Best harbor to habitate
I received a couple of books via Amazon this week - "Passagemaking in the Caribbean" and "VI Cruising Guide" and neither give a definitive recommendation for top harbors. I'm interested most in (in order of priority)
- Protected anchorage
- Easy access to shore via dinghy/launch
- Good town amenities (shopping, food, socialization/nightlife)
A little activity is fine but outrageous congestion is not what I'm looking for. I need privacy, so I'm willing to anchor long term but I'd prefer a mooring ball. Marina life is definitely NOT what I'm looking for in a live-aboard situation.
Any suggestions? STT would be nice but honestly I'm not partial to location. There is a slight chance I could get a mainland consulting job that would allow me to live in USVI and require me to have access to the airport, but it's a long shot.
You might want to contact DPNR to see what they have to say about mooring balls and locations. My mother-in-law lives on her sailboat just off Water Island, in Elephant Bay, right across from Crown Bay Marina on STT. Very close to airport, easy access to taxiis, a store right at the dinghy dock, a marine store right there, too, and a bigger grocery store (Pueblo) about a block's walk. The new shopping mall at the cruiseship dock in Crown Bay is nearing completion, and I assume they will have some stores that will be of interest to boaties, as well.
Thanks Marty 🙂 I imagine with a mooring ball the boats have to be at least a little bit apart to allow for wind/current shifts, but then again I've been in some tight anchorages where they require a bow and stern mooring and pack 'em in tight. Any idea what the annual cost of a mooring in Elephant Bay costs? Up here my mooring costs about $600/year, as opposed to $48/foot plus electricity at the marina in Boston.
On July 6, 2005, Pamela wrote, "Moorings cost $5 per year per foot of boat plus your ground tackle. Fairly easy to still find room in St. Thomas. Not sure about the other islands. You will see ads 'Mooring for sale' but you cannot sell the mooring. You are buying the ground tackle only and must still apply for the annual permit." Pamela is very knowledgeable in the marine area. See the thread entitled "live aboards" started July 6, 2005. If I've done this correctly, the link below will take you there:
Thanks Ang - this was very helpful. $5/ft is nothing compared to up here. Ground tackle is not terribly expensive, although getting it dragged or dumped to where you want it could be a pain. But hopefully you do that once and it's done.
There are challenges to living aboard as Pamela mentioned in her post. Hurricanes, and rowing out to your boat in a wind-driven rain with a bag of groceries is probably the least controllable and most irritating of the issues she mentioned. With an adequate sized and appointed boat, all the creature comforts of home (laundry, TV, etc.) can be yours right on board. I have always viewed my dinghy kind of like a bike you might have in the city - make sure it's chained and locked to something stable and someone is less likely to "borrow" it.
Safest harbor in STT is the Mangrove Lagoon. STJ safest is Hurricane Hole - wonder why they called it that? Don't know about STX.
Are there many house boats? HOw about any to rent?
I've never seen or heard of any houseboats in the islands. I suspect that is because they could not make the trip there. Houseboats are primarily inland water vessels and would likely be swamped in the open sea just after leaving an inlet. Heck, I've seen them swamped and sunk in their slips at my marina when heavy swells from a storm with high winds came rolling into the marina. That said, there are a few that have hulls designed to take some of the heavier waters such as the "Bahama Hull" that Lazy Days produced - just a handful of those were ever made though, and that factory (just down the street from my marina) closed long ago. Those were neat and could cross the gulfstream on a good day from Miami to the Bahamas. I think Lazy Days only about 8 of them.
If someone were to have transported a houseboat to the islands on a yacht carrier (I suspect that is the only way to get it there in one piece), I would not want to venture outside of the marina in it in the islands!