Liveaboard diving in St. Croix, Virgin Islands
St. Croix is truly a hidden gem in the Caribbean. Part of the US Virgin Islands, but worlds apart from the usual. Just 35 miles south of St. Thomas, St. John and BVIs it is the largest of the USVIs and also the most dramatic. At 84 miles square and highest elevation at Mount Eagle of 1,165ft, St Croix boasts beautiful beaches, rain forests, salt marshes, desert, and plains. But the diversity and beauty doesn’t stop at sea level.
This winter, Juliet is head to St. Croix to explore this unique, friendly, and enchanting island – both above and below the water. Departing from the Frederiksted Pier, we’ll be exploring the wrecks and reefs of Butler Bay, the walls off Cane Bay, and the reefs and slopes of the northern shores of the island around the Salt River and Christainsted.Trips begin and end at the Frederiksted Pier, which means you land, you can head to the boat, toss your clothes in your cabin and throw a tank on your back the day you arrive! If your no-fly times allow for it, at the end of the trip take a dip with a final afternoon and even a night dive at the Pier as well. This Pier is beloved to many a diver, photographer, and critter lover. Ranging in depths from 10 to 60 feet, there is no lack of diversity all along the pilings. Jump off Juliet for a dive, or have some fun jumping from directly off the pier -a 20′ drop, now that’s a giant stride! Octopus, sea horses, and frog fish are almost guaranteed on every dive, not to mention juvenile puffers and box fish, tons of varieties of worms and sea slugs, and a handful of resident turtles as well.
Just to the north, the ruins of the old cruise ship pier lie in the deep section of Butler Bay at a dive site called Armageddon. Destroyed by hurricane Hugo in 1989 and sitting in 80-100′ of water, it looks just like it sounds. Steel girders, concrete, and general wreckage pile high on the seafloor, attracting tons of life! Also in Butler Bay are an old trawler the Suffolk Maid, a large barge called the Virgin Islander, and our personal favorite, a small tugboat named North Wind sitting upright in 50′ of water. If your navigation is spot on, you also might be able to find NOAA’s old Undersea Research Laboratory where 4 scientists could spend up to 2 weeks exploring the bottom of the ocean.
Just around the corner in Cane Bay are the most spectacular collection of Wall dives you’ll see this side of the world. Cane Bay wall stretches a few miles in each direction with a sloping sand top starting between 20 and 40 feet, and a gorgeous spur and groove wall starting at 60-80 feet and dropping to thousands. Old ship’s anchors dot the seascape, and sharks, eagle rays, and turtles are abundant. Evenings in Cane Bay might be topped off with a run into the beach to a local island bar!
Still further east, the Salt River Canyon, offers some amazing diversity – the nutrient-rich waters of the Salt River curating a beautiful coral-lined valley. The visibility might not be as predictable here, but the dive is well worth it!
Itineraries in St. Croix are shifted to Friday boarding days and Thursday disembarkation days to allow for dockage and diving at the Frederiksted Pier during off-cruise ship days and to hopefully give you a better deal on airfare into St. Croix on non-weekend days. If you’d like to extend your diving vacation with some more diving on land after your trip on Juliet, we can recommend some great local land-based shops that will take good care of you.
Things to do in St. Croix before or after your trip:
Captain Morgan distillery tour
Cruzan Rum Factory Tour (Now open!)
Estate Whim Museum
Salt River Bay National Park and Ecological Preserve
Point Udall – Easternmost point in the USA
Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge
Water temperatures in the Caribbean don’t fluctuate as much as in the Bahamas or Florida Keys. There is around a 5 degree difference between winter and summer, but summer temps aren’t quite as warm as Bahamas either. We recommend a 3mm suit for whatever season in the Virgin Islands – better to bring it and not wear it than not bring it and wish you had!
|Dec-Apr||77-80F (25-27C)||3mm full suit or shorty|
|May-Nov||80-83F (27-29C)||3mm shorty or skin|
Check our schedule for the most up-to-date availability, these dates updated as of 17 Sept 2018.
Dec 21-27: 7 available ($200 off!)
Jan 25-31: 12 available ($100 off)
Feb 8-14: 12 available
Mar 1-7: 3 available
Email kat -at- sailjuliet -dot- com to get on board