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.

Lost at Sea.

(Fish Bay, St. John)

Another day, another plush dog toy nearly lost at sea. This is our life. Lol. And some of the silliest memories I never want to forget.

Oliver does this amazing thing where he just exists and makes our lives better because of it. And that is precisely why we put up with his dropping of dog toys overboard every so often, and usually at the most inopportune times possible. ;))

Mr. Lion was nearly a goner just the other day before we swooped in to save his already-mangled little body.

If you have ever met Oliver in person, whether on our boat, at home in Naples, wherev, you know he has this hilarious personality trait that necessitates his needing to grab and possessively carry a toy for any and all excitement that presents itself. And to a dog, just about anything qualifies as an exciting event. ;)) If he hears a dinghy passing, then he immediately runs and grabs a toy and races up and into the cockpit to show off said toy to that unsuspecting cruiser. If Jer and I come back from being out somewhere, then Oliver is waiting for us at the top rung of the companionway stairs with one of his fav toys in his mouth. Without fail. It’s just his thing. He wants to show you, me, whoever, his toys. Always.

Well, as we were cracking some Foster’s cans at sunset to head out and dinghy around Fish Bay, Oliver was excited by the sheer idea of an afternoon dinghy adventure and decided that was the perfect time to release Mr. Lion (who he happened to be carrying in his mouth) back into the wild (i.e. drop him overboard).

We scrambled with our beers, jumped in the dinghy, and set out to save poor Lion before any untimely deaths occurred. Luckily, our rescue mission was a complete success and, after drying out for a few days in the cockpit, Mr. Lion is now resting comfortably back in the toy bin with his other stuffed animal friends. ;))


^^the start of a regular afternoon.^^


^^just minding our own business as Lion gets swept out to sea.^^


^^attempting to grab him, but it’s too late.^^


^^rescue in action.^^


^^rescue mission complete. kisses for all.^^


^^now we can sit back and relax.^^


^^finally getting a chance to pop open my own beer. sheesh!^^

>>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.

JC3January 6, 2015 - 7:03 pm

My favorite post as we can relate to this! You guys are great. JC3

PamelaJanuary 6, 2015 - 9:20 pm

My golden retriever, Honey, also loves to share her toys. But until I read this, I hadn’t thought of the potential problems we’ll be facing when we set sail with her.

I foresee a few stuffy overboard drills in our future.

Hey hey Fish Bay!

Fish Bay is one of those smaller overlooked anchorages that if cruisers looked a little closer they just might fall in love with the best kept secret around!

In St. John, there are tons of very notable anchorages, each extremely gorgeous in it’s own right and many of which are chock full of easy-to-use National Park Service mooring balls. Fish Bay, however, is kind of off the radar.


We spent our first three nights in St. John at Fish Bay, where most of the bay lies just barely outside the National Park boundary. As such, you are actually allowed to anchor here. This is pretty awesome considering many of the other “anchorages” do not allow anchoring and have hefty $15 daily price tags tied to their lovely moorings.

Fish Bay is a bit on the small side with no public access or dinghy dock since most of the bay is surrounded by private residences, vacation rentals, that sort of thing. (Side note, those private residences supplied us with some pretty decent open wifi. Just saying.)


We found a small beach that was perfect to land the dinghy and let Oliver use. Funny thing though about that beach is that it turned out to be home to a bevy of wild animals at night!


It had us packing multiple flashlights along with a machete on night two after being accosted by a group of beady neon eyes on our first night trip to shore for Oliver. We were taken aback (and totally unprepared) to say the least when we were met with several sets of glowing eyes staring back at us the first night we took Oliver to land (surprisingly we haven’t had that happen yet — that we know of at least).

After racing back to the dinghy and skipping Oliver’s potty break altogether on night one, we busted out some extra gear and even spotlighted the beach from the boat before heading to shore again. Turns out, those eyes were connected to several deer who made repeat appearances every night of our stay.

I did a quick Google search and, turns out, St. John is home to lots of deer, donkey, and even mongoose! So random. Jereme actually spotted a mongoose over at Great Lameshur Bay, but we have yet to see any donkeys.

It sure was a nice change of pace to find ourselves as the only cruisers/boaters in the anchorage all three nights we spent tucked in this great little harbor.

Our days were spent paddle boarding around the bay. Scoping out tons of baby sharks and other random fish. Watching TONS of turtles pop their heads out of the water literally all day long. And we snorkeled some pretty nice rocks along the outside of the bay that were home to lots of pretty fish and coral.

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Fish Bay was definitely one of our favorite anchorages so far in the USVI.

>>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.

KasablancaFebruary 2, 2015 - 3:50 am

Seriously, we are going there! As always a beautiful post!

A quick trip to Red Hook.

Red Hook…a hopping little town on the east end of the island in St. Thomas. And turns out, Red Hook is fantastic for completing boat chores!


