Hi Simon - there are significant differences between the BVIs and USVIs. You will have to clear in and out from both if you plan to visit. And then there are the Spanish Virgins which are different still.......
BVIs are far more crowded with charter
boats and there are very few in the USVI by comparison. BVIs have more party and beach bar opportunities if that is what you want. In contrast, the Nat'l Park portion of St. John (USVI) has no beach bars and better moorings. The moorings are required in the Park but are US$15/night vs $25 or $30 in the BVI.
There are ample anchorage ops in the BVI if you work at it. The trick is to get the same cruising guide given out by the charter
companies but separately browse for potential good anchorages
on your charts
. Compare the spots you ID'd on the charts
to the "raved about" places in the guide. If the spots you ID'd on the charts are not covered in the guide, bingo!!! The corollary to this logic is the BVI version of the "chicken and the egg": which came first, the mooring balls or the beach bars?
If you need to provision the ops in the USVI are orders of magnitude better than in the BVI. Better and cheaper. Anchor
in the short term anchorage entering Cruz Bay St. John, dinghy
into the Nat'l Park dinghy dock
, clear in at the C&I within walking distance, then walk up the hill to the Dolphin Market. You can be back to your boat easily in the time allowed for anchoring
there - two hours if I remember correctly.
More info available upon request.