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Luvstobike

DIY Snorkeling on St Thomas

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We just got back from a week on the Carnival Breeze which had a stop in St Th from 12 to 6:30pm. I asked for advice here and got a great idea from Blue_Water (we originally had considered jumping over to St John but worried about how long it takes to get there and back).  We had a very nice afternoon on Sapphire Beach on St Thomas. Thanks for the advice!!  We saw a lot of pretty fish over to the right side of the beach when looking at the water from the bar area... We left the ship immediately when we docked, grabbed a taxi and got to the beach around 12:30ish; had the snorkeling to ourselves for the first 1.5-2 hours but then it got a bit more crowded.  There was a nice bar onsite and I think food was available too plus beach chairs for rent, bathrooms and an outdoor shower to rinse off.  There were 4 BIG ships in port that day so I think this was a really good place to spend our time.  The taxi was $10/person each way.  We would do it again on a future cruise...😊

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Thanks for this in Luvstobike, this is what I'm considering for our STT day. Did you rent beach chairs or umbrella or happen to notice how much they were?  How were the bathrooms? I read some Trip Advisor reviews and it doesn't even seem like people went to the same beach....some say bad snorkeling or not much to see others great snorkeling. Rocky beach,sandy beach.Some terrible bathroom others facilities were good. How were drink/food prices at the bar?

Since you were just there am glad to get some recent input!

Thanks!

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We didn't rent but asked someone and they said $8 for a chair; didn't see umbrellas.   Bathrooms were ok, 3 stalls in ladies and small but adequate with soap and paper towels. Had a drink but don't remember how much it was.   They have a $15 min to use CC and had to get a beer and 2 margaritas to hit minimum.  Did not look at food menu.   Beach does have rocks on the right side but in front of bar area has been cleared; be sure to go in and out there and swim out to the right where water looks darker to find fish. Stay out farther from shore to avoid getting too close to coral. Not going to be like an aquarium or brightly colored coral, etc. BUT we did see a large variety of types and some bigger schools of fish.  Pretty good for the area.  One other suggestion: we took inflatable noodles (bought on Amazon) which made snorkeling a LOT easier to deal with the waves while snorkeling.  Otherwise you tire quicker and have to come back to shore sooner. The sand is white and water is beautiful blue. Wish we would have had more time just to enjoy the sun. There is at least one more beach closeby that you can walk to if you don't like Sapphire... Just go left from the bar.  We saw people over there but didn't explore it.

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Thanks again for your Sapphire report, always great to get current feedback!

 

Yes reviews from different people can be very confusing because Sapphire offers different areas, and some folks expect modern restroom facilities at a non-resort beach. Drink and food prices are typical for a beach bar, and lounges have been reported to be $9/ea so $8 is close. 
 

Sapphire Beach is in St John Bay, and the shoreline to the right as you are facing the water is all “ironshore” and a good spot to put your lounges with some natural shade there and away from the crowd that congregates near the beach bar. The area near the rental center is the sandier swimming area. To the left of that is the seagrass area, the beach continues on to the Crystal Cove condo property but is still public.

 

The waves can be bigger at Sapphire than at Secret Harbor, for example, but some days the water is very calm. The off the shore snorkeling can be quite good, especially as you get further out. When staying at the Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina we often see more expert snorkelers and swimmers off Pretty Klip Point, but the current can be strong for average swimmers. For non-snorkelers the beauty of the beach, the views, and the gorgeous water colors are the draw. 
 

These are the inflatable “Doodles” mentioned, we use them at home and when we travel. Inexpensive 6-pk at Amazon, etc..

image.thumb.jpeg.277abed46f2f69a78531d46e60684e3d.jpeg

 

Edited by blue_water

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Thank you both for the information! Does anyone know if it is possible to rent umbrellas to go along with the loungers (we have some skin cancer/fair skinned folks in our group) Loungers are  rented from the beach bar area?

If we take a taxi from the dock just saying "Sapphire Beach" is good or is there a name of the bar area we should asked to be dropped off at? We are on Celebrity Summit and appear to be the only ship in port that day (3/1/20) We are not rush off the boat kind of people (hate the mass crowds at breakfast!) so will there be taxi's still available 10-10:30am-ish? (I'm assuming yes) It's a Sunday though so any problem with that?

