Virgin Islands Charter

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R. Wilhite
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Virgin Islands Charter

#1 Post by R. Wilhite » August 1st, 2019, 8:12 pm

Anyone ever done a Virgin Island, US or British, boat charter and tried to bring their own wine? I don’t want to try and travel with a case or two to only have it taken by customs or something.
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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#2 Post by Chris Oxford » August 2nd, 2019, 8:19 am


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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#3 Post by jordan whitehead » August 2nd, 2019, 5:22 pm

R. Wilhite wrote:
August 1st, 2019, 8:12 pm
Anyone ever done a Virgin Island, US or British, boat charter and tried to bring their own wine? I don’t want to try and travel with a case or two to only have it taken by customs or something.
no customs to the USVI [wow.gif]
www.annaswish.org

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#4 Post by brigcampbell » August 2nd, 2019, 5:24 pm

Hey, I've done it and have lots of information for you. I'll post this weekend.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#5 Post by brigcampbell » August 3rd, 2019, 6:08 am

R. Wilhite wrote:
August 1st, 2019, 8:12 pm
Anyone ever done a Virgin Island, US or British, boat charter and tried to bring their own wine? I don’t want to try and travel with a case or two to only have it taken by customs or something.
Chris' link covers it pretty well. We took a case to BVI no problem full of special wines.

There *was* a store up the street, before the hurricane, from Mooring Tortola where we provisioned and they had a decent selection of quaffer wines like rose and NZ SB that we picked up too.

I'd just email or call them and they'll help.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#6 Post by R. Wilhite » August 3rd, 2019, 10:13 pm

Did you have to pay an import fee since you brought a case and you are technically only allowed to bring a liter per person or something along those lines?
Ryan Wilhite

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#7 Post by Chris Oxford » August 4th, 2019, 6:28 am

Ryan-

The answer about the duty fee is “probably”. As long as it’s for personal consumption and not resale you will be fine to bring in that amount. Having been to the BVI 10 times or so in the last 5-6 years, The only consistency about BVI customs & immigration is the inconsistency. Some are great, many are surly, just try to be as nice as possible, “good morning”, “yes ma’am/sir”, etc. Just don’t lie/fudge about what your bringing in or the estimated value. Depending on what customs agent you get they may charge you a 5-10% duty on your stated value. Make sure you have cash of all denominations so you can give them the exact amount they may charge you.

Are you flying into STT or EIS?

who is your charter with?

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#8 Post by Chris Oxford » August 4th, 2019, 8:16 am

Also, look at these places for any addl booze provisioning;

Caribbean Cellars
Tico
Riteway

R. Wilhite
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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#9 Post by R. Wilhite » August 4th, 2019, 2:23 pm

Hey Chris we are flying into St Thomas and boarding bait in St Thomas, but will go into British Virgin Islands.

Charter is with Ed Hamilton charter co, Sail Away 62 foot catamaran.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated
Ryan Wilhite

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#10 Post by Chris Oxford » August 5th, 2019, 8:05 am

Ryan -

This is a crewed yacht picking you up in Charlotte Amalie or Red Hook, correct? If my assumption is correct, then your captain will be the only one that needs to go ashore to BVI Customs & Immigration, most likely West End/Sopers Hole, Tortola or Great Harbor, JVD. The Captain will make the call on actually declaring those food stocks on board or simply listing them as "ships stores". I was originally operating under the assumption you were going to come from STT--> Tortola via ferry and have to drag the wine through customs yourself. The fact you are boarding your charter in STT is a better scenario, so you don't have to deal w BVI customs (your captain will handle). Do you already have a loose itinerary set? Most charters are 7 or 10 days, but since I don't know your timeline I'll just list my favorite places; counterclockwise would normally be the route around the BVI if planning to be under sail;

Norman Island - If you are anchored/moored in the Bight, there will be some decent snorkeling along the E/NE of the Bight, look for the changing of the water depth along that edge. Lot's of turtles in here as well as some dolphins from time to time. Depending on what time you get to or leave the Bight maybe you can grab a ball at the Indians for an hour or so of snorkeling. The famous Willy T has finally been moved back to the Bight from Peter Island, so make sure you go there for a drink. For a dirty dive bar on a boat their food, esp fresh caught mahi, is excellent. For a nicer dining option, dinghy ashore to Pirates.

