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Old 08-05-2014, 17:46   #1
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Fajardo to St John USVI

Just about to head off to Fajardo for a 10 day charter and some of our guests were curious about heading over to St John for a few days. Do you have to do the whole customs check in procedure or can you just call to let them know you are there. Never done it in a boat so don't really know what is involved. Does everyone need to go or can I just go with a crew list and the boats papers? Anyway anyone who has done some info would be much appreciated.

Will
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Old 08-05-2014, 18:12   #2
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Re: Fajardo to St John USVI

You're going from PR to the USVI?

Same country, last I looked.
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Old 08-05-2014, 19:05   #3
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Re: Fajardo to St John USVI

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Originally Posted by Clipper4730 View Post
Just about to head off to Fajardo for a 10 day charter and some of our guests were curious about heading over to St John for a few days. Do you have to do the whole customs check in procedure or can you just call to let them know you are there. Never done it in a boat so don't really know what is involved. Does everyone need to go or can I just go with a crew list and the boats papers? Anyway anyone who has done some info would be much appreciated.



Will

There is no clearing into the US Virgin Islands from Puerto Rico. You do have to make a call when heading back to PR because you are leaving a duty free area. The process is pretty painless. First, write down everybody's names and passport numbers and the US Customs Decal Sticker number found on the boat near the companionway. Find the vessel's paperwork so you have the registration/documentation number, owners name, homeport etc. available
Next, call PR Customs (787) 729-6600
They will ask a bunch of questions about whether you have weapons, more than $10k in cash, drugs, goods for resale etc. They will ask for names and passport numbers etc. Eventually they will give you a clearance number to write down. It's long, very long, something like 19 digits or so. Scribble it down someplace where you won't lose it.

I've done the process about 100 times and it usually only takes a few minutes.

The reality is that St John, while beautiful, is a very long upwind slog from PR. I can't recommend it. There are so many beautiful anchorages around Culebra and Vieques that it just doesn't make sense to beat your way up there on a 10 day charter. If you just want to do more sailing then I'd suggest sailing to St Croix and then sailing to St John which leaves a very nice downwind sail back to Fajardo.
Enjoy your trip.
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Old 08-05-2014, 19:08   #4
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Re: Fajardo to St John USVI

If you are a US-registered boat with US-citizen guests, it is not necessary to check in to the USVI after sailing directly from PR. Oddly, you ARE required to check into PR after arriving from the USVI.

If you can get your boat and as many passengers as possible enrolled in the Local Boater Option, you can file an electronic "Float Plan" and close it by phone upon return to PR.

St John is lovely ... stop in the NPS headquarters at Cruz Bay and load up with maps and info. Then, don't miss the petroglyphs at Reef Bay, the Tektite museum at Great Lameshur Bay, and the Annaberg sugar mill at Waterlemon Bay. Coral Bay (the village) is fun and funky, like some anachronistic hippie commune. Francis Bay and Cinnamon Bay are beautiful.

Love the place.

Currently in Anegada, BVI

Cheers
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Old 08-05-2014, 19:26   #5
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Re: Fajardo to St John USVI

Check where the charter company will let you take the boat. Out of Farjardo, I'm guessing you're going with Sail Caribe and, in that you are asking, I'm guessing that you haven't been there before. If that's the case they like to keep their boats in the Spanish Virgins - they will let them go further but it's not a given. Also 10 days is not nearly enough time to spend in the Spanish Virgins and St. John will almost certainly be a hard beat all the way :-) Take a look at the pilot chart and you'll see what I mean.

BTW, the guy's at Sail Caribe are great.
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Old 08-05-2014, 19:45   #6
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Re: Fajardo to St John USVI

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The reality is that St John, while beautiful, is a very long upwind slog from PR.
Good point, if you're chartering from Fajardo, there's plenty to keep you busy in eastern PR. Isla Pineros is a nice spot, and there's a maze of mangroves on the west side of the passage where you can get lost if you're not careful (in case your boat comes equipped with kayaks). You could explore Ensenada Honda, home of the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, although you can not overnight in there. You could visit Vieques, the west and south sides have nice anchorages. (Watch your six in Vieques, lots of crime and gang violence ashore although I am not aware of any cruiser-directed crime.)

Culebra has many lovely spots, we spent six months there. Hike up to the lighthouse on Culebrita, it's the oldest in the entire Caribbean. Don't forget your camera! Spend a day or two at Flamenco Beach, anchor near the "mullecito" in the southeast corner to avoid the swell. Snorkel one of the best spots in PR near the moorings at the NW corner of Culebra. Hang on a mooring off Luis Pena island (the moorings are maintained by the PR DNPR and say "No Overnight" ... but I have hung on them for days and no one seemed to mind.)

When you're about seven days into it, take a nice downwind sail down the Cordillera toward Palominos, Cayo Lobos (near Icacos), and Icacos, you can overnight in all those places although you're a little exposed at Icacos.

Stop in at Las Croabas if you're shallow-draft enough to get in there, it's a festive place.

Avoid the wreck-strewn anchorage at Isleta, and the surly dockmaster at the Isleta Marina (nothing compelling there anyway).

There you go ... a 10-day itinerary. Enjoy!
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Old 08-05-2014, 20:45   #7
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Re: Fajardo to St John USVI

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Originally Posted by Bendecida View Post
Good point, if you're chartering from Fajardo, there's plenty to keep you busy in eastern PR. Isla Pineros is a nice spot, and there's a maze of mangroves on the west side of the passage where you can get lost if you're not careful (in case your boat comes equipped with kayaks). You could explore Ensenada Honda, home of the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, although you can not overnight in there. You could visit Vieques, the west and south sides have nice anchorages. (Watch your six in Vieques, lots of crime and gang violence ashore although I am not aware of any cruiser-directed crime.)

Culebra has many lovely spots, we spent six months there. Hike up to the lighthouse on Culebrita, it's the oldest in the entire Caribbean. Don't forget your camera! Spend a day or two at Flamenco Beach, anchor near the "mullecito" in the southeast corner to avoid the swell. Snorkel one of the best spots in PR near the moorings at the NW corner of Culebra. Hang on a mooring off Luis Pena island (the moorings are maintained by the PR DNPR and say "No Overnight" ... but I have hung on them for days and no one seemed to mind.)

When you're about seven days into it, take a nice downwind sail down the Cordillera toward Palominos, Cayo Lobos (near Icacos), and Icacos, you can overnight in all those places although you're a little exposed at Icacos.

Stop in at Las Croabas if you're shallow-draft enough to get in there, it's a festive place.

Avoid the wreck-strewn anchorage at Isleta, and the surly dockmaster at the Isleta Marina (nothing compelling there anyway).

There you go ... a 10-day itinerary. Enjoy!
Good advise. Be aware that Palominos on a week-end, can get crowded - it's party central for the Puerto Rican power boat crowd (affectionately known as the Puerto Rican Navy or the Puerto Rican Armada). If you arrive during the day on Sunday, you can hang out at Cayo Lobos or Icasos and then, if you want, go down to Palominos after 5pm or so, when it starts to empty out.


The DNPR moorings are marked "Day Use Only" but I assume that just means you can't use them as a permanent mooring (move along please) - everyone uses them overnight anyway.
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