Sailing St John Virgin Islands: In this video, we’re going to take you to four anchorages on the US Virgin Island of St John and we’ll also take you to meet a sea lion named, Omar, on the US Virgin Island of St Thomas. The anchorages include Cruz Bay (Honeymoon Beach), Francis Bay, Leinster Bay, and the hurricane hole outside of Coral Bay. (Note the map below to see all the stops).
Sailing St John Virgin Islands Video
Sailing St John Virgin Islands Transcripts
Make sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter to get notified of new videos and articles! Coming next is our sail to and around the British Virgin Islands. Travel with us to Virgin Gorda and the famous Baths. We’ll also visit Limerick Bay….we’ll dive the Rohn, a shipwreck, and many more anchorages around the British Virgin Islands.
When planning a sail around St John’s, Cruz Bay is where you’ll find provisions, loads of bars and restaurants in addition to watersports, car rental agencies, and ferries to other islands.
Boaters can take a mooring ball outside Honeymoon Beach and easily dinghy into Cruz Bay.
At the time of our visit, all mooring balls in the national park were free of charge. Imagine waking up to this lovely view from the mooring…
Upon entering Cruz Bay, you have to head into the harbor and then back to the left to park just outside the Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center.
After your dinghy is tied up and locked, it’s only a quick walk from the dinghy dock to The Marketplace where you’ll find a fantastic supermarket, hardware store and pharmacy. Once you get your provisions you can then play around and enjoy all that the area has to offer.
There are loads of eclectic bars and restaurants with excellent happy hour drinks and food menus.
You can enjoy a beverage on the beach, grab some ice cream for the children and stop for food and drinks at Mongoose Junction, an area with boutiques, art galleries, and very cool restaurants. The vibe is fantastic and everyone is in a good mood!
When we were at Mongoose Junction, we celebrated our boat buddies, Hayward & Ansley, wedding anniversary. They had their rehearsal dinner in the same spot thirteen years ago. Hayward and Ansley are now live aboard cruisers with two kids on Oceanus 461. We’ve been boat buddies with them since the Bahamas.
While your boat is safely tied onto a National Park mooring ball, you might want to take a ferry over to St Thomas for the day. Our plan was to take the ferry over and get a ride up to Coral World Ocean Park.
The ferries are inexpensive and the journey is lovely.
When you live and sail on a sailboat nothing happens fast. It’s nice to get out on a boat that does over 7 knots!
On this particular occasion, we were very fortunate to be invited to Coral World on a day it was closed to the public. Ansley is a Doctor of Marine Science and until quitting her job and setting sail she was a Marine Science teacher at a University in South Carolina. One of Ansley’s students took a job and Coral World and when she heard Ansley was in the area, she invited all of us for a private tour.
Coral World is a privately owned ocean park with a strong emphasis on Ocean Literacy, conservation (in general and specifically for turtles, coral reef and shark research) and amazing love for animals. Every staff member is totally in love with the animals they work with especially our guide Erin. After a day spent at the park with Erin, all the kids wanted to become marine science majors.
After Coral World, we took a bus ride around St Thomas to take in some great sights.
We then took the ferry back to St John’s. The day was filled with fun. The kids asked all sorts of incredible questions and the adults grinned from ear to ear after meeting a real sea lion. Once we made it back to the boats we all went to bed early.
The plan for the following day was to leave the busyness of Cruz Bay behind and head to a quiet bay for swimming, hiking, and down time.
Francis Bay is one of the longest beaches on St. John. It is usually less crowded than other beaches. With a bit of a walk, you will always find a private spot.
The water is very calm (little waves) so it is great for children.
It has very clear water and recently made it a ranking by Tripadvisor ’12 clear water beaches you need to see to believe.’ The Francis Bay Trail runs along a salt pond and offers great bird watching.
A very close walk from the beach is The Annaberg Plantation. As of 1780, it was one of 25 active sugar producing factories on St. John. Other products produced at Annaberg were molasses and rum. Annaberg was named after William Gottschalk’s daughter and translates to Anna’s Hill. Gottschalk was the plantation owner.
Slave labor was used to clear densely forested hillsides and to terrace the slopes around Annaberg to make farming possible. Slave labor was also used to plant, harvest, and process the sugarcane. When slavery was abolished, plantations were divided. The 518 acres that were once Annaberg Plantation were divided into smaller farms.
Today the plantation ruins are protected by the Virgin Islands National Park and are open to the public.
Trees have reclaimed the hillsides around Annaberg. A trail leads through factory ruins, slave quarters, windmill, and other remains. Placards and signs along the trails describe how sugar was produced and discuss plantation life and the history behind sugar plantations on St. John and in particular Annaberg.
Our next stop was in Leinster Bay for snorkeling as we’ve heard it’s a great spot to see fish. After a fantastic reef trip, we pulled up anchor and headed to an anchorage near Coral Bay. On the way, our friends on Pura Vida, had propulsion issues.
Their engine or propeller stopped working.
They had to pull out a sail, avoid dangers near rocks and land, and get into the channel. After a 1/2 hour or so they tried their engine again and it worked. We never figured out what the issue was!
Once in Coral Bay, we went to land to grab a hamburger, and then the crew on sailing vessel Dauntless invited us over. Jim and Judy charter their 52’ Jeanneau throughout the Caribbean.
It was nice to have a nose around a new sailboat!
After a pleasant evening with Jim and Judy, we went to bed, woke up the next day and headed to the British Virgin Islands. Make sure to sign up for our weekly newsletter to get notified of new videos and articles! Coming next is our sail to and around the British Virgin Islands. Travel with us to Virgin Gorda and the famous Baths. We’ll also visit Limerick Bay….we’ll dive the Rohn, a shipwreck, and many more anchorages around the British Virgin Islands.
If you have any burning question about St John, the Virgin Islands or cruising in general… or just want to chat with Simon or I, buy us a drink and we’ll email or ring to you answer your questions. All donations go to keeping these articles and videos free.
Sailing St John Virgin Islands Photos
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If you’d like an overview of all the places we’ve visited in the Caribbean please read our destination overview: Caribbean
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