Salomon Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands
Hike from Town
The lower trail is slightly shorter and less hilly. On the other hand, the upper trail is often better maintained and more scenic, passing by the beautiful Lind Point Overlook.
From either the upper or lower trails, take the spur trail to Salomon Bay, which will be on your left and leads downhill.
Combining a Drive and a
Immediately on the right hand side, is a parking area for approximately four vehicles. Park here if you drove. The Caneel Hill Spur Trail intersects Route 20 and is clearly marked with a sign. Take this trail north and downhill to the Lind Point Trail and turn left. Then take the first spur trail to the right, which goes down the hill to Salomon Beach.
Nonetheless, would-be nudists should be advised that park rangers have recently been enforcing Virgin Islands anti-nudity laws and issuing citations to non-compliers.
For now, those who might be offended by nudity can sidestep this issue by choosing the close-by Honeymoon Beach as an alternative destination.
(May 3, 2003 note: It looks like National Park Service enforcement has finally had an effect on the character of Salomon Bay. On today's visit there were no nudists and Salomon appeared to be a family beach.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Henley, Ramgoat and Rata Cays (The Durloe Cays) were owned by Roger Humphrey, the Marine commandant of the Virgin Islands during World War II. He built the concrete storehouse whose ruins are presently found on Henley Cay. In 1947 Humprey's son, a navy pilot, flew his aircraft over Henley Cay. He apparently was executing some air acrobatics, which he miscalculated, flew too low, crashed into the cay and died. This was the first time a plane had crashed anywhere near St. John. The wreckage of the plane can still be seen on top of the island.
After his son's death Humphrey lost interest in further development of Henley and rarely returned there. In 1948, he rented Henley Cay to Robert and Nancy Gibney, the parents of the present owners of Gibney Beach, who lived there for about a year before building their permanent home at Hawksnest.
Most of the reef lies in calm, shallow water with some sections even rising above the surface at times of extreme low tides. Thus, snorkelers should make an extra effort to avoid situations where the water is too shallow for them.
The condition of the reef is good, although there has been some damage to the coral caused by irresponsible boating, careless snorkelers, and by natural phenomena, such as heavy ground seas and hurricanes.
The coral reef community here is colorful and diverse. The fish are plentiful and there is a great deal to see. This is the best-protected and most easily accessible shallow water snorkel in St. John, and it can be thoroughly enjoyed by snorkelers of all experience levels.
Snorkeling in the center of the bay between the fringing reefs can also be a worthwhile experience. Snorkel in areas protected by swim buoys to minimize danger from boat traffic in the area.
The sea bottom between the reefs is sand and coral rubble. You will have to look more carefully to find interesting activity, but there really is a great deal of life here. The hills and holes on the sea floor are formed by eels, worms, shrimp, clams and crabs that make their homes on this underwater beach. Meanwhile, you may notice several different varieties of fish swimming about, which are constantly on the lookout for these tasty bottom dwellers.
Snorkeling over the sandy bottom is also a good way for beginners to get practice before attempting to snorkel over reef where there is a possibility of danger to both the snorkeler and to the reef from accidental contact.