^^Did you even notice little ole LAHO? She looks like a tinker toy next to that big boy catamaran, who btw anchored right next to us to pick up their charter for the week, not the other way around.^^

In one quick afternoon, we easily sailed around the corner of St. Thomas from Christmas Cove and into Red Hook. It literally took all of 30 minutes, if that, by the time we dropped anchor.

Red Hook was superb for filling our water tanks plus some, topping off our gas tanks, provisioning some fresh goodies at Moe’s — the very nice new (and slightly overpriced) grocery store in town, and grabbing some totally unnecessary odds and ends at the local fishing store.

Red Hook is also fantastic for ferry traffic, if you’re into that sort of thing. ;))


^^I swear there was a trifecta of ferries motoring right by our boat here in this photo, but I couldn’t fit all three in my frame.^^

With ferries blasting up and down the channel every 5 seconds, it felt a bit like Christmas Cove to us, but with these ferries running even more frequently, with longer operating hours, and super close to the anchorage. In other words, it wins for most uncomfortable night at anchor to date in the USVI. :((

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^^Boat chore number uno — filling jerry cans of water! You might be surprised to know that this task isn’t as bad as it seems. We’ve never run out of water (or even been close to running out) or have had any issues finding water to fill our cans. We usually fill our three cans (times 3ish trips when we are filling them) every week or so. And that’s with our 100-gallon water tank typically only ever dropping to about half or a third full. Not bad for not having to run a water maker/generator or use diesel on the regular!^^


^^Oliver does this thing now where he basically photo bombs me as soon as I bust out the camera and start shooting. He must think there is something fun in the water he is surely missing.^^

We actually weren’t planning on staying the night in Red Hook, but after taking our time completing our boat chores, only to then grab a beer followed by some General Tso’s at a local Chinese restaurant (our 2nd chinese food experience since leaving Naples), it made sense to stay put anchored for the night. That probably wasn’t our smartest move since the ferries in Red Hook run until midnight with plenty of other boat traffic continuing through the wee hours of the night.

It was a very rolly polly night to say the least! We booked it out of there and over to St. John first thing the next morning. We were super stoked to arrive in one of the most peaceful and secluded anchorages yet in the USVI — Fish Bay!


^^This was technically from our trip to cost-u-less not Moe’s in Red Hook, but I didn’t snap a photo in Red Hook and I thought some might like to see what hauling a huge load of groceries/provisions back to the boat looks like. PS – we were down to our last roll of paper towels in case you are wondering why we need so many. Lol.^^

>>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.

LisaJanuary 2, 2015 - 1:26 am

I am so glad to see there are tons of healthy food choices in the boat: cheez its, bud lite, and sara lee in particular.

Mitch BrownJanuary 3, 2015 - 1:28 am

Paper towels are one of the most important items on my boat. gota have em

brianJanuary 3, 2015 - 11:17 pm

yum gardettos!

A LAHO Christmas!

This Christmas I got a little lazy. Well, technically not in all respects, just in the camera department.

I had no problem whipping up a batch of homemade butter tarts (Jer’s favorite!), baking up some sausage balls for Christmas morning, and then preparing a dee-lish strip-steak+potatoes-au-gratin+garlic-bread+caesar-salad meal for Christmas dinner.

But photos? Well there were none this year. Oopsie!

I departed from my more traditional Martha Stewart meets Pinterest style ways and kept it super simple and relaxed this Christmas. Let’s just say we ate Christmas dinner in our pajamas. Is that sad or rad? ;)) Don’t worry, we also skyped with all our family, didn’t have to bother wrapping a single present, stalked everyone’s Christmas-y photos on Facebook and, honestly, just enjoyed a super relaxing day. It was the perfect!

We did actually clean ourselves up however to adorn some real clothing the night before on Christmas Eve as we headed over to spend the evening with our cruising pals Where the Coconuts Grow (s/v Mary Christine) and It’s Our Necessity (s/v Necesse). And hence, I was smart enough to rig our little point-and-shoot camera for a family photo opp.

If you haven’t already seen it over on Facebook, here’s our obligatory Christmas photo…


And one sneaky sunset shot that somehow managed to find it’s way on my camera Christmas night…


I mean we were in Christmas Cove, St. Thomas for crying out loud. I think one landscape-y photo is necessary, don’t you?

Hope you had an equally perfect and extra merry Christmas!

>>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.

Lee and Kit GravesJanuary 8, 2015 - 3:51 pm

Hi, we love your site. We are about to embark on a 10 year cruising journey in the Caribbean and the East Coast of the US with our two dogs and a cat. We are currently gathering the myriad pet documentations just to enter the different islands. We’d love to have a dialog with you regarding any difficulties you have encountered entering countries with your dog that we should be aware of before we set sail. We are purchasing a Tayana 55 in St. Maarten in April and will fly the dogs and cat with us. Please let me know if we can have contact. Keep the pictures coming…we are drooling, Kit