25 April 2014 | Cinnamon Bay, St John, US Virgin Islands
It is always a good thing to have all the information you need about the Customs and Immigration rules before you enter a new country. We didn't and it has cost us a lot of stress and worry. The day we sailed into the British Virgin Islands we learned that they only give you thirty days in the country before you have to pay $200 to import your boat and get an extension for the crew. It was April 11th and we knew we wouldn't be leaving BVI with our rally until May 15th, more than thirty days later. When we learned that rule we hadn't checked into the country yet. We really should have turned around and sailed back to St John but we didn't. The more we talked to people about their experiences the more stressed and worried we got. We knew we were going to have to go back to St John, in the US Virgin Islands, for a few days somewhere in the middle of our remaining time but we weren't sure how BVI would count that time. The rally events start on May 1st so on Wednesday we left BVI and are now spending a wonderful week in St John.
It actually is much more pleasant over here. First of all the Immigration agent was friendly and helpful, unlike the one who checked us out of BVI. We had to check in physically in Cruz Bay. We could have used the telephone because of our Local Boaters Option cards like we did in Puerto Rico but our phone is turned off right now. We wanted some kind of physical proof anyhow. Cruz Bay was a nice experience actually. You have to anchor in an area that has a three hour limit. We went to Immigration, bought an ice cream cone, and got to shop at a wonderful supermarket that was, unfortunately, high up on a hill. I even let Bill buy enough cans of Diet Coke for the ocean passage home. Normally I have a no soda cans rule on our boat.
Our first night back in St John we stayed at Hawksnest Bay. It was a quick and easy stop from Cruz Bay. We have to take a mooring every night we are here but they are only $15 and we get them half price with Bill’s National Park Senior Pass. We spent the next morning snorkeling along the reef in the bay.
The next morning we moved over to Cinnamon Bay. A very beautiful bay that we definitely took advantage of. We should be embarrassed by this, but seven months into our trip we have finally taken our inflatable kayak out and have used it twice already. We paddled the kayak to the beach and had a lovely time playing in the water. Then we switched back to the dinghy and anchored it next to the island off of Cinnamon Beach. We snorkeled all around the island. It wasn't the greatest snorkeling we've seen but there were some interesting coral and rocks.
Today we decided we would go hiking. Hiking in St John is no easy feat. This place is all mountain. We brought our trekking poles this time and we were really glad. We hiked about four miles but it was so hot and humid, and steep, that it felt like a lot more. We did get the great picture above of Moonraker moored in the bay though. You can’t get a picture like that without working for it. Thanks to one of the lovely homes behind us in the picture for not protecting your Internet. We had missed not having it for a while in BVI!
We will spend the next five days in Francis Bay, just the next bay over. Hopefully we will do some relaxing but definitely we will use the kayak again and do some swimming and snorkeling.