LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Sweet Watermelon Bay.

Or so I thought.

Turns out, what I’ve been calling waterMELON bay all this time is actually waterLEMON bay. I know, crazy! ;))

Whatever you want to call this place, it has honestly some of the prettiest water in all of St. John! At least from what we saw after our tour around the island in December where we stopped at ten or so different anchorages along the way.

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Waterlemon Bay might not technically even be an anchorage, but it is next door neighbors to the more popular Leinster Bay, and also home to Waterlemon Cay beach.

When we reached the northwest coast of the island, we really had quite the view of the British Virgin Islands with Tortola staring back at us from across the Sir Francis Drake channel. I had no idea how close the BVIs actually are to the USVIs. So close that I was bouncing back and forth between regular American AT&T cell service and the international BVI Digicel and Lime services.

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The boat traffic (mostly sailboats and catamarans) here in the Virgin Islands is crazy too! We’ve never seen anything like it. When you look out on the horizon between islands, all you see is one massive line of sails moving about. It’s nuts!

Anyhoo, we spent a short afternoon dinghying around the gorgeous bay and scoping it all out before making the excruciating 6-mile trek (I’m obviously kidding on the excruciating part) over to Maho Bay…just in time for the resident bay hosts to greet us at our boat with their handy money envelope. Any USVI cruisers out there know what I’m talking about. ;))

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Bay hosts are basically citizen volunteers that police a bunch of the park anchorages throughout St. John. They specifically occupy the bays with National Park Service mooring balls, where the going rate of a mooring is $15 per night. Not all of the anchorages have a bay host at the moment, but you’ll know one when you see one. They typically fly a green park service flag and will, without a doubt, dinghy over to your boat to inform you of any and all park rules along with making sure you are aware of the mooring ball fee…as if the huge sticker on the mooring itself wasn’t a dead give away. Or better yet, the floating “mooring pay station” in the middle of the anchorage. But I digress.

We spent a nice afternoon soaking up the sites around Maho Bay, which is also insanely gorgeous by the way. After taking Oliver to shore late at night and meeting face to face with yet another beach deer, we headed back to the boat and found ourselves engulfed in massive tarpon swimming around the boat!

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Without any cool underwater lights like some of the fancier boats we see, we busted out our trusty spotlight to watch the action go down. There must’ve been a hundred or more tarpon lingering in the waters below our boat. Bright neon orangey-red eyes stared back at us as we spotlighted all of the hungry tarpon lingering below. Writing this, it’s funny to note what having no internet or television access can do to an individual. Spotlighting tarpon for 30+ minutes becomes our choice entertainment for the night. Lol.

And this is where my recount of our visit to Maho Bay gets good.

The next mooring we dinghied ourselves over to the floating “Mooring Pay Station” to drop off our $15 check that covered our single night stay in the bay.


After carefully filling out the check, completing all the fields on the official envelope, sealing up the envelope nicely and then handing it off to Jer to deposit in the locked dropbox, what do you think happened next? Jer accidentally dropped the freaking envelope into the water as he was attempting to stuff it into the dropbox. Seriously?

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Let’s just hope wet checks dry fine and no one’s worse for the wear because we went ahead and deposited our soggy envelope. Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Bay Host. We will try harder next time. :)))

>>Thanks for visiting LAHOWIND sailing blog! We’d love for you to get to know us and follow our story as we attempt to navigate a whole new world of sailing, as we cruise the Caribbean.



Kelley - Sailing ChanceJanuary 7, 2015 - 2:01 am

We once had someone insist we paypal him the money for a mooring (no choice to anchor where we were) only to have the money bounce back to me due to him not having a valid paypal account.

JoeyJanuary 7, 2015 - 3:34 pm

Sherry and I have been there a couple of times. I was told that the little beach there is where Kenny Chesney and Renee were married. His house is straight up the hill about 500 yards north of pay station on water.

KathiJanuary 7, 2015 - 11:47 pm

The bay hosts sound a lot like campground hosts on land!

BillJanuary 9, 2015 - 11:47 am

I stayed at Maho Bay Camps a couple years ago after a boat delivery to Virgin gorda. Hiked over to Waterlemon and snorkeled around tiny Waterlemon Cay. You can also hike up to the Annenberg sugar plantation ruins from Waterlemon.