A good hike in the Caribbean is generally its own reward, but the best ones lead to special places – remote tracks of sandy shoreline, spectacular lookout points, ancient colonial ruins, hot springs, waterfalls, thirst-quenching natural spring waters… even secluded islets like this one.
This is Waterlemon Cay, an itty-bitty islet with its own sandy spit nestled just offshore the eastern edge of Leinster Bay on St. John’s north coast.
You could get here by boat, of course, but then you’d miss out on the hike.
From the road that leads to the Annaberg Plantation Ruins, a flat and open trail takes you along the shoreline. In about 20 minutes you’ll arrive at a small sandy beach facing Waterlemon Cay. Once there, simply dive in and head on over.
Whether you go for the hike/swim option or simply take a boat, definitely DO NOT miss out on the snorkeling here.
The waters that surround Waterlemon are among the best for snorkeling anywhere in St. John, a fact that automatically makes them the some of the best in the entire U.S. Virgin Islands.
The diverse coral species here – Elkhorn, Pillar, Brain, and more – combines with an abundance of purple sea fans to create a dynamic undersea environment attracting all manner of tropical sea life. Parrotfish, Grunts, Blue Tang, Squirrelfish, Blennies – all abound on the Waterlemon Reef.
As you traverse Waterlemon’s grassy sea beds, keep an eye out for stingrays, green sea turtles, and lots of starfish, the remoteness of the island allowing a wide array of sea creatures to thrive.
You’ll obviously want to pack extra light for this excursion. Bring just your snorkel gear, a little water, your tough camera (I’m never without this one), some sunscreen (preferably this one, so you don’t harm the reef), and a hearty hankering for adventure over to Waterlemon.
Leave nothing behind, of course.
*Photo credit: Flickr user Ornoth.