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Awesome Reef Snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay, St John USVI

Awesome Reef Snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay, St John USVI

If it’s reef snorkeling you want, Waterlemon Cay in St. John USVI should be your first pick. Due to the natural and untarnished reef structure that surrounds the cay, which is home to different species of marine wildlife, many consider it as one of the best snorkeling spots on the island–and in the world.

Waterlemon Cay (not watermelon) is surrounded by a fringing reef, or a reef that is directly connected to a shore, or borders it with a shallow channel of lagoon. This natural formation explains the lush underwater forest teeming with exotic fish and other marine life. Depending your point of entry, you can see different kinds of aquatic animals, like the many varieties of angel and butterfly fish, parrot fish, and surgeon fish. Turtles, cuttlefish, sea cucumbers, rays, and sea urchins are also abundant, not to mention the different kinds of starfish resting at the sandy bottom, creating beautiful constellations. Seeing hundreds of brightly colored starfish resting on the white sandy bottom of the clear blue sea is an amazing sight to behold, and makes an incredible underwater photo.

The water from Lienster bay to Watermelon Cay is shallow, so you can either hike or snorkel across the reef island. Snorkeling is very much recommended though, because the sooner you swim, the sooner you get to see the underwater splendor. The solid mixture of sand and coral rubble bottom goes out about 2/10 of a mile, and then you’ll see the seagrass floating against the gentle current–this is where the sea turtles nest and feed.

If you take the route to the eastern part of the cay, you decrease the snorkeling distance to just one-tenth of a mile. That is, if you follow the trail at the far end of the beach. On this route, you will snorkel over an area of scattered reef and plenty of seagrass. Here, you’ll also see some large parrot fish and schools of blue tangs.

There are also descending bottoms depths of up to twenty to twenty-five feet, which can be found on the west and north sides of the reef. Several varieties of corals can also be found on these parts. Although snorkeling at these depths might seem like you wouldn’t see much, think again, because the sea fans and plumes found here give the feeling of hovering over an underwater forest, filled with vibrant orange, red and purple coral fans. It’s an incredible experience.

A word of caution though, an offshore current is oftentimes detected around Waterlemon Cay, St. John USVI, especially on the western side. Snorkeling enthusiasts frequenting the cay suggest to follow the current, and go counter-clockwise around the cay, and be sure you snorkel with a buddy.

If snorkeling is your thing, then Waterlemon Cay off St. John USVI is the place to do it.