Sailing from one end of Virgin Gorda to the other was a breeze. On June 24th we anchored in front of Spanish Town and got settled for the night.
The following day marked 30 days we had spent in BVI. Our mission was to visit the Customs and Immigration office to check out. We were misinformed about the location for checking out and found ourselves at the office up the hill which happens to be the place to go only for extending visas. The officials kindly informed us at 3pm that they were closed for the day and we would have to visit the Customs office near the Port Authority back down by our boat the next day. Go figure.
The next morning Peter and I dinghied back to shore and hiked across the field adjacent to the Marina to reach the Customs office. We brought our cruising permit, Certificate of Documentation, passports and money. Expecting to be hit hard for taxes and fees in a country that thrives on the Charter Boat Industry, we were pleasantly surprised to only be charged .75 cents for administration fees. It was even more strange since we had to visit three different windows with three different staff members to complete the transaction. One person could have done in two minutes what it took three people to do in 20.
Before this experience we had heard that various offices around BVI charge different rates for checking out of the country. Some are as high as $20. We heard Gun Creek was only $1.75 but it wasn’t convenient for us to check out of there since they didn’t have a decent grocery store or propane filling station. We took our chances with Spanish Town and everything worked out great.
The officials here did make sure to inform us, however, that our cruising permit had in fact only been valid for one week – not the 30 days we had thought. It wasn’t a terribly big deal and they waved us away after we told them it was our first time in BVI. They warned us for next time to notify the officials upon entry if we plan on staying longer than one week. NOTED!
On June 26th, the day had finally come to say “Goodbye BVI” and “Adios to Jost”. Already late in the season we still had a long way to go before reaching Grenada where we would be spending Hurricane Season below 12-degrees latitude. If you’re interested on why a lot of Caribbean cruisers choose to spend Hurricane Season in Grenada, take a look at this fun little tool from NOAA: Historical Hurricane Tracks.
Next up… St. Eustatius! We’re currently finishing up projects in Grenada as Hurricane Season comes to an end :)