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Relocating during Pandemic

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LinZBB
(@linzbb)
Active Member

Hi all! Just wanted to introduce myself to this site/message board. For background, my husband and I purchased a condo located in Bolongo Bay this past March( remotely, to our chagrin ) but due to the lockdown and subsequent escalation of the Covid 19 infection rate, have not yet had our first BMV. We are planning to sell our NY home in a few months, but are hoping to spend the winter in STT.  We are hoping to come in Sept for a short stay, then come back around mid to late Oct. for the winter. Therefore, we have no questions/concerns about moving large household items for this year. Husband (Roy) is an avid scuba diver. I enjoy snorkeling, swimming, yoga, love dogs (bringing our senior cocker spaniel along, too) and gardening, but I have some medical issues( mostly osteo arthritis, multiple joint replacements) and reason for selecting tropics to retire to. What I am seeking is information on community activities, volunteer opportunities, to get involved in as a new (part-time, for this year) resident.  Also ways to network in general, make new acquaintances because I know Roy will most likely make me a diver widow (lol).

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Topic starter Posted : August 4, 2020 1:50 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

Congratulations and welcome! I live on St Croix so can't help much with St Thomas. But, others here will chime in. The weather here should be good for your health issues.

Good luck with you move! 

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Posted : August 5, 2020 9:09 am
LinZBB
(@linzbb)
Active Member

Thanks Vicanuk! How long have you resided in STX? Hubs went there for diving, said it was the best ever. We first considered looking in STX , but decided on STT for a variety of reasons, business -wise, availability of direct flights for our kids & grandkids to visit, to name a few. 

 

 

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Topic starter Posted : August 5, 2020 10:49 am
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Welcome to the board! I didn't understand if you have been to St Thomas before or not. If you have not actually been there and bought sight unseen, I might recommend postponing selling your home in NY.

Bolongo is a little bit off-the-beaten-path. You will come to shake your fist at Donkey Hill on rainy days, or if your tires are low on tread! But you are conveniently half-way between town and Red Hook. I spent several years (including Hurricane Marilyn) in the vicinity, and enjoyed the convenience. For volunteer opportunities, you just keep your eyes open. The Humane Society is forever looking for help. There are some flower groups (orchids and hibiscus, I think) that have shows. Yoga is popular. Once the pandemic allows, church is a good place to meet people, for example, the St Thomas Reform Church has lots of activities. The other big networking place (in non-Covid times) are bars, LOL. When you meet people, just get to know them a bit and pick their brains. Also, don't just settle on being a dive widow. Learn to scuba and enjoy the weightlessness on your joints! 😉 

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Posted : August 6, 2020 10:37 am
Alana33 liked
LinZBB
(@linzbb)
Active Member

@east-ender

Thanks for your input, and we both ( Roy & I ) didn’t purchase the condo sight unseen, actually. Roy saw the property before closing, it is very close to Bolongo Bay Beach hotel & resort. As Coastal Northeasterners , we are quite familiar with icy hills to navigate, and I’m thinking rain can’t be worse. I am a nervous driver, so I will probably stay put during rainstorms, in any case.
 Wish I had the nerve to dive, maybe will attempt again. I always failed the pool diving  class, something to do with fear of removing the regulator -and -putting back -on test, lol.
Roy has dreamed of living in the VI ( and many other islands too) since he was very young, his parents vacationed there 3 to 4 weeks a year for many years, and we continued that throughout our married life. 
We even once considered attempting to relocate to Saba when we were in our 20’s but that went nowhere. Now we actually have the realistic ability to make a go of Caribbean life. Seems like the stars are aligned and it’s just time to quit the rat race of continental residence.

