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Old 22-12-2011, 10:27   #31
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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I lived on St Thomas for six months and I too will not go back. Between not being a local and the high crime rate I will pick another island.
I took a research position at the College of USVI in the mid 1980s....lasted a month, what a pit....my next gig was in Trenton, NJ and amazing as it sounds, a much better situation (for a while anyways).
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Old 22-12-2011, 12:44   #32
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

If nothing else, the point of my discussion is that the cost of living for long term cruisers is significantly different from those living on land. Which in a lot of cases is why some folks take to "living aboard" and cruising.
- - For instance, we don't have cars - they don't float too well. However, we do have dinghys which can be expensive to purchase and we need gasoline to run the outboard motors. But more than a few long term cruisers are now getting the hard row-able dinghys instead of the RIB/Inflatables that need outboard engines what with today's gasoline prices.
- - One of the big advantages of cruising in your own boat is the ability to visit what would be considered an "expensive" island and not have to "pay" as others do. It is definitely something to look forward to for those dreaming/hoping/planning on taking up long term cruising and seeing more of the world.
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Old 22-12-2011, 13:07   #33
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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And I would also respectfully disagree that your "second hand" information from someone living on land or visiting a land based person is biased whereas my personally living there on a cruising boat is quite different. Nothing wrong with that "bias" it just means that other people, especially long term cruisers have a different experience,
- - I don't have to pay "rent" or "car expenses" which is more relevant to cruisers. Personal tastes and habits make an enormous difference in what you will perceive as the "costs" in a particular place. We don't really "eat out" (drinking out is a different matter) and normally buy "basic foods" rather than manufactured foods and junk food. So the bias comes in comparing apples to pomegranates rather than the costs a cruiser would encounter of food shopping and getting around.
- - There are a significant amount of cruisers both single-handers and couples who arrive each year to work the cruise ship shops and services from "down island." Their wages are low and they need to save money which is how they replenish their "cruising kitty" before heading back south again for the hurricane season. Since our way of living is significantly different from land-living folk, our purchases and shopping habits are also quite different.
- - We don't shop at Walmarts as there is nothing there a cruiser needs. We may pop into the KMarts in Long Bay but not for much. There is even a "Cost-U-Less" just up the road on the way to Red Hook for those who want a bulk purchasing experience. And a Home Depot near it.
- - Again, for most of long term cruisers, we are not "tourists" and our budgets are very limited what with the extra costs of repair parts for the boat, etc. So we pass on to each other where we can get stuff at reasonable prices, sort of like a network. The long term cruising life is significantly different from land-living folk and our buying habits are also quite different.
Hopefully after living here for about 7 years my information won't be "second hand". I do live on land which apparently makes me ignorant of where to buy things at reasonable prices. With those pertinent facts clear, I and dozens of my friends that do live aboard fulltime here, would love to know how to get into the "network" so we can also reap the benefits of stateside priced goods. Is there a secret handshake? A gang sign? Lengthy initiation process? Entry fee? Whatever it takes to enter into the secret society would apparently pay for itself in a matter of weeks.

In your second paragraph your point appears to be that you buy differently than others. OK, I can certainly appreciate that. What doesn't make sense is that makes it very difficult to compare costs geographically to determine what is and isn't expensive. Can I assume that no matter where you find yourself there are certain things you will buy like propane (or whatever fuel you cook with), diesel, gas (dinghy motor if you do not row), water (if you do not have a water maker), etc. So are you saying those things are the same cost here as in the states? If you are, please do tell where you shop! PM me if it is a secret.

I do agree with your next comments, many people do come here to work and fatten the kitty. There is opportunity to make more money here than there is down island or so many people would not risk so much to get here illegally.

There is not a Walmart in the British, Spanish or US Virgin Islands so not sure what that is about. Last time I was in the states the Super Walmarts had very competetive food prices. I would assume that has not changed. I would think cheap but good food would be something everybody would want.

I do hope you see that I am partially teasing you but really just asking you to back up your claims with the mystery vendor names that so many of us are ignorant of.
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Old 22-12-2011, 13:54   #34
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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Hopefully after living here for about 7 years my information won't be "second hand". I do live on land which apparently makes me ignorant of where to buy things at reasonable prices. With those pertinent facts clear, I and dozens of my friends that do live aboard fulltime here, would love to know how to get into the "network" so we can also reap the benefits of stateside priced goods. Is there a secret handshake? A gang sign? Lengthy initiation process? Entry fee? Whatever it takes to enter into the secret society would apparently pay for itself in a matter of weeks.

In your second paragraph your point appears to be that you buy differently than others. OK, I can certainly appreciate that. What doesn't make sense is that makes it very difficult to compare costs geographically to determine what is and isn't expensive. Can I assume that no matter where you find yourself there are certain things you will buy like propane (or whatever fuel you cook with), diesel, gas (dinghy motor if you do not row), water (if you do not have a water maker), etc. So are you saying those things are the same cost here as in the states? If you are, please do tell where you shop! PM me if it is a secret.

