St. John Snorkeling Spots

Old Jun 16th, 1999, 11:01 AM
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St. John Snorkeling Spots

Hi to all! This seems like a very helpful forum, so here goes. My family and another family are going to St. John USVI in late July/early August and renting a villa on Fish Bay. Does anybody have any info on this particular bay? Can you snorkel there? I can find no info. Both families would like to snorkel a lot. There are three kids, early teenagers, and four adults, but all will snorkel. We heard Trunk Bay is worth it once, and have heard about something called Waterlemon Cay? HOw do you get to this cay? Are there any other relaly good snorkeling spots on the island? Is it worth chartering a boat and going over to the BVI for the baths and such? We have some time left but would like to start planning now. All help is much appreciated.
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 05:43 AM
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Haven't heard or seen Fish Bay-so, can't tell you anything about it. But, I visited Trunk Bay underwater trail a couple of weeks ago. A barracuda (@2-3ft) was the most unique thing we saw there. It costs $4 per adult to get access to the beach. The ticket allows you to have access to the Annenburg (sp?) Sugar Mill ruins which are somewhat interesting. However, I bet the kids won't be too enraptured. Waterlemon Cay is right past the sugar mill ruins. You park your jeep and walk about 1/2 a mile around this path to get to the prime snorkling area. Lots of beautiful coral and small, colorful fish. I would recommend going on a day sail--with a group your size, you could have the whole boat and go to some great spots. We went on the Starlight, chartered with Proper Yachts in Mongoose Junction. The captain, Frank, was great--quite knowledgeable about snorkling sites. We thought the sail was the best part of our trip. Have fun.
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 11:42 AM
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Hi Rachael - I'm looking at my map as we speak and I hope your family rented a jeep. Fish Cay is on the other side of St. John, away from all of the good snorkel spots. In agreeent with above posting - Trunk Cay was nice, and so was Cinnamon, which is right next door. We found more there. Can't speak of Watermelon though. However, with a group your size I recommend the Baths of Virgin Gorda. Have fun!
Old Jun 17th, 1999, 11:44 AM
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Hi Rachael - I'm looking at my map as we speak and I hope your family rented a jeep. Fish Cay is on the other side of St. John, away from all of the good snorkel spots. In agreeent with above posting - Trunk Cay was nice, and so was Cinnamon, which is right next door. We found more there. Can't speak of Watermelon though. However, with a group your size I recommend the Baths of Virgin Gorda. Have fun!
Old Jun 18th, 1999, 04:29 AM
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Rachael, Waterlemon Cay is one of the best spots on the island. If you walk all the way around the cove, you can swim to a small island in the middle of the cay (about 150 yards away). Lots of good stuff to see. Most of the turtles we've seen on St. John, we've seen around there. If you go to Trunk or Cinnamon, try to go when there is not a cruise ship coming over -- they can innundate the place.

The beaches that I prefer are more out of the way and less crowded. Salt Pond Bay is on the south shore of the island, and is a bit of a walk from the parking lot. We go early in the morning and stay until around noon or so, and usually have the beach to ourselves. Good snorkeling on the left or right of the beach. Very pretty sand here. We've seen several barracuda here, which can be scary -- don't worry, they won't bother you. They are just curious. After you go to Salt Pond Bay, stop for lunch at Skinny Legs.

I also like Hawksnest and little Hawksnest. Hawksnest has great parking right near the beach, and even has picnic tables. You can either swim to Little Hawksnest, or park just down the road from Hawksnest. More secluded.

Jumbie Bay (hard to find unless you look close) should be considered an adult-only beach.... sometimes it is clothing optional.

Maho bay is excellent for families. I think every time I've been to St. John, I've seen at least one family birthday party for someone at this beach. Good snorkeling on the left hand side of the beach.

I believe that Fish Bay is on the south shore. Most beaches there don't have very good swimming or snorkeling, so you will need to go to the North Shore.

