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Villa Dawn, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

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St. Croix SCUBA Dive Sites

Click on a site number for more info and see more sites to read about below.

St Croix has some of the best SCUBA diving in the Caribbean...in the world for that matter! Below you will find just some of the dive sites located in the waters of St. Croix.

1.Scotch Banks: A flat sandy submerged mountain top east of Christiansted harbor. Mooring is in 25 feet of water. The wall is 15 yards east, starts at 40 feet and drops to over 1,000 feet. On the top of the wall lots of pillar coral surrounded with barred soldier fish and grunts. Off the wall barracuda, angel fish, elephant ear sponge, horse eye jacks and once in a while a eagle rays, manta rays and even whale sharks.

2.Salt River Canyon East Wall: The East Wall mooring is in 40 feet of water, the back of the boat usually hangs in 1,000 feet. Tons of sponges soft and hard corals. Two types of black coral, the green and pink ones. Lots of pelagic and tropical fish. Grouper, snapper, eels, conch, lobster and crab are found here. Usually very clear water. This is a very historical site. Columbus came here on his second trip to American. He had 17 ships with him. First time that there was bloodshed between Native Americans and Europeans. Columbus took some of the capture Indians back with him. This site is also one of the oldest geological areas in the Caribbean. A Hydro lab was here for several years. Scientist would live underwater for a week or so doing research on corals and fish life. Separated from the West Wall by a chasm several thousand feet deep, East Wall is unfailingly the "fishiest" dive on the North Shore. While horse eye jacks, hogfish, and snappers swim off the wall, the sponge and coral-encrusted slope is covered with schools of black bar soldier fish and striped grunts at 60 ft. Large angel fish, parrot fish and groupers are featured throughout the dive, with the occasional spotted eagle ray or black tip reef shark lurking off the wall.

3. Salt River Canyon West Wall: Mooring in 20 feet of water. A sheer drop off wall. Lots of canyons and groves to go through. Pelagic as well as eel, snapper, jacks and groupers. Some really big stingrays in the area. Great for novice divers as well as advanced. The most requested boat dive on St. Croix is a steep and ruggedly textured outlining the western edge of Salt River Canyon. Also known as "The Pinnacles", the geological formation with its maze of swim throughs, cuts, ledges, overhangs, and recesses suggest that it was once an above ground waterfall. Schools of creole wrasse, black durgeons and yellowtail snappers can be found off the edge of the wall, while the deeper realms are inhabited by jacks, permits, barracudas, ceros, angels, green morays, and rays gliding by the pinnacles.

4. Rust - op - twist: Named for a former Danish sugar plantation and a one time home to a shrimp farm on shore. Pipes for the deep water intake are still underwater. This area has the deepest water closet to shore in the Caribbean.  Two moorings can be found on this wall site.  Known for its colorful tube and rope sponges, sea fans and gorgonians, the gradual sloping reef has innumerable ledges and crevices that often shelter orange spotted filefish, juvenile burrfish, clinging crabs, slipper lobsters, and lizard fish. Following the pipeline downward, which makes for an easy navigation tool, you can observe the wonder of sea anemones and purple pederson shrimp interacting, while hovering above the frequent flounder sunning on the top of the coral encrusted pipeline. There are probably more black durgons here than any other area, and it is a good site for encountering turtles.   

5. The Pavilions: Beautiful wall dive east of Cane Bay. Lots of hard and soft corals, schools of Atlantic spade fish, groupers elephant ear sponges and black coral. Plateau with sand and coral, great for beginner and advanced. South of the mooring in 35 feet of water is a sandy arena rimmed by coral and decorated with yellow headed Jawfish and spaghetti worms, creating an ideal habitat for nurse sharks and spotted moray eels. The wall itself is decorated with colorful sponges, whips, and sea plumes, typically hosting schools of Creole wrasse, triggerfish and every species of butterfly fish. Watch for the rare pipefish and seahorses. This dive is known for its abundance of marine life.  

6. Cane Bay: Most popular beach dive as well as boat dive. Accessible from north shore road. 200 yard swim to the wall, drops over 2,000 feet. Beautiful wall dive along with great coral gardens just before the wall in 30 feet of water. Sometimes you may see reef sharks out in the blue. Black coral, pelagic and well as tropicals. The beach is also a great place to chill out before and after your dive.  If you are shore diving, make sure and enter and exit the water at the boat ramp due to the shallow reefs that run on either side.  Swim straight out from the boat ramp, and drop down when you please.  This wall starts in about 30 feet of water straight out from the boat ramp.  Go East for a deeper profile, and west for a shallower dive. 

The "Wall"at Cane Bay

7. North star: Named after the sugar plantation on the shore. Vertical drop off starting at 25 feet plunging down to 2,000. Schooling fish everywhere. At 60 feet embedded upside down in the wall rests a large Danish Anchor. Another anchor lies flat on the shelf itself. The wall takes the form of a sequence of huge coves, which means some part of the wall is always being illuminated by the sun, allowing the diver to see under numerous crevices and overhangs, and highlighting the colorful sponges and gorgonians. All Top Ten dive sites offer the underwater photographer great opportunities, but the lighting on this site has produced some spectacular shots, macro and wide angle. This is one of the most dramatic walls dives on the island which can also be done from shore when conditions are calm.  This site is known for hawksbill turtles, and an occasional reef shark moving along the wall.  Large schools of Horseye Jacks can also be seen.  On top, you will run into your schools of Blue Tangs, along with many other species of tropical fish. 

