

Anyhow, will look forward to any comments, with thanks. MAF

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #288373
09/05/2022 09:45 AM
09/05/2022 09:45 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 492
Ohio
jagmansr Offline
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We come down 5 to 6 times a year and always bring frozen meats and fish along with cheeses, liquid dairy creamer. Last time I declared a value of $110 and had to pay $11 in duty. In all the years we have been coming down I have only been charged a duty fee twice. I've never had an issue nor have I had my bags checked. We also always use the ferry.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #288377
09/05/2022 10:04 AM
09/05/2022 10:04 AM
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Posts: 1,422
Memphis, BVI, CT
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RatmansWife Offline
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We always declare and pay duty. One recent trip down, I packed a Solar Bear with ribeyes from our farmer friend. We connected from American to Cape Air, on separate tickets. Our connection, after rechecking all our bags, was a little tight. I told the security guy I had meat, but that wasn't good enough. He made me remove every single steak, packed like a jigsaw puzzle. Then I had to repack, all while racing to catch a flight. At least they arrived with me, which none of our checked bags did. Not sure which bags, if any, get transferred these days, as we have been using Cape Air coupons.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: RatmansWife] #288387
09/05/2022 10:30 AM
09/05/2022 10:30 AM
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Brookline, Massachusetts and M...
Fitzhughlaw Offline
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Jagmansr and RatmansWife, thank you both. I'm a lot more concerned about compliance than cost of the duty, because the last time I left Beef Island, Eliot Ness' second coming confiscated a plastic cigarette lighter that I had forgotten to declare (I congratulated him on having nabbed "Public Enemy Number One"), and on my last entry into that port, I was asked if I had any tobacco and I reflexively said "no," forgetting that I had half a pack of cigarettes on my person. For some reason it didn't occur to me to be more careful render a literal response. Thus, on my next foray into VG, I just want to be ready to avoid any and all aggravation that can occur, so I'll have my receipts handy and my 10% calculated as per jagmansr's advice. Anyhow, thank you both.

By the way Mrs. Ratman, did your steak inspection issue occur in San Juan or St. Thomas? I assume the former and that it was occasioned by your having to put your cooler onto the belt there? I have a connection from JetBlue out of Boston to Cape Air in SJU, with almost three hours between those flights. While I'm tempted to try and check my bags through from JetBlue to Cape Air without having to pick them up and put them onto the belt (not to mention lugging them through the airport and having to put them onto the belt), I am loath to do that because of the risk of them never getting to Cape Air - especially if I'm bringing fresh meat or dairy.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #288395
09/05/2022 12:35 PM
09/05/2022 12:35 PM
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Shifty Offline
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We bring frozen meat and cheese every year, and do what joeboo does...buy an inexpensive cooler and leave it with the charter company. Someone on staff is always glad to have it.

We do not use dry ice. I freeze everything in advance, pack the cooler tight before we leave home, ratchet strap the lid tightly closed, and head off. While it often takes over 24 hours before arrival, everything is always still frozen when we get to the boat. The key, in my opinion, is picking the correct-sized cooler, so that there is very little air space left in the cooler.

I'm also careful not to exceed 50 pounds (cooler included), so as not to risk paying an extra airline fee.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #288396
09/05/2022 12:44 PM
09/05/2022 12:44 PM
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Memphis, BVI, CT
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RatmansWife Offline
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The inspection was in San Juan. Don't think we had receipts on the steaks, although each one was vacuum packed with USDA label and price. Of course they can easily look up our history in their computer.

I don't plan on bringing anything perishable, although could pack a few steaks. I'm not sure there is a way to connect to Cape Air (or Silver) without going back through Security. This agent was a PITA, and we were short on time. I am already stocking up on things that can be hard to find: cake flour, yeast, plain gelatin, whole wheat pastry flour, etc.

You can usually get plain Greek yogurt on Wednesday at Riteway and good cheese at the French Deli. Steakation is good, and we get seafood at Pockwood Pond. Of course it's trickier if you're only around for a week. We upsized our fridge this Spring and we plan to stay 3 1/2 months.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #288398
09/05/2022 12:52 PM
09/05/2022 12:52 PM
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Memphis, BVI, CT
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Should also mention that House has a wonderful kitchen section, with beautiful accessories and lots of jams, sauces, chutney, rubs, etc.

Re: Bringing Frozen Fish/Meats into BVIs [Re: bviicatter] #288408
09/05/2022 03:30 PM
09/05/2022 03:30 PM
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Cleobeach Offline
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We bring a cooler each trip to VG. We fly Island Birds from SJU to VG. Twice were were asked about the value of the food and I replied (honestly) that we buy our meats buy the half animal and did not have receipts but gave an approximate per pound value. ($5.00 cut weight for anyone interested) In 12 years, I have not been charged but would have happily paid it.


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