Trip Report St Croix Mid-May 2021

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baggins_69

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only got in 6 dives, but had a great time.

morning 2 tank boat dive out of Christiansted with SCUBA. (Love Shack, Scotch Bank)
morning 2 tank boat dive out of Fredericksted with SCUBA. (Sprat Hall, Aquarium)
morning 2 tank boat dive out of Christiansted with Dive Experience (DE). (Two Anchors, sugar beach? didn't catch the name, but it was east of love shack)

Boats: SCUBA's Csted boat was the best boat in terms of size and setup, their Fsted boat (Scuba Dos) was about the same size as DE's Csted boat but had a hard top where DE's was a soft top. SCUBA's trailer line system was more elaborate with some idiot proofing features, but both were better than I have seen elsewhere.

Service: both shops were great. rental BCs and wetsuits were fairly new and in good condition (brought my own reg/mask/fins). all crews were very service oriented, friendly, helpful and enthusiastic.

DMs: SCUBA's DMs were more hands on and very systematic about popping up above the group, counting, making contact, checking status of all divers every few minutes, lead and tail diver, keeping the group together.. DE was a more choose your own adventure, let us know when you get to half tank, but we were also a smaller group and everyone was fairly competent.

Water: ~80-82 degrees, 50-100' vis, generally a bit surgey due to significant surface swell

Fauna: several Green Sea Turtles (both huge mature and small), Reef Sharks, Nurse Sharks, Crabs (several types), Lobster, Puffers, Stingrays, Gardener Eels, free swimming Remora (followed us the whole dive looking for a new home), Razor fish, a very sad looking sea horse, and a plastic sea horse, white nudibranch, only 4 Lionfish (but they were big breeders). overall, I was quite pleased with the volume & variety of fish and the apparent health of the reef. huge quantities of juvenile fish.

Photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/3aXBk6yByanTdciY7 (warning, I am a terrible photographer)

Overall: very pleased with and would recommend either dive shop. would probably steer less experienced or less confident divers to SCUBA and more experienced/confident to DE. SCUBA also gives you a post dive beer if you want it on the ride back to the dock....
 

deeper thoughts

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Thnx for sharing
Looks like the shark came in nice and close
 

drrich2

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It can be hard to lock focus on a moving Caribbean reef shark; I saw at least one of your shots that looked quite good. Nice remoras, too, by the way!

Glad you got to enjoy St. Croix diving! It's a nice destination that for whatever reasons is off the beaten path in Caribbean diving.

How long were you on the island, and did you guys do anything topside? If you went back, where would you stay?
 
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baggins_69

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It can be hard to lock focus on a moving Caribbean reef shark; I saw at least one of your shots that looked quite good. Nice remoras, too, by the way!

Glad you got to enjoy St. Croix diving! It's a nice destination that for whatever reasons is off the beaten path in Caribbean diving.

How long were you on the island, and did you guys do anything topside? If you went back, where would you stay?

We were there for a week, stayed at Club St Croix just west of downtown Christiansted. we toured pretty much the whole island by car, looked at building lots, ate out a lot. Wife is having severe back problems so a lot of the activities we had planned had to be cancelled (horse riding, snookah diving for her, zipline, sunset cruise).

there are several roads that show up as main roads on google maps that are actually barely passable dirt roads, and in one case the road doesn't even exist.

would highly recommend Savant in Christiansted for a nice dinner, and La Reina chicken shack for lunch with local flavor, Rise Carribean if you are over in fredericksted was very good too. most everywhere else we ate was just ok.
 

drrich2

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Couple of follow up questions.

1.) How'd you like driving on the left side the road?

2.) Did you get a good look at a mongoose? I saw maybe 3 (?), but always a quick blur. They would've passed for squirrels...except St. Croix doesn't have squirrels from what I understand.

Glad you got to roam the island. The variety in topography/vegetation is really nice for roaming.
 
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baggins_69

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Couple of follow up questions.

1.) How'd you like driving on the left side the road?

2.) Did you get a good look at a mongoose? I saw maybe 3 (?), but always a quick blur. They would've passed for squirrels...except St. Croix doesn't have squirrels from what I understand.

Glad you got to roam the island. The variety in topography/vegetation is really nice for roaming.

driving on the wrong side of the road was not really an issue for me, I've been to Japan and England and drove american cars/trucks there so the double wrong (wrong side of road + wrong side steering wheel) was familiar. felt natural after the second day.

saw 3 mongoose, didn't get any pics (those buggers are fast). also saw 3 deer and 8 billion chickens. :)
 

BrackaFish

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driving on the wrong side of the road was not really an issue for me, I've been to Japan and England and drove american cars/trucks there so the double wrong (wrong side of road + wrong side steering wheel) was familiar. felt natural after the second day.

saw 3 mongoose, didn't get any pics (those buggers are fast). also saw 3 deer and 8 billion chickens. :)

I am thinking about a trip to Saint Croix in July as our usual destination of Cayman Brac doesn’t seem to want to open up anytime. So a couple of questions for you,
How was the airport situation? Easy, Hard etc
Where did you rent the car from?
Any other advice for first timers?

Thanks for your help. Be safe
 

TN Traveler

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Airport is easy.
Longest wait is leaving going through Customs and Border Patrol,.when you leave.
Coming in, be sure you have had your Covid test and that you have uploaded it to the USVI Travel Portal
USVI | COVID-19 Traveler Screening Tool
If you can - rent a car from Centerline - rent as soon as you can - currently USVI is very busy and rental cars can be hard to find at the last minute. Other choice would be Judy of St Croix

There are several posts in this Forum that can help with a first time visitor. Also, check the TripAdvisor Forum on St Croix.
 
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baggins_69

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Airport is easy.
Longest wait is leaving going through Customs and Border Patrol,.when you leave.
Coming in, be sure you have had your Covid test and that you have uploaded it to the USVI Travel Portal
USVI | COVID-19 Traveler Screening Tool
If you can - rent a car from Centerline - rent as soon as you can - currently USVI is very busy and rental cars can be hard to find at the last minute. Other choice would be Judy of St Croix

There are several posts in this Forum that can help with a first time visitor. Also, check the TripAdvisor Forum on St Croix.

airport was easy inbound, painful outbound. the customs/TSA setup is slow, and the departure area is under renovation and a real clusterf... get there at least 2 hrs before your flight.

I rented at Avis, no line, no issues, nice new nissan rogue. rental car dropoff is a long walk from the airport with no shuttle, so be prepared to drag your bags a long way..

as far as first time traveller advice check this thread: Trip Report - St. Croix Research Report Aug. 2017
 

Rob9876

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The USVI Travel Portal for Covid was a bit stressful with timing -- test taken no more than 5 days before travel, then submit not knowing how long USVI would take to respond with a confirmation that you can travel. Also was a bit of work finding a testing place that would confirm that they met the CLIA Lab requirement for USVI. Worked out ok, but I think it took the USVI a little over 2 days to respond.

Arriving at the airport was easy for us. We rented from Centerline, which was generally good, yet even though only a couple of people were in front of us it took over an hour to get our two cars. However, on return Centerline did have a shuttle to take us to the terminal right away. I agree, the area where you wait for flights was a mess -- probably 200 people in a relatively small area.
 
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