Pls comment on St. John trip plans

Old Jun 12th, 2011, 09:12 PM
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The so-called "self-guided snorkeling trail" at Trunk Bay is nothing special at all. It's just a few signs that have been installed underwater, and you'll be done seeing them in about five minutes. I would not necessarily recommend snorkeling at Trunk Bay. It's a beautiful beach, and the view of it from the scenic pullout above it is probably the most famous view in the Caribbean (you can frequently see it here on Fodor's). However, the beach itself is horribly mobbed with tourists all day, because there are ferries and buses that deliver a steady stream of people from the cruise ships on St. Thomas. You have to pay to enter Trunk Bay during peak hours (unlike any other St. John beach other than Cinnamon Bay), and the parking lot is usually full. You'll also have to put up with huge crowds of first-time snorkelers from the cruise ships who rent fins and go thrashing around, kicking up sand and presumably wrecking coral. That said, the few times I have snorkeled at Trunk Bay, there were actually plenty of nice fish to see, at least on the leeward side of the cay.

I'm pretty sure that brenandg and I have discussed snorkeling before... On most days, especially during the tourist season, there's a northeast swell. This means that the best snorkeling conditions on the North Shore will be found at the two most protected beaches. If you don't feel like driving all the way out toward the East End, or around to Lameshur Bay, your best bet for a well-protected beach on the North Shore will be Maho Bay and Francis Bay. Francis is a bigger hassle to get to, so I often end up at Maho. It's really calm there, and the sand slopes out into the water very gently. It's a great place for first-time snorkelers, and for small children to play. But it's also fun for experienced snorkelers. Especially on the right side, as you face the water.

Waterlemon Cay requires a bit of a hike to get to the water, and there can be strong currents. My worst snorkeling experience ever happened there. It involved being washed back and forth by waves over a wide plateau covered by sea urchin, in only about six inches of water, so that I was unable to paddle myself back out to deeper water. You can probably avoid that experience pretty easily, but still, the currents on the far side of the cay are often strong. It's easier to snorkel Waterlemon Cay if you have a boat. And if you do have a boat, consider going to Whistling Cay, which can only be reached by boat. It's often too rough to snorkel there, but if it's calm, it's some of the best snorkeling on St. John. It's your best chance to see tarpon, especially during the winter, when they're scarce.

If you're interested in hiking and/or snorkeling on St. John, you need to get a copy of "St John: Off the Beaten Track" by Gerald Singer. There's no equivalent. It'll have lots of other suggestions.

If you do the Reef Bay hike, and you want a boat ride back to town, you can try booking the hike with with the National Park Service, but I think it's easier just to call the Sadie Sea, which is the charter boat that they use for the trip back to town, and book them yourself. Or just hike back up by yourself -- it's really not so bad, if you're not in a hurry. Alternatively, don't do the Reef Bay hike at all. I actually found it to be kind of monotonous to do the whole thing. In "Off the Beaten Track," there's a suggestion for an alternate route, in which you hike from Fish Bay down across Reef Bay, and then go backwards up the Reef Bay Trail as far as you like. Having done both, I found that to be much more interesting. My other favorite hike is the Ram's Head Trail, which has a wider variety of scenery than most St. John hikes.
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Old Jun 13th, 2011, 05:41 AM
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Reef Bay hike (up and down) is simple if you are even remotely fit.

You can snorkel Waterlemon in closer to the shore and it's pretty good. No currents either. We moored out dinghy at Waterlemon (on the red buoys) and the current was very strong there. It was sort of annoying.
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Old Jul 5th, 2011, 04:04 AM
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how can I trip plan places to visit in hawaii, I want to see this places
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 03:58 AM
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We just got back from our trip to St. John and some of favorites snorkels this trip were: Caneel Bay's main beach a protected bay with very good snorkeling at the point and around to Scott Beach. Hawksnest was very good as we saw some turtles and nurse sharks and the Elkhorn coral is beautiful. Cinnamon Bay snorkeling around the Cinnamon Cay - it looks daunting but it is actually pretty easy and there is very good snorkeling on the backside of the cay. Chocolate Hole around the point toward Dever's Bay and lastly Ditliff Point.
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 06:07 AM
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Hi, if you will be on VG and you enjoy shore snorkeling...def take a cab or head over to Savannah Bay...the snorkeling is fabulous. there are no facilities tho.

Peace, Greenie
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 06:08 AM
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Oops...forgot to add...if you will be on Tortola...skip Cane Garden Bay and head over one bay to Brewers Bay. Very good shore snokeling and there's a beach bar that's very good, as well.

Peace, Greenie
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Old Jul 12th, 2011, 02:15 PM
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Recently returned from St. Thomas- St.John trip and I have to agree with hawksbill about Trunk Bay, the beach is beautiful but there were lots of novice snorkelers there and while the crowd was not huge, it was much busier than the other beaches in the USVI. We enjoyed the sugar mill visit on St. John and had our best meal of the trip at the Old Stone Farmhouse on St. Thomas.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 04:47 AM
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Firstly, no need to leave st john, there is too much to explore here to cruise off to one of the other islands nearby.
The hiking is great, we hiked nearly every day this past winter. Reef Bay trail, the trail from Leinster Bay over the hill to the great house ruins is a good one. Check out Brown Bay, great spot. Good snorkeling at waterlemon, and also out on the east end at haulover beach and others. That is the best I've seen on st john yet. Have lunch at Vie's. The east end is a hidden gem, away from the winter crowds on the north shore.
Forget about the self guided snorkeling at trunk, it gets hammered by kids and adults, and it is pretty poor condition. Good for a first timer maybe but disappointing for anyone else.
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Old Jul 13th, 2011, 05:14 PM
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Please do check with your car rental agency as some forbid you to take the car off STT
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