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Old 08-08-2014, 19:36   #1
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Start Cruising in BVI September 18th

Family of four starting our cruising life aboard in BVI soon. Lagoon 410 named Traveller.

No plans yet other than get to know the boat and get it turned into home. First steps will be just get on and assess the systems. Then determine what we really need to make it home. There will be home school for the kids (7 & 9) and the need to setup some systems to let us be more self sufficient. Watermaker, solar, batteries and such.

We hope to meet families so if you see us stop by and say hello. We also have a blog site at ln01.ppzuav.com/traveller

Any advice for outfitting, marinas (first week or so we'd like to be in a marina), good locations to anchor, see etc please let us know.

Cheers,
The Congers

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Old 08-08-2014, 20:38   #2
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

Congrats on the new boat. Sorry I can't help much on the recommendations in the VI. Haven't spent much time there since the 80s so anything I know is just a little out of date.
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Old 09-08-2014, 00:40   #3
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

Congratulations to the onefastdaddy family!! What an exciting adventure you have in store for all of you.

Is the boat already in the BVI? Are you planning on doing all of the outfitting while in a BVI marina? I have a few contacts that might be able to help get you through some of the upcoming "events" in your lives. Just remember that boats repairs = sticker shock, especially in the islands where everything has to be brought in by cargo ship. (Or by you on your travels to the boat)

We keep our boat on the hard in Nanny Cay, and they have quite a few businesses in the yard that are able to help set you up. Another option for marinas are those in Road Harbor, which allows you access to fully-stocked grocery and hardware stores. I don't recall the name of a somewhat-inexpensive car rental company in Road Town, but if in a Marina outside of Road Harbor, you will probably need a car to get everything you need. I am not a fan of the taxi services...some of them seem to be remnants of the Caribbean Pirates.

Have you considered doing some of your boat work in either St. Thomas or St. Maarten? St. Thomas has fewer marinas, but reprovisioning is less expensive. I have found the boat supplies tend to be somewhat less expensive there, also. St. Maarten does have some marinas that can be good for you, and the boat supplies and such are probably least expensive of all the area.

We will be back down to launch our boat, "Outta Control", in mid-November and plan on sticking around the area for the next 5 or 6 weeks. Let's get together and we will "show you the ropes" on where to go/places to see. This is our 6th winter season there.

See ya around,
Sandy
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Old 09-08-2014, 01:48   #4
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

Congratulations, you are in for a great time. We lived and worked aboard our cat in the BVI for a couple of years so know a bit about the place although our info could be a bit out of date as we left in 2010.

As mtarcher said, Nanny Cay is a good place to base yourself to begin with if you are on Tortola. Comfortable, pleasant and with all boat yard facilities at hand.

Places to anchor... We used to anchor as much as possible as the moorings are expensive. You can usually find somewhere to anchor around the edge of all the popular mooring fields provided you look hard. Watch to see where the big crewed charter cats anchor and you'll find out the best places. For a bit of peace and quiet we always liked Little Harbour, Peter Island.

The cheap(er) car hire in Road Town is called ITGO. Just so I can manage your expectations, the name perfectly describes the condition of many of their cars. We used them a lot.

As for having work done... We always used to head to St Maarten. Duty free island with great facilities. Getting stuff imported to the BVI can be a nightmare and expensive.

One final thing that you probably know... Unless you have a BVI residence permit of some time, they'll only grant you an entrance visa for a month at a time and it can be time-consuming and not guaranteed that you'll get an extension.
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Old 10-08-2014, 18:55   #5
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtarcher View Post
Congratulations to the onefastdaddy family!! What an exciting adventure you have in store for all of you.

