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How to move 6 kids to St. John?

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simpub
(@simpub)
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I am looking for some ways to help my family experience real life on St. John before moving there.  I'd like to bring them down, the children that is, so they can get a feel for life.  My wife and I have a decent idea of maybe what 75% of it is going to be like from visits, research, people we met.  For the kids though, it might as well be sailing across the ocean in the 15th century.  They have no idea how it's going to be, especially socially.  A real pre-move experience might seem nearly impossible to make happen somehow but I'm holding out hope and figure maybe this forum and any others people may want to suggest may be the best way to get some ideas.  Our kids are 16, 15, 13, 11, 11, and 8.  Any ideas, even if longshots, are welcome.  We can do the leg work.  Want to make the move work for everyone and do my best to see that all 8 of us are happy!  😃🌴

Thanks,

Mark 😀 

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Topic starter Posted : January 23, 2021 5:31 am
daveb722
(@daveb722)
Trusted Member

Rent a condo for 2 months, do a PMV, then see how bored your kids will be.  Nothing against St. John, I think it's the most beautiful island of the USVI but there is little to do there and if your kids are used to going places all the time, this small island may not be for you.  I love St. Croix and I miss things that I'll never experience here still.  I wouldn't trade it in though as I'm older and ready to make this a 15-20 year plus journey.  The cost of living on St John with 6 kids will be astronomical (food, wapa, gas, etc) so if you aren't making 250,000 per year minimum I think your family will really struggle.  I don't know much about the schools and I know some on this forum live on ST. John and can give you a more honest assessment, just my opinion based on a recent stay there.

This post was modified 1 month ago by daveb722
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Posted : January 23, 2021 10:04 am
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vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

I hope you have a massive income or are very wealthy.

The cost of private school and transportation for six kids will be astronomical!

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Posted : January 23, 2021 12:01 pm
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Gator's Mom
(@gators_mom)
Trusted Member

If you have cash to purchase a house that would help keep the monthly expenses lower. Property taxes are relatively (really) low in the VI and you could decide on what kind of property insurance risk you might afford if you don't have a mortgage. But remember hurricanes do happen.

Electricity is a giant expense - so find a house with solar or know you can add it. Internet is available but for the most part you'll experience bandwidth issues with a large family of users. Cell service - depends on location.

Home school the kids - I think St. John has an active homeschool community. Otherwise private school and daily ferry rides.

You've got kids approaching driving age - that's something else to figure in - even old cars need relatively high liability if you own stuff. Still car insurance is cheaper in the VI than in most places in the states.

If you shop at Cost U Less and/or Price Smart on STT you'll find prices not that far from stateside if you cook and your tribe does not have picky eaters. Grocery stores on STJ are great but quite expensive.

St. John is expensive but if you have the money - why not?

Personally, I would choose the French Caribbean if I had unlimited resources. 

And yes, we've owned property on STJ but now we're on STX.

This post was modified 1 month ago 2 times by Gator's Mom
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Posted : January 23, 2021 1:15 pm
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simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

These are good insights.  Thank you everyone for these replies.  I think my biggest concern is that there won't be enough for my kids to do on St. John.  However they are all home-bodies now.  None of them play sports or any outdoor activities.  They are mostly online kids, even more so now with Covid, and go to youth group at church.  One of the things I am hoping for is that they would have more outdoor life experience.  I grew up outdoors and my kids have never really had that opportunity.

They were all homeschooled with the exception of the past 2 years--they've since been in private school, but it's part time online for some of them.  I think we'd be okay on schooling that way, even if we went back to homeschooling.  As long as there is a homeschooling community for support, that could work, and certainly saves a lot of money.

We are aware of the expenses on St. John, and have shopped there recently, and we are okay with it.  Plus we own our own business, which can be relocated to the VI fairly easily.  We are hoping to benefit from the much lower corporate tax rate as well.  

That is a good point about kids driving.  We'll have to figure that out.  I guess we'll be a Jeep family.

We do shop stateside at BJs as you can imagine, buying stuff in bulk.  I have seen videos of shopping at Cost U Less but not Price Smart yet.  I felt encouraged by what I saw.

I've really had my heart set on St. John for 20 years now, but I am open to other places.  I do like the idea of the French Caribbean too.  My wife is French.  However, I'd want to keep a home on US soil.  Maybe a 2nd home on St. Martin if our business does really well.  God willing!  For our first island home, I do think it's going to be St. John, maybe or St. Thomas as our 2nd choice.  I just don't know St. Thomas that well.

