The anchorages on St John:
On the east side of Reef Bay, on the southern coast of St John island in the USVI’s we find Lameshur Bays. It is made up of two bays and one more to the west, hence the plural of their name. These are, starting from the west, Europa Bay, Little Lameshur Bay and Great Lameshur Bay. The area is part of the Virgin Islands National Park and features a rugged shoreline, beautiful sand beaches and access to various hiking trails.
Little Lameshur Bay: This is the middle anchorage with a sand bottom, good holding and half a dozen mooring buoys available. Straight approach from the south making sure to stay clear of land on either side. Arriving late at night is not advised since the mooring buoys do fill up fast. Anchoring in Little Lameshur Bay is forbidden. The spot offers excellent protection apart from the S and is a preferred option for snorkelling and swimming. When there is a swell it is preferred to head to Great Lameshur Bay. Caution should be taken when exiting the bay heading eastwards to steer clear of the shoal waters near the point.
Great Lameshur Bay
On the W shore of Great Lameshur Bay, there is a dock for the National Park Service and a small office building. The Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station and a small museum also used to operate here but it has been temporarily closed in recent years after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit in 2017. Can only use mooring buoys as anchoring is again forbidden. Depths range from 5-7m. When heading east, caution should be taken to stay clear of the reef along Cabrithron Pt.
Similar to most southern anchorages on the island of St John, Lameshur Bays is considered an off the beaten path destination and is sparsely populated. It takes just under 1 hour to reach it by car from Cruz Bay since you will need to drive up towards Coral Bay first before heading towards the south coast. The distance from Coral Bay is a short 20-minute drive and the road conditions are challenging and only accessible if driving a Jeep.
Lameshur Bays is not suitable as a provisioning stop. No organized facilities or amenities onshore apart from some rubbish bins and picnic tables at Little Lameshur Bay.
Things to Do
Lameshur Bay Trail
Lameshur Bay Trail is one of the main attractions on this part of St John island. The stunning trail also offers easy access to Europa Beach, the westernmost of the three bays, where amazing snorkelling awaits. Among others, can get the chance to spot tropical Caribbean fish, nurse sharks, manta rays and sea turtles. The path connects with the Reef Bay trail where you can visit the sugar factory ruins and see ancient petroglyphs.