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First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

State College...
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First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

I've been glued to this forum since planning our trip for 6/25-6/30. I'm fearing from reading all of the wonderful suggestions that we won't be there long enough. I guess we'll just get a good taste of St. John and have to go back!

My kids are 15 and 11. The ONE thing that my daughter is obsessing about is seeing turtles while snorkeling. Is there a certain beach that would increase our possibilites? We're new to snorkeling, so where do the turtles usually hide, etc? Any tips?

Thanks to all of you for all of the wonderful suggestions and information that you share here! I can't wait!

North Carolina...
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1. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

Maho Bay, in the grassy areas. Very close to shore, maybe 8- 10 feet deep. We always see turtles and rays. Once even a starfish!

Pittsburgh...
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2. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

We are going to be there for our first visit (also coming from PA) that same week! From everything I've read here and elsewhere Maho is best known for turtle sightings. They like to eat sea grass so will be found in those areas. Interested to read the more experienced STJ goers response to your question.

Pittsford, New York
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3. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

Turtles are pretty common. As NCbrenda suggested, Maho is good. We pretty much always see turtles at Waterlemon. But you will have to put up with your kids complaints about what has been described by other parents as the 'death march' to the beach. It's actually about a mile of level ground - about as easy a hike as you can find on St John. Make them go - Waterlemon is fantastic whether you want to do the Cay or not. There are often hundreds of starfish there. These are green turtles. You can also see hawksbill turtles, but usually more in deeper water near rocks. Salt Pond and Little Lameshure are good for them

Portland, Maine
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4. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

I love the turtles as well, and Maho never disappoints .Our last trip, I saw at least a dozen there, sometimes as many as 4 gathered all in one area at once feeding on the grass. What I did see that upset me, was some of the people trying to dive to touch them, or chase them and try to catch their tail. :-(

Kentwood, Michigan...
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5. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

I agree with the previous posts. Maho is always our first beach as vacation has not started for me until I swim with a turtle. A little right of the center above the seagrass is the best place for them. I too get really angry with people trying to touch them, had to talk to a large group of 10-13 year old kids last year who were chasing them trying to get their hands on them. Swim with them, enjoy watching them, but hands off.

Pennsylvania
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6. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

We always see them at Maho, in the center of the bay, out 20 or 30 yards. (Someone correct me off that distance is wrong, I can't judge well)

If you are patient, when you are sitting in the beach, you can seem them pop their heads up once in a while.

The turtles generally cruises along the bottom, munching on the grasses. We saw tons of very large conch in the grass beds as well in February, starfish too.

New Jersey
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7. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

Francis is another good one and again snorkel over the sea grass beds, also better chance in the am or late afternoon. End of june should be great snorkeling enjoy.

Smithfield, Rhode...
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8. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

Plenty of turtles @ Maho like previous posters mentioned. Also Francis.

But wanted to add my $.02 here about touching the turtles, taking conch out of the water as well as the enormous Starfish we've seen over the years. This past summer my friend and I were walking along the beach on Francis and a family had a couple of conch sitting on the beach "roasting" in the sun. We asked what they intended to do and one of the younger ladies (I'd say she was about 20), said she had no clue and was trying to figure out how to "kill" them so she could have the shells. Now I don't belong to PETA and I eat meat and all types of seafood, but my friend told her she shouldn't be just letting them die in the sun. The entire family got a big chuckle out of it, and we continued to walk along the beach when all of a sudden my friend turned around, picked up the conch and threw them back into the ocean and then informed them to go in town and buy the damn shell! The entire family looked horrified and probably thought my friend was insane!

State College...
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9. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

I promise - we will not be touching them! We just want to see them. Thank you!

State College...
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10. Re: First trip planning and snorkel sightings.

Sandy - really? Yes, it's our first time to SJ, however, my kids have always been taught respect when it comes to living things. No touching, not taking, etc......I'm the one throwing live shells back in the water!