Snorkeling Waterlemon Cay – St John
Waterlemon Cay is the #1 destination for snorkeling on St John – and the reputation is well deserved. Its off-the-beaten-path location is one reason this spot is on the top of most people’s lists of things to do on St John. The other reason is the diversity of marine life and dramatic location.
Waterlemon Cay is on the eastern end of Leinster Bay – along St John’s north shore. Direction are the same as those for visiting the Annaberg Plantation ruins. The trail leading to Waterlemon Cay begins just off the road leading to Annaberg.
The hike is scenic and flat – with the aqua blue waters of Leinster Bay providing a tropical backdrop for the 20 minute hike to Waterlemon Cay. Water entry is at the small sandy beach just west of the Cay or at a pebble and boulder shoreline adjacent to the Cay. Once in the water head for the western edge of the Cay. It’s protected from wind and waves making snorkeling a bit easier than at the far point or eastern side.
What you’ll see: In the sea grass beds of the tiny bay you’re likely to see Green Sea Turtles, rays, conch and large orange and yellow Cushio starfish. Along the dramatic structure and reef surrounding Waterlemon Cay, you’ll see plenty of purple sea fans, Boulder and Grooved Brain Coral, Mustard Hill Coral, Elkhorn and Pillar Corals. The variety of fish is even more impressive with schools of Atlantic Blue Tangs, Bluehead Wrasses, an assortment of Parrotfish, blennies, grunts, damsels and Squirrelfish.
WARNING! Waterlemon Cay can be subject to strong currents off the far side of the Cay. Be aware of any changes in weather or current, never snorkel alone and do not exceed your physical limitations / experience. If you are caught in a current – do not swim against it. Relax and swim at an angle to the direction of the current and towards the nearest shore.