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2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

NC
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2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

We will be going to St. John in July and was last there in 2005. I have a few questions if anyone can help.

1-We are interested in snorkleing at Waterlemon and wonder where to park before the hike? Are there bathrooms anywhere near the beach there and chairs or should we plan to bring our own?

What other good places should we snorkle. Last time we did a boat trip and it was great fun but we want to spend more time on the island this year.

2- If our passports arrive (we sent off in early April) we are thinking of a trip to BVI? Any suggestions there? I'm thinking of New Horizions II but one of us doesn't swim so is it worth it for them to go? Is it still fun for a non-swimmer?

3- Last time we used Courtesy Car Rental and were satisifed, especially because of being able to park downtown. Any thoughts on them or are ther others that would be better?

4- Our flight gets in at 3:30 so we are thinking of taking the Red Hook Ferry over so we won't get in so late. We don't want to have to wait for the 5:00 ferry from CA. Caribbean VIllas offers a private taxi service from the airport to Red Hook roundtrip for $50.00 per person but that seems outrageous. Would we be better off to just get a cab from the airport to Red Hook ? Any suggestions there?

5. We want to bring some rum home and it looks like it's best (or easiest) to buy it at the airport so that it will be packed and sent through. It it more expensive there? I'd rather buy it from the locals on St John but I'm concerned about packing it myself in our luggage.

Thanks for any help you can give. We loved the island and want to make the most of our time.

ACB
Rhode Island
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for Virgin Gorda
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1. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

1. To get near as possible to Waterlemon you should park at Annaberg and hike down the shore until you get as close as you can to the island. There are no facilities in the area. There are a few snady spots along the bay you can set up shop on. I would also recommend snorkeling: Haulover North, Blue Cobblestone around the point back towards Salt Pond, Ditliff to the end of the point, and Tektite.

2. The Baths (Virgin Gorda) are great, that's why I'm staying next door next trip down (at Spring Bay). Jost is a fun trip, as is Norman Island and the Indians.

3. If you liked them keep using them

4.Definately use Red Hook, definately use a cab. $50.00pp is a bad deal. I think my family of four with tip is usually less than $50.00 one way. Cabs are waiting for you outside the airport and could not be easier to access.

5. Sorry, don't know. But generally everything is more expensive on St John.

NH
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2. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

I'm no help to most of your questions (my first trip is in July), but I do know that you don't need passports for the BVI trip.

Also, one of the stops on the New Horizons trip is Jost/Soggy Dollar...and to get to land you need tp jump overboard and swim..so not sure if a non-swimmer would enjoy it.

New Hammpshire
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3. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

Blustery, when you say that you're going down in July, do you mean July as in a few weeks? I am thinking that you should start looking for a Jeep NOW. July is Carnival, and cars are hard to come by then. We are leaving this Tuesday, started looking for a Jeep at the end of May and had a hard time then! Courtesy is my favorite company, though, so I hope they have something for you.

The CA ferry is not running right now, and might not be up when you are down there in July. We don't like waiting (and squishing) for a taxivan to fill up, watching the luggage get all jammed in the back, or waiting in line at Red Hook, so we are using a company called Christopher's Taxi. For $75 they will take up to 5 people to the Red Hook ferry (one way). If you meet up with someone at baggage claim Christopher's is fine with you all splitting the cost. You might not want to buy a roundtrip ticket, because on the way home you're usually not rushing to get a ferry, you uusually have time to leave at your leisure.You can find Christopher's through a Google search, 'tho we learned about him when we were looking for a water taxi to get us from Red Hook to Cruz Bay easily. Dohm's has a water taxi ttha leaves from Red Hook and gets you to St. John even faster and more stress-free.I think their one-way for up to 5 people is $100. Just do a Google search for Dohm's water taxi and you'll find both of these suggestions.

Our 2nd favorite place to snorkel (besides Waterlemon) is on the west side of Whistling Key, just above Francis Bay/next to Mary Point on the north shore. There are iguanas on the island that will climb right into your kayak, looking for a handout. Forewarned is forearmed....

Hope you have a great trip!

Boyds, Maryland
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4. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

1. Annaberg is the place to park as you saw in the other response. Another great way to go to Waterlemon is to rent a dinghy from Noah's Little Arks. The non-swimmer may not love that, but check it out. Since you have a non-swimmer, I'm assuming they do not snorkel at all or, if they do, they have something to keep them buoyant because they will have to swim out to the cay from the beach at Leinster Bay (the one you walk to from Annaberg). Even if you walk allllllll the way around to the far end of that beach, you still have to swim out.