I think my wife and I are pretty much set on the costs and whatnot.  It's really all about the kids.  I just realized that I've moved almost 20 times I think, but none of them have ever moved before.  They will make or break the whole deal and I just want them to be happy so I'm trying to find out everything I can for them.

Thanks for sharing your advice.  I'm taking everything into consideration. 😊

Mark

 

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Topic starter Posted : January 23, 2021 3:03 pm
simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

@daveb722 Love the 2-month rental idea.  In all my searching I haven't come across anything short as 2 months.  Is it just making an offer or is there a better place to look for that kind of arrangement? 😀

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Topic starter Posted : January 23, 2021 3:05 pm
daveb722
(@daveb722)
Trusted Member

Maybe reach out to a realtor, go during the summer when the kids are off school as it's slow season and probably can find something then when demand is low.

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Posted : January 23, 2021 4:06 pm
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simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

@daveb722 That's a good idea. 😃🌴.  That would be nice. Be like renting a house at the shore, except in the VI. 😃

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Topic starter Posted : January 23, 2021 5:32 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

if you decide on a multi month rental, which I also think is a good idea, go for 90 days plus to avoid the 12.5 % hotel tax.  How many bedrooms would you need?  Do you have to have AC?  

The older kids could get jobs and that would help them meet other people. They would need health cards to work in food service industry.  

There are driving schools they could take here too.  My older son did one on St Thomas ($300) but I have seen student driver cars on St John recently as well.  My older son hitched all over foe work and play until he was a driver.  He met lots of people that way too. 

Its so tough to say how your kids are going to like it here.  If they love the beach that will really help.  Meeting other people will help too. There is one high school on St John and it’s private.  About 17k a year.  The public high school is on St Thomas and it would probably be a rough adjustment. 

Not sure what kind of business you have.  But you may want to check out the DLCA website for business licensing requirements.  Also the IRB for our local tax structure.  We report our federal tax locally to the IRB. Not the IRS.  

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Posted : January 24, 2021 6:07 am
daveb722
(@daveb722)
Trusted Member

@stjohnjulie there's plenty of ways around the 12.5%, just need to rent from the right person

 

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Posted : January 24, 2021 2:08 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

@daveb722 that’s for sure.  But I don’t like to advise people to break/skirt the law. Locals on St John are being pushed out by transplants with wealth.  It’s, foe a lack of a better word, a sensitive topic.  Not that transplants are unwelcome.  Transplants who think they are above... not so much.  

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Posted : January 24, 2021 2:30 pm
scout77
(@scout77)
Advanced Member

I am pretty sure they will LOVE it. I grew up on STT and just moved back with my husband and kids and they are thriving. I had lots of friends who lived on STJ as a kid, they took the ferry to STT for school. We hang out at the beach by our house every day and the kids have made tons of friends. They play outside and I have barely heard the word Minecraft in months (praise be!)

Quite a few of my former classmates have moved back this year what with the world being upside down and we all agree it was the best place ever to grow up. The best place ever to be a teenager. If you came in the summer the kids could go to camp? I think the National Park has a camp? The yacht club on STT does which is prob what we will do. The older kids could get jobs or volunteer. We always went to the States for the summers but I bet most people will be staying on island this summer.

It takes a little adjustment, especially if any of them are high strung about bugs or particular foods, but I really cannot imagine them not loving it. 

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Posted : January 26, 2021 12:08 pm
simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

@scout77 Loved your reply!  Right up our alley.  We're 8 Minecraft professionals 😀😂🤣.  Love the idea of summer camp.  I will definitely be looking into that.  If I can't get/afford a 2-3 month rental this summer or next, I was thinking maybe a 3-week trip.  Always felt like 1st week you're still settling and "vacation" doesn't start until the 2nd week.  Perhaps a 3rd week will bring a sense of "normal life," or at least the beginnings of a glimpse of it.  Also, coming in the summer will be less of a weather shock.  I have a couple of kids who are always hot but if it's already 80⁰-90⁰ here then it won't feel like a huge difference when we get there.  Last August when we came down, it didn't feel too much warmer than where we live now, just more humid but with a cool breeze.  We live in PA now and it's hot, no wind, all trees, in the summer.  

If I can line things up for the kids to do and give them a real immersive experience, that'll maybe be our best shot at alleviating some of their reservations.  

I am interested in the yacht club camp if you wouldn't mind posting a link.  Our next dream is a catamaran, so if there is any exposure to boating in that camp (not sure if it's just the name of it), I'd love to learn about it.  

