Tag Archives: beaches

Snorkeling Cinnamon Bay Cay

The beaches and snorkeling on St. John are fantastic! But I will admit to becoming a “beach and snorkel snob” since living here. While I don’t have a ‘favorite’ place for beach or snorkeling, I tend to eliminate some destinations automatically.  For instance, I often eliminate Jumbie as a beach to visit due to the shade and rough waves. It is not bad, but there are others I like better. Snorkeling is the same too. I snorkeled Cinnamon during vacations, and since living here found other reefs that I prefer. I have not returned to snorkel Cinnamon in years.

So I was long past due for a snorkel at Cinnamon and decided the calm seas and warm water of the summertime were the perfect time to swim around the entire cay off of Cinnamon Beach.  I wasn’t fighting against a current and was able to take my time looking, and since the water was calm, it was also very clear with no sediment kicked up!  The park beach was open but Cinnamon Bay services and campground were closed due to the government shutdown, so it was quiet and uncrowded, with everything green from the summer rains.

This visit was a good reminder that the snorkeling on St. John is good everywhere! It just depends on factors such as what you want to see, the type of beach you want to go to, and the weather and water conditions at the place you have chosen, which have a big impact on the quality of your snorkel!

I have come to prefer snorkeling here in the summer because we have just enough of a longer day to have more time for good visibility when snorkeling, and with the chill taken out of the water I will easily snorkel for one or two hours. The winter water usually chills me and chases me out much earlier.  Also the Parrotfish have got their summer pastel colors, which I love to see. It is like visiting another world!

P.S. If anyone knows the name of the coral in the 3rd image, please let me know!

beach path

beach shop

I am not sure what this coral is. I think Boulder Star Coral but if someone knows, I would love a confirmation or clarification!
I am not sure what this coral is. I think Boulder Star Coral but if someone knows, I would love a confirmation or clarification!
Colorful sponge and soft coral seen around the cay at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Colorful sponge and soft coral seen around the cay at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Flamingo tongue snail (a sea snail) leaves its trail on a sea fan in Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Flamingo tongue snail (a sea snail) leaves its trail on a sea fan in Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Love the color on these Christmas Tree Worms seen at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Love the color on these Christmas Tree Worms seen at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Blue tang, Grunt and Squirrel Fish gliding in the coral reef at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Blue tang, Grunt and Squirrel Fish gliding in the coral reef at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
A peach colored flamingo tongue snail perched on a sea fan in Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
A peach colored flamingo tongue snail perched on a sea fan in Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Finger coral with the polyps out during the daytime! Seen at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Finger coral with the polyps out during the daytime! Seen at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
School of Blue Tang, along with Bar Jack and Surgeon Fish, eating on the coral reef at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
School of Blue Tang, along with Bar Jack and Surgeon Fish, eating on the coral reef at Cinnamon Bay, St. John.
Large and healthy Brain Coral seen while snorkeling around Cinnamon Bay Cay this summer.
Large and healthy Brain Coral seen while snorkeling around Cinnamon Bay Cay this summer.
Cinnamon Bay Beach, St. John: The water feels as good as it looks!
Cinnamon Bay Beach, St. John: The water feels as good as it looks!

 

Trunk Bay: My alternative to Jost van Dyke

View from Trunk Bay Overlook, part of the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John.
View from Trunk Bay Overlook, part of the Virgin Islands National Park on St. John.

I love going to Trunk Bay when I need the powdery-soft white sand between my toes and the unbelievable blues in the water that I love at Jost van Dyke, BVI. But who can make it over to Jost every month? When I go to Trunk I can walk on the beach, float in the water and enjoy looking at the string of palm trees along the shore. And quite frankly, Trunk Bay is less crowded than Jost most of the time. I happen to be one of those people who can tune out the crowds on all but the busiest days, or I arrive after the big tour groups have left. Plus Trunk Bay has showers!

Whether you have actually gone out to the beach at Trunk Bay or not, it is quite possible that everyone who has been here has a photo or postcard of this view of Trunk Bay. Besides the overlook at Maho and Francis Bay, it is one of the most beautiful (and easy to photograph) views on St. John.  Trunk Bay is one of my favorite beaches, and I may be the only local resident who will say that!  Most people who live here will direct people away from Trunk Bay for a number of reasons:

  • It’s too full of tourists, especially from the Cruise ships in St. Thomas
  • and it is therefore, too crowded.
  • The snorkeling is not that great.
  • There are other less crowded beaches with better snorkeling

All of these reasons are true. But it is all relative. If you don’t have snorkeling at home, almost any snorkeling while on St. John is fantastic when you are only here for a week. Admittedly it is more crowded than any other beach, but it is bigger and you can get away from the crowds. And it is still less crowded than any beach on the US east coast!

Trunk Bay beach from the east side, looking west, towards Cruz Bay.
Trunk Bay beach from the east side, looking west, towards Cruz Bay.