With all these beautiful Bays, you’d think there’d be lots of spots to drop an anchor. Not so. First, there’s only so much room for boats to swing around in the wind and clear everyone on a 360 degree radius. Then there’s the mooring ball problem. In most of the popular bays, mooring balls have been anchored to the ocean floor, with a float attached, so a boat can come along, grab the float, tie a line and be instantly secure, needing a little less room than is needed to swing on an anchor. Sounds ideal, right? Except that the owner of the balls wants to collect $25.00 per night per ball in the British side of the islands; when anchoring is free. If there are 50 balls taking up the whole bay, leaving no room to anchor, then that owner is making a cool $1,250.00 per night x 7 days a week. Not bad when the ocean is free.
The National Park services on the US side, have also jumped on this as a means to protect some of the coral in the bays from the damage of anchor chains, but at least their cost is just to cover installation and maintenance, at $15.00 per night, or only $7.50 for Golden Ager old farts like us!
And So, The Race is On. The channels are filled with boats under sail, throughout the early part of the day, but come 2:30- 3 pm the question is where to spend the night…. Which bay would be tonight’s choice?
After an afternoon out sailing, we chose Leinster Bay, on St John, for its low cost park ball, calm waters and great snorkeling.