Can anyone tell me something about staying on a sailboat in the Virgin Islands I plan to sail over from North of Miami and live for the winter nov-april in and around the islands. Is it cheap to do can I spear fish and eat fish can I moore around the islands for free give me some insight please. THANKS
Boats are never cheap! The salt air environment in the Caribbean is extremely corrosive and you will likely see an increase in necessary maintenance on your boat. The marine stores are expensive and not well stocked.
There are places you can anchor for free in the USVI and also places where you can get a permit to put in a mooring ball for an inexpensive annual fee. If you want to be in a marina, the monthly fees range from $15-$25 per foot. Ouch!. If you don't have a desalinator/watermaker for your boat, you will have to purchase water from one of the marinas whenever you need to fill up your tank.
On STX there aren't many places where you can easily tie up your dinghy when you go to shore. There also aren't any grocery stores close to dock areas, so you will need to arrange a taxi whenever you make a run for provisions. I don't know if that is also true on STT or not.
You can spearfish legally, but make sure you check into the seasons when you can't take certain types of fish. Also be aware of the Ciguatera parasite that can make some reef-feeding fish unsafe to eat.
1st Mate, S/V Parrothead
Having sailed around the VIs (and now living here), it's best to fish away from reefs and coral beds (e.g. open/deep waters) due to the risk of a nerve toxin (I forgot the name) present in many "near shore" fish. It'll apparently ruin your day, or days, depending. Moorings typically run about $25.00 per night, with limited-use (3 hours), day only moorings available for free in some of the parks.
If your water is filled from deck side keep deck clean, then when it rains you can dam it up free water!! also you'll need bimini top or tent to keep cool and outta very hot sun. Also a couple black jugs of water on deck in sun help with having hot water on hand!! Elephant Bay (Subbase) is great place to anchor. You can swim right off the boat. But beware there aren't that many places to tie up dingy.. Crown Bay Marina and French Town, I know the French Town dock is not free...Not sure about Crown Bay Marina. There are grocery stores and laundry within walking dist.
Hope that this helps some. I'm sure i'll think of more later. Elephant Bay is just around the corner from Honeymoon Beach water Island, one of the best beaches in the St Thomas area.
How was the Buffett concert? We were sailing to Jost the Friday before the boat on a charter we lined up prior to going to St John for vacation and came real close to just turning that way for a day or two.
I can't say much about St Croix as I haven't spent any time there. But St Thomas has good access at both Crown Bay and Red Hook for provisions etc. There is a nice anchorage at Water Island on Honeymoon Beach. You can run your tender from there to Crown Bay Marina at Sub Base. If you call them on the VHF they will tell you were to tie up to do Marina Business. Also you can tie up in downtown Charlotte Amalia along the seawall to go ashore there. I would get a cable and lock for your tender. It doesn't have to be fool proof just locked up better than the tender beside it. American Yacht Harbor/Red Hook, Compass Point, Pirates Cove Etc. is a little less touristy and all of these marinas have dingy docks available for local business. There are tons of anchorages in the BVI's and they make for great trips but it will be easier and cheaper to base out of St Thomas for provision etc and do a week or two at a time in the BVI's. Jost VanDyke is an easy sail and a great place to waste a few days.
Hope this helps,
Thanks for all the help on sailing around the VIs If anyone can think of anything more I would appreciate it .
I hope to sail around the isalnds in November thru april this upcoming year.
Where are you moving from? We are considering the same thing...we live in Annapolis, Md. currently. My boyfriend is Scott Leonard. His brother is Larry Leonard- Quantum Sails. We are planning on moving to St.Croix this fall. We are trying to decide to rent or live on a boat until we can get settled.
We spent 2 weeks in St.Croix 2006 and 3 weeks on Jost in 2007.