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    by ibobi Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 20, 17 at 01:24 PM
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Trip Report I'M BA-A-CK from Paradise aka St. John

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It's been a long time since I've posted but I wanted to let folks know about my latest trips to STJ last September and just last half of March. September was terrific weatherwise which is always dicey that time of year. It was a bit disappointing in the way of snorkeling as the coral seemed still sparse from the bleaching. There were not many businesses open so we missed all the favorites like Miss Lucy and Vie's. Rhumblines continues to be outstanding on both trips. Lime Inn was also fabulous on food if wanting on scenery. In September, we hiked the Reef Bay area to the amazing ruins of Great Reef Bay and ParForce Plantations, and of course the waterfall of the Arawak carvings which are the adopted symbols for STJ. The views and experience were breathtaking and exhilerating. Reef Bay was the one spot we had exceptional snorkeling with plentiful fish, lobster and nurseshark sightings. The turtle curse is indeed broken as we saw several turtles as well. (I thought I was cursed after failing to see a turtle for many years) During the March trip, more turtles and seemingly better snorkeling in just about every spot, with coral looking much better than the year before. Some spots seem to be suffering from over exposure, even Little Lameshur had many visitors but mediocre snorkeling. The great surprise was Vie's beach at Hansen Bay. The nearby reef is more robust than in the past few years and there are conch, stingrays and turtles commonly seen now. Brown Bay is still wild and spectacular along its rocky side. We saw tarpon, a eagle ray and turtles. Waterlemon Cay was a huge disappointment. The forest of staghorn coral is all but gone. There is still numerous starfish though, and a healthy population of parrotfish busy working on the reef. The good news for tourists is that the economy has made STJ more affordable than ever. The villa rental market is increasingly competitive and you can really score a great rental for less these days. If you have any questions, I'm happy to respond.

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