2. Someone else wrote about not needing passports to go to the BVI. I would double check that because I know that we couldnt day sail there last year without passports. You do have to clear customs. But just double check. The Baths on VG is great; you would want to choose a boat that motors over there rather than sail, most likely, because you'll chew up most of the day sailing. A day sail is a lot of fun for a non-swimmer, so if you (or the rest of your party) are good snorkelers, you can take a daysail out of Coral Bay to Tortola, then check out the Indians and the Caves. Less time sailing and more time snorkeling, but you still do get a nice sail in. You should be comfortable in a bit of open water for these spots though. But your non-swimmer will have fun on a sailboat (assuming they don't get seasick) and where there are beaches, the boat captain/crew can ride them right into wading distance of shore in the dinghy.

3. We've used Courtesy for 5 years and love them. If you are going any time after July 4-5, you should have a much easier time getting a car then if you are going prior to or during that week.

4. See advice from other posters. I didnt know that the ferry from CA wasnt running because what I was going to say was, if your flight gets in at 3:30....by the time the luggage takes the slow boat to the baggage claim at STT, you would likely be on time for the 5:00 ferry from CA. But that might be moot if the ferry isnt running. We always just get in the taxi vans and ride out to Red Hook. Last year, for our party of 4 and some bags and tip, the ride to RH was about $60.

5. Dont know how to advise on this one.

Have fun! We are on St. John hiatus this year but are going back next year around this time. Can't wait!!

Michigan
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5. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

Snorkeling - I found the best place at Francis Bay from the beach out to Mary Pt. We saw beautiful coral, rays, turtles, a nurse shark, lobster, squid, numerous gray and Queen Angelfish, parrotfish not to mention a host of other fish including one giant one (like 4 feet) with a really big head and I'm clueless as to what it was. We thought this area was way better than Waterlemon exluding the hundreds of starfish we saw there.

virginia
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6. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

BVI's... most companies will take you with out passports. (new horizons is one)

Yes the non swimmer will still have fun. The baths are excellent. we had 2 non swimmers on our trip (one elderly gent we whelped out) New Horizons has life jackets and belt floats...noddles, boggie boards etc. to help you get from the boat to shore. JUST ASK don't wait until you paddle 1/2 way and then need help... lucky for the ones on our trip 3 of us were "retired" life guards!!

Jost is harder to "swim" into becasue it has a deeper shelf (not real shallow... but with a life jacket and a float a non swimmer can manage just fine. (my 6 year old is a ok swimmer and she had no problems...she held my hand and paddled in like a champ.)

Kansas City
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7. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

Most of your questions have been answered except the rum question. We purchased rum from Mixology on St. John. They packaged it in alcohol carriers with handles. We wrapped each bottle in bubble wrap and put them back in the carriers. We also put a few bottles wrapped in bubble wrap and placed in luggage between layers of clothes. All of the alcohol made it home and was very inexpensive at Mixology. Everyone told us that the airport was more expensive.

Good luck!

atlanta
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8. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

When are you going in July? My husband and I will be at Lindholm Estate July 15-22nd and plan to do two charter trips: one with Capt Phil of Wayward Sailor in Off-Shore day sail from St John and also plan to sign up for day trip w/ "Lionindasun" on their Tuesday trip to Norman Island and Jost Van Dyke. My husband is also waiting on renewed passport but hopefully we can just show proof of application, if it doesn't show up before trip... First trip to STJ and looking forward to it!

Philadelphia...
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9. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

We took New Horizons in January to The Baths, etc. You absolutely do need passports if you are a US citizens. Virgin Gorda is the British Virgin Islands...not part of the United States!

This was our second trip to St John. We absolutely love it there. However, we were amazed at the amount of drinking going on on New Horizons. I truly was afraid people would drown since they were clearly intoxicated.

Hampton Roads, VA
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10. Re: 2nd Trip but Still Have Questions

This passport issue is confusing. You DO NOT need a passport at this time to travel on a boat to the BVI. A birth certificate with a raised seal and a drivers license will do. This is scheduled to change 1/2008. See:

http://newhorizonscharters.com/