Buck Island, St Croix

After receiving our permit to anchor and stay in the National Park we sailed over to the island 5 miles east of Christiansted.P1010843a

We had heard that you could go into the Lagoon on the East side of the island and moor to snorkel but could not stay overnight. We entered the lagoon entrance and made our way up to the end but when the depth got down to 1.5 metres decided it best to turn around and return with the dingy. The waters within the lagoon were crystal clear.P1010848a

The beach at the west end was also protected by a reef and had those nice white sands. On anchoring we watched as little turtle heads popped up all over the place and brown pelicans fed in the waters close by. Buck Island is a protected habitat for the brown pelicans and turtles hence the reason there are so many of them around. The turtles were a little hard to get a shot of as they were so quick but in the photo below is a little head looking around. The beach was inviting with its white sand.  P1010855a

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There is a hiking trail that crosses the island from West to east about 1 hour round trip back along the beach. It was hot and very dry but the views at the top were good.

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When we got back to the boat the peace and quiet was gone. Day trippers over from Christiansted had joined us to enjoy the island too.    P1010872a

We decided to go by dingy around to the East lagoon to enjoy the snorkeling underwater trail. Again it was busy with day trippers. It was a little choppy with swells coming across the reef but clear so you could see many tropical fish and the coral and reef.P1010876aP1010884a

 

 

 

 

 

Time to head East… more into the wind sailing.

Island Tour, St Croix

We decided to hire a car to see more of St Croix’s island. It was a great idea as the island is so different from Christiansted’s town area.

We started by heading along the East coast passing by a marina hidden behind a reef.  You could see out to Buck Island and its reefs. Buck Island has been declared a national monument and is popular for snorkeling and hiking. We had to apply for a permit to anchor there, which takes a few days to get so will go there for a couple of nights when we leave to sail further east.P1010764a

We ended up at Point Udall the eastern most point of St Croix with its monument to the Millennium. It’s really dry, almost desert like with the warm dry trade winds blowing through. There was a guy there using binoculars to glass the sea for a sailboat that had broken loose from a mooring in the Windward Islands with a chance of passing St. Croix via the wind and current directions.P1010766a

We followed the south coast along and found Captain Morgan’s Rum factory… maybe we have time to tour – then a tasting and low and behold ended up buying some bottles as it was sooo good and reasonably priced.P1010771aP1010773a

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided it was best not to stop at the Cruzan Rum Distillery for their tour given the amount of alcohol we had already consumed. We did stop at the Whim Museum a restored sugar plantation, which had an amazing homestead with furniture from the 1730’s. The tour was really informative about the families and slaves that had lived at this particular plantation between the 1730’s and 1930’s.  We then walked around the property looking at the various buildings and equipment.  Well worth the visit.P1010799a

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P1010789aWe continued on to Frederiksted on the west Coast which was very quaint with its pastel colored homes and buildings in town with the arched arcades like Christiansted. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend here but the beaches looked really nice. Till next time. We did stop for a late lunch at Pollys on the Pier before continuing our trip around the island.

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We continued north into the rainforest and found the beer drinking pigs at Mt Pellier Domino Club, a thatched roofed bar featuring 4 male pigs that definitely like O’Doul’s beer. Very entertaining and very cool. Find a You Tube vid to watch it is worth the time.  We first saw them on a diving travel show years ago.P1010809aP1010810a

 

 

 

 

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Some amazing homes are on the island but we were most impressed when they brought the old and newer together like the owner of the old sugar plantation below did to frame their home. Very impressive.    P1010815a

There are 3 golf courses on the island which would have been worth a visit. Next time. We still sway around too much for a day or two after a leg of wavy sailing.  Brett says that this is the only way he might be able to beat me at golf though.

Our tour finished up at Salt River Bay Marina, where Brett found bottomless $5 Margaritas – how can you go wrong.

All in all, the island seemed pretty quiet, which was in part due to the Hovensa Oil refinery closing recently and a lot of the employees and families leaving the island. This was a huge complex on the South Coast which still stands. St. Croix is off the main Virgin Island charter boat track and rarely gets cruise ships. We enjoyed our time here and will likely be back – with our golf clubs and spend a little longer here next time.

Christiansted, St Croix

We anchored in the Christiansted harbor close to Fort Christiansvaern and of course had to go for a tour of this colorful building in front of us with cannons out front. The harbor has all sorts of pastel colored buildings lining the waterfront. Fort Christiansvearn protected the town from pirates, privateers and slave uprising back in the mid 1700s.P1010835a

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Wandering along the boardwalk there are a lot of bars and restaurants, which are really popular at night especially around happy hour. These people didn’t care it was National Parks Week and they could go to the Fort for free.

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We continued our walk through the streets of town and passed the sights that have been maintained by the National Park Service including Govt. house, the scale house where merchants weighed their produce before shipping it abroad, the Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse where slaves were auctioned in the courtyard, market square where the slaves sold their produce, etc.P1010743aP1010749a

 

 

 

 

 

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Almost 300 years of history.  Slightly more history than we are used to as a Kiwi/Canadian couple.