 

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Topic starter Posted : August 8, 2020 1:34 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

I'm gathering it must be Sea Cliff, as I know they are one of the few condo associations allowing dogs. Well, we will see how you like rain slick Donkey Hill. LOL

Think about trying diving again. I never thought I would dive- I'm not a great swimmer (which I found you don't have to be) and have some mild claustrophobia. The removing-the-regulator thing freaked me out, too. However, with a excellent and patient instructor, I met my fears and became certified. Even went on to Advanced Open Water including night diving... It's one of those things that makes you feel like you conquered the world. 😉 

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Posted : August 9, 2020 2:55 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

Removing/replacing the regulator is pretty easy to master and get used to.  Flooding your mask and clearing it is a bit more of a challenge, especially with your eyes closed if you wear contacts.

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Posted : August 9, 2020 11:39 pm
40isthebetter20
(@40isthebetter20)
Advanced Member

When we went to STT and stayed for a week, we stayed in Bolongo Bay at Watergate Villas East and absolutely loved it. Eat at Mims. It's amazing!! All you can eat shrimp on Thursdays (if they're still doing that) and the Caribbean Lobster is THE BEST!! You may need to call for reservations but post covid I'm not sure.  You might be able to walk to the restaurant and to Bolongo Bay Resort from your condo if you don't mind a few hills and you're not up at the top of the complex. 

Also- snorkeling there in the bay is awesome. Just make sure the tide is up so you don't accidentally touch and kill the coral. If the big rock in front of Watergate Villas East/ Mim's is close to being covered up it's high tide and safe to go. 

You can also rent water toys and take charters thru Bolongo Bay Resort even if you're not staying there. (at least pre-covid you could.) I would check with the tour / souvenir shop there. 

 

The other area we fell in love with was Hull Bay but that's because my husband is a surfer. So next time we'll probably rent a house close to there so we can keep an eye on the swells and if they're happening. We were so lucky to end up meeting a young server at Duffy's who gave us the scoop on a guy named Rob Radloff who my husband was able to rent a surf board from. He also gives killer diving and snorkeling tours which we will absolutely do next time we're there. 

 

Join the FB group "What's going on St. Thomas". It can be a mess but it also has good info on it. 

 

I'm just going to say that I'm super jealous that you're making this move. I've been trying for over 10 years now to get to St. Croix. We're solidly planing on doing it in the next two years.  🙂 Cheers!! 

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Posted : August 11, 2020 1:25 pm
LinZBB
(@linzbb)
Active Member

Hey there everybody, thanks again for all your helpful replies. So excited now, we finally re-booked our plane tickets to go see the condo Sept 1- 10th! Wish it could be longer, but we have soooo much to do in our NY home base before leaving for the fall-winter( one way only until maybe a short visit to see grandkids for Xmas). I know that gov Cuomo just added the US V.I. to the 14 day quarantine list, so that was a surprise. Guess we won’t be going anywhere much either in STT or back in NY when we return for a month. I guess we will be using the beach near the condo and Roy met a dive operator very close by on his last visit to go out with. It was troubling to hear the infection rate went up, but not surprised. Here’s hoping everyone stays healthy and safe. Keep the comments coming, I will be adding more when I get there to share my “in person” account/impressions. 

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Topic starter Posted : August 12, 2020 1:13 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

LinZBB ***  You may want to read the latest Lockdown info from the Governor -- there may be NO Accommodations allowed to accept your visit at that time.

https://stthomassource.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/08/Executive-Order-Returning-to-Stay-At-Home.pdf

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Posted : August 17, 2020 2:40 pm
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member

It's a confusing time to travel to the USVI.  If they own the condo and are planning to stay there I believe it should be okay, except they might be expected to quarantine.

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Posted : August 18, 2020 3:00 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Yes as an owner they may have no problem with the accommodation restriction, the closing of all non-essential businesses will also be a major factor and visiting during the peak of Hurricane Season might just add some excitement and help their USVI learning curve along.

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Posted : August 18, 2020 7:05 pm
rewired
(@rewired)
Advanced Member

@linzbb

Print a copy of your deed and bring it with you (it will prove that you have a place to stay since you don't have a VI driver's license).

You'll also need to go to the VI travel portal ( https://usvitravelportal.com/) to register 2 - 5 days before your trip. You may also need to get a covid test and upload a copy of your results (depending on the positive rate of your state - a link with more info is on the portal site). Check the site and get your covid test before you register if you need one. Also, print a hard copy to have with you just in case.

