Swimming With the Turtles at Maho Bay

One of the highlights of a visit to St. John is the opportunity to snorkel and observe turtles. Maho Bay is the place to go for sea turtles. The seagrass beds in the middle stretches of this shallow bay provide habitat for the green sea turtles that are seen more frequently in the early morning or late afternoon. There’s coral and fish along the western (left if facing water) waters of this long beach, they are more abundant the closer you get to the point between Maho and Cinnamon. To the north east, the rocks and reef supports abundant fish populations, including angel fish. If you are lucky you may see octopus in the coral crevices. Both Maho and Francis Bay can get stirred up reducing visibility when there is a north swell but in general are less affected by winter swells than elsewhere on the North Shore.

Here’s a short video so you can check out what it’s like to swim with the turtles. The sea turtles of St. John are accustomed to the presence of snorkelers, so you’ll often get an up close and personal experience with these magnificent islanders during your time here, though it’s important that you maintain proper turtle etiquette. Proper turtle etiquette means respecting the sea turtles’ space – no chasing, no touching, and definitely no riding the turtles.

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