We spent Sunday 11/13-Sat 11/19 at Maho Bay Camps. As per Nutmeg's suggestions we asked for a tent in either the A or B loops close to a bathroom. We got A18 which has a great water/beach view... nested just in front of the VIP tent... we could not have asked for a better tent.
What a great week, thank you all very much for your suggestions. Maho may not be for everyone, but it certainly worked very well for us. We snorkeled multiple times per day, including one night snorkel. Maho's 'house reef' is quite nice, teeming with 30+ species of fish (including a large group of tarpon which seem to have settled into the bay for the time being, but not yet spotted in the adjacent bays).
Our trip was basically spent snorkeling various spots around the island with at least one in the immediate Maho area (Big, Little Maho and Francis) daily. In place of renting a dingy we went out on the Pepper (sailpepper.com) on Friday, our last full day. Fabulous day sailing trip to the back side of Whistling Cay (mile off Maho's shore). The 23' sail boat modeled after the boats used on the island in 1880s holds 6 passengers, we were the only two that day so basically a private charter. 90 minute snorkel on the back side which is basically open ocean. The visibility could have been better (about 35') and the sun was inconstant but what a dive site!. Tons of great hard/soft corals and teaming with life. The 'Semester at Sea' Woods hole boat was moored in little Maho that day, beautiful boat... ship?
Too many highlights to bore you with but we saw rays, turtles, nurse sharks, tarpon along with the standard fare of Carribean reef fish. Maho point is quite prolific, as was Waterlemon and Hanson's Bay (both great sites, lionfish spotted at the later).
One of the hidden objectives of this week was to put my son in situations where his over anxious/panic sets in and address it and he handled several situations better than I anticipated… coupled with the fact that he absolutely loves snorkeling, didn't want to leave and just wants to go back… he transformed into a 'one horned butt fish' which as a parent is a fabulous thing to experience.
Again, I sincerely appreciate all of your great suggestions, especially Nutmeg and Mary who really took time to lay things out for me. We never made it to the aquarium (too little time, would have been a total rush job and not worth it). Surprisingly we used very little bug spray, although when needed, it was a must (dusk, early evening). Headlamps, as pointed out are a good thing, you don't need a lot of light to navigate around and they are convenient for reading… plus kids dig them. One last suggestion for either Maho or Cinnamon: A hand sanitizer cuz those of us who are properly equipped are just not walking to the bathroom under most circumstances.
One last note, rumor at Maho has it that they have negotiated another year, so they will be open next year and it is quite possible we'll be back.