8. Davis Bay: Great wall dive. Have seen larger sharks here such as tiger and black tip. Shallows ruined by hotel construction and hurricanes. This wall dive can be done by shore from Carambola Beach, but it requires one to hike from the parking lot to the water with gear.  Davis Bay makes for a easy boat dive since the moring sits right on the edge of the wall in 25' of water.  There are lots of cuts and mini canyons on this site, and after about 65' the wall turns to sand and slopes out to the deep blue.  The cuts on this wall make for great homes for spotted lobsters and an occasional nurse shark.  This site is also a good area to see Southern Stingrays on top of the wall moving along the sand.

9. Eagle ray: Just outside of the harbor entrance, mooring in 28 feet, gentle slope big coral heads in sand. Usually see eagle rays feeding here. Great dive for beginners as well as advanced.

10. WAPA: On Long Reef across from the Water and Power Authority plant. Sloping coral with sand chutes between them. Good place to see lobster and nurse sharks.

11. Gentle Winds: Named after a condo complex on the beach there, Gentle Winds marks the beginning of a mile-long stretch of spur-and-groove reef. The large, thriving coral fingers, separated by narrow sand chutes, bottom out into a sandy plain at 60 feet, making it a perfect second dive and training site for those working to improve navigational skills. The great diversity and density of hard and soft corals are unmatched anywhere else. Look closely to find scorpion fish, flat worms, lettuce sea slugs, lobsters, and flying gurnards nestled among the breathtaking coral heads or camouflaged on the sand.

12. The Fredericksted Pier: A Shore Dive. A terrific beginning night dive! The old pier was chosen as one of the best macro dives in the world. Although torn down after suffering severe hurricane damage, several structures from the original pier are still standing. Called Dolphins, these huge pillars are bathed in spectacular corals and sponges. The new pier structure is a beautiful spot to see coral beginning its new life. This is the place to see Sea Horses! Lots of unusual fish and sea life such as bat fish, frog fish, various eels, living shells, and Caribbean lobster call this spot home. An exciting photo dive.

Butler Bay Shipwrecks: There are 6 shipwrecks within a quarter-mile of each other located in Butler Bay. These shipwrecks can be seen in 2 different dives. The “Deep Shipwrecks” refer to the Wreck of the Coakley Bay and Rosaomira. They are located a couple hundred feet from each other, and can be seen in one dive from 60 feet to 100 feet deep. The “Shallow Shipwrecks” include the Suffolk Maid, Virgin Islander, Agiers Habitat, and Northwind wreck. This dive will take you to depths of 40-65 feet. Armageddon is the wreckage from the previous Frederiksted Pier that was destroyed in hurricane Hugo. The remains are sunk in 100 feet of water just south of the other shipwreck sites in Butler Bay.

Chubbs Hole: Chubbs Hole is a sharp 15 foot ledge that is located in 30 feet of water a short boat ride north of the Frederiksted Pier. This ledge offers many small caves and holes for lobster, nurse sharks, eels, and turtles to hang around. The ledge starts on the edge of Butler Bay and extends south around Mill Point and towards shore close to Cowboy Beach on the west end.

Swirling Reef of Death: This reef site is just minutes south of the Frederiksted Pier offering some of the calmest water on St. Croix. The mooring area offers great photo opportunities because of the nice coral reef patches surrounded by white sand. If you head west, you will hit a drop off that will take you down to 100 feet before turning back to sand. This is a great area for healthy corals and sponges along with a great variety of tropical fish and turtles.

Sandy Point: Sandy Point is a federally protected turtle nesting beach, so you can probably figure out what you might see on the reefs a quarter-mile off shore. With this area being left undeveloped, the Sandy Point reefs are some of the healthiest reefs on St. Croix.

Other Sites of Interest:

Little Cozumel: Discovered by Dive Experience this dive has a small wall starting at 40 feet and is vertical to 72 feet. On top lots of coral soft and hard. Seahorses can be found here. Nice sloping reefs with a large abundance of lobster. Both green and spotted eels live here. At the 50 foot range, beautiful corals with tons of fish life.

Craigs canyon: Deep canyon starts in 40 feet sand bottom 20 feet across. Lots of over hangs. Lobster, file fish, Durgons and eels. Soft and hard corals in abundance.

The pinnacle: Sea mount that tops off at 90 feet. Usually see swimming reef sharks and big jacks. Black coral. Advanced divers only.

Sleeping Shark Hole: A large coral over hang where one to four big nurse sharks hang out. Beautiful sloping reef down to sand shoots.

Love Shack: Big sand shoots and large coral heads. Lots of lobsters, crab and small nurse sharks.

Cormorant: Sloping coral formations. Good for small tropicals.

Twin Anchors: In about 45 feet a very large 200 year plus anchor from the old Danish days of St. Croix. Probably from the sugar plantation days. Over 8 feet in length. Another anchor in 55 feet lodged in the corals and covered in coral. Healthy corals and lots of tropicals.

White Horse Reef: Two small reefs nearly breaking the surface. Many a boat has sunk here. You can find broken cannon, old wood and nail and chain from very old boat. New boats have hit it too. Nice shallow dive.

 

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