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Lobster or Me

Okay, the day’s sailing is over and happy hour is on. The sun is setting on the horizon and already the belly is rumbling for a little bit more than cocktail peanuts. Grilled lobster is ashore at a waterfront resort, and it’s your turn to shout for dinner.

Seven people for a table at eight and possibly a hundred bucks a head (no junior discount for lobster) and yes, you are looking at a pretty heavy whack on top of an already expensive vacation. You ask yourself just how long are you going to be paying off this holiday. Your plastic friend can save you face right now, but its counterpart on paper is going to remind you how costly that attitude of “Hey, no worries. You only live once” will make you pay. We budgeted for that though, you say, but have you considered the cost of provisioning to make your week’s charter just a bit more cost effective?

Consider this first: there is no livestock in the BVI to go towards that steak dinner. Nor is there a vast fishing industry that keeps prices down. Everything here, even the bananas, are imported.  There is no sales tax, but prices include an import duty, price of gas and rising overheads, so do expect your eight-ounce steak to be about forty dollars or so and a banana split to cost around ten bucks. You do get what you pay for, so you aren’t being blatantly ripped off by any means. Restaurants aren’t homeless shelters for sunburnt yachties, and there are costs of running a business. Then there’s the painstaking cost of getting that steak to you and the price of it being cooked. It’s a jungle out here!

 

So, if you miss the cost of dining at a discount chain restaurant in a tropical paradise, look a little closer on your boat and you might save a penny or a thousand. There are several excellent provisioning stores in the BVI, and they sell more than just six dollar bottles of rum. There is also an excellent fishery here with fresh caught fish. Other seafood can readily be obtained from good places like the Sailor’s Ketch and the fisheries department themselves.

Granted, there is a markup on your supermarket prices, and before you start grumbling—yes, the price of toilet paper or cocktail peanuts here is considerably higher than back in the States, but bear in mind as you were flying over a cargo ship on the way here, those peanuts were probably on that boat below and took a long time to get here with a lot of labor involved. Bless dem travelling peanuts!

So, can you expect to put a whole week’s provisioning in the tiny fridges and holds on the boat? Well, yes, within reason.  Some charters will advise you on the best provisioning stores, and private charters will even send you a shopping list. Supermarkets and stores here will even cater for a large shopping list and have your goods delivered to your boat; they like to do it and it's good business! What you can’t pack in you might want to eat on day one or two!

After the meal is done, and you are proud you have saved that hard-earned money, you can go ashore to the bar for rum. The rum drink will cost you six bucks, the same price as a whole bottle in the store, but that’s another topic for another time!  

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