TRUNK BAY, ST. JOHN, USVI
Trunk Bay's beach stretches for more than a quarter-mile, with white powdered-coral sand backed by palms and sea grape trees. A spit divides the bay and points directly at Trunk Cay, a rugged little isle that's a short swim from the beach. The entire bay is part of the Virgin Islands National Park and offers full facilities, including showers, a snack bar and a shop where you can rent snorkel gear, beach chairs and umbrellas.
"Trunk Bay is easy and inviting, even for first-time snorkelers," says guide Dave D'Alberto of OneHornButtfish. "It's generally calm and clear, and there's a marked snorkel trail that follows a zigzag course in 3 to 18 feet of water." The park installed 15 underwater plaques along the trail that explain the ecosystem and identify marine life. Shallow rocky areas around the bay are home to octopuses and crustaceans, while the deeper water holds swarms of blue tang, yellowtail snapper, parrotfish and butterflyfish. For the more experienced snorkelers, D'Alberto suggests circumnavigating Trunk Cay. "Start on the right side and swim counterclockwise," he says. "You'll see the young reef out there, with nice brain corals, and then ride the current back to the snorkel trail." In the middle of the bay, in 15 to 30 feet of water over sand and turtle grass, snorkelers often see green turtles, stingrays and eagle rays.
Where To Stay
Westin St. John Resort & Villas; 866-716-8108.
Caneel Bay; 340-776-6111