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Old 28-08-2008, 05:30   #16
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Craig,

Good idea to charter to see if the boat works for both of you. My wife and I chartered an IP380 from Island Yachts for two weeks so she could decide if she wanted to cruise the islands in our own boat the following winter. I had already decided! It worked--she didn't want to go home when the charter was up!

We've spent some time in the Spanish Virgins, and it's worth experiencing them, because they're so completely different from the USVI and BVI. You'll have to jug water and diesel, if you run low. Clear in at Dewey, on Ensenada Honda, Culebra. The requirements and CBP phone numbers are here: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands - CBP.gov Don't bother to walk to the airport to clear in--the CBP office there is usually closed.

Don Street's sailing guide is dated, but has good info on the anchorages. Some nice anchorages on Culebra are Dakity and Almodovar. Don't miss Culebrita; go ashore and hike it. On Vieques, we enjoyed Bahia Icacos and Ensenada Honda. Watch out for the "Puerto Rican Navy" on the weekends. Big motor yachts with multiple extended families who enjoy their music loud.
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Old 28-08-2008, 15:13   #17
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I'll add my vote to the Spanish VIs. I did that for the first time a couple months ago. with reasonble weather, you can get there in a day from Jost Van Dyke, skipping a custom's stop in the U.S. Virgins.

Two things to note about customs: When I arrived in the Spansh VIs, they told me if I had filled out some crusing form online, I could have called instead of having to check in personally.

When I stopped back at the U.S. VIs, they told me that since I was coming from the Spansh VIs and since both were under US homeland security, I didn't need to check in at the U.S. VIs and they waved me out without looking at any papers. This is contrary to what others have said and contrary to what I've read, but that was my experince. Maybe procedures have changed. I'd recommend looking into both of these things as they could give you a lot more flexibility when you are on a chartering time frame.

If anyone knows the name of the online cruising form for cutom's they were talking about, please let me know - I want to do this before my next trip down there.
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Old 29-08-2008, 13:54   #18
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It is called the Local Boaters Option... CBP Offers “Local Boater Option” Plan - CBP.gov

I think this is the link. It sure cuts down on the trips to the Customs office but each person on board must have the card and I think must be US citizens. Many Customs offices know little about it and you can do a search here to find additional info. Think you check Local Boater Option and it has been covered many times on the BVI USVI discussions.

While most info appears to be for owners of a vessel and their guest and crew... anyone can probably get it. Call until you find someone that knows and gives the answer your looking for. I was initially told it was only for boaters entering Florida not other locations which was incorrect... had to get the local Customs office to look on-line at their own web site to see what the real rules and coverage was.
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Old 30-08-2008, 08:30   #19
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Thanks for all the info.

One more question about provisioning. Someone mentioned Marina Market in Red Hook and the charter company sent information about Fine Food Afloat and Ashore. Any thoughts?

I know it's still August, but I'm sitting here in the great Northwest where this morning it's 60 degrees F, misting, and the forecast calls for a high of 65 and showers...., so I think about things to come with warm water and gentle breezes. As a good friend who's heading up to the San Juans for 10 days said, "There's no bad weather, only bad clothes".

Hope all have a great long weekend and good winds elsewhere.

craig
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Old 30-08-2008, 13:08   #20
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I've not heard about Fine Food Afloat and Ashore, but Skip and Andrea at Island Yachts wouldn't lead you astray. The Marina Market is pretty close to the docks, and they'll let you push the grocery cart over, or one of the young men there will do it for you (for a tip) and hand the bags to you on your boat.
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Old 31-08-2008, 09:26   #21
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Marina Market at Redhook and Harbor Market at Sophers Hole Freshman's Cay BVI are two of the better provisioning locations but you do pay a bit more for the convenience. In Redhook, If you don't mind lugging stuff around... you can take the $1 share cab to the locals market a couple of miles west and a buck back but with your stuff and they may want an additional buck for that if you take up too many seats. Marina Market probably has the best fresh fruit and meat selection of most Marina type locations, equal to most full markets.

As I recall Fine Food Afloat is on the other side of Redhook but they do deliver to the dock.

The advantage of ordering ahead and having it delivered is convenience and you will most likely get everything you ordered, and you can specify what is to be frozen and what not. The disadvantage is you will have a more limited but typically sufficient selection, marginally higher prices, less pre frozen selection, and historically you will order FAR MORE than you could ever consume.... Almost every cruiser in this area, spend more time eating out than they planned to. When you do... try some of the local places and not just hang with the tourist places (in St. John and anywhere in BVI... NOT in some areas of St. Thomas!!!)

The Frist time I chartered I set up a delivery with Bobbies Market in Tortola... food was great... got the half provision plan for two and still gave away half the food we had on board at the end of 10 days. Now that I have my own boat, I know the local places and stock up on what I want with more knowledge of what I'm going to use and I have the ability to make changes since instead of 10 days ... I'm typically down for a couple of month each trip.

Ice and fresh meat and fruit & bread will be the most important items to consider as they don't last too long even with a good frig system! Space is always limited

NEVER TAKE THE CARDBOARD BOXES ABOARD!!!! Many charter companies have this clearly noted on their charter forms. Best to take time and unpackaged everything on the dock prior to bringing it on board... you will have limited space and the packaging will take up a large portion of the very limited space and then you often have to pay to dispose of the trash adding insult to injury.
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Old 31-08-2008, 10:00   #22
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It is called the Local Boaters Option... CBP Offers “Local Boater Option” Plan - CBP.gov
...
I.
Thanks for the information.
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