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Old 22-04-2008, 12:20   #1
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Living in St. John/USVI?

I'm thinking about possibly buying a boat and moving to the Caribbean, possibly St. John/USVI. Would love to hear advice from others who live there. What is it like? Do you love it? Shopping, friends/getting to know others down there, community, is it really the "dream" or too secluded, etc.?
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Old 22-04-2008, 19:18   #2
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secluded is a relative term. The USVI would feel crowded to us.
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Old 22-04-2008, 19:33   #3
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Lived onboard in the USVI way back when.

On OFF days we sailed to St. John from either St. Thomas or St. Croix.

All good, but St. Thomas is, and was a tourist trap.
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Old 26-04-2008, 14:30   #4
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A very large percent of the boating area around St. John is within the Park system and you can't anchor but must take a mooring... and your limited to 14 days a year... So you can not live long term in many areas of St. John and that includes almost all of the Northern shore line and much of the Eastern and South Eastern and
South Central areas. Cruze Bay is very crowed and it is unlikely you could live aboard long term or want to due to the excessive ferry boat traffic that runs in all day and night until just after 1 AM. Some places DO exist but you will have to hunt them out and possible set up a mooring rather than anchor.

This is a tourist area with a high volume of vacation charter activity, not as high as neighboring British Virgin Islands but still heavy in season. It's not a place you probably would want to be in the hurricane season when a storm was heading your way unless you already had plans on what you were going to do with your boat and yourself.

I now spend about 5 months a year in the area... most in BVI and still in the cruising mode rather than fixed live aboard. I'm normally not in the same place more than a few weeks at a time, often only a few days before I hop over to another place to pick someone up or go on some adventure like shopping or a party... lots of those "happen". St. John is great for hikes if your up to it. Much of it is not what you would normally called prepared trails but more rustic and even often near non existent for stretches.

In general cost are about 20% higher than in the states... most things come in from Miami.

I love the area and will be back down in 10 daze... err days, for a couple of months until I have the boat pulled for hurricane season.
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Old 26-04-2008, 14:53   #5
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I just came back from 10 days in St. Croix.
A charter captain who has lived at anchor in both St. Croix and St. Thomas told me the difference between the two.
At night, at anchor in St. Croix one hears semi-automatic gunfire.
At night, at anchor in St. Thomas one hears automatic gunfire.
St Johns is quieter but you can't stay there long.
I was burglarized (car) only once and never shot at.
I am feeling pretty good.
I won't go back unless I have to.
I hear there a lots of islands in the Caribbean that are "safe".
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Old 26-04-2008, 16:15   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
I just came back from 10 days in St. Croix.
A charter captain who has lived at anchor in both St. Croix and St. Thomas told me the difference between the two.
At night, at anchor in St. Croix one hears semi-automatic gunfire.
At night, at anchor in St. Thomas one hears automatic gunfire.
St Johns is quieter but you can't stay there long.
I was burglarized (car) only once and never shot at.
I am feeling pretty good.
I won't go back unless I have to.
I hear there a lots of islands in the Caribbean that are "safe".

That is just not at all realistic....

Both are as safe places as you would typically find in any mid size US City... St. Thomas does have problems around Charlotte Amolie at night with a few groups that will mug you if given the opportunity. Never had the occasion to near gun fire at any time or see anyone that did or reported it.
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Old 26-04-2008, 17:11   #7
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I've spent time in all three of those islands and never heard gunfire, never was mugged, never had any problems whatsoever.

Maybe I was lucky?????

