Title: Beaches of the Virgin Islands
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300973/00001
 Material Information
Title: Beaches of the Virgin Islands
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: U.S. Virgin Islands
Publisher: U.S. Virgin Islands
Place of Publication: U.S. Virgin Islands
Publication Date: 2005
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300973
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of the Virgin Islands
Holding Location: University of the Virgin Islands
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


This item has the following downloads:

Beaches_001 ( PDF )

Full Text

Beaches of the Virgin Islands

Beaches are shoreline areas that are covered by sand, gravel,
coralline rubble, or other debris which is deposited there by
moving water. Some of these sediments come from the land
(terrigenous) and most come from the sea. The terrigenous
materials consist of eroded minerals and tiny gravel which has
been carried from shoreline cliffs or runoff from guts. Marine
sediments are fragments of coral, shell and algae carried ashore
by wave action. Beaches usually consist of a mixed variety of
materials. The dominant type of material determines the
classification of a beach.
Beach sediments are moved continuously by the natural forces
of wind, waves, currents and tides. As a result, beaches are
always changing their shapes. These same forces also sort beach
sediments. High wave action "washes away" small, light particles,
like sand grains. Beaches with high wave energy are made up of
large, heavier materials while sandy beaches are found in quiet,
protected areas.
Gravel beaches are made up of minerals or rocks that erode
from cliffs and hillside soils that have been transported to the
shore by guts. The "grain" sizes of gravel beach sediments ranges
from a few millimeters to inches in diameter. The
rounded stones are the result of wave action
gradually smoothing them.
Coralline rubble is the result of storms which cause
significant coral breakage. Pieces of coral skeleton are then
deposited on shore by wave action.
Sandy beaches in the V.I. consist of a mixture of several
materials. The white color and fine texture of our sand is the
combination of coral particles, shell and urchin fragments, and
algal plates which are all made up of calcium carbonate. The
various particles are broken down by natural forces such wave and
current action and by biological factors like parrotfish which
produce sand by grinding up dead coral to extract the algae in it.
Most beaches are shaped into a sloping foreshore and a
flattened backshore or berm. The foreshore lies between the low
water level and the berm crest; the berm lies between the berm
crest and the part of the beach beyond the reach of ordinary
waves. Beaches in the VI are generally backed by coastal
vegetation which forms a beach forest. This forest stabilizes the
beach with its roots and prevents beach loss during storms.

Most V.I. beaches are fairly stable but quite dynamic,
undergoing erosion and accretion (sand deposition) at varying
rates. The rate of change is greatest on exposed windward coasts,
such as St. Croix's north shore. Examples of more stable beaches
can be found on St. Thomas and St. John where deeply indented bays
produce protected beaches.
As reef-produced sand is deposited by waves onto the shore,
beaches grow. This process occurs on beaches adjacent to and
protected by fringing reefs. Sand should never be removed from
beaches because it can upset the natural stability of a beach and
result in changes in erosion /accretion patterns.
Plant life along beaches and in the beach forest consist of
salt-tolerant plants that help stabilize the sand with their
roots. Some examples of these plants are goatsfoot, seagrape, bay
cedar, sea purslane and coconut palms. The plants and the beach
itself act as filters to trap sediment from runoff and keep our
ocean water clear

S Mole Crab

Many species of animals, such as clams, worms and sand
dollars live within the sand. In the surf zone the mole crab can
be found searching for food items each time a wave washes in.

Ghost Crab

The ghost crab can be seen foraging higher on the beach at night
for food that has been washed ashore. Also at night, the Yellow-
Crown Night Heron can be heard croaking out its call as it

Leatherback Turtle

searches for crabs or turtle hatchlings to eat. Sandy beaches also
provide nesting sites for sea turtles. The Hawksbill turtle nests
in the beach forest, while Green and Leatherback turtles nest in
the open beach. Development adjacent to a beach small where the
beach forest has been removed can cause light pollution on the
beach which may disorient the hatchlings and cause them to stray
inland to their death. The sandy beach also provides nesting and
foraging habitats for terns, oysters, sandpipers and other

Night heron

Local beaches offer a number of recreational activities including
swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, sunbathing and picnicking.
They are also popular as an access point to the ocean for
small boats and windsurfers. Beaches are very important to our
economy as an attraction for tourists and recreation for

