Saint Croix.....First Time Thoughts

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Regulatrix

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Really the best coral and sponge growth that I have seen on any man-made structure so far. I'm sure a lot is location based, but I wonder if there is anything special about the surfaces of the pillars, etc. that makes a difference which we might replicate in other places?

That's an interesting question. AFAIK, they are just cement. The surface of the pylons may have some effect, but I imagine (as you suggest) that it is a confluence of factors. I would love to hear the insights of a marine biologist or a knowledgeable citizen-scientist-type.
 

jonhall

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I wonder if there is anything special about the surfaces of the pillars,

That is a good question and agree with what @Regulatrix posted. Armegeddan (dive site), the dump site of the old pier didn't have the same type of growth as the current pier (may be different today as I haven't been back to St. Croix in 8 yrs.) Armegeddan is a deeper site ~90', so that may be one of the many factors.

Next time we go and want to do the end of the pier area

Can always take the easy route - make it the 2nd of 2 boat dives daytime and/or nighttime.
 

mwall04

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Just got back and here's a little on our trip.

Glad you enjoyed your trip and our island. When you come back, I suggest staying in a different part of the island so you can see more of what St. Croix has to offer. Even though I live here, I still regularly find new places to explore, things to do, and places to eat. Each area (e.g. Frederiksted, the Northshore/Cain Bay, the historic town of Christiansted, the East End, etc.) all are very different and have a lot to offer.

Where you stayed, Frederiksted, it is a sleepy little town in my opinion. It does have the most amazing clear, tropical waters on the island and several great restaurants and bars. The diving is really good and super easy whether from a boat or diving the Pier. However, it also does tend to have more poverty than other parts of the island and was hit the hardest when Hurricane Maria blew through. Christiansted is larger (although still a small town by mainland standards) and has lots more to do, eat, shop, and drink.

We do have two hotels re-opening after lengthy renovations after Hurricane Maria. The Carambola (I think it is now part of the Marriott chain) recently reopened, but is still getting up to speed. It will offer the most "secluded" resort stay on the island's NW corner. Also opening in a month is the Divi on the very east end of the island. It will be an all-inclusive resort. A smaller, but historical, resort, the Grape Tree is going through their soft-reopening (on the east end) as well. It will be interesting the changes (good and bad) these additional resorts bring to St. Croix.

Can't wait to see some of your pics.
 

Regulatrix

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Glad you enjoyed your trip and our island. When you come back, I suggest staying in a different part of the island so you can see more of what St. Croix has to offer. Even though I live here, I still regularly find new places to explore, things to do, and places to eat. Each area (e.g. Frederiksted, the Northshore/Cain Bay, the historic town of Christiansted, the East End, etc.) all are very different and have a lot to offer.

Where you stayed, Frederiksted, it is a sleepy little town in my opinion. It does have the most amazing clear, tropical waters on the island and several great restaurants and bars. The diving is really good and super easy whether from a boat or diving the Pier. However, it also does tend to have more poverty than other parts of the island and was hit the hardest when Hurricane Maria blew through. Christiansted is larger (although still a small town by mainland standards) and has lots more to do, eat, shop, and drink.

We do have two hotels re-opening after lengthy renovations after Hurricane Maria. The Carambola (I think it is now part of the Marriott chain) recently reopened, but is still getting up to speed. It will offer the most "secluded" resort stay on the island's NW corner. Also opening in a month is the Divi on the very east end of the island. It will be an all-inclusive resort. A smaller, but historical, resort, the Grape Tree is going through their soft-reopening (on the east end) as well. It will be interesting the changes (good and bad) these additional resorts bring to St. Croix.

Can't wait to see some of your pics.