I do agree with your next comments, many people do come here to work and fatten the kitty. There is opportunity to make more money here than there is down island or so many people would not risk so much to get here illegally.

There is not a Walmart in the British, Spanish or US Virgin Islands so not sure what that is about. Last time I was in the states the Super Walmarts had very competetive food prices. I would assume that has not changed. I would think cheap but good food would be something everybody would want.

I do hope you see that I am partially teasing you but really just asking you to back up your claims with the mystery vendor names that so many of us are ignorant of.
All ribbing aside can you give us a snapshot of what your life is like down there and maybe some of the pros and cons of living aboard down there? Do you live aboard or are you on land?
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:24   #35
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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All ribbing aside can you give us a snapshot of what your life is like down there and maybe some of the pros and cons of living aboard down there? Do you live aboard or are you on land?

Trying not to rib you but my second sentence does say "I live on land".

Since I do live on land, I can't directly answer your question. I can make some fairly safe assumptions and you can decide the validity of each.

There must be more pros than cons or the dozens and dozens of live aboards that run south for hurricane season probably wouldn't bother to come right back to spend the majority of their time here. Clearly Osiris and I agree, there are ample opportunities to earn money here. I think the facts are clear that the murder rate is extremely high which is very sad. My wife and I can, and would, leave here at the drop of a hat if we truly felt that it was unsafe for us to stay. Rarely do I hear of much in the way of crimes on the water other than the random dinghy theft etc. Lock it or lose it! My opionion is that the cost of living here is very high whether one sleeps on land or in the water. Everyone eats and one example I like to use is the cost of a gallon of milk. Typically it is right around $8/gallon. Rum is cheap and can be found for under $5/liter. Transportation is cheap. For $1-$2 dollars there are safaris (open taxis) that circle the island on major routes. With little effort one can find happy hours with cheap appetizers that can make for a "meal" out inexpensively.

Like anyplace else, there are good and bad things here, too many to cover. Each person has a different perspective as to degrees of each and comfort levels for each. If there are specific questions you'd like to ask I would be glad to do my best to respond.
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:27   #36
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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All ribbing aside can you give us a snapshot of what your life is like down there and maybe some of the pros and cons of living aboard down there? Do you live aboard or are you on land?
We are getting into that common paradox of "Live aboard" versus "Cruising people, Cruising boats, etc." They are two very different things. That's the "apples and pomegranates."

Are going to be a "static live-aboard" or a cruiser? "Static live-aboard" are, IMHO, land dwellers who sometimes pay less rent than land dwellers - most everything else costs as much as any other land dweller would pay. Your land living habits will carry over and you will continue to live that lifestyle you already know. For living ashore or static live aboard I would suggest an "ex-pat" forum. So if you are planning to be a static live-aboard in St Thomas or any of the Virgin Islands, I would suggest that you listen more to Rubikoop and others who dwell on land for the most accurate assessment.

It is the cruising life-style that makes the difference. When you have been living in a variety of countries with anything from a total tourist economy to non-tourist agricultural economy things are quite different. Your way of living tends toward more earth cooperative living versus mass consumption of mass manufactured foods and stuff. Frankly there just isn't much room on a cruising boat for junk/fast food and such stuff. And it doesn't keep/store very long.

If you are planning to be an active cruiser which is sort of what this Forum is generally supposed to be about, then a different answer - like mine and other active cruisers, is more appropriate.
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Old 22-12-2011, 14:58   #37
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
We are getting into that common paradox of "Live aboard" versus "Cruising people, Cruising boats, etc." They are two very different things. That's the "apples and pomegranates."

Are going to be a "static live-aboard" or a cruiser? "Static live-aboard" are, IMHO, land dwellers who sometimes pay less rent than land dwellers - most everything else costs as much as any other land dweller would pay. Your land living habits will carry over and you will continue to live that lifestyle you already know. For living ashore or static live aboard I would suggest an "ex-pat" forum. So if you are planning to be a static live-aboard in St Thomas or any of the Virgin Islands, I would suggest that you listen more to Rubikoop and others who dwell on land for the most accurate assessment.

It is the cruising life-style that makes the difference. When you have been living in a variety of countries with anything from a total tourist economy to non-tourist agricultural economy things are quite different. Your way of living tends toward more earth cooperative living versus mass consumption of mass manufactured foods and stuff. Frankly there just isn't much room on a cruising boat for junk/fast food and such stuff. And it doesn't keep/store very long.

If you are planning to be an active cruiser which is sort of what this Forum is generally supposed to be about, then a different answer - like mine and other active cruisers, is more appropriate.
I apparently made an error in describing good friends as live aboards when I should have referred to them as "cruisers" since they sail away for hurricane season. I hope I didn't offend them or anyone else.