St. Thomas Beaches

1. West Cay 27. Coki Point
2. Salt Cay 28. Water Bay
3. Botany Bay 29. Sugar Bay
4. Bordeaux Bay 30. Lindquist Beach
5. Stumpy Bay 31. Pelican Beach
6. Santa Maria Bay 32. Sapphire Beach
7. Hendricks Bay 33. Skinny Beach
8. Sorgenfri Bay 34. Vessup Bay
9. Caret Bay 35. Bluebeards Beach
10. Penn Bay 36. Turtle Cove
11. Neltjeberg Bay 37. "Bareass" Bay
12. Inner Brass Sandy Bay 38. Cowpet Bay
13. Inner Brass Hard Bay 39. Secret Harbor
14. Dorothea Bay 40. Scott Beach
15. Palm Bay 41. Cas Cay
16. Hull Bay 42. Bolongo Bay
17. Tara Bay 43. Limetree Beach
18. Barrett Bay 44. Frenchman's Bay
19. Magens Bay 45. Morningstar
20. Hans Lollik Coconut Bay 46. Sprat Bay
21. Hans Lollik Dry Bays 1-4 47. Honeymoon
22. Little Hans Lollik 48. Lindberg Bay
23. Mandahl Bay 49. Brewer's Bay
24. Tutu Bay 50. Perseverance Bay
25. Sunsi Bay 26. Spring Bay
51. Fortuna Bay 52. Saba Island
Note: This map shows only major sand beaches around St. Thomas.
Cobble/gravel beaches and very small sand pocket beaches are not


4k c ~ rt V) -^

-0 O


C-i -
co w
5 CA
WNN 17

-4 W--I

Q^ v

St. John Beaches

1. Cruz Bay
2. Salomon Beach
3. Honeymoon Beach
4. Little Caneel Beach
5. Caneel Beach
6. Scott Beach
7. Paradise Beach
8. Turtle Bay
9. Hawksnest Caneel
10. Skinny Beach
11. Public Hawksnest
12. Private Hawksnest
13. Denis Bay
14. Jumby Bay
15. Trunk Bay
16. Windswept Beach
17. Peter Bay
18. Little Cinnamon Beach
19. Cinnamon Bay
20. Big Maho Bay
21. Little Maho Bay


Francis Bay
Waterlemon Cay
Leinster Bay
Brown Bay
Haulover Bay(North and South)
Newfound Bay
Johnson's Bay
John's Folly
Saltpond Bay
Little Lameshur
Reef Bay
Genti Beach
Western Reef
Cocoloba Beach
Dittlif Beach
Hart Bay
Chocolate Hole
Great Cruz Bay
Frank Bay

Note: This map shows only major sand beaches around St. John.
Cobble/gravel beaches and very small sand pocket beaches are not


St. Croix Beaches

1. Sandy Point 27. Green Cay
2. Stony Ground 28. Prune
3. Second Target 29. Coakley
4. Dorst 30. Tague Bay
5. First Target 31. Buck Island
6. LaGrange 32. Smuggler's Cove
7. Prosperity 33. Knight Bay
8. Williams 34. Boiler Bay
9. Sprat Hall 35. Cramer's Park
10. Butler Bay 36. East End Bay
11. Ham's Bay 37. Isaac Bay
12. Maroon Hole 38. Jack Bay
13. Davis Bay 39. Grapetree Bay
14. Northstar 40. Turner Hole
15. Cane Bay 41. Rod Bay
16. Rust-Op-Twist 42. Robin Bay
17. Gentle Winds 43. Great Pond
18. Columbus Landing 44. Fareham Bay
19. Judith Fancy 45. Spring Bay
20. St. Croix By The Sea 46. Halfpenny
21. Pelican Cove 47. Manchenil
22. Turqouise Bay 48. Canegarden Bay
23. Princesse 49. Krause Lagoon
24. Protestant Cay 50. Manning Bay
25. New Fort 51. Campo Rico
26. Shoy's 52. White Lady

Note: This map shows only major sand beaches around St. Croix.
Cobble/gravel beaches and very small sand pocket beaches are not
shown. Many beaches on St. Croix are continuous with different
segments having different names, making boundaries very uncertain.


University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs