Whistling Cay (USVI) Snorkeling

The Whistling Cay Snorkel, especially around the rocks and underwater canyons on the western tip of the island, is one of the best snorkels in St. John waters. The proximity to open waters and the flow of water through the Fungi Passage and the Narrows attracts fish of many shapes, colors, and sizes.

The underwater boulders, rock formations, canyons, steep grooves, arches, and walls, covered with spectacularly colored corals, sponges, and tunicates, are fascinating to explore. My friend, Dan Silber, who came along on this snorkel along with his girlfriend Maddy, described the area as an underwater garden. I like to borrow from the Beatles and describe it as an octopus’s garden.

whistling cay
Whistling Cay map

You can snorkel around the point at Whistling Cay and return through the passage between the cliffs on the cay.

There’s a really cool snorkel route around the reef and rocks on the eastern side of Whistling Cay. It’s not for everyone, though, as you will need to be an experienced snorkeler for this one.

Beginning from the moorings, head out north to the rocks on the eastern tip of the island. It’s really a beautiful snorkel, still very colorful and very dramatic.

whistling cay passage
Whistling Cay Passage

Instead of returning the way you came, however, you can continue around the point and come ashore on the little passage through the rocky cliffs of Whistling Cay. The water on the north of the cay can be rough, and you’ll need to take care climbing onto the island, particularly to avoid sea urchins and corals.

From land, you can now walk through the passage and snorkel back to your boat, avoiding the slight northerly current that sometimes makes getting back from the rocks on the point to the moorings a little more difficult than heading out.

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