Caribbean – Snorkeling on Hawksnest Beach, St. John, USVI

we're hereI’m going to take you back to last year. Boxing day, the day after Christmas, Brian and I boarded a plane in Houston, TX with our arms full of very special clothing. It was a long haul to our destination. Three airports, three different planes, two ferry terminals, a rain storm and finally a ride up some very steep hills in an old Jeep to our destination. There will be more posts soon about the rest of our week on St. John in the US Virgin Islands, but let me start by telling you about a very special day.

just a little bit stunningThe story of the second half of this day will be posted tomorrow. First I’ll tell you how to follow our footsteps during what turned out to be the best day we’ve ever spent on a beach.

not all who wander are lostFirst you should prepare in advance. Call around and do your internet research to find a place to stay that fits your personality and needs perfectly. For us that was the Treetops Inn. Once you have chosen the right place, ask your hosts to recommend the best beach in the area. Trust the residents! They know which beach is most crowded, which is too rough, which has the softest sand and which will be nearly empty and perfect for your morning snorkel adventure.

blueOnce you know where to go, get there early. Find the perfect spot where the sand slopes at just the right angle so you can lay most comfortably on your towel, and the shade of the palm trees is just enough to keep the worst of the sunburn away but let through enough light to keep you warm while you work on your island tan.

pink sandMake sure your morning has the most ideal weather in the world for snorkeling. Just enough breeze to keep you cool in the sun, but not enough to kick up the waves which will stir up the sand and reduce your visibility.

duck!Talk to the wildlife and get them on board with their timely appearances. It is most rewarding to see pelicans flying directly over your head, and even better when they land next to you in the water. Have your camera ready, the birds may be cooperative in showing up, but they don’t wait around long.

jawsDon’t forget your gear. Mask? Snorkel? Fins? Check, check, check. Teeny little bikini? Check.

teeny bikiniWith all your gear ready, your waterproof camera strapped to your wrist and your partner who loves the sea more than anything, jump right in. The fish are on board with the birds and will make sure to swarm around you in great flashes of silvery color.

Here fishy, fishy, fishyEven the stingrays will cooperate. They will glide right under you and skip about for as long as you want them to. They will hold still for photos and pose for good shots.

Not CharlesWhen you’ve had all you can take of the abundant undersea life, go back up to your resting spot in the soft sand. Take in the scenery as your partner plays to his heart’s content in the shimmering waves. Make note of the odd ruin of a stone building on the peninsula across the bay. You may want to check it out another day.

perfectAbsorb all the sun your skin can take without burning. Get a natural pedicure by strolling along the amazingly soft sand. Smile at the families and children playing in the lapping waves but pack up your things and head back to your hotel for a nap before it gets crowded.

Celebrate the morning knowing it couldn’t have been a more perfect start to what is a very important and happy day, but remember the best part is going to be a few hours later. The secret you’ve only planned for a few weeks, the one you haven’t told your friends, family or kids about. Hold hands while you walk back to your Jeep and smile your secret smile to each other. Things are about to get really, really good.

Come back tomorrow and read about how this perfect day got even better. We’re dying to show you.

On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.

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About akil3655

A Scotsman and his American photographer wife traveling the world and writing about it. Tales, reviews, photos, interviews and crazy goings on. Because you never know what's going to happen.

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