Just returned from a weeklong visit to St. John. We stayed on the Coral Bay side of the island and were within walking distance to Salt Pond Bay. While SPB may not have the the picture-perfection of some of the North shore beaches, it more than makes up for that with its remote location, which discourages hordes of beach-goers that you might see on the North shore. While we were visiting, it also had much less wave-activity than the North shore. Snorkeling here was very good. I would recommend coming here if you are just learning to snorkel and want a place to get comfortable with snorkeling while still seeing lots of fish and coral. For beginner snorkelers, you can enter the water anywhere in SPB and swim either the eastern or western ends of the bay. Near the rocks along the shore line, watch out for sea urchins, even in very shallow water. You will see lots of fish and coral right away, as soon as you move away from the sand bottom at the center of the bay. For more advanced snorkelers, swim along the western end (off to your right when facing the bay). Swim out to the rocks just past the end of the bay and you will see some really great coral formations and lots of fish activity. It's an easy swim but does take about 15 minutes of swimming to get there. Well worth it though--we saw a hawksbill turtle, squid and some really magnificent coral specimens. To reach SPB, take Route 107 south, just past the Concordia Eco tents. There is a parking area and a trail down to the water (about a 5-10 minute hike). The trail is a bit rocky, so bring appropriate footwear. Try not to step on the hermit crabs littering the trail! :) One item of note: do NOT mistake Salt Pond Bay for Salt Pond! We heard of some people getting mixed up and snorkeling in Salt Pond, rather than Salt Pond Bay. If what you are snorkeling in looks like a gross pond which smells bad, then you are likely in the wrong place!
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