Reconnecting to Kayaking and Snorkeling St. John US Virgin Islands
The island of St. John US Virgin Islands is one of my favorite places to kayak and snorkel. I have recently returned for the winter after taking a small sabbatical to have two kids and see family for more than a few days, and the other day I took my six year old son on his first kayak snorkel tour with Hidden Reef. The trip was absolutely amazing.
The water was crystal clear, and our reef was as vibrant with fish as I have ever seen it. It is hard to put into words the feeling of coming back to a place, where you have spent literally hundreds of hours on the water, with your children for the first time. I could not only feel his excitement at the beauty of it all, but also felt the joy of visiting an old friend. St. John is one of my favorite places in the world to grab a paddle and head out on the water.
I have been known to say that when on an island if you never get out on the water it is just a coastal town. Nowhere is that more true than here. When paddling the water is clear, the sky is bright and the coastline is stunning. kayaking brings this feeling of oneness with the sea to the pinnacle of this experience. Moving at a slower speed so close to the water, one is able to feel the magic of the Caribbean Sea and see the beauty of the reef and wildlife below. The experience is so overwhelming that I can’t have a conversation with any of our guides without them breaking into a story of wildlife discovery and past experiences. They suddenly bring up the time they had a spotted eagle ray gliding along with them under the boat, or a leatherback turtle, as large as a VW bug, pop up a few yards from them. Sometimes it is the story of small dancing Caribbean reef squid, or meeting a two foot long puffer fish eye to eye, that resembles ET, but all of them are all so passionate about their continued experiences that even after years of guiding each trip brings new wonders and excitement.
The air smells different with the St. John breeze, and the water feels different with its constantly warm embrace. A sense of pure joy and relaxation is the only way to describe kayaking here, in our secluded bay, away from the other crowded beaches. More than anything about our last trip I will remember my son saying over and over again "Dad this is my favorite place to kayak" and personally I would have to agree.