One challenge may be timing getting your results within 5 days of your flight... I went last Friday for a test (expecting results in 3-5 days), but my local health department has overachievers and they gave me results Sunday (one day outside the 5 day window for my Saturday flight back to the island). I had to go back to get my brain tickled again yesterday and got my results in about 24 hours, so I was able to register today.

Good luck!

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Posted : August 18, 2020 10:52 pm
LinZBB
(@linzbb)
Active Member

Hello folks, yes, to our resigned disappointment , we have once again, postponed our PMV to STT, until Oct 14th. Hope you all stay safe and healthy! The Coronavirus outbreak has held all of us hostage in so many ways this year, and I just pray we all can get it under control until a safe vaccine is available.

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Topic starter Posted : August 19, 2020 3:00 am
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Posted by: @rewired

Print a copy of your deed and bring it with you (it will prove that you have a place to stay since you don't have a VI driver's license).

This is good advice.  I can't tell you how many times I have been asked for a copy of my deed, I think it's in part because of the lack any normal paperwork as everything is electronic these days.  I don't get a single paper bill from anyone so it's all but impossible to prove I'm a resident.

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Posted : August 19, 2020 9:28 am
rewired
(@rewired)
Advanced Member

I've gotten in the habit of carrying a copy of my deed in my computer bag (it's starting to get a little 'well traveled'). I'm also adding a copy of my homeowners insurance for hurricane season.

Both are documents I'd rather have and not need...

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Posted : August 19, 2020 9:54 am
LinZBB
(@linzbb)
Active Member

Hi again!

Well down to one week before our first PMV. Heard there was a 5.0 earthquake nearby STT and STX?? Is that more common lately? Just checking. Will have more to add soon. 

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Topic starter Posted : October 8, 2020 3:59 pm
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member

Checked with a friend on the East End and he didn’t feel anything. 

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Posted : October 8, 2020 7:50 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Earthquakes are very common here - doesn't seem like any more frequent recently. I sure felt and heard the one Wed. here on Crown Mt. STT.

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Posted : October 8, 2020 11:11 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

Minor earthquakes occur frequently in the Caribbean.  A couple have hit Puerto Rico recently and caused localized damage.  I spoke with some folks on STX today, one felt the quake and other didn't on the same property on the beach.

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Posted : October 8, 2020 11:48 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Posted by: @linzbb

Hi again!

Heard there was a 5.0 earthquake nearby STT and STX?? Is that more common lately?

On average, we get over 150 earthquakes a month. The vast majority are less than 4.0. There have been a few in the 5 range the last few days but I didn't feel them here on STX. In fact, over the 16 years I've lived here, I've never felt even one.

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Posted : October 9, 2020 8:04 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Posted by: @rewired

I've gotten in the habit of carrying a copy of my deed in my computer bag (it's starting to get a little 'well traveled'). I'm also adding a copy of my homeowners insurance for hurricane season.

Both are documents I'd rather have and not need...

Why just scan your deed or other important document as a PDF and keep in a folder on your smart phone? So much less bother.

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Posted : October 9, 2020 8:05 am
rewired
(@rewired)
Advanced Member

@vicanuck

I actually have it both ways, but the paper copy is ready at hand and doesn't weigh much. (It's also easier to read)

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Posted : October 9, 2020 8:13 am
daveb722 liked
LinZBB
(@linzbb)
Active Member

@vicanuck That’s quite a statistic, didn’t realize the level of seismic activity. Last time I visited Jamaica, (last January, seems like forever ago lol), there was one offshore close to a 7 and everybody else I was with felt it but me. Difference was they were on lounges and I was standing on sand. 

 

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Topic starter Posted : October 9, 2020 9:43 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

@linzbb You can look at the local numbers on the USGS website. Puerto Rico, only a stone's throw away, was plagued by moderate earthquakes a few months back.

But, you get used to it I suppose!

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Posted : October 10, 2020 8:48 am
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