Whale & Dolphin Watching

Whales and dolphins on st john usviWhales and dolphins migrating from the north Atlantic are usually seen in the waters around the Virgin Islands from December through March. Most prevalent are bottle-nosed dolphin and humpback whales. Educational whale watching excursions are typically announced by environmental groups a few weeks prior to their intended outing. Such tours are most popular around February-March.

You can also see whales and dolphins on a private day boat charter. In fact, when you take a private day boat charter, you can even snorkel with the whales and dolphins, but don’t touch–these are protected animals! Take a private day boat charter with Pirates Paradise Adventures. See their dolphin video here:

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Windsurfing

Looking for a great way to skim across the surface of some exceptional Caribbean water on your windsurfing board? Want to rent a board and find out what it’s all about? Then come to St. John and enjoy some of the world’s most pristine waters by taking part in what many claim to be the most exhilarating water sport around. st john windsurfingIf you have never windsurfed before in your life, don’t worry; with guides for hire upon request, you can be up on the board catching wind in your sail in virtually no time flat! Also, if you are an expert windsurfer, you’ll have plenty of water space to perform your stunts, as St. John offers some of the best and most expansive waters for windsurfing.

For the happy vacationer who is interested in trying windsurfing, one of the best spots on the island is at Cinnamon Bay. This is not only because of the great aquatic terrain provided by the wide open bay, but because most of the accessible equipment rental shops for windsurfers are found right there on the beach. In fact, there are two resorts that rent equipment in addition to the center for water sports at Cinnamon Bay. Here, you can get hour long rentals for only $15, and you will be able to choose from all different sizes so that children as well as adults can get a chance to enjoy this fun water sport. A beginner’s lesson lasts two hours and costs as little as $45!

st john windsurfing 2Aside from great scenery and reasonably priced rental equipment, St. John provides a great atmosphere for windsurfers of all skill levels who want to get out onto the water and have a great time. That’s because guides are more often than not long time residents or even locals who have a genuine love for the place. Generally, the person teaching you the best windsurfing technique knows the water inside and out, and is someone to be trusted because of the great people skills and demonstrated years of experience. In fact, many guides have lots of experience in other water sports as well, including kayaking, snorkeling and even sailing. This is important because it gives them a well-rounded sense of the place, and will convince you that they know what they are talking about.

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Snorkeling & Scuba Diving

With the use of a mask and snorkel you can float on the surface and admire marine life below or super snorkel and explore from under water. View gorgeous coral reefs and an abundance of fish. Snorkel from the beaches or off a day boat rental!

SNORKELING:
st john snorkelingSnorkeling: The best way to find good snorkeling on St John is to be adventurous and willing to explore off the beaten path. Here are some great places to snorkel:

Snorkeling at Waterlemon Cay
Water Lemon is a great place to explore because of the little cay itself with its sandy beach and the incredible marine life found there. Look for sea cucumbers and sea stars – commonly known as star fish.

You can drive, taxi or hitch hike to Annaberg and take a short walk out to Leinster Bay where Water Lemon Cay is just a short snorkel away. You can rest on the cay before your snorkel back to the beach.

St. John snorkeling 2If you are more adventurous try snorkeling around the cay. Watch for currents in the Sir Francis Drake Channel on the backside of the cay.

Snorkeling at Cinnamon Bay
Cinnamon Bay is patch reef and colonized hard pavement. If you snorkel out to little Cinnamon Cay you will find boulders colonized by a variety of coral and sponges. Expect to see colorful reef fish here, especially parrot fish. The stop light parrot fish male is large and very colorful while the female is camouflaged.

St. John snorkeling 3Snorkeling at Salt Pond Bay
Salt Pond has some great snorkeling. If you brave the ride, past Coral Bay, try snorkeling the left and right sides of the bay or the rock island far off the beach. For a truly unique and solitary experience hike the trail from Salt Pond toward Ram Head Point. The next beach you come to is a cobble beach covered in blue rocks from an ancient geological formation.

Snorkel off the right (S.E.) end of the beach to see massive boulders colonized by sponges and elk horn coral.

