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Circumnavigating St John #109258
10/05/2016 09:24 AM
10/05/2016 09:24 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
denverd0n Offline OP
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denverd0n  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
Have been to some of the anchorages/beaches on the NW side of St John in the past. Considering the possibility of spending more time and circumnavigating the island. Any thoughts on best way--clockwise or counter-clockwise? Also best anchorages/beaches on other parts of the island? Or maybe is it not worth it?

We are much more interested in nice, quiet, walk-able beaches than we are in music, and drinking, and nightlife.

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Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: denverd0n] #109259
10/05/2016 10:13 AM
10/05/2016 10:13 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 6,100
Maryland
Twanger Offline
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Twanger  Offline
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Maryland
Recommend you do this clockwise. The reason being that the waves & current on the south side can slow you to a crawl if you're beating into them. Running with them is no problem.

Conversely, going upwind on the north side of St. John is very sheltered and a much easier beat to windward... from Pillsbury Sound we usually tack almost all the way to Jost and then back to Francis Bay.

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: Twanger] #109260
10/05/2016 01:26 PM
10/05/2016 01:26 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
The southern bays are beautiful and quiet

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: denverd0n] #109261
10/06/2016 06:57 AM
10/06/2016 06:57 AM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 5,884
St. Thomas, USVI
Nutmeg Offline
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Nutmeg  Offline
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Posts: 5,884
St. Thomas, USVI
Quote
denverd0n said:
We are much more interested in nice, quiet, walk-able beaches than we are in music, and drinking, and nightlife.


Sounds like St John is for you. You do have to be careful of the wind. The southern bays can be rolly in some weather. Also be aware of the park regulations, as there is basically no anchoring on the south side.


[color:"red"]NUTMEG[/color]
Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday.
Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: Nutmeg] #109262
10/06/2016 09:53 AM
10/06/2016 09:53 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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RickG  Offline
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Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
We've done this many times and it is awesome. We've done it both directions and it really depends on your starting point. We start from St. Thomas on our monohull sailboat and usually go counter-clockwise. The south shore is a low/no charter boat area.

Favorite stops:

- Great Lameshure - excellent snorkeling/diving, trash dropoff at NPS dock, walkable/dinghy to beaches at Little Lameshure and Salt Pond. Maintained NPS hiking trails as far as Bordeaux Mountain and Reef Bay. No villas, but the small VIERS is in the valley onshore, NPS moorings

- Salt Pond - excellent snorkeling/diving, Cafe Concordia is walkable up a hill, Rams Head is a great hike, NPS moorings

- Hansen Bay in Coral Bay - excellent snorkeling, campground/day beach onshore, anchoring, usually a couple of cruisers anchored, you can dinghy to Vie's Beach to access her snack bar

- Hurricane Hole - free day moorings, great mangrove snorkeling in Princess Bay, one of three inner bays with moorings

- Coral Bay Harbor - funky .alt scene with liveaboards, dinghy dock at Skinny Legs, Indigo Grill across the street from Skinny's, longer walkable (1 mile flat) or dinghy to shallow grassy area with no dock in front of Cocoloba Center - Caribbean Oasis, Triple B breakfast, Aqua Bistro, Dolphin Market, Skipper's Brit Pub, the harbor is mangrovey with clay/mud bottom that sticks anchors like glue, odor from mangroves closer in, we won't get in the water here

- Leinster Bay/Waterlemon Cay - excellent snorkeling/diving, Johnny Horn trail hike to Brown Bay/Coral Bay (awesome), walk/dinghy to Annaberg Plantation, NPS moorings (inner moorings do not have cell signal, outer moorings have week signal)

- Frank Bay/Maho Bay - Beautiful large mooring field with two large flat beaches. Maha Bay is a top 10 worldwide beach for us, excellent snorkeling, beaches are busy during the day, but empty in the morning and late afternoon

- Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay , Hawksnest Bay - Beautiful beaches, but moorings are more exposed, good day mooring. The concessions are in transition from Caneel Bay operations to a new vendor. The restaurant at Cinnamon Bay may be a decent option. Trunk Bay has a snack bar with frozen drinks and burgers/dogs.

- Caneel Bay - very rolly in a monohull with ferries running from 6AM to 2AM, easy dinghy access downwind (wet coming back) to Cruz Bay with 20+ walkable restaurants and bars, we prefer to play here for early happy hour/late lunch and then move to Maho Bay for the night. Caneel Bay has good sushi at lunch and Zozo's is very popular for dinner, need to use a stern anchor if you use their dock. Caneel Bay is not friendly to folks who want to leave their dinghy their and go to Cruz Bay. Salomon Bay and Honeymoon Bay have great beaches, but many St. Thomas day boats bring trips over.