Is the boat already in the BVI?
It is. It is in Roadtown ATM. Ex Moorings Charter so it's getting the phase out refit and all items on the survey taken care of ATM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtarcher View Post
Are you planning on doing all of the outfitting while in a BVI marina? I have a few contacts that might be able to help get you through some of the upcoming "events" in your lives. Just remember that boats repairs = sticker shock, especially in the islands where everything has to be brought in by cargo ship. (Or by you on your travels to the boat)
Completely to be decided. We now realize maybe it's best to:
A) Just get to the boat and sail it a few days. Return to Moorings with any Squawks to get addressed first.
B) We chartered 8 days out of Nanny Cay in late Oct 2011. We have our favorite places. Maybe initially we will just go relax. It has been really difficult on us all the past year and we need some downtime.
C) Without a VISA we believe we need to clear out of BVI < 30 days. At that time we know the boat and what it needs much better. Your advice and other research is steering us towards St. Thomas. We have a lot of things we want to ship ourselves from California. Maybe if we can get a St. Thomas address we can make that happen. We actually would like to ship these things (large and heavy) to ourselves before we leave.
D) Install the Watermaker (Katadyn 80E is current choice for KISS implementation). Install Solar and add more batteries. Self install on both except for the Solar Panel brackets which I may engineer myself based on current designs I see I do not want that load added to the Davits.
E) At this point who knows what time of year it will be. Probably November(ish)...we are ready to start cruising. Living on anchor more than at a mooring or dock. We have to make the very small amount left over last as long as possible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtarcher View Post
We keep our boat on the hard in Nanny Cay, and they have quite a few businesses in the yard that are able to help set you up. Another option for marinas are those in Road Harbor, which allows you access to fully-stocked grocery and hardware stores. I don't recall the name of a somewhat-inexpensive car rental company in Road Town, but if in a Marina outside of Road Harbor, you will probably need a car to get everything you need. I am not a fan of the taxi services...some of them seem to be remnants of the Caribbean Pirates.
GTK, thank you. Richard with Moorings has been incredibly helpful and we hope to continue to work with him after we arrive to outfit and add. Just right now we don't know since we are so far away from the boat so we think just planning to get the boat from Moorings and getting it all working as delivered is the first order. Then worry about what needs to be added.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtarcher View Post
Have you considered doing some of your boat work in either St. Thomas or St. Maarten? St. Thomas has fewer marinas, but reprovisioning is less expensive. I have found the boat supplies tend to be somewhat less expensive there, also. St. Maarten does have some marinas that can be good for you, and the boat supplies and such are probably least expensive of all the area.
Yes, yes, we are completely open ended and open minded. We have no deadlines, no dates or agenda. It will take what it takes and we will have it done wherever is most cost effective and best for the family while we do it.
This cruise may last months or years or a lifetime. We are ok with whatever it turns out to be. Key in everything we do once on the boat is just really going to be is it necessary, can we afford it, where is best to do it, get there and do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtarcher View Post
We will be back down to launch our boat, "Outta Control", in mid-November and plan on sticking around the area for the next 5 or 6 weeks. Let's get together and we will "show you the ropes" on where to go/places to see. This is our 6th winter season there.
That is a great idea and I really appreciate it. We hope to be easy to find. Marlena and I hope to welcome all who share our passion for the simple things in life and the great adventure.

Maybe this will help paint a picture of us. The movie "RV" is one of our favorites. The reason is we want to see more of the Gornicke family in ourselves and meet families like that. That probably says a lot. If you get that movie and why I say that you will get us.

We also find great happiness in the laughter of our (and other) kids playing together, watching them be kids and sharing the fun that it is to be a kids and exploring the world. That is our mission. Be a family and show our girls the world.

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See ya around,
Sandy
We hope so. We will be in the area (isn't everything close in the BVI)?
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Old 10-08-2014, 19:27   #6
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
Congratulations, you are in for a great time. We lived and worked aboard our cat in the BVI for a couple of years so know a bit about the place although our info could be a bit out of date as we left in 2010.
Good advice is often good for a long time. Thank you for sharing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
As mtarcher said, Nanny Cay is a good place to base yourself to begin with if you are on Tortola. Comfortable, pleasant and with all boat yard facilities at hand.
Very true from our experience departing and returning to Nanny Cay when we chartered an Athena 38 from there (Excalibur) at the end of October in 2011.
Marlena saw our boat in Road Town about 2 months ago before we put in the offer on it. That is where the boat is now and where we will start from. See my other reply for our very flexible initial agenda and plans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
Places to anchor... We used to anchor as much as possible as the moorings are expensive. You can usually find somewhere to anchor around the edge of all the popular mooring fields provided you look hard. Watch to see where the big crewed charter cats anchor and you'll find out the best places. For a bit of peace and quiet we always liked Little Harbour, Peter Island.
You are talking our language. During our charter we moored all but the first night. This time we haven't the funds. That 20-30 a night adds up fast. So do dinners out. From the get go every dollar counts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
The cheap(er) car hire in Road Town is called ITGO. Just so I can manage your expectations, the name perfectly describes the condition of many of their cars. We used them a lot.

