Located in the Caribbean Sea, Saint Croix is the largest and most beautiful – some would say, of the United States Virgin Islands. It’s easy to see why tourists flock to the area in large numbers; the island has a diverse topography that includes rolling hills, lush rainforests, fertile coastal plain, gorgeous beaches, and let’s not forget the picturesque towns. In addition to the superb landscapes, St. Croix amazes with its underwater world as well.
St. Croix offers more than 50 dive sites. The island is renowned for its dramatic walls, the most spectacular being the Salt River Canyon, or The Wall. There are also plenty of great reef and wreck dive spots found all along its shores. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, advanced or technical diver, there’s something for everyone.
The colorful marine life of St. Croix. Photo: Flickr
Scuba diving in St. Croix is possible year-round thanks to the good weather the U.S. Virgin Islands experience throughout the year. Some rain may occur from June to October, or the hurricane season.
The annual average water temperature in St. Croix is 27° C/81° F, ensuring good conditions for watersports all year round.
The water visibility in St. Croix generally ranges from 18 to 30 meters/60 to 100 feet.
The Salt River Canyon is formed by the remains of an ancient river and waterfall. The Canyon has two walls facing each other: the East Wall and the West Wall. This is arguably the most interesting dive site of the island. It’s an area filled with large formations of sea sponges, hard and soft corals. Large schools of yellowtail snappers, black triggerfish, black bar soldierfish, and grunts patrol the spot. Occasionally, hammerheads can be seen lurking off the East Wall.
A rewarding macro dive site, Frederiksted Pier is encrusted in coral formations that ensure great photographic opportunities. Seahorses, scorpionfish, batfish, trunkfish, golden-eyed shrimps, parrotfish, moray eels, octopuses, and many other creatures can be spotted here. This is a shallow dive that can be done by anyone. It is also a popular night dive for underwater photographers, with many nocturnal critters to be observed.
Butler Bay is the perfect region for wreck divers. The bay features two sites: the deep wrecks and the shallow wrecks. The deep wrecks include the wreck of the Coakley Bay and Rosaomira (or Rosa Maria). The shallow wrecks include an abandoned hydrolab habitat and the Suffolk Maid, Virgin Islander, and Northwind ships. The wrecks are beautifully encrusted with corals and sea sponges, and teeming with different species of reef fish. A slight current is to be expected at the shallow wrecks but generally little to no current at the deep wrecks.