- Christmas Cove - not St. John, between St. John and St. Thomas at Great St. James island, very nice anchorage with free moorings (poorly maintained) and anchoring allowed, excellent snorkeling, Pizza Pi pizza boat is very good.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: RickG] #109263
10/06/2016 11:05 AM
10/06/2016 11:05 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
denverd0n Offline OP
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denverd0n  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
So one says clockwise and one says counter-clockwise. That helps. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: denverd0n] #109264
10/06/2016 11:36 AM
10/06/2016 11:36 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
on the south side, you want to be in following seas as it's open water.

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: sail2wind] #109265
10/06/2016 11:48 AM
10/06/2016 11:48 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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RickG  Offline
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Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
denverd0n, where are you starting from? Do you need to provision on St. John?

...Twanger is usually on a cat. We're on a 40' monohull that likes to sail upwind. What are you on?

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: RickG] #109266
10/06/2016 01:22 PM
10/06/2016 01:22 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 6,100
Maryland
Twanger Offline
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Twanger  Offline
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Posts: 6,100
Maryland
I've thrashed my way up-wind on the south-side of St. John in a Moorings 40CC monohull.
We got slowed to a crawl at the SE tip of STJ, I forget the name of the point of land there.
Anyhoo... it's tempting to stay close to land, but the water pours around that point. It's better to stand out to the south a few miles on a really long tack. All of this is pretty much open ocean. It's spirited sailing if you like bashing into 6-foot seas.

I managed to get half our crew sick in 2000 doing this... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/duh.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/jester.gif" alt="" />

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: Twanger] #109267
10/06/2016 01:34 PM
10/06/2016 01:34 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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RickG  Offline
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Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
Sounds like a rough time on the south side. I usually head out to the south drop and try my luck fishing on the way. The southeast point is Ram Head.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: RickG] #109268
10/06/2016 03:30 PM
10/06/2016 03:30 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 969
NC, USA
capndar Offline
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capndar  Offline
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NC, USA
We have circumnavigated STJ once, counter clockwise. We were fortunate to have very moderate seas. We spent the night anchored in the outer reaches of Coral Harbor - Like Rick, I would NOT get in the water there. Skinny Legs is fun (dinghy dock is challenging) .alt definitely describes the 'town'. Some of the other bays are stunning and reasonably private.


Capndar
Masters 50 GT Sail/Power/Towing
3rd generation sailor
Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: capndar] #109269
10/07/2016 09:11 AM
10/07/2016 09:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
denverd0n Offline OP
Traveler
denverd0n  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
As to where we're starting and what we're on... I don't know. We are charterers, and are just considering this for a future charter. It is usually just my wife and myself, and we usually get relatively small monohulls (35'-40').

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: denverd0n] #109270
10/07/2016 11:23 AM
10/07/2016 11:23 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
RickG Offline
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RickG  Offline
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Posts: 1,876
St. John, USVI
As long as you give the east coast between Coral Bay and Ram Head plenty of leeway you'll be fine. There is a reef with an inner and an outer passage right around Concordia. We always stay outside that reef. There was that big Island Packet that went on the rocks there in recent years.

If you're coming from Tortola then it makes sense to go clockwise.

Cheers, RickG


S/V Echoes, 2003 Benetau 423
St. John, USVI
Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: RickG] #109271
10/07/2016 11:50 AM
10/07/2016 11:50 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 3,360
Virginia wishing STJ
TomB Offline
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TomB  Offline
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Posts: 3,360
Virginia wishing STJ
USCG Rescues 6 Boaters off St John

Rocks and Sailboats just do not get along!


Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: RickG] #109272
10/28/2016 10:06 AM
10/28/2016 10:06 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
denverd0n Offline OP
Traveler
denverd0n  Offline OP
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Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 308
Tampa, FL
Quote
RickG said:
If you're coming from Tortola then it makes sense to go clockwise.

And if we are coming from St. Thomas? Counter-clockwise?

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: denverd0n] #109273
10/28/2016 11:31 AM
10/28/2016 11:31 AM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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sail2wind  Offline
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Posts: 10,213
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
clockwise, so the south side is downwind

Re: Circumnavigating St John [Re: sail2wind] #109274
10/31/2016 05:27 PM
10/31/2016 05:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 32
Illinois
Illini_sailor Offline
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Posts: 32
Illinois
I have done it both ways in a 40' mono and agree with the clockwise suggestion unless you have settled conditions on south side of St. John. It can be a very uncomfortable beat into the wind with significant waves.

RickG did a great job of summarizing the various beaches and bays. One update is that Vie recently closed her snackbar for good. She stopped making the garlic chicken a while back and has now closed it completely.

Remember that water is not available except at the fuel dock near the NPS dock in Cruz Bay so plan accordingly.

Dolphin Market in Cruz Bay is the closest full service market to the dingy dock and it's not a bad walk except the last block is all uphill.


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