Osiris, your clarification is a very good one. There is a vast difference between people that live on "floating condos" year round that never move as opposed to the transient population of cruisers.
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Old 23-12-2011, 01:06   #38
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
It is the cruising life-style that makes the difference. When you have been living in a variety of countries with anything from a total tourist economy to non-tourist agricultural economy things are quite different. Your way of living tends toward more earth cooperative living versus mass consumption of mass manufactured foods and stuff. Frankly there just isn't much room on a cruising boat for junk/fast food and such stuff. And it doesn't keep/store very long.

If you are planning to be an active cruiser which is sort of what this Forum is generally supposed to be about, then a different answer - like mine and other active cruisers, is more appropriate.
I think this is a very broad generalization and not very accurate. Fast food keeps much better on a boat than organic fruits and vegetables ie boxed mac and cheese or canned goods.. And there are plenty of cruisers who do not adhere to the cooperative living lifestyle you outline in your post. I happen to be someone who does adhere to that lifestyle but all one has to do is take a look at the bumfuzzle's provisioning list to see that plenty of cruisers bring suburbia with them. I would also like to point out that this forum, although occasionally about active cruising, more often falls under the All Things Cruising category,
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Old 23-12-2011, 02:40   #39
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

Did St Croix, living aboard off and on while nursing (travel assignments) for about 4 or 5 years....do you want the truth or post card version?
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Old 23-12-2011, 04:02   #40
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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The best I can sum it up is the government bureaucracy recognizes locals, transient tourists, and rich people... Everyone else they pretty much ignore or hassle
I just wanted to chime in to Geo's post.

My family spent a lot of time down there in the 80s and I have been back and forth recently, not much has changed. My Signifgant other just finished a 6 month research project there looking at how much of the island's history has carried into the current socio-economic landscape, which is mainly dependent on tourism. If you do a bit of research past what you think would be relevant, you are left with a clear understanding of why "expats" needs are not exactly on the top of the list of priorities.

The entire area was run like a well oiled machine under a commonwealth for over 200 years and then they abruptly abandoned the inhabitants, leaving them to fend for themselves for decades without any direct aid or means of commerce. It was only until the mid 50s when the promising venture of tourism sparked that the former "commonwealth"'s return with well-to-do developers, capital in hand to build, build and build some more.

I know that may be a stretch in terms of how to answer the OP's liveaboard and work question, however I have been recited that entire summarized history by locals over a cold Carib many times after describing my desire to open a small retail business close by. The answer was basically, "Good luck even getting in line". Not all is forgotten I guess.

I would stretch your area of possibility all the way to the Grenadines. There are some medical institutions there as well as a well known medical college. Such as:

Kingstown General Hospital, Kingstown, St Vincent
Bequia District Hospital, Port Elizabeth, Bequia
Union Island District Hospital, Clifton, Union Island
Mesopotamia District Hospital, Mesopotamia
Kingstown Medical College, Ratho Mill, Saint Vincent


GL to you!
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Old 23-12-2011, 04:52   #41
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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Did St Croix, living aboard off and on while nursing (travel assignments) for about 4 or 5 years....do you want the truth or post card version?
The Truth, of course! Lay it on!
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Old 23-12-2011, 07:21   #42
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

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. . . And there are plenty of cruisers who do not adhere to the cooperative living lifestyle you outline in your post. I happen to be someone who does adhere to that lifestyle but all one has to do is take a look at the bumfuzzle's provisioning list to see that plenty of cruisers bring suburbia with them. . .
With that I can thoroughly agree, however "distasteful" the idea is to snobbish purists like me and others. And I believe that is also the key to answering the OP's question - why will they be "living aboard" - to save on-shore rent or to actually cruise?

In St Thomas, Charlotte Amalie area living aboard is getting more expensive due to the local government recent push to make all transients purchase/pay for registration of their boats when anchored in the harbor. Finding new sources of revenue seems to be a major preoccupation especially with local governments these days.
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Old 01-01-2012, 00:51   #43
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

I dont want to live in the USVI, but I am currently looking at a boat for sale that is there, so I was thinking staying there a couple months and moving on. I went there on a cruise sometime ago. A lot of hustlers. The boat looks in good shape, but I wish it were for sale somewhere else. Maybe I could have them sale it to Rio Dulce or somewhere else. Aruba, Bonaire, Curicao maybe. Any thoughts would be appreciated
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:28   #44
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

Oooh, just saw the prices for Slip rates. $20-25 a foot. I will definitely be in a marina for a short period, then on the hook, then gone.
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:37   #45
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Re: USVI Live Aboard Situation

$20-$25/ft per what? Per month? Per Day?


I hear a lot of people trashing the USVI, I am sure that the trashing talk is somewhat grounded in reality but guys, look at a picture of the place. People pay thousands of dollars to spend a week there. It can't be all bad. Doesn't anyone have anything positive to say about living in the USVI or is it ONLY a good place to visit?
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