If you want to snorkel the reefs, Waterlemon Cay in St. John USVI should be your first choice. Due to the natural and impeccable reef structure that surrounds the cay, which is home to different species of marine wildlife, it is considered by many to be one of the best diving spots on the island and in the world.
Waterlemon Cay (not watermelon) is surrounded by an edge reef, or a reef that is directly connected to a shore, or is bordered by a shallow lagoon channel. This natural formation explains the lush underwater forest teeming with exotic fish and other marine life. Depending on your entry point, you may see different types of aquatic animals, such as the many varieties of angelfish and butterfly, parrotfish, and surgeonfish. Turtles, cuttlefish, sea cucumbers, rays and sea urchins are also abundant, not to mention the different types of starfish that rest on the sandy bottom, creating beautiful constellations. Seeing hundreds of brightly colored starfish resting on the white sand bottom of the clear blue sea is an amazing sight to behold and makes for an amazing underwater photo.
The water from Lienster Bay to Watermelon Cay is shallow, so you can hike or snorkel the reef island. However, snorkeling is recommended, because the sooner you swim, the sooner you can see the underwater splendor. The solid mix of sand and coral debris comes out about 2/10 of a mile, and then you’ll see the seagrasses floating upstream; this is where sea turtles nest and feed.
If you take the route to the eastern part of the key, you reduce the diving distance to only a tenth of a mile. That is, if you follow the path at the other end of the beach. On this route, you will snorkel in an area of scattered reefs and many seagrasses. Here, you will also see some large parrotfish and schools of blue spikes.
There are also descending bottoms of up to twenty to twenty-five feet, which can be found on the west and north sides of the reef. Several varieties of corals can also be found in these parts. Although it might seem like diving these depths you wouldn’t see much, think again, because the sea fans and feathers found here give the feeling of floating above an underwater forest, filled with vibrant fans of orange, red and purple coral. . It is an incredible experience.
However, a word of caution, an offshore current is often detected around Waterlemon Cay, St. John USVI, especially on the western side. Snorkellers who frequent the key suggest going with the current and going counter-clockwise around the key, and be sure to dive with a friend.
If snorkeling is your thing, then Waterlemon Cay off St. John USVI is the place to do it.