Denis Bay is a small secluded beach located on St. John’s Northshore in between Hawksnest and Jumbie Beach. The land above the high water / tree line is privately owned, but all beaches are public so you can access it from the water. If you are lucky you will have the whole beach to yourself.
Peter Griffith, Melanie Griffith’s father owned a property in Denis Bay and it is said that Melanie spend quite a bit of time in her childhood on this beach.
It is lined with Palm Trees and there is some snorkeling and diving too. In a North Swell the water can be quite rough.
Paddleboarding to Denis Bay
the paddle to Denis Bay can be easy on a very calm day but on the average day it is recommended for paddlers with a good technique and physical fitness. On a rough day, the paddle can be difficult even for an experienced paddler. As for any open ocean paddle, always check the wind and wave forecast here and take a phone in a waterproof bag and or a VHF radio. Use both a leash and a life vest.
You can paddle to Denis Bay from Hawknsest Beach. Most of the paddle will be upwind and the way back will be downwind (except when turining back into the bay you can face some Headwind at Hawksnest, it will die as you approach the shore. Paddle out of Hawksnest, stay clear of the reefs and head right at the end of the bay.
Difficulty: You will have to navigate around the rocks at the point. Pay attention to water depth and waves that might bounce back from the rock.
You can paddle to Denis from Jumbie, paddle out of the Bay and make a left. This might feel easy since the wind will be in your back, just be aware you will have to paddle into the wind when you paddle back.
Difficulty: You will have to navigate around the rocks at the point. Pay attention to water depth and waves that might bounce back from the rock. The paddle back will feel harder so make sure you have enough energy left to make it back.
from Cruz Bay
this is a longer paddle and only advised on calm days (under 10-12 knots of wind). Make a right out of Cruz Bay and keep paddling along the North Shore. You will pass Solomon, Honeymoon, Caneel, Hawknest and the little Bay after Hawksnest is Denis. Depending on the wind it will take about one hour one way (way back is usually faster with wind in your back)
Difficulty: You will have to cross two boat lines (red and green buoy) leaving Cruz Bay and you have to navigate around the big rocks at Hawknest Point and the channel between the Point and Henley cay is not too wide if there are many boats. Avoid the channel during “rush hour” between 4 and 5pm when all the charter boats come back. Pay attention to water depth and waves that might bounce back from the rocks when passing the points.
Approaching the Shore:
Say Clear of the reef / rocks when approaching the shore. Go on your knees at least 15-20 feet before the shore. Be aware of the shorebreak that can throw you of the board. Once you are in knee deep water, step of board, grab board and quickly walk or run out of the water before the next wave hits.