On St. John, we have a lot of options when it comes to going to the beach. Some have facilities and some don’t. Some attract tourists in taxi-vans and some are rarely visited except by locals. Some can be reached by walking just a few yards from your vehicle and some can only be reached by walking trail.
That is, if you’re coming by land, but what about those that arrive by sea?.
In order to protect the undersea grasslands that have been decimated by anchors over the years, the National Park has instituted rules concerning anchoring at National Park park beaches. Generally speaking, anchoring is prohibited within the boundaries marked off by the white swim swim buoys that can be found at almost all the beaches. Small craft may enter these bays through the channel marked by the red and green buoys to pick up or discharge passengers, but cannot anchor within that area. Boats must either be hauled up onto the beach or moored or anchored outside the protected area, in which case you’ll either have to swim in or catch a ride. (leaving the dinghy operator with no other choice but to swim or stay aboard)
But hauling a boat up on the beach is problematic for all but the smallest dinghies. Most dinghies are simply too heavy to pull up to a safe distance on the beach where waves and tides will not threaten to take the craft back out to sea, minus captain and crew.
It used to be so convenient. If you had a small boat you could anchor in sand near the beach and have easy safe access. But boaters who would lay their anchors in the seagrass beds, ruined it for the rest and now no one can anchor right off the beach.
A little known fact is that there is one National Park beach where you can still anchor close in. And its a beautiful coral sand, north shore, palm tree lined beach to boot. That beach is Little Cinnamon and it’s the only one of its kind on the north shore. Pull right up to beach and set your anchor, but be sure to watch out for patches of reef lying near the shore.