Saint Croix.....First Time Thoughts

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BrackaFish

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We just got back from a week in Saint Croix and I thought I would share some impressions. This will not be an in-depth trip report as there have already been some great ones from the likes of @drrich2 , @devingordon and @baggins_69. These are just thoughts that struck me as a first time visitor to the island.
The why is simple. Saint Croix was open and easy to get to from Florida. My wife wanted a break from the hospital where she works, my son wanted a trip somewhere before school started back and I just want to annoy a fish or two.
We got our Covid tests and filled out the paperwork with the USVI without issues although there was some question on my part about the CLIA requirement for the lab. Good timing/luck on our part as the local labs were beginning to backup with their testing due to demand. Flew with American Airlines out of Miami and didn’t have any issues. Airport in STX was a snap not having to deal with the usual lines for immigration and customs and all luggage arrived. Rented an SUV from Centerline and would use them again. Driving on the left was not an issue if you have done it before.
However the roads are a troublesome for a few reasons the first being potholes. They are everywhere and some are quite big and deep. Second issue is the lack of road signs, maybe the back to back hurricanes blew them all away IDK. Google maps was very, very creative in how they got you around by using 10 different roads when you could have taken just two. The road also had a habit of going from a paved highway into a dirt goat trail and then back to being paved all within a few miles. But the island is not large and everything is within about a 45 minute drive even if you are a bit lost most of the time. Traffic was very light compared to say Bonaire or Grand Cayman.
Animals.... there are Horses everywhere, not sure why but it must be common as there are signs says No Horses or Dogs Allowed.
upload_2021-8-8_17-13-6.jpeg


Not your usual road hazard

Mongoose. They are plentyful around the island. Someone described them as “low rider squirrels “ so my son and I laughed like idiots every time we saw one.
Came out of the water at Cane Bay after a dive to the sound of screams. Turns out there was a flock of peacocks wandering around.

The two main towns of Frederiksted and Christiansted are very different. Christiansted has a uptown polished feel to it with casinos, restaurants and tourists shops. Frederiksted feels much more local and doesn’t seems to have recovered from the hurricanes as well with boarded up building and torn up roofs. Actually I liked Frederiksted better and would stay there if we went back.

We stayed at Club St Croix which was just west of Christiansted and was a good place for a first timer as it is sort of in the middle of things. Is was sargassum season and the east and middle of the north side was pretty well covered with the stuff. Cane Bay and west to Frederiksted was mostly free of the stuff.

Mask were mandatory and almost everyone complied. Good thing as the vaccination rate is less that 20% and the island was moved from a level 3 to a level 4 during the week we were there.

Diving was good, but not up to a Bonaire standard. We used Sweet Bottom and Nep2une dive shop and both were good places. We did shore dives by choice, but the boats seems to be busy and full. The Pier is unbelievably fun if you like like that type of diving. Having no cruise ships for over a year seems to be really nice and I could have done that dive everyday. The only downside is that now I want to buy a decent camera, but I can’t!!! Why you might ask? Easy, as it turns out the island makes a special bracelet called a Cruzan Hook and my wife found a nice gold one for her upcoming birthday. This caused my credit card to burst into flames.

Sorry for the long post, I was hoping that my son would finish sorting out the dive gear while I was doing this. Bottom line is we had a very nice time and will most likely go back.
 

drrich2

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These are just thoughts that struck me as a first time visitor to the island.
The why is simple. Saint Croix was open and easy to get to from Florida.

Enjoyed your report. St. Croix rocks. You're at least the 2nd, maybe the 3rd, person making a trip report here to indicate the ease/practicality of access from the U.S. during the pandemic was a big factor in choosing St. Croix. Which makes me wonder how much more attention the island's been getting, and whether it'll win some more converts as a result.

Did you do any topside excursions? Rainforest tours, the zip line, anything along those lines?
 

jonhall

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Google maps was very, very creative in how they got you around by using 10 different roads when you could have taken just two. The road also had a habit of going from a paved highway into a dirt goat trail and then back to being paved all within a few miles. But the island is not large and everything is within about a 45 minute drive even if you are a bit lost most of the time.

Great description of driving on St. Croix.

Glad you had a good time. Thanks for sharing - fun to read.
 

BrackaFish

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Enjoyed your report. St. Croix rocks. You're at least the 2nd, maybe the 3rd, person making a trip report here to indicate the ease/practicality of access from the U.S. during the pandemic was a big factor in choosing St. Croix. Which makes me wonder how much more attention the island's been getting, and whether it'll win some more converts as a result.

Did you do any topside excursions? Rainforest tours, the zip line, anything along those lines?

We tried to talk my 13 yo into parasailing or doing the zip line but he just wanted to hangout on the beach and dive. We did go out to Point Udall, the easternmost point of the US and he thought that was pretty cool along with hanging out at a beach near there. I believe we would do more topside stuff if we went back. It was odd to see so few people in Frederiksted, was like a ghost town. I am sure the lack of cruise ships played a major role, but I did wonder what the place was like pre hurricanes.
 

BrackaFish

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Cane Bay has an awesome wall you can do as a shore dive. Loved STX.

Agree as we did the wall in Cane Bay straight out from Sweet Bottom Dive shop. I also understand that there is a divesite called North Star that is also supposed to be pretty nice.
 

mwall04

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We tried to talk my 13 yo into parasailing or doing the zip line but he just wanted to hangout on the beach and dive. We did go out to Point Udall, the easternmost point of the US and he thought that was pretty cool along with hanging out at a beach near there. I believe we would do more topside stuff if we went back. It was odd to see so few people in Frederiksted, was like a ghost town. I am sure the lack of cruise ships played a major role, but I did wonder what the place was like pre hurricanes.
Glad you enjoyed your trip. Between the two towns, Christiansted has always been the busier town, especially since many of the government offices are "downtown". Also, of the two towns, Frederiksted was by far hit harder by Hurricane Maria and it has been a long road to recovery. If you had come a couple years ago, you would have though the same about Christiansted, but there has been considerable construction, renovation, repairs, and painting over the past 12-18 months. Frederiksted almost always has a "sleepy" town feel to it. Even when we do get cruise ships, it usually just one ship or two per month compared to a half dozen or more per day in St. Thomas. Those days definitely have a different feel to it and the town is more lively with live bands, arts and crafts being sold outside the cruise ship pier, etc. The good news for us divers is that the ships are so infrequent they hardly ever interfere with diving at the pier.
 

BrackaFish

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Glad you enjoyed your trip. Between the two towns, Christiansted has always been the busier town, especially since many of the government offices are "downtown". Also, of the two towns, Frederiksted was by far hit harder by Hurricane Maria and it has been a long road to recovery. If you had come a couple years ago, you would have though the same about Christiansted, but there has been considerable construction, renovation, repairs, and painting over the past 12-18 months. Frederiksted almost always has a "sleepy" town feel to it. Even when we do get cruise ships, it usually just one ship or two per month compared to a half dozen or more per day in St. Thomas. Those days definitely have a different feel to it and the town is more lively with live bands, arts and crafts being sold outside the cruise ship pier, etc. The good news for us divers is that the ships are so infrequent they hardly ever interfere with diving at the pier.

That might explain what I saw. As I said, if I go back I would stay in the Frederiksted area as it seems to suit my personality better. Glad to hear that daily cruise ships are not a thing. You are lucky to have such a dive as the Pier.
 

TTPaws

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Here is a site I use to figure out when I can't dive the pier: Cruise Ship Schedule as you can see they go to CB a lot.

Nice write up.
 
https://www.shearwater.com/products/perdix-ai/

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