Dubious St. John Stories – The Shelling of Carval Rock

Carval Rock
Carval Rock
Carval Rock
Carval Rock Aerial

It has been said that Carval Rock, the small Cay located off the north shore of St. John and just northeast of Lovango Cay, got its name because a one night long ago, a British warship fired cannon balls at the rock all night long, the crew believing it to be a Spanish Carval. Rumors also exist that these cannonballs can either still be found at the base of rock some 80 feet below the sea or that someone somewhere has found cannonballs there.

Thinking about it. It’s a nice story, but almost certainly not true. The rock can be plainly seen even at night. It doesn’t move like a ship and it doesn’t return fire. What must the gunners have been drinking to have waged war on this innocuous foe?

About Carval Rock

Balanced Rock
Balanced Rock
fig tree on rock face
Fig Tree Wedged into Rock Face

The cay is consists of large limestone boulders that are continually exposed to the sun, wins and surf. During periods of heavy ground seas waves hitting the north side of the cay will spray the whole cliff face, sometimes rising higher than the cay itself.

The only lasting vegetation on the cay are two small trees wedged into the eastern cliff face.

Carval Rock is used as a rookery for seabirds who lay their eggs in crevices on the rock face.

Fishing off Carval Rock
Fishing off Carval Rock

The cay is also a popular dive spot, fishing destination and venue for burials at sea.

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