Having not been diving in over a year, I was going through a bit of ocean withdrawal. The only cure of course was to get back in the water – ASAP! So, that’s exactly what we did. I’ve just returned from St. Croix where my son and I spent the better part of a week diving our brains out.
This was not one of those “planned far in advance” deals. It was more like, I want to go now! So that’s basically what happened. There were only a couple parameters which included “doing it on the cheap” and maximum diving. I also wanted to check out the island, and enjoy some good food – shrimp in particular.
With the top dive sites located along the islands north side between Ham’s Bluff and Salt River, I found a small, older hotel (just 9 rooms), right on the shore in Cane Bay. Every room had a balcony that provided a 180 degree view of the ocean. You could see St. Thomas and St. John on the horizon, and the continual sound of the surf was totally relaxing.
This hotel also just happened to have one of the best restaurants (extremely popular with the locals), right on site. The owner is a great guy, and offers super deals several nights a week, like a lobster dinner on Wednesdays for just 17 bucks!
Some of the best diving on St. Croix is along the “Wall” that runs parallel to the north side. It’s only a couple hundred yards offshore, and can easily be reached with a short swim out from Cane Bay Beach. Our first 2 dives were shore dives there, one off to the east and the other to the west.
The “Wall” is awesome. The reefs are just offshore at around 30 to 50 feet down. You then swim out over a wall that drops down to 3200 feet. Swimming along the face between 60′ to 110′ we saw an incredible diversity of marine life, from dense corals and sponges to turtles, lobsters, crabs, and a wide assortment of colorful reef fish.
I saw the largest spotted drum yet – over a foot long, which was unusual for me, as most I’d encountered elsewhere were juveniles of an inch or two. There were also more of this one type of tube sponge than I’d seen before. These were a sort of translucent lavender or purple, and seemed to be on every reef we visited.
Over near Salt River, there are huge coral heads with some small caves and giant swim-throughs. These are just plain fun, and the dive was always over way before we could tire of this part of the wall. It was there we found one of the largest hawksbill turtles I’ve ever seen, and some equally large lobster.
One other dive that’s a must do, is the Frederiksted Pier. Very “fishy”, with lots of critters. Spider crabs and red & blue banded coral shrimp were everywhere, and several octopus sightings – even during the day. Although time constrained us from doing the pier at night, it’s touted as one of the best possible night dives. Judging by what we saw during the day, that’s easy to believe.
I haven’t even touched yet on the great wreck dives, and there’s tons more of good stuff on St. Croix, from our rent car guy waiting for us at the airport with sign in hand so we couldn’t miss him, to great places to eat, and lots of history – especially seeing all the old windmills around the island from centuries past when “sugar was king”.
For more about the trip along with details and pictures of where we stayed, places visited, where we ate, and everything else from dive shops to car rentals, check out diving St. Croix You can also review our island by island travel guides for planning an awesome Caribbean vacation, and read the latest destination reviews at http://www.j2venture.com
Story By J Allen
All Underwater photos including Leopard Manta Ray, Hawksbill Turtle, Sting Ray, Pipe Fish and Reef Fish taken at The Wall at Cane Bay by TR Vreeland
For more about diving Cane Bay and The Wall click here…