s t e v e s i m o n s e n ; o p p o s i t e : m a c d u f f e v e r t o n / c o r b i s ; p r e v i o u s p a g e : p h o t o l i b r a r y
you still grab your snorkel and heador the water. At Leinster Bay, you’llhit belly-scrapingly shallow water justyards away rom the path to Water-lemon Cay, where the skinny water ispacked with millions o sardine-sizesilverside. The baitish ebb and lowaround you as you move, so don’t besurprised to nd yoursel dive-bombedby a pelican looking to ill its bill.
In deeper water, vast schools o French grunts
and goatsh move amid elds o Venus sea
ans. On a recent our-hour masked marathon
in Leinster Bay, Simonsen tailed a sea turtleas it grazed on grass and then tried to crack open a small conch, and he spied healthyyoung stands o endangered elkhorn corals
ve to eight eet in diameter.
Leinster Bay and Waterlemon Cay lieinside the boundaries o the Virgin IslandsNational Park — which isn’t surprising, sinceabout 60 percent o St. John lies inside thepark’s boundaries. Other avorite spotsinclude the island’s number-one snor-kel destination, Trunk Bay, with itsamed underwater nature trail. Trunk,o course, shouts out rom every visitormap and package-tour brochure, but
early in the morning beore the crowds
begin to arrive, it is a magical place.Stingrays orage in the sand, turtlesin the grass, and in the summer, an
explosion o baitsh attracts schools o huge
tarpon. Once the maddening crowds arrive,head o the beaten path to Haulover Bay,on the northeast coast, to visit its healthy
corals. Or or a combo day o great beach and
great snorkeling, head to Hawksnest Beach,with its beautiul backdrops o elkhorn or-est populated by schools o grunts and blue
tangs. For a proessional underwater photog-
rapher like Simonsen, snorkeling on a day of
may seem like a busman’s holiday, but when
you live on St. John, it’s a magic bus.
When you spend the bulk of your professional life snorkeling the reefs of St. John,aiming your underwater camera at a succession of bikini-clad babes and creatingimages for clients such as Kodak,
, a day offseems like a wasted opportunity. But if you’re
contributor Steve Simonsen,