As for having work done... We always used to head to St Maarten. Duty free island with great facilities. Getting stuff imported to the BVI can be a nightmare and expensive.
(I'm taking notes) ... GTK, thank you. Being in California now we really are clueless how we will get some things we just can't pack. Two 11' long stand up paddle boards. I'd like to ship out my own 250 watt solar panels and charge controller. We have PVCs and life jackets for the girls now along with boxes of things we would really like to have and probably can't even get in the islands. St Thomas or Puerto Rico seems to me the only option to get things shipped to us without costing so much it's prohibitive. We have travel cases for the paddle boards but I'm certain they are too big for airline check in to BVI. And so on. Really almost zero info that's specific out there. We need specifics we are down to 38 days and counting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
One final thing that you probably know... Unless you have a BVI residence permit of some time, they'll only grant you an entrance visa for a month at a time and it can be time-consuming and not guaranteed that you'll get an extension.
We do not have any permits. Just normal family living in spare bedrooms with family right now as we do the final things to get on this boat to live. Not a vacation for us this is home and we have no home here now. Everything is sold, given away, thrown away and we go completely. When this is over we then sail to land and start new. So when we leave on the 17th of September there is no one to ship for us. Just the point really is this isn't a winter vacation or getaway for us. This is moving to a new home.

Thank you again for sharing your info. Very helpful, thank you.
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Old 10-08-2014, 20:07   #7
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

Hi Onefastdaddy, I am the wife of Mtarcher (aka Sandy). He showed me your post and I thought I would add my two cents.

Congratulations! What you are doing for your children is amazing!

We arrive in Nanny Cay on November 16th and launch our boat 'Outta Control' on Nov. 18th. Will be in a slip until the 20th and then will probably hang out in Benures Bay on Norman Island for about a week putting the boat back together. Benures is a great place to chill. Great snorkelling and hiking. There are no mooring balls so have to anchor.

Please look for us there or Nanny Cay. There is so much we can share with you. There is a fabulous family friendly show at Leverick Bay that you can not miss. It is called the Michael Bean's Happy Arrrrrrr Show. Your kids will love it and it is free!

Also regarding the 30 day allowance in the BVI. It is no trouble getting an extension. We have been given 6 months stay every year for the last 5 years. Very easy and very cheap. Only $20 for both of us. You will need to purchase a 'temporary import' for $201 if your boat stays for more than 30 days. Again, the BVI is so much fun that it is worth the fee.

We have quite a bit of knowledge regarding most anything you might need. Plus we have friends that live on Tortola year round that go and check on our boat for us while we are gone.

We love the movie RV. In fact, when we are not on the boat, we travel in our RV. Usually 6 months on the boat and 6 months in our RV (which is a 5th wheel).

Hope to meet up with you, Karen...first mate of Outta Control
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Old 10-08-2014, 20:13   #8
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

She's the Admiral...don't you let her fool you!
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Old 10-08-2014, 20:54   #9
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

IIRC, rather large jet airplanes fly into St. Thomas, don't they? You seem to be on the right track to get stuff shipped there. Congrats and good luck.
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Old 11-08-2014, 22:57   #10
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

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She's the Admiral...don't you let her fool you!
I have a feeling it's a lot more equal. We guys and girls have our strengths and know when to balance things. Although opening jars seems to come to mind more often than anything else.
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Old 11-08-2014, 23:04   #11
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

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Hi Onefastdaddy, I am the wife of Mtarcher (aka Sandy). He showed me your post and I thought I would add my two cents.

Congratulations! What you are doing for your children is amazing!

We arrive in Nanny Cay on November 16th and launch our boat 'Outta Control' on Nov. 18th. Will be in a slip until the 20th and then will probably hang out in Benures Bay on Norman Island for about a week putting the boat back together. Benures is a great place to chill. Great snorkelling and hiking. There are no mooring balls so have to anchor.

