Snorkeling Francis Bay

Francis Bay Travel Blog

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Francis Bay, St John

We backtracked the way we had come, and it wasn't long at all before we found the road to Francis Bay.  There was an upper parking area, where you can park and hike down a trail to the beach, that seems to wind around a marshy area.  It was kind of hot for hiking at that point in the day however, so we just decided to drive down to the lower parking area and the beach.  A lot of people had the same idea though, and the small, lower lot was full!  We were able to park along the side of the road however, a few other cars had already done that as well.  It was a short trip to the beach, where Tyler and I quickly put on our snorkeling gear and sought relief from the afternoon heat in the bay!  For some reason, it slipped my mind to apply waterproof sunscreen before getting into the water.

Looking out on Francis Bay
.. something I would regret later!

Francis Bay varied in depth from just a few feet deep to about 40 feet or so, but the average depth seemed to be 20-25 feet.  We worked our way north, towards Mary Point, but when we spotted a few large stingrays, we followed them west into deeper water.  Not long after that, we spotted a large sea turtle!    He was just meandering along, occasionaly poking his head above the surface for air, but he didn't seem to be bothered by us at all.  We kept a reasonable distance, and trailed behind him for awhile in the direction of Whistlers Cay.  The various ocean life seemed to be leading us out to sea, and it didn't seem long before we were pretty far from the beach!  In reality, we had already been in the water for over an hour at that point, and we decided to head towards the shallower water off of Mary Point.

Looking towards Mary Point, from Francis Bay Beach

We were in about 15 feet of water, when Tyler excitedly signaled to me that he had spotted a large Conch shell.   He was hoping to find one to take home as a souvenir, so he dove down to get it.  When he surfaced with it, however, we discovered that the shell was occupied by a rather large crab!  Since the shell was "occupied",  Tyler wisely let it drop back to the sea floor...  no need to kill a crab for a souvenir!  We can look around for an empty one!  We continued to do so, and in the area where we were, there were literally dozens of them!   We both made repeated dives, flipping the shells over, and then dropping them again when we saw a crab inside!   This activity went on for almost another hour, and we were never able to find an empty one.

Similer to the turtle that almost collided with me!
  We gave up the hunt, and started to kick our way back to shore.

On the way back, Tyler got way ahead of me (naturally!) and I was near a family of four, who were about 10 feet to my left, when I looked up to see how far ahead of me Tyler was.   When I put my face mask back in the water, I was surprised to see a large sea turtle coming up from the bottom, and he was about to run right into me!  He was just trying to surface for air, and didn't notice me above him. Caught by surprise by this impending collision, I yelled something like "OH S*** !!"  very loudly into my snorkle!   The turtle heard this, and immediatley dove back down!!   This averted the collision, and got a big laugh out of the family of four that were near me!!  It turns out, they had been following the turtle, just as Tyler and I had followed the other turtle earlier.

We snorkeled here for over 3 hours! Plenty to see underwater!
  I just happened to be in the wrong place when he tried to surface,  and I didn't notice him till it was almost too late!  Ok, enough of this for me... time to get out of the water before there are any more surprises!

We were pretty tired when we got back to the beach, after almost 3 hours of non-stop snorkeling!  We gathered up our gear, and decided to head back to our camp and make something for dinner before going out for the evening.   We had made plans to meet with my sister Laura and some of her friends in Cruz Bay, where we were going to watch the fireworks show tonight!

 

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Francis Bay, St John
Francis Bay, St John
Looking out on Francis Bay
Looking out on Francis Bay
Looking towards Mary Point, from F…
Looking towards Mary Point, from …
Similer to the turtle that almost …
Similer to the turtle that almost…
We snorkeled here for over 3 hours…
We snorkeled here for over 3 hour…
Still part of the National Park Sy…
Still part of the National Park S…
Beach at Francis Bay
Beach at Francis Bay
Francis Bay
Francis Bay
Tyler hits the water
Tyler hits the water
Beach at Francis Bay
Beach at Francis Bay
The small island at center is Whis…
The small island at center is Whi…
Beach at Francis Bay
Beach at Francis Bay
Sailboat caught right between Whis…
Sailboat caught right between Whi…
There were a few people taking adv…
There were a few people taking ad…
...but not too many!
...but not too many!
Francis Bay
photo by: WaltJake