Cooper Island - Cooper Island Beach Club, if open, is very good. https://cooperisland-bvi.com/QAN_webcam.php If you can click on this webcam link, the small triangle shaped rock in the center of your screen at the back of the mooring field has some decent snorkeling. Many people will swim around it, just be aware of any current that may be running. We will often moor as far back in the field as possible to make the snorkel an easy swim from the boat. Much of the mooring field is sand/grass bottom, so you'll see many turtles popping up here.

I'll get to Virgin Gorda/Anegada and Jost later today...I need to get some work done.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#11 Post by Chris Oxford » August 6th, 2019, 6:49 am

Virgin Gorda - when bareboating we always dock at Leverick Bay and rent a vehicle for 24 hours, visit the Baths, nice dinner at Coco Maya, day stops at Savannah and Mahoe Bays. Hog Heaven BBQ restaurant is a must, not necessarily for the food, but for the views of the North Sound....on a good day you can see both of Sir Richards islands, Mosquito and Necker, along with Prickly Pear, whats left of Saba Rock and if it's really clear you can see Anegada on the northern horizon. Leverick Bay has an upscale dining option as well as a beach bar w bar fare.....several shops, spa, laundry, etc on site as well.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#12 Post by Michael Martin » August 6th, 2019, 9:02 am

We did a trip like this about 10 years ago. Rented the boat through the Moorings. Sailed around to all the islands. Spent an extra night or two in the middle at the Bitter End, which I recommend.
Not much to see in Tortola or really St Thomas for that matter. The fun is on the water, under the water and on the Islands.
As much as I enjoy wine, the environment was more conducive to beer, cocktails and Cuban cigars. Have fun!
Last edited by Michael Martin on August 6th, 2019, 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#13 Post by Chris Oxford » August 6th, 2019, 9:50 am

Anegada - probably our favorite island followed closely by VG and JVD. If you like to slow down and relax this is the island. Unlike the rest of the USVI/BVI this is a flat island (27 feet at highest pt above sea level). Watch your draft in the mooring field as it can get too shallow in areas for some boats, mostly monos. Leave Leverick early, on a mooring by 10 am, rent a car or taxi over to Loblolly & Flash of Beauty for snorkeling & lunch, then over to Cow Wreck for addl cocktails, snacks and lots of staring at the blue water. DO NOT rent a scooter on Anegada! They rent them, but the roads are not conducive to two wheeled vehicles operated by inexperienced/drunk riders. There are serious accidents very often due to this. We witnessed one in mid May. A med evac from a remote island is no way to end a great vacation. Dinner - make reservations early, normally by 4 pm at the latest, most of the restaurants will have you order when you make your reservation. Wonky Dog is our favorite.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#14 Post by Chris Oxford » August 6th, 2019, 9:54 am

A few notes - I should give props to George H for giving us some tips back in 2013 or 2014 when we were planning our first trip to the BVI.
Also, I agree w Michael's assessment with one caveat, Bitter End has a long way to go as they were still in cleanup mode from the 2017 hurricanes as of 2 month ago. But, I have read they are hoping to have something(s) open by this coming high season (Nov - April). Saba Rock was in the same boat.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#15 Post by Michael Martin » August 6th, 2019, 11:11 am

Chris Oxford wrote:
August 6th, 2019, 9:54 am
A few notes - I should give props to George H for giving us some tips back in 2013 or 2014 when we were planning our first trip to the BVI.
Also, I agree w Michael's assessment with one caveat, Bitter End has a long way to go as they were still in cleanup mode from the 2017 hurricanes as of 2 month ago. But, I have read they are hoping to have something(s) open by this coming high season (Nov - April). Saba Rock was in the same boat.
That's a bummer about the Bitter End. It had a exclusive, hidden away sort of appeal to it. Hopefully they can get it back into shape.

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Re: Virgin Islands Charter

#16 Post by R. Wilhite » August 6th, 2019, 3:53 pm

Wow guys thanks for all the tips. We are starting and ending in St Thomas. The charter company said we will board at Yacht Haven Grande. I am letting someone else deal with the details but I will get it from him and see how it aligns with the advice you have given.

Thanks again.

Ryan
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