Please look for us there or Nanny Cay. There is so much we can share with you. There is a fabulous family friendly show at Leverick Bay that you can not miss. It is called the Michael Bean's Happy Arrrrrrr Show. Your kids will love it and it is free!

Also regarding the 30 day allowance in the BVI. It is no trouble getting an extension. We have been given 6 months stay every year for the last 5 years. Very easy and very cheap. Only $20 for both of us. You will need to purchase a 'temporary import' for $201 if your boat stays for more than 30 days. Again, the BVI is so much fun that it is worth the fee.

We have quite a bit of knowledge regarding most anything you might need. Plus we have friends that live on Tortola year round that go and check on our boat for us while we are gone.

We love the movie RV. In fact, when we are not on the boat, we travel in our RV. Usually 6 months on the boat and 6 months in our RV (which is a 5th wheel).

Hope to meet up with you, Karen...first mate of Outta Control
Awesome, so glad to meet you both. You'll have to meet Marlena in person. I do not believe she's ever registered for or logged into a forum before. She's lucky to check facebook once a Month. I think with peer pressure from the kids she's now using the iPad to shop and surf the web. I'm the appointed IT director and computer teacher in the house.

That's pretty neat the part about RV and Sail travel. That maybe a reality for us when we get back to land. It's a neat ideal. Have only what you carry and travel light. It is so liberating to shed all that stuff.

We will look out for you in November. If there's a Cat sitting there anchored when you sail in that would likely be us (Traveller). We really would like to hear about your travels so far and all these new things in store for us. Really good to know about the extensions. Do we contact the consulate about this? Is there a form online (for the 6mo extension)?

-David
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:51   #12
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

There is no online form. Here is the process...When you arrive into the country they will ask for proof of your exit (either airfare departure ticket or purchase ferry ticket). This is when you tell them you own a boat and will be leaving via your boat. They may ask to see your boat papers. Then they will ask how long you want to stay. The most time this person can give you is 30 days. Two days before you expire (do not go more than 2 days ahead because they will refuse to see you) you go the main Immigration office in Road Town. If you anchor out by the cruise ships/Moorings-Sunsail area it is an easy walk to Immigration. Go inside and take a number (don't go on a Friday because long wait on Fridays). Tell the gatekeeper (nasty lady that sits at the desk) you want to extend your stay. She will give you forms to fill out (bring your whole family). Give the forms and passports back to the nasty gatekeeper and then wait. You will get called back for a short interview by lovely Mrs. Hughs. She is awesome. She will ask how long you want to stay and always give you up to 6 months. Once you get this stamped into your passport, it makes it quite easy to go back and forth between the US and BVI. Don't forget your 'Tempory Import Permit'. Possibly it will already be paid when you purchase boat. But be sure to check the expiration. One year we were late paying the import and got a large fine. It is their sandbox, be sure to know their rules. The rules are simple and worth it! See you soon!
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Old 13-08-2014, 22:52   #13
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

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There is no online form. Here is the process...[snip]
The rules are simple and worth it! See you soon!
Woot, awesome. Now that is the sort of helpful info that is so nice to get.
Marlena just asked me a question ( I had her read your info with me ). She asked what about the 6.00/person/day "Cruising Fee"? We read something somewhere about a cruising fee. Does this apply or is this just for charter owners?
-David & Marlena
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Old 14-08-2014, 07:53   #14
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

onefastdaddy, We own a boat in Tortola that is USCG documented. I heartedly concur with getting a BVI temporary importation permit for $201 for the calendar year as we do. This negates the need for expensive cruising permits and is no hassle to acquire. You may also want to consider a BVI Parks Trust Permit ($75 with the importation permit / $150 without) which permits you to use prime location mooring balls for free (the Bath's / the Indian's / etc) no overnights! Enjoy your new adventure! George

I forgot to mention that you can also purchase a BVI fishing license for the boat. I haven't done this so I don't know the particulars. The fines are not worth trying to evade these permits and they do check.
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Old 15-08-2014, 23:34   #15
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Re: Start cruising in BVI September 18th

Thanks, we will also ask for that parks permit and that fishing license.

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