There are plenty of free maps that have all these places and others when you get to the island.

Donna is right, you must rent a vehicle on St. John.

We've been to Virgin Gorda, and it was nice, but the last few times we've been to St. John, we've just stayed on the island. Plenty of things to keep us happy there. The Baths are nice, but there is not much coral left there I understand as the traffic is quite high. I know people who've taken daysails and really liked it.

Enjoy your trip to St. John.

- Jim
Old Jun 20th, 1999, 05:28 PM
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We just returned from the USVI yesterday and spent a wonderful day on ST John. We rented a jeep and went to a place that one of the guest service reps recommended it is called Frances Bay. It is beautiful. There are no snack bars or gift shops just a bathroom and beautiful beach and good snorkeling. As you walk onto the beach look to yourleft, there are rocks there that have some great snorkeling around them. We were two of about 8 people on the whole beach. We also visted Cinnamon Bay and Hawksnest. They too are pretty but not as secluded as Frances. But don't many people about this secret place so that next time there won't be snack bar and gift shop there. I like it the way it is.
Old Jun 22nd, 1999, 12:54 PM
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Here is the St. John Snorkeling Guide supplied to me by Cruz Bay Watersports while we were there on vacation in June 99:

1.)Hawksnest Beach - A beautiful beach. Nice reef with lots of elkhorn coral just off the middle of the beach. Excellent shallow water snorkeling for kids and beginners. Covered picnic areas, changing rooms, public telephone.

2.)Jumbie Beach - Look for the trash can and wooden stairs on the left side of the road. Limited parking is available on the right side about 50 yards before the steps. Small, secluded beach with nice reefs for snorkeling on either the left or right sides.

3.) Trunk Bay Beach - the showpiece beach of the National Park Service. Over a quarter mile of beautiful white sand. Facilities include a snack bar/grill, souvenir shop, showers, restrooms, public telephones, and lifeguards. There is a self-guided snorkel trail on the left side of the small island of Trunk Cay. Only beach with a $4 per person user fee.

4.) Cinnamon Bay - Huge, wide beach with a cay similar to Trunk. Largest part of the beach can be found on the right side. Nice snorkeling out towards the island. Restrooms, showers, small grocery store, gift shop, windsurfing and sea kayak rentals. Home of the archealogical dig sponsored by the VI Friends of the Park.

5.) Maho Bay Beach - shallow water for a long way out. Sand bottom with some seagrass. Great bay for spotting turtles and tarpon. Easily accesible. The beach is literally only a few feet from the road.

6.) Francis Bay area - A long sandy beach, very well protected from waves. Small reef are along Mary's Point, past the right end of the beach. Anotehr small reef between Francis and Little Maho to the the left. Restrooms.

7.) Waterlemon Cay/Leinster Bay - small, sand beach but the snorkeling is excellent. The beach is reached by going "off road" along the shore for about a mile on a narrow dirt road from the Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins. After paring in the turn-around area, continue walking along the rocky shoreline. You will soon (10-15 minutes) reach the small beach area. snorkeling is nice in any direction from this point. However, for a real treat, walk a little further around the bay until it will be a short swim over to Waterlemon Cay. The sandy bottom on the way to the island is a great place to spot starfish, stingrays, and turtles. Very nice reef and marine life on the far end of cay for experienced snorkelers. The reef surrounds 3 sides. It is suggested to go around in a counter-clockwise direction.

8.) Salt Pond Bay Beach - A long white sand beach accessed by a smooth 5 to 10 minute trail from the parking area. The right side of the bay is rocky with some coral, while the left side has larger croppings of reef and rocks. Lots of seagrass off the middle of the beach. Picnic tables and an outhouse.

9.) Reef Bay Beach - Reached by walking the Reef Bay Hiking Trail from Centerline Road or Hwy. 10. (about 90 minutes each way). The reef on the left, or rocks on the right are god for snorkeling. A picnic table and an outhouse.

Hope this helps!!

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