Hawksnest Bay

Hawksnest Bay Travel Blog

 › entry 22 of 27 › view all entries
Hawksnest Bay, St. John... looking to the right

There was still plenty of daylight left after Tyler and I were dropped back off in Cruz Bay, so on the way back to camp we decided to stop off at Hawksnest Bay,  which we had driven past every day, but hadn't checked out yet.   Whereas Trunk Bay is definately the most popular beach on St John with the tourists, Hawksnest Bay seems to be the most popular with the locals.  This is probably due to the fact that it is the closest beach to Cruz Bay, the main population center on St John.    There is a free parking lot right off the road, and it has covered facilities with picnic tables, BBQ grills, restrooms and changing rooms.    Tyler and I carried our snorkle gear the short walk from the car, and went straight into the water.

Hawksnest Bay, looking to the left
   Hawksnest is a large, fairly shallow horseshoe-shaped bay, with a sandy beach in front, and a coral reef not too far out.    It was a perfect swimming and snorkeling area, with a nice picnic area.  I can see why the locals are so enamored of it!   There is a string of trees between the beach and the road, so you can't really see the beach too well driving by... but we figured it must be nice, since the parking lot was always full!

As we kicked our way out into the bay, the nice sandy bottom soon gave way to a shallow coral reef.  It was so shallow, in many parts we had to swim around sharp coral formations to avoid scraping our chests on them!   It was great for viewing tiny sea creatures, because our face masks were so close to the bottom.

Hawksnest Bay, looking straight out
   We could just hove and watch tiny fish going about their business without having to to dive down and startle them.   It was in this area that Tyler discovered another "first" for us on this trip.... a small octopus, hiding in a hole!  It's head was a little bigger than a grapefruit, and when he saw us coming, he slinked back into his hole and tried to hide from us.   I was really regretting not investing in an underwater camera!  After negotiating our way past the shallow area, the reef started to open up and gradually lead out into deeper water.   When it got to be about 20 feet deep or so, we spotted another conch shell, all by itself on a flat rock.  It was smaller than the one I had found at Diamond Reef, but its prutruding "arms" were longer.
The beach itself wasn't too big- the trees came pretty close to the water
  Tyler easily dove down and grabbed it, inspected it, and brought it to the surface.  No sign of any occupant, so he had another nice shell to add to his collection!

We kicked around and explored the bay, moving around in a big circle, eventually winding up at  the sandy beach area, down on the far right side of the beach.   Around this time I started coughing a lot... I don't know if it was because the dry air coming through my snorkle was irritating my throat, or what...  but it was annoying to be constantly coughing into a snorkle air tube!  So, at that point, I got out of the water and started to walk back along the beach.  Tyler, ever the water rat, stayed in the ocean and kicked his way back in about two feet of water!  This turned out to be another nice beach, a little different than all the rest we had checked out.  We headed back to the car, Tyler wrapped his new shell in a towel, and we headed back to Cinnamon Bay Campground.   By then, I was pretty worn out from all the days activities and physical exertion.   I was looking forward to making dinner, and relaxing in my cot!

WaltJake says:
You know, we saw rays in just about every bay we snorkled, but not this one! Of course, we spent most of our time here on the reef, where the water was only about 3 feet deep. I'm sure there were probably plenty out in the deeper part.
Posted on: Nov 30, 2008
vances says:
Thanks for the memories. My wife & I stayed at Caneel Bay and our room overlooked Hawksnest Bay. If memory serves, there was a big stairway down to the beach? Recall seeing a lot of rays when we swam here!
Posted on: Nov 30, 2008
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Hawksnest Bay, St. John... looking…
Hawksnest Bay, St. John... lookin…
Hawksnest Bay, looking to the left
Hawksnest Bay, looking to the left
Hawksnest Bay, looking straight out
Hawksnest Bay, looking straight out
The beach itself wasnt too big- t…
The beach itself wasn't too big- …
The beach wasnt crowded though
The beach wasn't crowded though
Better dig him up before the tide …
Better dig him up before the tide…
A few families were enjoying the b…
A few families were enjoying the …
Lets go snorkeling!
"Let's go snorkeling!"
The bay was fairly shallow, with a…
The bay was fairly shallow, with …
The first 40 yards out, it was a p…
The first 40 yards out, it was a …
Hawksnest Bay
photo by: WaltJake