Tag Archives: waterlemon cay

Marine Animals at Waterlemon Cay

st john virgin islands marine life: elkhorn coral
Elkhorn Coral

st john marine life: brain coral
Brain Coral & Christmas Tree Worms

st john usvi marine life: sponge

It’s always intrigued me that corals, sponges and tube worms are animals as they appear more like plants in a garden than members of the  animal kingdom. Actually, the only plants on the reef that come to mind are algae and sea grasses.

Snorkeling Waterlemon Cay

Excepted from St. John Off the Beaten Track
Many visitors name Waterlemon Cay, the small island found off the beach at the end of the Leinster Bay Trail, as their favorite snorkel.

Enter the water from the beach and snorkel towards Waterlemon Cay. The distance between the beach and the cay is about 0.2-mile. You’ll be snorkeling over seagrass lying in about 25 feet of water. This is the best place on St. John to see starfish. Also, look for conch, sea cucumbers, green turtles and stingray, creatures that also frequent this sand and grass environment.

To decrease the snorkeling distance to the island, follow the trail at the far end of the beach. Bear left at the first fork in the trail, which will continue to follow the shoreline. At the end of this trail, walk along the shore and choose a convenient place close to Waterlemon Cay to enter the water. The distance across the channel to the island is only about 0.1 mile. This entry is from the rocky shoreline to a rocky bottom. Be careful not to step on live coral or sea urchins.

From this entry point to the eastern part of Waterlemon Cay, you will snorkel over an area of seagrass and scattered reef. Closer to the island the water becomes quite shallow. Here you will see schools of blue tang and some very large parrotfish. You can hear the parrotfish crunching their beak like teeth along the surface of the rocks and dead coral. They do this to scrape off algae. Chunks of coral and algae pass through the parrotfish’s unique digestive system and are excreted as fine coral sand. Much of the sand on our beautiful beaches is produced in this manner.

Around the north and west sides of the island, the underwater seascape is truly an “Octopuses’ Garden.” There are several varieties of hard coral, including excellent specimens of brain coral. Sea fans and sea plumes are found on the deeper parts of the reef. The whole area is teeming with fish and other sea creatures. Look for eels in holes and for octopus where you find opened seashells piled together, signaling a place where they have feasted.

There is often a current around the island, which is especially strong during new and full moons. If you are not a strong swimmer, keep this in mind and proceed with caution. Obviously, it is easier to swim in the direction of the current rather than against it, so choose your direction around the island accordingly.

St. John Weather

Isolated showers before noon. Sunny, with a high near 77. Southeast wind 3 to 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Virgin Islands Marine Life: Nurse Sharks

St. John USVI SEa Creatures: Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark

The nurse shark, (Ginglymostoma cirratum) can be as long as 14 ft and a weight as much as of 730 pounds. The nurse shark in the video was photographed on the north side of Waterlemon Cay.

We Should Been Number One!

Best Caribbean island? 10Best readers say Puerto Rico

Our readers voted and chose Puerto Rico as the best Caribbean island in the 10Best Readers’ Choice awards. Puerto Rico is a land of colonial forts, sandy beaches, tropical rainforests and more than 500 festivals per year — all right in the USA’s backyard.

After four weeks of voting in 10Best.com’s Readers’ Choice contest, your votes helped identify the “Best Caribbean Island.” The winners are:

1. Puerto Rico
2. Curacao
3. Dominica
4. St Martin / Sint Maarten
5. Grenada
6. Barbados
7. Bonaire
8. St John (USVI)
9. Tobago
10. Anguilla

“Dominated by national parks, the island of St John — coming in eighth — in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the Caribbean of days gone by — a quieter, more intimate slice of paradise.”  USA Today

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. East wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Update me when site is updated

Virgin Islands National Park Effected by Federal Government Shutdown

Hawksnest Bay closed for Govt. Shutdown
Barricade at Parking Lot at Hawksnest Bay

Trunk Bay Barricade
Barricade at Trunk Bay, but Some Cars in the Lot Anyway

Swimmers at Trunk Bay
And Some People are Swimming Anyway

Cinnamon Bay closed by VI National Park
Taxi Drivers Among Those Effected by Federal Government Shutdown – Cinnamon Bay Barricaded and Closed

Maho Bay Pavillion
You Can Park at Maho, but You Can’t Sit on the Benches or Use the Toilets

Annaberg Road Closed
The Road to Annaberg, Leinster Bay, Waterlemon Cay and the Johnny Horn Trail is Closed
Update me when site is updated

St. John Snorkeling: Waterlemon Cay

Waterlemon Cay, St. John Virgin Islands
Waterlemon Cay Snorkel

I’ve often heard that the Waterlemon Cay snorkel is the best on St. John. Maybe so, but it certainly is a popular one. Here are some photos from a recent snorkeling adventure.

(And by the way it’s WaterLEMON Cay, not WaterMELON Cay)

Brain Coral Waterlemon Cay
Brain Coral


peacock flounder
Peacock Flounder: Master of Camouflage


More about Waterlemon Cay and Leinster Bay

Update me when site is updated