Virgin Islands National Park: Sea Turtle and Stingray

Image: Adam Geffen

Sean, Adam, and I arrived back at Concordia with enough daylight left for a swim and snorkel. Phil joined us, and we headed down the path to Salt Pond Bay.

When we got to the beach, Adam and I strapped on our gear and began swimming along the route we’d followed that morning, hoping that good luck would strike a second time along the rocks on the northwestern side of the bay. We spotted fish and plenty of long-spined sea urchins, but no turtles. We moved out into the deeper waters toward the center of the bay. I spotted something far below us and thought maybe it was a stingray, bur really it was a conch.

We decided to move back toward the shore where it was shallower and the sea grass beds thicker, and then head across the bay to the rocky shore on the other side. Sean and Phil were following our progress from near the shore. We were moving slowly along, about halfway across Salt Pond, when I spotted a stingray.

Southern Stingray. Image: Adam Geffen

We were close enough to shore that I was able to call out and tell Sean what we were seeing while Adam was filming.

Video: Adam Geffen

Image: Adam Geffen

I was slightly behind Adam and farther away from shore, watching him and the stingray, when something caught my eye to the left. For a moment I held three creatures in my field of vision: Adam, the stingray, and a green sea turtle beginning to surface. Like the morning, I freaked out, but instead of shouting, I grabbed Adam’s leg and pointed him at the turtle.

The video below features two clips. In the first, Adam elegantly catches the turtle surface. As it does, you can see a sweeping shot of the beach at Salt Pont Bay with Concordia splayed out on the hill behind. You can also see Sean’s head about twenty-five yards toward shore. And you can hear me call, “Sean it’s a turtle!” In the second, the turtle surfaces again, this time directly in front of Adam. The clip boasts the astonishing pinnacle of Adam’s new-found skill at sea life videography:

Video: Adam Geffen

Image: Adam Geffen

The turtle was far more interested in an evening meal than in us. Sean was able to see its head several times as it surfaced, but he was still nervous about trying to snorkel, so he stayed where he was.

Image: Adam Geffen
Image: Adam Geffen

We left the sea turtle to its meal and gathered our things. The sun had disappeared behind the cliffs at the beach, but our loft was high enough that we had a second sunset from the balcony.


Then it was time for dinner at Cafe Concordia. I’d mistakenly thought that Sunday night was live music night (it was actually Monday). But we’d enjoyed the food so much on Friday, we were pleased to return regardless.

Image: Adam Geffen

Our server was named Jody, who was originally from Toledo. She was just splendid, and we very much enjoyed chatting with her.


After dinner, we climbed back up to our loft. Like the other nights, it was time for bed, but this night I wasn’t yet tired. I poured myself some wine, and sat out on the balcony  enjoying the breeze and the huge sense of place. I was too excited by such a phenomenal day to sleep like the others. I took a long walk around Concordia’s property in the dark to work off my energy. Eventually, though, I was ready for sleep, feeling anticipatory for our final day on St. John.

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