Dinghies won’t be getting marooned at the Cruz Bay Creek any longer.
V.I. National Park and V.I. Port Authority officials worked quickly last week to combat the rising water level at the Cruz Bay Creek dinghy dock.
The emergency dredge project started on Thursday morning, October 29, and wrapped up on Friday, October 30. With the use of a 60-foot track excavator, officials dredged enough material out to make way for dinghies to tie up to the dock.
“With the track excavator we were able to reach out into the basin and do the emergency dredging,” said VINP Superintendent Mark Hardgrove. “Dinghies had no access to that corner of the dock since it was filled in with erosion materials.”
After heavy rains last fall, a roughly 80-foot section of the Cruz Bay Creek area filled with runoff and became inaccessible for boaters.
“The joke around town is that it’s really formed a little island out there,” said Hardgrove. “It’s probably from a lot of stuff, but since last fall with Hurricane Omar and the rains, there were major deposits from the North Shore which could have come from construction sites.”
“The area has always been rather shallow and after the torrential rains, it came up about two and a half feet,” said the VINP Superintendent. “It’s become somewhat of a hazard and a nuisance.”
The dinghy dock is essential to many people, both St. John live-aboard boaters and residents who live on Lovango Cay and other off-shore cays, Hardgrove added.
“That area is very important for the dinghies and the folks who live on the off-shore cays who come into town every day for shopping and work,” said Hardgrove.
After being contacted by off-shore cay residents, VINP officials teamed up with St. John Administrator Leona Smith and V.I. Port Authority personnel to tackle the problem, according to Hardgrove.
“With their expertise and experience we were able to share the cost and put this emergency project together quickly,” he said.
The $10,000 project will hopefully solve the problem until next year when a major dredging project is slated for Cruz Bay Creek, Hardgrove explained.
“We have a major dredge project which will run about $800,000 to get the basin back to the original specifications,” said the VINP Superintendent. “This emergency work is to get us through to the long-range solution to the problem.”