Snorkeling St. John Trip Report - March 18 - April 1, 2017

by Tom & Jan Turner
(Jamestown, PA)

Snapping Shrimp at Leinster Bay

Snapping Shrimp at Leinster Bay

Here is our trip report for snorkeling St John March 18 - April 1, 2017 (submitted September 8, 2017). Last year, we had decided that we would get Galen & Nicole's guide to St. John and make the most of it. We decided to go later in the year than normal (we usually try to get away from winter in January or February), hoping that the water would be a bit warmer. We have experienced some very cold water in the Bahamas in the winter, so we thought that we would go a bit later than normal. We found the water to be "chilly", but we could still spend 2-2 1/2 hours at a stretch before getting cold.

Christmas Tree Worms on Brain Coral, St John

There are many more snorkel sites reviewed in the snorkel guide than what we could do in two weeks, so we decided to focus on sites that got a three fish rating or better. We wound up at a couple that are less than three fish, primarily because they were convenient to include when visiting one of the better sites. We did have two days of storms while we were there, with rain and high winds, that kept us from getting into the water for those two days. We also found the water to be rather murky during our stay, which we presume was because of the time of year and changing weather.

We found the snorkeling to be great on St. John, and will definitely make it a destination in the future for snorkeling. We saw more turtles and sharks than we have ever seen on a single trip before. The turtles were a pretty even mix of Green and Hawksbill, with a total of 19 turtles. We saw six sharks, all of them being nurse sharks except for one reef shark. We generally were able to get to two different snorkel sites each day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Sometimes we were able to include a third.

Flamingo Tongue, St John

We visited sites called Hawksnest, Little Hawksnest and Caneel Hawksnest. We saw the largest Green Sea Turtle here that we have ever seen while snorkeling, easily over three feet across. He had two shark suckers traveling with him, an adult and a juvenile.

The next day we visited Mary's Creek and Caneel Bay Beach. We probably enjoyed Mary's Creek more than any other site that we went to during the trip. It is shallow, but the coral is absolutely superb, and the massive amounts of wildlife made it all one of the best spots on the island. Truckloads of people would park here to walk down to Waterlemon Beach and Waterlemon Cay, which are both fine, but hardly anyone would go in at Mary's Creek.

Caribbean Squid at Trunk Cay, St John

After this, we went to Trunk Bay, Trunk Cay (saw a school of squid here with over 50 squid in it), Jumbie Beach, Haulover Bay South, Salt Pond, Klein Bay, Ditleff Point (lots of small conch and several Kings Helmet, and the greatest light show from Caribbean Squid that we had ever seen), Grootpan Bay, Kiddel Bay, Brown Bay (saw some Triton's Trumpet and the only Lion fish of the trip), Waterlemon Cay (this is where we found the giant Hermit crab), Leinster Bay (first time we ever saw Snapping Shrimp), and Blue Cobblestone (we started calling this place Dinner Plate because of all the big snapper that we saw here).

Giant Hermit Crab at Waterlemon Cay, St John

All of the sites had great coral and wildlife. We enjoyed all of the regular reef fish that we regularly see and all of the entertaining things that we love to watch. While at Leinster Bay, we came across a kind of coral that we did not ever remember seeing before. We decided that is was Maze Coral.

In closing, St. John was a great snorkel spot, one of the best that we have been to. We would like to go back with the time to spend a month there. I highly recommend St. John to any avid snorkeler, and the snorkel guide will save you a ton of time with all of the great information and directions. Have a great swim.


Comments for Snorkeling St. John Trip Report - March 18 - April 1, 2017

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Sep 10, 2017
Thank You, But Sad News...
by: Nicole & Galen

Tom, thank you for the great review, but it is very bittersweet given the terrible damage St John just sustained from the direct hit of Hurricane Irma, on September 6th, 2017. We will be waiting for news about the reef health after the storm in the coming months. Once we get that news we will update our St John snorkeling pages about it.

Sep 10, 2017
Great Job!
by: Mary Lomma

Awesome report Tom and Jan. A beautiful trip. Great pictures too!! Thank you both.

Sep 18, 2017
St John Dream
by: Chloe

This report is so inspiring. We had just decided that our first ever snorkeling trip to the Caribbean would be to St John. We hoped this would essentially be a honeymoon/marriage destination and now sadly are lost with where to go. We send our love and best wishes to those affected and all residents of St John and hope to see you some day.

Sep 21, 2017
Love St John
by: Kathy

Just so sad to hear about and see the devastation on St John. We were there and used your snorkel guide the last two years in February. Clear water, perfect weather and beautiful fish and coral. Hoping to return again.

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