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St. John USVI · Activities

Snorkeling Hawknest Bay

Hawknest Bay has a couple of shallow reefs that extend perpendicularly from the sandy beach. Some of the area is too shallow to safely snorkel above it and must be viewed from the sides. Since the 1980's various storms and land development pressures have destroyed or smothered much of this reef but it has begun to recover nicely in the past few years. Fast growing elkhorn coral, hit hard by disease in the past three decades, seems to be making a comeback. Scattered corals are found in waters up to 20 feet off the eastern end of the beach. The rocky headland separating Hawknest from Gibney's Beach to the east is mostly devoid of fish and coral. From the dead reef in front of the yellow Oppenheimer house, a few coral heads follow the shoreline below Easter Rock.



Courtesy of Virgin Islands National Park Service

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John "Big Hat" Walsh


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