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Blue Cobblestone Beach

Excerpted from St. John Off The Beaten Track

The Blue Cobblestone Beach snorkel offers the opportunity to explore an underwater environment that usually occurs further offshore and in deeper waters. Here, protected by the hilly Ram Head Point, the seas are generally clear, calm and tranquil and the reef is colorful and diverse.

Blue Cobblestone Beach, Ram Head Trail St. John VI

Getting There
From the Salt Pond Bay Parking lot, take the short trail down to the bay. Walk to the other end of beach and start out on the Ram Head Trail, which begins as a shoreline walk along the west side of the Ram Head Peninsula and take the trail as far as the Blue Cobblestone Beach. See Map

Snorkeling Blue Cobblestone Beach
Enter the water at the north end of the beach near the large black rocks. The bottom is cobblestone and getting into the water is almost easy as from a sandy beach.

Begin by snorkeling around the large rocks at the corner of the beach. These rocks are encrusted with the mustard yellow fire coral, which can give snorkelers a mild sting if touched. There are also many colorful sponges and various types of hard coral in this area.

As you continue north around the point you will start to see underwater channels, known as spur and groove systems and the reef fringing the rocky coast gets larger, deeper and more colorful. At the seaward edge of this reef is a channel of sand about ten yards wide that separates the fringing reef from a neighboring patch reef farther offshore. The patch reef is surrounded by sand and lies in about twenty-five feet of water forming a pinnacle, which rises to a depth of about six feet.

This area is full of life, diverse and colorful. To fully appreciate it, the snorkeler should have the ability to pressurize and dive down in order to explore the lower areas of the reef.

There is a good deal of fire coral encrustation, but true hard coral varieties are also extremely plentiful. Look for pillar, star, staghorn, elkhorn and lettuce corals. Try to identify all the different colors of sponges found here. Gorgonians, such as sea fans, sea whips, sea rods and sea plumes grow on many sections of the reef and sway gracefully with the currents.

This healthy reef community is the habitat of many species of fish, including reef fish, grazing fish and fast swimming predators such as mackerel, yellowtail, blue runners and tarpon.

On the fringing reef across the sand channel from the patch reef is an area of coral outcropping called a ledge. Dive down and explore under the ledge to see different species of coral and interesting marine life.

The good snorkeling continues as you progress southward along the coast and towards the beach at Salt Pond Bay.

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