St. John Virgin Islands  
Leinster Bay, St. John  
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Leinster Bay, St. John Virgin Islands
Leinster Bay St. John USVI

St. John Beach Guide

St. John Beach Guide

Excerpted from St. John Beach Guide © 2006 Gerald Singer

Why Leinster?
From the small and tranquil sand beach at the east end of Leinster Bay, you can access Waterlemon Cay (not Watermelon) for what most visitors describe as the "best snorkeling on St. John." This beach also makes an excellent cooling-off stop after a hike on the Leinster Bay, Johnny Horn or Brown Bay Trails.

Facilities
There are pit toilets and a trash bin near the parking lot.

Historical Note
Because dueling was illegal in the Danish West Indies, those convinced of the necessity of settling disputes or defending their honor in this manner would travel to Tortola where the practice was legal. In 1800, however, the British Virgin Islands also prohibited dueling. Consequently, the remote and uninhabited island of Waterlemon Cay, far from the eyes of Danish or British authorities, became the new "field of honor."

Snorkeling Waterlemon Cay
From the beach, you can access the fine snorkeling around Waterlemon Cay, the small island just offshore. (Many visitors name this as their favorite snorkel.)

Enter the water from the beach and snorkel to the island. The shoreline water is shallow, and the bottom is a mixture of sand and coral rubble. It is about a 0.2-mile snorkel to the fringing reef off Waterlemon Cay. Between the beach and the island you will snorkel over an environment of seagrass in about twenty feet of water where you can often see starfish, sea cucumbers, green turtles and stingrays.

To decrease the snorkeling distance to the island, follow the trail at the far end of the beach. Bear left at the first fork in the trail, which runs along the coastline. At the end of this trail, walk along the shore and choose a convenient place close to Waterlemon Cay to enter the water. The distance across the channel to the island is only about 0.1 mile. This entry is from the rocky shoreline to a rocky bottom. Be careful not to step on live coral or sea urchins.

From this entry point to the eastern part of Waterlemon Cay, you will snorkel over an area of seagrass and scattered reef. Closer to the island, the water becomes quite shallow. Here you will see schools of blue tang and some very large parrotfish. You can sometimes hear the parrotfish crunching their beak-like teeth along the surface of the rocks and dead coral. They do this to scrape off algae. Chunks of coral and algae pass through the parrotfish's unique digestive system and are excreted as fine coral sand. Much of the sand on our beautiful beaches is produced in this manner.

The south and east sides of Waterlemon Cay are bordered by a shallow-water fringing reef. The reef on the west and north sides of the cay is deeper, descending to a depth of about twenty feet. The reef is teeming with fish and other sea creatures. There are several varieties of coral to be found here, all healthy and colorful and the sea fans and sea plumes found in the deeper parts of the reef will give you the impression of swimming about in an underwater forest.

Look for eels in holes in the reef and for octopus where you find opened seashells piled together.

Caution!
There is often an offshore current around Waterlemon Cay, especially on the western side of the island, which will be stronger during new and full moons. If you are not a strong swimmer, keep this in mind. If you get into trouble, follow the current; go around the island and return on the other side.

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