Across to the British Virgin Islands

This morning we untied from our mooring in Caneel Bay off the island of St Johns in the US Virgin Islands, and sailed 13 miles to the city of Road Town on the island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands.

It was a typical Virgin Island sail, in 15 knots of wind and quite flat water.  Karen kept commenting this wasn’t ocean sailing, there is land visible in every direction!  We short-tacked Harmonie through “The Narrows”.  OK, the Narrows are a mile wide, but on a 53 foot boat that FEELS like short-tacking!   We then made out way further upwind, moving east through the Sir Francis Drake Channel half way down the length of Tortola to Road Town, a Port of Entry into the BVIs.

Whenever you arrive in a new country, your first stop must be in a “Port of Entry” to clear customs and immigration.  Road Town  is one of two Ports of Entry on Tortola. The Customs office is at the ferry dock where the boats from the US Virgins land.

We were first directed to the immigration office, where we were given the three forms we needed.  An Immigration Card for each of us, (Charge:  US$0.10 each) and a Customs form for the boat (Charge:  US$1.00).  We filed them out, and handed the paperwork in to the immigration officer, who checked them for completeness, and then held our forms and passports while we were sent to Customs (on the other side of the room) to pay our fees.  US$6.13 later, and several official stamps later, we had all our paperwork back and were officially checked in to the country.

We have a couple other things to do here in Road Town.  Get a SIM card for a phone so we have data access around the islands, get a fishing license, and go to the grocery store. It is unlikely we will get all that done tomorrow (Things are closed on Sunday!) but Monday should have our chores finished here and we can head on to other scenic spots.


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