Friday, January 17, 2014

Cruz Bay - St John USVI

Port channel into Cruz Bay
Cruz Bay is the only place to clear Customs and immigration into the USVI on St John.  The harbor is somewhat on the small side in terms of bays but very developed.  There is a reef on each side of the entrance and then two short channels.  The starboard channel is for big, fast ferry boats -island to island.  The port channel is for big, fast touristy boats (the kind that take you and 50 of your closest friends out for a 3 hour tour).  All moorings are private.  The cruising guide said the only anchorage was in the Y between the channels.  It was PACKED with local boats.  Some on moorings, some anchored.  No room to squeeze in.  None.  
Middle Y section and then starboard channel - sorry for the blur
There is a very small anchorage (4 boats max with very little scope out) just to the left of the port channel that has a 3 hour time limit.  However, it gets shallow fast.  All the boats coming and going in the channel (very close to this 3 hour anchorage as well as the starboard channel -which isn't really that far away) race in and out with very little regard to their wake, much like Lake Perry back in KS.  Can you say deja vous?  
Very close to shore and rocks
Because of all these factors, most yachts take a mooring ball around the corner at Caneel Bay and then dinghy around to Cruz Bay to check in.  Warning Caneel Bay is very, very rolly due to swell and numerous passing ferries.  If you are prone to seasickness at all – Caneel Bay could be tough.
sv Honey Ryder rolling in Caneel Bay

 In addition to checking in, Cruz Bay is a good place to provision at either the Dolphin or Starfish grocery stores and hit the ACE Hardware.
Dolphin grocery store - good selection

Very narrow aisles - notice it gets even narrower towards the far end

The National Park HQ is here and there is a huge assortment of restaurants and bars to choose from.  There is also a US Post Office for mailing and receiving packages.  Something we wish we would have known earlier as we had a package sent to Redhook on St Thomas.  

There are three dinghy docks- basically parking lots for all the dinghies.  One by the National Park HQ and the other two are on each side of the island to island ferry dock.    


  1. I can see are going to be having Mexican food for dinner. Nothin' like beans on a boat! Looks fantastic. Thanks for helping the rest of us live so wonderfully vicariously through your travels and experiences.
    Capt. Annie

  2. Those narrow grocery store aisles are very typical of what we experienced in Belize. It was very hard to get by someone shopping even without a cart. I remember those "taxis" from our time in the BVI as well. I wouldn't like to try to drive on the left side of the road, so I can see why taxi drivers didn't want to change over to the right side!