Waterlemon Cay

Waterlemon Cay, Virgin Islands National Park: Address, Phone Number, Waterlemon Cay Reviews: 4.5/5

Waterlemon Cay
Bodies of Water • Reefs • Islands
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A short swim from Leinster Bay, you'll find some of the best snorkeling on this small island, with its plethora of marine life.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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926 reviews
Very good

John S
Saint Clair, MI489 contributions
Dec 2021
The hike in was a little while, but well worth it. We carried snorkel stuff and chairs. The snorkel around the Cay was really nice, but it was a little far for our 12 year old kids (it would be easy for even a decent swimmer). The real treat was snorkeling near the boat tie ups. There was a bed of sea greens and a few sea turtles grazing, we spent a ton of time hanging out and watching the turtles.
Written January 1, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

2 contributions
Feb 2022
The other beaches were very rough and dangerous, so we decided to try Waterlemon Cay. It was a nice 20 minute walk on a trail along the water to get to the beach, which was not crowded at all. If you want serenity and quiet, on calm water regardless of what it's like elsewhere, this is the beach to go to.
Written March 11, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

12 contributions
I have seen this cay referred to as Watermelon Cay, as well as Waterlemon Cay in brochures and pamphlets, and I am still not sure of the correct name, however it is a wonderful place to visit. One must park and walk down an ocean-side pathway in order to get to (let's call it Waterlemon Cay)! It is approximately a 12-15 minute walk which leads to a very nice beach--good for sunbathing, but the snorkeling is absolutely superb. The cay is located approximately 200 yds from the shoreline at Leinster Bay. While swimming out to the small cay, which has many beautiful shells, one can see beautiful starfish, sea turtles, sometimes a harmless shark, and the many beautiful tropical fish which are so plentiful at St. Johns. While swimming to the cay, the water gets rather deep--approximately 15 to 20 feet, but it is not difficult to get there. Absolutely GORGEOUS sea shells are abundant on the rather tiny Waterlemon Cay. Large starfish are abundant around the cay, as well as many beautiful tropical fish. Be careful if you decide to swim around the cay, because the currents can be extremely difficult at times on the far side of the cay---only one of the times that I truly felt that my girlfriend who could not swim but was wearing a mid-riff safety belt and I were in a difficult situation. Swimming to the cay seems to provide no danger, but swimming around the cay can become rather difficult unless you are a strong swimmer. Probably some of the best snorkeling on St Johns. Waterlemon is very tiny, but is a great place to sunbathe, or to pick up seashells. It is probably the best place on St. Johns to see all of the different forms of sealife including a few sharks, some barracuda, some moray eels, who lie mostly underneath the coral, plus the very colorful tropical fish. I would not even think of going to St Johns without visiting this place. The water there is so beautiful that at times it seems that you can see 4 or 5 different shades of colors---absolutely gorgeous! The Annaberg Plantation is also located within a few hundred yards of Leinster and Waterlemon, so it makes for a good 1/2 to a full day's trip.
Written September 11, 2003
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Draper, UT342 contributions
Jul 2020 • Family
We got to the start of the trail about 9:30 am.

The negatives: We are in good shape and the length of the walk was not an issue. However the walk is hot, hot, hot in July. We walked all the way until we were closest to the cay. I recommend sneakers. We wore our keens and the gravel and coral still worked in to our shoes. Coming back we wore our water socks with keens over and it was much better. The entry to the water is very, very rocky. Even with our water socks, it was a painful entry with lots of sea urchins around. I was scared one of us would end up on top of one getting in. The current was coming toward us on both sides of the cay. We fought it going out and coming back, but I didn’t think it was that bad. We did go counter-clockwise.

The good: Snorkeling around the back side of the cay was really great. We saw a barracuda as well as nice coral and fish.

Overall: it wasn’t worth it to us on this day. It’s a LOT of work for snorkeling that was comparable to other places that have an easy, sandy entry and no hike. If I go again, I’ll look for a sandy entry off the trail and just snorkel the bay there.
Written July 19, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

North Plains, OR143 contributions
Whether you are a novice or highly experienced snorkeler, you will be astounded by Waterlemon Cay area.

In two days of snorkeling there, here's what we saw:

1. At least 8 seaturtle sightings (below the water. A fun thing to do is to sit on the beach, or stand in shallow water, and see how many turtles you can catch bobbing up their 3- 4 times to catch take breaths at the surface. Then they are underwater for about 10 minutes or more before bobbing up again. Soooo cute! I had at least 10 above-water head sightings)
2. 6 - 8 ray sightings (including a spotted ray that was at least 6 feet long including the tail)
3. blue-spotted flatfish called a peacock flounder, playing possum on the top of a coral
4. nice-sized octopus
5. moray eel
6. dozens of schools of baby fish numbering in the thousands (not an exaggeration - imagine swimming for five minutes nonstop surrounded by tiny fish)
7. many baby barracuda in training guarding their turfs
8. gorgeous, huge starfish (these come and go for some mysterious reason. Day 1, we saw maybe a dozen. Day 2, zero)
9. awesomely beautiful coral gardens (if I didn't have a snorkel in my mouth, my jaw would have been dropped open the entire time).
10. just about every type of Caribbean tropical fish ever described.
11. Another fun thing to do is find corals where a variety of babies are feeding together. It reminded me of that scene in "Finding Nemo" where the fish are going to school together. Baby blue tangs, trunk fish, angelfish, parrotfish, etc - adorable!

