St. John Day 4 – Leinster Bay

Posted by wanchan on July 3rd, 2015 filed in Vacation

So, having scouted out Leinster Bay via the short hiking trail from the Annaberg ruins the day before, we packed our snorkeling kit today.

We got up a bit earlier, and were the first people on the beach, which made Michelle nervous on the assumption that everyone else knew something we didn’t – she checked the USVI NOAA pages religiously every morning to check the riptide forcasts. Once I convinced her to relax, we set up camp and walked the beach.

Leinster Bay beachLeinster Bay, with a view of Waterlemon Cay

Right off, we got a nice treat – there was a small nurse shark prowling the beach, maybe a meter from the surfline proper. We walked the whole beach, and saw him a few times – he seemed to be patrolling the whole beach, or at least the sandy part.

That settled, we slathered on our sunscreen and headed into the water. The shark swam nearby a few times, but never closer than a couple of meters from us. I only saw him at the edge of my visibility twice after we started swimming. That disappointed me slightly, but also made me feel better that he preferred to leave us alone, rather than assert ownership of the beach.

What we did see, however, was quite impressive. Quite a few different kinds of fish, including the only puffer fish I saw the whole time. There were a few different schools of smaller fish swimming about, and it seems we found another small barracuda every time we turned around. We were quite relieved that, like the shark, they preferred to swim away from us.

Our biggest treat was out a bit closer to the middle of the bay – Michelle spotted them first, but she got my attention quickly to watch a pair of sea turtles browsing the grass along the floor of the bay. We watched them for quite a while, including drifting pretty close to them (no sudden or fast movements to startle them). They didn’t seem to mind our presence much, and we kept a reasonable distance so as not to give alarm.

After a while, we decided it was about lunchtime, so we headed back to the beach. There was a delay getting back when we came across another turtle closer to the beach, and I got to watch a pelican diving into a school of fish from underwater!

When we got back, I found our bags pulled open, and most of our lunch missing – the local mongeese had smelled our food, and stolen our bag of chips alongside Michelle’s sandwich. That left me pretty cross, as I should have known better than to leave our food in just a backpack on the beach, but I hadn’t felt like lugging the cooler out on the hike. Another lesson learned the hard way.

The local birds that scavenge from tourists are pretty cute, though:

some kind of bird - we saw a few on every beach and at every outdoor eatery

All in all, our best day’s snorkeling, despite the sand otters stealing most of lunch.

 

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