an iceberg in the tropics, only the tip of St. Croix is
visible above the surface. To truly experience what the
island has to offer one must look below the water line.
annual Jesus Breezes produce high
seas that make the water murky and boat rides stomach churning.
Patience will pay. Just wait a day or two, there is always perfect
water weather within any weeks span.
National Park with its celebrated beach and spectacular snorkeling
trail through the beautiful Elk Horn Coral Barrier Reef is no
doubt St. Croixs most famous underwater attraction. There
are many boats that offer wonderful day trips where even beginners
may join rays, barracuda and a school of hundreds of blue tang
as they dance in and out of perhaps the Caribbeans most
impressive reef. On the downside, the trip will be spent with
forty other sun burnt, seasick tourists crammed on a sailboat
and all elbows and fins in the water. We prefer just our own elbows
the type to travel low to the ground, we were elated to
find Captain Pauls Water
Drop Tours. Paul specializes in eco-friendly, personalized
tours geared towards his clients interests and abilities
aboard the skiff Muzik. Born and bred on St. Croix, Captain
Paul knows his island and its treasures intimately and his
little boat can launch on almost any beach making every
part of the island accessible. Hell introduce you
to fantastic places youll
never see in the guidebooks and youll probably have them all
to yourselves. Bliss.
the weather Mother Nature provided for our day, Captain Paul
recommended a two hour snorkeling trip around the reef in Great
Pond Bay. We were provided with fantastic snorkeling gear–a real
treat–not the standard leaky masks and floppity fins usually
pawned off on the tourists.
water Paul has a jewelers eye for sea life. He quickly
led us to an octopus in his garden munching on a clam dinner.
Veronica, a decent free diver and photographer, found she
couldnt do both at once. She was stunned as Captain
Paul swam to the bottom without the benefit of fins, grabbed
onto a rock to hold himself under and snapped a couple of
brilliant pictures of the feasting cephalopod.
three types of turtles in the waters around St. Croix–the hawksbill
is most common–but with a bit of luck the rare green sea turtle
and the giant leatherback are sometimes encountered. In the late
spring the St.
Croix Environmental Association hosts turtle watches where the
endangered leatherbacks can be seen laying their eggs on the beach.
A once in a lifetime experience.
a boat person is not necessary to enjoy the depths. Tamarind
Reef is the best Cruzan destination for off-the-beach snorkeling
that weve found. Just rent gear from the little beach
shack and wade in. Easy for the beginner but with plenty of
room for the more experienced diver to explore out into the
deeper waters. Floats anchored along the way
for resting are a really nice touch, especially on the swim back
against the current. Colorful sea fans wave gracefully under the
waves, spiny lobsters hide in the holes and overhangs while urchins
dot the rocks
among the giant brain coral.
lobsters, turtles, rays and barracudas aside, the real serenity
of island time underwater is dreamily swimming among the
little colorful tropical fish. Its like being on the
inside of your dentists office aquarium.
& Veronica, GypsyNester.com