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Old 30-03-2008, 16:41   #16
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Unbelievable, We have been to both the BVI's and Bahama's a number of times and have been treated worst at our neighborhood Applebee's. Your approach and disposition will set the tone for how the locals respond to you. Both destinations are fantastic, great sailing, great snorkeling and great places to unwind or as the wife says "mental flossing" You can get a super Lobster dinner in both places and watch the same incredible sunset. Our 2 cents -
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Old 30-03-2008, 17:16   #17
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"Local Relationships"

Here's what I've learned about getting along in the eastern Caribbean.

What passes for "polite" in the US is not "polite" in the islands. In the US, if you want to buy an ice cream cone, you walk up to the counter and say, "May I have a two scoop strawberry cone, please?" Polite? Yes!

In the British heritage Caribbean islands, that is NOT polite!

Here's what works. Walk up to the counter. Say, "Good afternoon, how are you?" Smile. The clerk answers, "I'm OK." Say, "How was your weekend?" Or some other chit chat. You will usually be rewarded with a smile at this point. Say something like, "I love your smile! It lights up the room!", or some other appropriate compliment. A bigger smile results.

Only then can you can get around to asking for your ice cream cone.

The point is, you need to recognize the PERSON that is serving you, and try to connect on a person-to-person basis. The local people are very relationship-oriented, and in my experience, respond very positively to a warm, un-rushed, friendly approach.
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Old 30-03-2008, 17:19   #18
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Very true, Hud. I've learned to start every conversation with good morning or good afternoon good evening.
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Old 30-03-2008, 18:01   #19
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People in the tourist business get burned out. If your visit is at Spring Break, Christmas, or some other peak season, help is going to be stressed. It's the same in any volume tourist area.
I haven't felt people where rude to me because I was a "white" tourist, but because I was the next in line and they where tired.
Since this is a comparison of BVI vs Abaco, in the Bahama's the tip is included in meals so you don't have a choice to adjust it. It works against servers sometimes as we routinely tip 20%+. I'd still vote for the crystal clear water and perfect sand beaches of the Abaco outer islands for the kids.
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Old 04-04-2008, 15:35   #20
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Totally agree with HUD.

I station my boat at Tortola, have been down many times and now spend about 4 to 6 months in and out of the Virgins (30 day rule).

Locals in the BVI appreciate being though of as people not servants... too much former history on the servant / slave.

Always start off with Good Day or Good Night... now that is a hard one for most Americans... starting a conservation with Good Night but is the "local" way.

One should note that in the BVI on some of the larger tourist resorts... MANY of the personnel are not from BVI they are from Haiti, the DR and other islands and do seem to have a less than friendly demenor... unlike "belongers" who are usually very friendly.... well maybe not the drivers of the big trucks... (they all formally worked in New York, Cincinnati and Huston) :^P BVI has a near zero unemployment rate and they import workers for the resort areas at low wages.

My vote would be BVI, with out any reservations at all.,,, AND while your visiting... be a traveler not a tourist... eat out at some "locals" places... try some "provisions" some of the best food at the lowest prices I've had.

I'm heading back in just under 5 weeks for a few months.....
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Old 04-04-2008, 17:47   #21
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I would also echo the statements of other with regard to "earning" your smiles in the BVIs.

Reality Check is 100% correct about starting ALL conversations with a greeting, and (most importantly) a response. For instance, if some says "How are you?", it will do wonders to offer a quick reply and ask the same of them...not just barrel into a conversation. And patiently wait for an appropriate time to interrupt if the person is engaged in another conversation or task.

As for the better location, I've bareboated the BVIs 4 times and the Abacos once. I recommend the BVI hands down. And after cruising the Bahamas, DR, & PR for the last 2 months, we cannot wait to get to the BVIs again. It is as good as everyone can try to explain.

The only thing I would offer is that if you do choose the BVI, don't forget to explore the bigger islands inland if you have time. Tortola, Virgin Gorda, and Anegada are all a lot of fun to drive around as well.

Good luck, and enjoy!
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Old 13-04-2008, 13:28   #22
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The BVI's are hard to beat, Chartering is well organized and has been for a very long time. There are easy to sail which takes the pressure off yet offer some spectacular scenery. I have spent time it both locations and I personally like the Bahamas as there are still remote places to go. That said, one cannot normally Charter in these places in the Bahamas.

Avoid St Thomas in the USVI and you will have a great time. The people can appear rude but you will be treated as you treat them. There are issues and frustrating problems for those of us who like to stay a few months (Politics & $ ) and it can be a bit pricey but chartering a week is a painless adventure not to be missed. The best advice is to pack light as the handling of baggage can be the most frustration. and do not wear your bathing suits to town.
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Old 13-04-2008, 18:17   #23
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No contest! done both and have the T-shirts.
Abacos gets my vote, hands down.
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Old 14-04-2008, 13:54   #24
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I'm with BIM...Abacos are ideal for a charter or a long term stay. BVI land is better....Abacos water/reefs are better. And you don't have to pat $25-30 bucks a night for a mooring ball cause there's no where left to anchor either!!
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Old 14-04-2008, 14:07   #25
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I just started updating my blog with some of the very enjoyable places and events we attended this winter.

Check them out...I never saw or did anything this fun in the BVI.....
plus (and it's a BIG plus) the locals even like us!

Travels of SV Far Niente
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Old 14-04-2008, 15:06   #26
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I just returned today from a charter in the BVI's. Excellent sailing conditionings. Very beautiful and would agree that the area is set up for charters - but in refecting to our trip to Green Turtle in the Abaco's - I'd choose the Abaco's.

There are to many charter boats in the BVI's. Every mooring ball is taken, the anchoring is less secure. It isn't pleasent to swim in the mooring areas as there is a certain "smell" from the number of heads being pumped out all around. Also, most of the coral is dead. We did see a lot of sea turtles.

In the Abacos its sandy bottoms. Few boats will be in your particular mooring spot, awesome sand beaches and excellent coral snorkling. While the cays are smaller then most of the BVI islands, they have really great locals.
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Old 14-04-2008, 15:08   #27
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Sorry, I did forget about the sharks though. There are a LOT of sharks in the Abacos.
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