Also when leaving from Sapphire beach are there usually taxi's waiting to take you back to the ship or the bar can call one for us or?? 

So from what I'm getting on snorkeling far right rocky area out a ways for the best fish viewing. You mentions sea-grass to the left...any chance for turtles over there?

Thanks so much for any answers. 

 

oh one question about the Doodles- are the reusable? they un-inflate fairly easily and go back in the beach bag or are they a toss after use kinda thing

 

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7 hours ago, udamom said:

Thank you both for the information! Does anyone know if it is possible to rent umbrellas to go along with the loungers (we have some skin cancer/fair skinned folks in our group) Loungers are  rented from the beach bar area?

If we take a taxi from the dock just saying "Sapphire Beach" is good or is there a name of the bar area we should asked to be dropped off at? We are on Celebrity Summit and appear to be the only ship in port that day (3/1/20) We are not rush off the boat kind of people (hate the mass crowds at breakfast!) so will there be taxi's still available 10-10:30am-ish? (I'm assuming yes) It's a Sunday though so any problem with that?

Also when leaving from Sapphire beach are there usually taxi's waiting to take you back to the ship or the bar can call one for us or?? 

So from what I'm getting on snorkeling far right rocky area out a ways for the best fish viewing. You mentions sea-grass to the left...any chance for turtles over there?

Thanks so much for any answers. 

 

oh one question about the Doodles- are the reusable? they un-inflate fairly easily and go back in the beach bag or are they a toss after use kinda thing

 

Last I knew there were no umbrella rentals but Luvstobike can better answer that. Pre-Irma there was abundant natural shade along the rockier shore and back away from the water. I believe much of the shade is still present. There is a rental shack where you can rent lounges, snorkel gear, paddleboards and other things.

 

Sapphire Beach is all you need to say, you will be dropped where the rental center and beach bar are. Sapphire is home to 3 condo properties. Five of the SBRM condo buildings are situated along the rockier section of the shore to the right of where you are dropped. The 6th building is behind the other 5 and faces the marina (jet ski rentals here). The sandier swimming area is in front and to the left of the bar, and further to the left is the Crystal Cove condo property.

 

No worries on taxis at the port or at Sapphire. The taxi and ferry systems are excellent and  make these runs every day.

 

Many folks have reported seeing a sea turtle or ray in the sea grass area.

 

The Doodles are easy to deflate and take up very little space in your bag, that’s the beauty of them...

 

This webcam has been down since Irma, but the drone video provides a nice look at the bay...

http://www.sapphireinthesun.com/

 

Edited by blue_water

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I think blue_water covered most of it!   I did not see umbrellas when we were there BUT we "camped out" under the trees to the right of the bar area right on the beach... Good shade but a popular area.  We only snorkeled on the right side so don't have any experience on the grassy area to the left.

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ok sorry 1 more question. So it sounds like there is tree shaded area that can be used. Can you take a rented lounger and move it into the shaded area? I just have 2 people in my group that are going to be very unhappy if there is not a shaded area to sit so trying to verify there is before suggesting this beach to my group. Thanks! We are the only boat in port that day if that is any help for info (I'd think the beach might not be too terribly crowded)

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You or the attendant can move the lounges pretty much anywhere on the beach. If the people get too much sun they can move to the bar area where there is plenty of shade or order ice cream and sit in the coffee shop.

 

They rent umbrellas at Coki but that beach gets crowded because it's smaller. 

 

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No worries udamom, your friends will easily find their happy spot, especially on a low ship day. As mentioned earlier you can place your lounges anywhere (the attendant will move them for you), and the best spot, IMHO, is to the right of the Dive In rental center where the seagrape trees are close to the water. It is rocky there, but the views are gorgeous and it’s a short walk to the sandier swimming area. There are also palms providing shade behind the sea grapes, condo owners and renters also park there but it is a public beach. The nice pool is for condo guests only, unfortunately...

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Thanks all for all the great information. We have decided to make Sapphire our beach day in St Thomas. WE don't go until Feb 20 but I will try to remember to come back and report on how it was. Ordered some Doodles from amazon 🐵 thanks for the recommendation BlueWater 

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