Cruz Bay USVI - clearing in...18:19.847N,064:48.012W

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Sun 3 May 2009 23:44
Watching Sopers Hole recede into the distance for the umpteenth time we prepared to reef, island & rock hop our way round the north coast of St Johns to clear in at Cruz Bay.  It didn't look too taxing from the description in the pilot book. As the plethora of charter craft diminished with the miles we turned into the Bay.  There was nowhere to anchor which explained why there were a couple of boats swinging about outside the harbour in the unbearable chop from the fast local ferry boats.  The anchor held on the second try.  We launched the dinghy yet again, not easy in the lumpy sea, for yet another marathon dinghy journey.  The majority of dinghy rides here, especially in UK waters designed craft, are long affairs resulting in wet bottoms, tops & glasses - we are seriously contemplating buying a different RIB for next season.  For now salt encrusted shorts & wet shopping are the norm.  So, Skipper goes ashore with paperwork in waterproof back pack only to radio back to say that they needed to see both of us.  Wet dinghy ride over reef back to boat, don salty shorts, wet dinghy ride back to jetty leaving Ajaya bouncing about in the wash.  Disembarking we heard that the beach bar was holding a crab race which slightly helped ease the sense of humour failure! 
The officials were charming & very helpful. The whole process was over reasonably quickly.  We were read the riot act about making sure that no fresh food waste from food purchased anywhere other than in the USVIs was to leave the boat.  This was to be held on board & taken to the incineration plant for which a charge would be made.  In fact most places in the BVIs charged to take your rubbish away, up to $4 in some anchorages.  Luckily we'd dumped our last lot of gash before crossing.   However, the more we queried the Immigration Officer about our intended length of stay in the USA it slowly dawned that we may not have seen the last of Sopers Hole!  The six months starts now, sometime between now & the end of that period we have to make a "meaningful departure" (followed hopefully by a "meaningful return"!) in order to extend our stay to satisfy the insurance company..........and the saga continues.
Duly cleared in we sought out a supermarket, bought a few bits, got back in dinghy, crab race had just begun, wet ride back to boat, stow wet shopping, haul up dinghy, remove salty shorts & up anchor!  Phew, now time to roost somewhere peaceful for the night. Hmmm - Caneel Bay slightly to the north looked favourite. After a slave uprising in the 18th century the sugar plantation owners who were not massacred retreated to the mansion here, now apparently a high class resort!  Not for us this time, there was no lee and the few boats on moorings were rolling incessantly.  So we headed south back past Cruz Bay to Great Cruz Bay. Nope - full of local moorings.  Next a bay called Chocolate Hole by now it was getting late & everywhere looks ominous as the light fades. It was also full of local boats & a building site ashore.  On we went to Rendezvous Bay, headed for the nearest bit of lee & anchored next to the only other boat there.  The wind eventually dropped, turtles swam by & the stars came out.
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