Thanks for your input!  I let our kids know what you said about Minecraft vs. the beach and they said they'll just get waterproof controllers 🤣😂🤣😂

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : January 26, 2021 11:16 pm
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stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
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On St John There is a program called KATS, Kids and the Sea, that teaches kids sailing.  There is also St John School of the Arts.  Lots of great classes there.  And while you are visiting, Hawksnest Beach on Sundays is the local kids hangout.  Things are obviously limited or shutdown with COVID now, but it her could change by summer.  

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Posted : January 27, 2021 3:27 am
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scout77
(@scout77)
Advanced Member

Here is the link for the Yacht Club, they don't have their 2021 info up yet but it is weekly -   https://stthomasyachtclub.org

Those options on STJ from stjohnjulie sound great as well. 

Our goal is also to learn to learn to sail well enough to charter a bareboat catamaran eventually so my husband and I are thinking of doing sailing school as well 🙂 

Three weeks in the summer sounds great and the prices will be lower than in the winter. We have been in Nashville where it is over 100 degrees in the summer so the VI 82 will be a welcome relief! 

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Posted : January 27, 2021 6:41 am
NugBlazer
(@NugBlazer)
Advanced Member

SIX kids?  I'll be blunt:  I think it's a terrible idea to even consider moving here with that many kids, especially teenagers.  This is a place full of temptation for kids that age.  You can fully expect at least one of them to get tangled up in partying, drugs, etc.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Posted : January 28, 2021 2:28 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Posted by: @NugBlazer

SIX kids?  I'll be blunt:  I think it's a terrible idea to even consider moving here with that many kids, especially teenagers.  This is a place full of temptation for kids that age.  You can fully expect at least one of them to get tangled up in partying, drugs, etc.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

My kids loved growing up on St. Croix! Beach bonfires every weekend, plenty of weed and of course, Cruzan Rum!

They're in their 20's now and live elsewhere but still pine for the good ole days!

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Posted : January 29, 2021 7:59 am
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simpub
(@simpub)
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@stjohnjulie Thanks for the KATS lead!  Looks great!  I was just checking out their website.  Happy to find that.

Another thing that we will be sort of giving up when we move down may be surfing.  I don't know if that's true, but surfing is "okay" at the Jersey Shore.

I know there aren't too many waves on the north side, at least where I've been, but are there any beaches around the island where there are at least some smaller waves that make it in?  It's not the end of the world, but it would be cool even if there were just 2-3 ft waves available anywhere. 😀🏄‍♂️

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Topic starter Posted : January 29, 2021 12:05 pm
simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

@stjohnjulie 

St. John School of the Arts looks perfect for us too!  We have 3 great artists, a musician, a couple performers, a creative writer... 😀

This makes me really happy!  So awesome to have this available!  Gonna be great! 😀🎨

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Topic starter Posted : January 29, 2021 12:09 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Hull Bay on St Thomas is the main surfing spot. Lots of surfers.

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Posted : January 29, 2021 12:41 pm
simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

@east-ender Thanks!  That's good news.  Got me to Google Hull Bay and i came across this good article about VI surfing...

https://www.vinow.com/stthomas/activities/surfing/

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : January 30, 2021 5:53 am
scout77
(@scout77)
Advanced Member

@simpub That article sounds about right. 🙂

I live on Hull Bay, there have been tons of kids out this last month. Great community. But yeah, it's a reef break and even though the article says Hull is "easily accessible" it is still quite a long paddle out to the break, it's not on the shore. 

Did you see this one? 

https://stthomassource.com/content/2019/09/15/local-surfing-mavericks-share-territorys-tubular-history/

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Posted : January 30, 2021 6:37 am
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Famous surf quote is " Should have been here Yesterday"

High Surf Advisory in Effect for St. Thomas, St. John and Adjacent Islands | St. Thomas Source

And This site in real time 

NDBC - 5-day plot - Wave Height at 41043 (noaa.gov)

 

 

 

This post was modified 1 month ago by Exit Zero
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Posted : January 30, 2021 10:41 am
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simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

@exit-zero 🌊🏄‍♂️🌴🙌

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Topic starter Posted : January 30, 2021 12:01 pm
simpub
(@simpub)
Advanced Member

@scout77 great find!  Love reading these articles that teach me some of the many gems about the VI.  Thanks for sharing that.  Must be nice too to surf in 80⁰ water! 🌊🏄‍♂️🌴😃

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Topic starter Posted : January 30, 2021 12:07 pm
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