Visibility, particularly in the a.m., is fantastic. Absolutely clear, down a good 30 feet. Around the right side of the cay, you could probably touch the fish, but please dont! I haven't gotten my underwater shots developed yet but I'm willing to bet they will be superb. The reason this spot is so fab is the fish seem to be completely unaffected by human activity (unlike Trunk Bay --- although even those are amazingly "normal" considering the onslaught of legs when the ships come in). They just go about their business and it's all good! The bigger the fish, the more shy tthey are. The tiny grunts chase away gigantic parrotfish 20x their size!

I'll add some underwater shots later!

Don't be scared off by the swim to the cay described by many guidebooks as only for experienced snorkelers. My boyfriend, truly a novice, made the trip all the way around the cay without any problems. If you are afraid of "not making it", just get on shore as close to the island as possible, around to the right, and only go on the right side of the island. That is where most of the beauty is. You won't miss much not going completely around. Current on the left side of the cay, coming back is where it's more challenging.

To see turtles, rays and baby barracudas, launch off the nice sandy beach you will come to about 2/3rds of the way to the point where you launch for the cay. Go as early in the morning as you can. Stay in the area bounded by the boat buoys. You don't have to go deep. Be patient. Stay around where the seagrass is. I saw one surface as close as maybe 15 feet from shore!

Written July 22, 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Jersey City, NJ25 contributions
Take the Leinster Bay Trail (nicely shaded easy walk along Leinster and Waterlemon Bay) to Waterlemon Bay, plop your stuff down, put your snorkeling gear on and get ready for some amazing sights! My cousin and I went here and had the best snorkeling experience of our trip (having also gone to Maho Bay, Whistling Cay, Francis Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Salt Pond Bay and Blue Cobblestone Beach). There's a LOT of starfish in the sand in the bay. Also feeding on the grasses in the bay we saw a sea turtle!! Hanging out with this turtle was definately the highlight of my trip, it had two fish that stayed with it and it just kept eating the entire time we watched it. Take the short swim out and around Waterlemon Cay to see some great deeper water coral and plants. It was rather wavy so we didn't see too many big fish but there were plently of little ones around in the protection of the bay. Great trip!!
Written March 1, 2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

25 contributions
Waterlemon Cay is a must-visit site for snorkelers. Since it's at the end of Lienster bay and requires a 150+ meter swim many don't take the time to see it. This is one of the best sites on St John that doesn't require a boat to get to.

Drive as far as you can down the dirt road along Leinster bay. Walk the remaining way around to the rocky point opposite Waterlemon Cay. On your swim across keep an eye out for a turtle and two rays. Don't get discouraged by the swim, you can always take a break on the shell laden beach when you get there.

I like to swim around the entire cay but use caution if you're not a strong swimmer as the water can be choppy. If you don't swim all the way around be sure you do check out both sides.
Written August 16, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Minneapolis, MN1 contribution
We were able to gain access via a dinghey that we rented in Cruz Bay. I would highly recommend making a day out of the dinghey. My wife and I rented one for 4 hours during the week we were there, and it was by far the most fun of the week. By renting a boat, you will not have to walk or drive to the beaches, and will have fun driving in the ocean to boot!
Written November 13, 2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Oklahoma201 contributions
We were at Waterlemon Cay in June, 2005. It was the best snorkeling. Saw lots of rays, large turtles, fish. You need to be in shape to fight the current, but it is well worth it. Be sure and snorkel all the way around the island even on a cloudy day. Don't go all the way around to the short route to the island or you will miss some great sights.
Written June 30, 2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Minneapolis, MN29 contributions
Dec 2012 • Couples
Just returned from a week long vacation in St. John. Waterlemon (note, it's water-lemon, not water-melon like I was calling it all week!), was our favorite snorkel spot that we were able to get to without a boat. We snorkeled every day while we were in St. John, but this was our favorite spot. To reach Waterlemon, you have a few options. You can park at the Annaberg ruins and walk along the easy shore-line path to Leinster Bay. You can enter the water along the eastern shore of Leinster and then swim along Leinster Bay (good snorkeling here too) all the way out to Waterlemon Cay. Or, you can walk along the eastern shore of Leinster Bay and enter the water close to WL cay. If you go this route, you save yourself some swimming, but do be careful because the water entry there is rocky and there are sea urchins. Another way you can access this snorkel is to hike the Brown Bay trail from the East End of the island (follow route 10 east past the Zootenvaal cottages). Brown Bay trail connects to the Johnny Horn trail, leading you right to WL. It's a bit of hike (and a hot hike at that), but it's a pleasant hike and you can then stop at Brown Bay on your way back from WL if you like. WL is simply a great snorkel, lots of turtles, starfish, schools of fish, healthy coral, etc! Follow the current to save on energy--usually going to be counter-clockwise around WL. Then you can take a rest on the little sand beach on WL before swimming back to shore. If you are only able to do one snorkel while in St. John, this is the one I would recommend. One item of caution: the shores of Leinster Bay are home to the Manchineel tree, aka the Death Apple tree. These trees (leaves, sap and fruit) are all toxic, so be particularly careful not to touch these trees, and to warn others in your party as well. The park service has some of these trees marked as toxic, but knowing what they look like so you can avoid them will help you enjoy your visit to Leinster Bay more!
Written December 23, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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