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snorkeling

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Marlton, New Jersey
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6 posts
31 reviews
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snorkeling

I recently heard from a friend who visited St John a few years ago that the snorkeling quality in her opinion had deteriorated since her last visit. I want to make sure I pick a destination with top notch snorkeling. Is the coral dying off and showing abuse, or is there still high quality snorkeling in St John?

Ohio
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for Cruz Bay
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6 reviews
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1. Re: snorkeling

It's not what is was 15-20 yrs ago, but for decent snorkeling from shore, it's still not bad.

kod
cherry hill
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1,548 posts
248 reviews
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2. Re: snorkeling

I visited Bonaire last summer and found the reefs in better shape. However, its a whole different experience as most of the beaches are rough coral and there are some adventurous entries. If your primary interest is in snorkeling off the beach and you are strong swimmers, then I suggest checking out Bonaire. Aside from that one aspect, however, I like St John much better, and am not interested in going back to Bonaire.

Columbus, Ohio
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602 posts
91 reviews
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3. Re: snorkeling

There are some places that are dying off from abuse, and as such have deterioriated over the years. But, IMHO, St. John still has some of the best off shore snorkeling in the Caribbean. You may not always find it on your first stop - but it's still to be found, just travel off the beaten path. I find that the more challenging the trip, and the more "hiking" involved - the better the snorkeling.

Austin, Texas
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77 posts
1 review
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4. Re: snorkeling

Last year I actually noticed some coral starting to grow back. Its a promising sign. But as stated there are places to go where you can find beautiful snorkeling spots.

Minneapolis
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566 posts
5 reviews
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5. Re: snorkeling

Does it seem like there are more turtles now than there were 10 years ago? People used to talk about a few specific places to see turtles (e.g., Maho) but now they seem to be EVERYWHERE. I never have seen a turtle at Maho, but this year I saw them in Hansen and Kiddel bay. I was reading TA Forum while on the island, and people seemed to be reporting turtle sightings all over the place.

Ohio
Destination Expert
for Cruz Bay
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5,835 posts
6 reviews
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6. Re: snorkeling

dreamshark - I have to agree that I see many more turtles when snorkeling now then 10+ years ago. Used to be I'd (usually) only see them while diving. I wonder if it has anything to do with hurricane Ivan destroying the Turtle Farm on Grand Cayman?

St. John
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244 posts
8 reviews
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7. Re: snorkeling

IMHO, it depends a little bit on your snorkeling skills and the patience you take while snorkeling. If you are the fast swim by snorkeler, you miss so many things that are beautiful. If you take your time and be patient, you will see underwater life that is extraordinary almost everywhere, but many sites on island give diversity. If you are looking for exquisite fan corals, you may want to venture out to more remote places rather than just the Northshore beaches. If your skills are strong, we venture out and around the points of the Northshore beaches and see amazing sea life. ( but we have to remember that many of the people on the excursions that come in from the cruise ships, don't take care of the reefs and sea creatures as well as other more experienced snorkelers ( ie fins touching coral, standing on coral, touching turtles, or other animals) which of course will damage the reef. People, in general, do not realize how long it takes for the the reef to grow to heights that most people truly appreciate them and one fin can take that all away.

Princeton, New...
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1,409 posts
22 reviews
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8. Re: snorkeling

The best shore snorkeling I have experienced was on Roatan, Honduras. The reef system is much larger and healthier. St John has experienced some bleaching, most likely due to the development over the past 10-15 years. Roatan is starting to get developed now too. Get there if you can. The outer altols of Beleze have some nice reefs as well. You need a boat to get to the real nice reefs but the coral is very colorful and healthy.

Coral Bay, St. John
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648 posts
22 reviews
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9. Re: snorkeling

I have vacationed on St john every year for the last 6 years. I avg. about 3>4 hours snorkeling a day.

I agree with eagleraylover - the best snorkeling takes a little bit of work. The easier the access the more traffic and the more damage to the reef.

There are certainly places that have suffered even in the short time I've been there. But, IMO, St john has some of the best shallow water snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Houston,TX
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50 posts
3 reviews
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10. Re: snorkeling

We have been to Ambergris Caye, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and found St. John o have the most varied shore snorkelling of any of these destinations. We found the coral to be healthier than what we have seen in other locations as well. Due to North swells on St. John we had to head East and South and so maybe we were more off the beaten path than your average snorkelling family. Our one day at Trunk Bay was so rough you could barely see anything.

We got lucky and got to snorkel Haulover North on a calm day and it was amazing. We spent hours there!