The anchorages on St John:
Francis Bay is an intimate and serene spot on the north shore of St John island and part of the United States Virgin Islands. The area is popular with yacht charters and a great spot to watch the sunset or partake in water sport activities. It is located E of Maho Bay, one of the most popular spots on the island.
Francis Bay is considered the best anchorage on the N side of the island. It is well protected from the winds and a better spot to avoid the swell than nearby Maho Bay. The area can be busy with day cruises during the day but is generally quieter later in the evening. In the past, anchoring was allowed but not anymore. You can use the mooring buoys available even though spaces are limited. Just as with the rest of the mooring spots on St John there is a 14 day limit to stays after which you can apply for an extension. Vessels need to be registered with the Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR). Watch out for the buoys marking the bathing area.
This mooring spot is not ideal for provisioning. It is of note that the island of St John does not have any marinas.
A great location if you are planning to visit nearby Maho Beach but want a quieter spot. There are no showers or toilets here. For this, you will have to travel to Cinnamon Bay. The long wide stretch of sand provides plenty of space for everyone and quite a few shaded spots if you wish to avoid the sun. Good opportunities for snorkelling and kayaking around the bay.
Things to Do
The eastern side of the bay is particularly good for underwater exploration. Beautiful corals and marine life including rays and turtles can be spotted here.
Annaberg Sugar Plantation
The Annaberg Sugar Plantation was one of 25 that operated on the island and is considered the best-preserved site on the island. It is located on the other side of Francis Bay, in Leinster Bay, which is also known as Watermelon Bay. It once spanned more than 500 acres and tells the complex story of slavery conditions for indigenous and African slaves under the colonizers. At its peak, more than 600 people worked on the plantation under brutal conditions. The trail takes a couple of hours to complete and is open year-round. There is no fee to enter the trail. The windmill, built between 1810 and 1830 is one of the largest on the island.