Friday, June 11, 2010

Beach Hopping

Today's agenda consisted of two beaches: Salomon Bay and Hawksnest Bay. Salomon Bay is a bit of a hike (literally), so we went there first. From where we parked the car off of North Shore Road, we descended a rocky, half-mile trail to get to the beach. We almost took a wrong turn twice, but I had the National Parks map with me, so we figured out which way to go.

Because of its solitary location, Salomon Bay rated as one of my favorite beaches on St. John. The beach was pristine, the snorkeling fantastic (Kat saw an octopus!) and we could see the two islands we had kayaked - in the picture above, Lovango Cay is the big island on the left, and Henley Cay is the small island on the right. While snorkeling, in addition to the abundant colorful fish, we saw a resident sting ray that cruised along the shore several times, a small conch and a live sand dollar. We spent about four hours there, swimming, snorkeling, eating lunch and just plain hanging out. Then we packed up our things and hiked uphill to get back to the car.
After visiting serene Salomon Bay, Hawksnest (below) was a bit of a shock to the system. Even though we got there late in the afternoon, it was very busy. The beach itself was beautiful, as the shore was devoid of rocks. We only snorkeled around the small coral reef that extends perpendicularly from the beach, but we saw lots of cool fish and many different kinds of coral. After spending about an hour at Hawksnest, we called it a day and headed back "home."