Driving around the island, I noticed that there seem to be several hamlets, for lack of a better word. Beeston Hill is one is one I remember. Outside Frederiksted and Christiansted, what would you say are the most significant hamlets? Are there some that you like more than others? We didn't make it any farther east than Gallows Bay, so there are a lot of gaps in our sense of the island communities.
 

mwall04

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Driving around the island, I noticed that there seem to be several hamlets, for lack of a better word. Beeston Hill is one is one I remember. Outside Frederiksted and Christiansted, what would you say are the most significant hamlets? Are there some that you like more than others? We didn't make it any farther east than Gallows Bay, so there are a lot of gaps in our sense of the island communities.
The island of St. Croix actually only has the two cities: Frederiksted and Christiansted dividing the island roughly in half, so everyone has either a Frederiksted or Christiansted address. It was further broken down into nine "quarters" by the Danes when they ruled here. Then it is also further divided into 77 estates which date back to individual plantations back in the 1700 and 1800's. Most of our physical addresses (and mailing addresses for those who receive mail at their homes) are based on these. For instance, I live in Christiansted as my town and also Cotton Valley as my estate. My home address is "xxx Cotton Valley, Christiansted, VI", but I also live in "East End A" quarter. To make directions worse, the number part of your address doesn't tie to a particular road (I live on Sierra Verde Rd., not Cotton Valley as my address indicates), so we drive by directions (e.g. "head east, go past "xxx", turn at the blue house, up the hill you'll see a big mahogany tree, turn left, and...".

Sorry for the island geographic lesson first, but to answer your question, we tend to think of the island in areas. Sion Farm and Castle Coakey is where we shop for groceries and household goods. Beeston Hill has a great gym and physical therapy center, etc. For great places to visit while you are here, they are less tied to these "hamlets" or estates and more area based. East end of the island has Point Udall, the eastern most point in the US and an early morning gathering spot to be the first people in the US to see each day's sunrise. Also has good hiking and very private beaches (Jack and Issacs Bay). Other more accessible beaches that we enjoy on the east end are Chenay, Boiler Bay for snorkeling and privacy, and Shoys. Heading west is the historic town of Christiansted with the original dutch fort and buildings in town. Further west you'll hit Salt River which is the only spot in the current US that Columbus actually landed at. Salt River also has a bioluminescence bay you can kayak in and it is where the Cane Bay dive boat leaves from. Further west is Cane Bay which has great beach side eating and good shore diving and snorkeling. Finally you hit Frederiksted for the Pier, more good shore diving, and Sandy Point (the best beach on the island for sand and water quality). The interior of the island is mostly agriculture and commercial. The south side is dominated by the Captain Morgan distillery and the giant oil refinery that dominate the skyline.
 

Regulatrix

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The island of St. Croix actually only has the two cities: Frederiksted and Christiansted dividing the island roughly in half, so everyone has either a Frederiksted or Christiansted address. It was further broken down into nine "quarters" by the Danes when they ruled here. Then it is also further divided into 77 estates which date back to individual plantations back in the 1700 and 1800's. Most of our physical addresses (and mailing addresses for those who receive mail at their homes) are based on these. For instance, I live in Christiansted as my town and also Cotton Valley as my estate. My home address is "xxx Cotton Valley, Christiansted, VI", but I also live in "East End A" quarter. To make directions worse, the number part of your address doesn't tie to a particular road (I live on Sierra Verde Rd., not Cotton Valley as my address indicates), so we drive by directions (e.g. "head east, go past "xxx", turn at the blue house, up the hill you'll see a big mahogany tree, turn left, and...".

Sorry for the island geographic lesson first, but to answer your question, we tend to think of the island in areas. Sion Farm and Castle Coakey is where we shop for groceries and household goods. Beeston Hill has a great gym and physical therapy center, etc. For great places to visit while you are here, they are less tied to these "hamlets" or estates and more area based. East end of the island has Point Udall, the eastern most point in the US and an early morning gathering spot to be the first people in the US to see each day's sunrise. Also has good hiking and very private beaches (Jack and Issacs Bay). Other more accessible beaches that we enjoy on the east end are Chenay, Boiler Bay for snorkeling and privacy, and Shoys. Heading west is the historic town of Christiansted with the original dutch fort and buildings in town. Further west you'll hit Salt River which is the only spot in the current US that Columbus actually landed at. Salt River also has a bioluminescence bay you can kayak in and it is where the Cane Bay dive boat leaves from. Further west is Cane Bay which has great beach side eating and good shore diving and snorkeling. Finally you hit Frederiksted for the Pier, more good shore diving, and Sandy Point (the best beach on the island for sand and water quality). The interior of the island is mostly agriculture and commercial. The south side is dominated by the Captain Morgan refinery and the giant oil refinery that dominate the skyline.

Thanks so much for the island geographic lesson--that helps me make sense of some other things that I have read and puzzled over slightly. Many thanks for these and your other insights!
 
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