South of Coral Bay on the southeast shore of St John, the snorkeling in Salt Pond Bay is known for murky sand flats and sea grass. The right and left sides of Salt Pond Bay are better, and if you are an experienced snorkeler, you can head 0.35 miles out to the rocky island off the beach. When snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay, it is common to see green sea turtles, squid an...
South of Coral Bay on the southeast shore of St John, the snorkeling in Salt Pond Bay is known for murky sand flats and sea grass. The right and left sides of Salt Pond Bay are better, and if you are an experienced snorkeler, you can head 0.35 miles out to the rocky island off the beach. When snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay, it is common to see green sea turtles, squid and Southern sting rays along with dozens of large black sea urchins close to the shoreline. Overall, there is very limited marine life in the low clarity water with 15-20 feet of visibility. Surprisingly, there are a shockingly high number of long term moored boats clogging up the bay compared to years ago.
Most of the coral surrounding St John is dead from the 2005 bleaching event and the post-bleaching disease known as white plague. Hundreds of years of coral growth was destroyed over a few months in September and October 2005 across all depth zones. Some estimates are that over 90% of the coral experienced bleaching with 60% coverage was lost. New growth has been hampered by run-off polution from construction, septic and fertilizers along withsand smothering following storms such as the September 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria. Oddly though, there are a few very small patches of extremely healthy coral growth, such as at the Cruz Bay entrance, Gallows Point, southeast tip of Cinnamon Cay and the northeast side of Watermelon Cay.
To reach the Salt Pond Bay snorkeling from Coral Bay, head south on SR107 for 3.8 miles to Salt Pond Bay. From the parking area, there is a 10 minute hike down to the beach.
To reach the snorkeling on St John by air, you will need to first fly into the island of St Thomas using Cyril E. King Airport (STT). Then, you will need to take a taxi to one of the two docks with ferries heading over to St John, preferably Red Hook (30 minutes from airport). The hourly ferry lands in Cruz Bay (15 minutes) where there are plenty of taxis to the beaches and numerous independent rental car companies.
While the taxis regularly serve all the beaches, if you do prefer a rental car you'll need to reserve several months in advance. The minimum reserved rental is a week. It is unlikely you'll be able to find a car available for a day when you walk up. When renting, you'll noticed that most tires are bald which makes driving the steep roads challenging especially when wet. The best bet for good tires is on the newer 4 door Jeeps, but don't expect much. Just take a taxi to the beach.
Note: When snorkeling off St Johns USVI, be aware of potentially dangerous marine life including lionfish and sea urchins. Also, the coral reefs are in distress so be careful not to walk on or touch the coral. The best St John snorkeling for water clarity and sunny weather is from February to May since it can be quite rainy during other months.
Overall, Salt Pond Bay is the 8th most popular snorkel dive spot of all 18 snorkeling dives in St John.
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