Maybe it's the "urban myth" factor.
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Old 27-04-2008, 04:35   #8
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Intended for shoresiders, the Virgin Islands Moving Guide provides information about Moving to and Living in the USVI:
USVI Moving Center - The Ultimate Resource for Relocating to and Living in the Virgin Islands
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Old 27-04-2008, 05:47   #9
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Yeah, my wife bought that book. It's marginally helpful, but definitely no the "Ultimate Resource".
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Old 27-04-2008, 05:49   #10
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I meant the website, not the book(s).
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Old 27-04-2008, 05:51   #11
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Maybe the website is better than the book!
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Old 27-04-2008, 06:23   #12
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The whole Caribbean is just terrible. The weather is either hot and muggy, or it's blowing so hard you can't stand it from getting sand blasted. When the wind isn't blowing, the bugs will eat you alive and you scratch yourself raw. Hurricanes come here and devastate entire towns and you never read about it in the USA unless they also come to Miami or the Gulf Coast. Food prices are through the roof. There have been riots on some islands due to the price of rice. Americans and Caucasians in general are considered 'fair game' for coming down here with their money and attitudes. Gasoline has been up over $ 5 a gallon at the marinas for a couple years now. THe politics..oh they are terrible. Terrible. You can get arrested even when you are in the right. Then you have to pay off a lot of wrong officials before you get to the right one. You will get robbed at every turn. The water is cloudy from all the pesticides blowing over from Africa. The reefs are dead and dying. The fishing went bad years ago, but the tourism officials won't let that information get published.

Its TERRIBLE, just TERRIBLE down here, I tell you. Stay away! Go someplace else! Save yourselves before it's too late!! I hear the West Coast of Mexico is still nice. Go there.

(heh heh heh....did it work?)
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Old 27-04-2008, 18:29   #13
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Quote:
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That is just not at all realistic....

Both are as safe places as you would typically find in any mid size US City... St. Thomas does have problems around Charlotte Amolie at night with a few groups that will mug you if given the opportunity. Never had the occasion to near gun fire at any time or see anyone that did or reported it.
While I was there, my friend whom I was visiting looked up a stat.
The murder rate is higher than that of DC. (govt stat)
I hear most of it is the bad guys shooting the bad guys.....great.
Other crimes are on the same percentage par.

But since my friend works the OR he sees at night what is in the paper the next day.

In the week I was there here are two stories of several. One guy was accosted for the keys to his car (yes it was after dark ), he ran away, tripped and they shot him in the ankle with a shotgun.......and took his car. Then the guy who heard noise and went to the balcony to yell at a couple that were accosting his roommate who was arriving home at that time. He yelled and they shot him.........dead.

Obviously wrong-place-wrong-time.

I am well aware of how to travel safely, avoid "bad" areas and all that jazz.
Thanks.
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Old 28-04-2008, 08:24   #14
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You often should take what you are told from charter boat captains in the Carib with a gain or two of salt. Knowing several, it is a great conversation piece at local bars what outlandish tales they spin for their guest... and how gullible some appear to be. Some of the more typical involve the guest going to bed at night with the bow pointed toward the island and when they get up in the AM the stern is toward the island. When the confused guest asked the captain.. he simply stated the islands float around a bit at night and it is worst at full moon which it was the previous night... then walked away. When one on Tortola was ask by a new set of guest if he lived on the island... me simply stated No, most of us live in Miami and take the tunnel in each morning to work. Your gun fire episode sounds more like a Hillary Clinton flash back... needs lots of salt...
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Old 28-04-2008, 12:02   #15
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Your gun fire episode sounds more like a Hillary Clinton flash back... needs lots of salt...
I took salt with that.
He did have to carry his car battery up into his apartment at night. When he had an apartment on St. Croix for a time. Salt with that too huh?
The two shot people are real.
There a lot more from my friend in the OR. I don't have to use salt with him. You don't know him. I do, and have for 30+ years. You know, the kind you would trust with your life. I hope you know anyway.

I will not be convinced (after seeing it myself) that it is a place I want to be.

If you want to only go to the "tourist places" during "tourist hours" you will have a different view of the island.

Unless you are the couple that were accosted and robbed on the waterfront board walk (3 PM local time) in Christianstead about two weeks ago.

Wrong-time-wrong-place again. Their salt came from a different shaker
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