The anchorages on St John:
Coral Harbor is one of the main anchorage points for yacht charters visiting the Coral Bay area. Located on the southeastern side of the tropical island of St John in the United States Virgin Islands, it is the least visited of the three Virgin Islands with a relaxed and off the beaten path vibe. Coral Harbor stands on the opposite side of the main centre of the island, Cruz Bay, and is popular with hikers, nature lovers and yacht cruisers that wish to avoid the crowds. East of Coral Harbor, we find the crystal waters of Hurricane Hole which is part of the Virgin Islands National Park and functions as a nursery for endangered marine life.
On approach, give Lagoon Pt on the western point a wide berth to avoid the reefs. Stay at 330° to reach Coral Harbor. While this is a wide anchorage point, most of the space is taken up by local boats and private moorings that are not accessible to yachters. If space allows, it is best to anchor on the NW side in about 3-4m of mud. The bottom has good holding but as always be mindful of anchoring near coral. When trade winds come in from the SE, it can get a bit uncomfortable. The area around Coral Harbor is still cluttered with wrecks after the Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, especially in the NE. Shoal waters around the shoreline should also be avoided.
Coral Bay is the only other residential area in St John apart from Cruz Bay. The bay and surrounding area suffered significant damage after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Most of the debris from sunken vessels has since been removed but a lot of it remains in and around the general Coral Bay area.
The main town of Coral Bay offers some amenities as well as restaurants, shops, a small grocery store, cafes and souvenir shops. A small repair shop is also located on the E side of the shore for small scale mechanical services.
Things to Do
Lime Out – Floating Taco in the Caribbean
One of the main attractions in the area is Lime Out, a floating taco bar that serves fresh food and refreshing drinks. There is a limited amount of mooring balls available near the bar, otherwise, you can anchor further out and dinghy closer. In the past, the bar was open to swimmers as well but is now limited to boaters only. As always, be mindful of the coral reefs around when choosing where to anchor.
Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins
The Annaberg Sugar Plantation Ruins are located only a 10-minute drive north of Coral Bay and are well worth a visit. You may also visit the sugar plantation if you head to the northern side of the island in Leinster Bay. There is a donation box for accessing the grounds. At one point, it covered more than 518 acres and was one of 25 active sugar plantations on the island.