Our experience clearing customs out of Sopers Hole, Tortola and clearing in at Cruz Bay, St. Johns, USVI. We had planned to tour about the island since we had read many good reports on how great St. Johns was.
Two different universes as to customs.
Mellow Sopers hole, just my first mate, and I, the ladies went for ice creame and did not have to appear at the customs house there at Sopers Hole.
We presented our 4 passports and ships papers We were greeted happily by the customs gentleman. He looked over our documents, and asked us where we were going.
I told him , a couple of days on St. Johns, and initially Cruz Bay to check in with customs there. My buddy was drinking a beer
, and had set it down on the customs desk. The agent reaches over, picks up Bill's Beer
, has a swig, hands the beer back, stamps away and we thank and wave and head
off for the passage
Arriving at Cruz bay, what a zoo. We wanted to pick up a mooring
, but none were open. Sea planes were landing, speed boats racing
landing type cargo barges roaring and belching, other vessels coming and going, personal water
craft, it was a mess.
So, we pass on the mooring
and pull up to the customs dock
. We take in all of our documentation
. Bill and I. No beers this time.
As we enter the customs house door, we are greeted by a foul mood large female agent, no smile, and she says " What do you want ? " . So I told her we wished to enter and stay a couple of days. She says " Where is your crew ? "
The ladies were on board...." Get them !" I am out the door and tell the gals , " Get in here, now, you have to be present ! "
Well, now for a woman who has to put on their cover up, brush hair and what ever , is done in neutral or reverse speed.
I walk back in figuring that the gals would present themselves shortly and all would be well.
Nope, the agent growls " Get them in here NOW. Or I will not clear you in." Out, I go again, grab the ladies and bring them to the desk. She looks thru this giant book. I am assuming it is names of U.S. Citizens, or bad guys, but it was about the size of ten huge telephone books
She starts her administrative work, and asks how long we would be staying. Well, I do not feel like going thru a departing the USVI customs procedure with her again.
" I think we will just sail over to Leisnster bay, snorkel Watermellon cay, spend the night at Leinster bay, and sail back to tortola in the morning.
Can you clear us in and out now, so that we can make an early depature? She says nothing but stamps were being banged on to our passport pages. Whew !
Great time in Leinster Bay, but while relaxing on board, I watched a U.S.C.G. vessel, hove to just outside the harbor. Looked like they may have been checking out the anchored boats in the bay. All must have been well. Later, they departed without any vessel inspections.
The next day, we were moored back in Sopers Hole. Bill and I, passports, and a fresh bottle of red stripe for the customs agent. We walked up to the desk to check in.
He looked at us, and said, " That was a short stay ! "
" We found we like the BVI much better, so here we are."
He just smiles and stamped our 4 pass ports
..." Ya Mon, they wind
up pretty tight over dere. "
This was some time ago, have no idea as to current
haps in Cruz bay, but we have had many, many more BVI sailing vacations...all good vibes.
The customs procedure was pleasant and easy in the BVI. Not quite the same attitude in the USVI, in Cruz Bay.