Each location is different and the fish, coral and sponges you see depends on your own ability to tune in and relax in the underwater environment.

St. John snorkeling 4There are two schools of thought when it comes to snorkeling. You can snorkel large distances and scan the underwater horizon in search of the next big fish. Or you can pick a healthy patch of coral reef and stay put, waiting for the fish to come to you. Both have their advantages.

To see our three species of sea turtles; Hawksbill, Green, and Leather Back, you will want to snorkel far and wide and scan the horizon.

SCUBA DIVING:
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned diver, Maho Bay’s Water Sports Center provides scuba diving programs, which have been carefully prepared for the safest possible enjoyment of scuba diving Caribbean waters. The activities desk at Maho Bay Camps can make all the arrangements for your ultimate scuba diving experience in some of the most beautiful waters surrounding St. John or other destinations in the area.

SCUBA DIVING ST JOHNThe U.S. Virgin Islands has once again ranked very high in Rodale’s Scuba Diving magazine’s “Readers Rate” top 100 poll. The top 100 poll ranks the top destinations in the world, according to a variety of water sports related categories.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, divers can often find visibility up to 100 feet, affording colorful and detailed views of more than 500 species of tropical fish. Known for its low-impact, eco-friendly diving, St. John has sites, such as Eagle Shoal, Horse Shoe Reef and Leaf Lobster Hut that average 40 to 60 feet in depth and are home to thriving sea life. The island is great for snorkeling and home to the Trunk Bay Snorkel Trail, which features underwater plaques containing detailed descriptions of the amazing underwater scenery. Most of St. John is within the protected area of the US Virgin Islands National Park.

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Learn To Sail St. John

learn to sail st john Crystal clear water, deserted island beaches, comfortable trade winds, and panoramic bliss are what you can expect to find. Stretched out all around you, the yachtsmen’s dream. The Virgin Islands unique geography provides for the best sailing waters in the Western Hemisphere. Ideal Anchorages, line of sight sailing, consistent waters, and great diving would just be scratching the surface in explaining this one of a kind sailing experience.

sail st johnSo you’re asking yourself, “how does this stuff work?” Your Captain is going to be more than happy to show you the art of sailing. Sailing is a passion, and for most sailors in the Virgin Isalnds, it’s the reasons they are here. Learn the basics and get a little time behind the wheel! Find out about how using the wind works, simple navigation, and what some of those slang sailor words mean! Have fun with it, include yourself only as much as you’d like!

Almost all sailing yachts will let you help ‘man the helm’ or ‘hoist the mainsail’–if you get the chance–try it! It’s the memory of a lifetime!

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Fishing

St John fishingThe Virgin Islands are perched at the edge of the six mile deep Puerto Rico Trench, an area known for having some of the hardiest game fish in the world. Two well known fishing areas off of St. Thomas are the North Drop, about 20 miles north of St. Thomas; and the South Drop, 8 miles south of St. Thomas. St. Croix is surrounded by a drop which is .5 to 4 miles north or south. Migrating schools of small fish gather in these areas, and this attracts larger pelagics such as billfish, Tuna, Wahoo and Dolphin fish (Mahi-Mahi). “Working the drop” consists of trolling back and forth across the 50-100 fathom depth contour.

Classic flats fishing are a rarity in the Virgin Islands; though exceptions such as the Leinster Bay area on St. John do exist. On St. Croix, which has a narrow under-water shelf off its shores; fishing from small boats very close to the shoreline can be very rewarding. Some recreational fishers have success fishing from shore despite difficulties due to windy conditions, deep drop offs and coral snags.

St. John fishing 2Offshore game fish include Blue and White Marlin, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna and Wahoo among others. Most of these game fish strike with little warning and they are all known to give quite a fight. Marlin will fight for hours and are said to become more aggressive the week before and after the full moon. Tuna are also strong fish. Wahoo are known to attack bait ferociously and then swim away from the boat; they can race up to 50 miles an hour!

Some 24 world records in fishing have been set in recent years in the Virgin Islands–evidence of amazing experiences in store for anglers! Take an offshore fishing charter and catch a marlin or enjoy a few hours of inshore fishing for snook and bonefish.

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