Who knew there was a barracuda in a National Park?

Saint Croix Travel Blog

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The 5.5" barracuda that followed me around Buck Island. Everywhere I turned, he was there. I think he thought a blonde looked tasty.

The tale of the barracuda who thought I looked yummy.

Okay, so if I win the lottery, it’s really a toss up between being a crazy expatriate snorkel guide in Antigua, a spice farmer living off the land in Grenada, or a dedicated US citizen living out the good life selling jewelry in St. Croix.  I simply can’t pick a favorite among these three.

 

Where the ship docks in St. Croix is not lavish, not fancy, not crowded, just Caribbeanly simple.  There are a few tents with local crafters (and those who sell cheapo imported trinkets.)  There is a steel drum band playing and an information center welcoming you and handing out information for your next extended stay.  Honestly, with as much as I love all Caribbean islands (with the exception of Aruba – but that’s a different blog (Legend) altogether), I think the one I would soonest return to for an extended stay is St.

I LOVED the signs on the bottom of the Caribbean!
Croix.  There was SO MUCH TO DO!  And this was only one of the three US Virgin Islands.

 

If you’re a water-lover like Dan and I, by all means DO NOT MISS BUCK ISLAND.  My only regret is that we took a crowded ship trip.  Again, inexperience of the island had me leaning toward a ship trip.  But take it from me, go with a private tour.  I was a bit envious of the smaller, more personalized trips I saw.  Our was AMAZING with awesome friendly guides; I just wanted something a little more personal.  I did get a few pamphlets of private tour operators recommended by locals and past visitors, so shoot me a message if you’re heading St. Croix’s way and would like to visit Buck Island.

Look! I'm in school! Even on vacation!

 

After looking through my pictures, I was not as camera-happy as I should have been.  I have a serious lack of pictures on this vacation.  Sorry about that.

 

After our awesome Buck Island snorkel (which was: 1. board air-conditioned coach.  2. 30 minutes bus ride to dock.  3. wait at dock for straggling people who don’t keep good time.  4. 30 minute ride to Buck Island.  5. A little over an hour of snorkeling included a “guided” tour and time to explore on my own.

Reading a sign in a national park - not what you'd expect.
 6. boat ride back.  7. bus back.)

 

Buck island is SO COOL!  If you’re a snorkeler, do not miss it.  While Belize coral may be a bit more colorful and Bahamas fish may be a pit more plentiful, NOTHING was as good as St. Croix.  Antigua comes close, but it doesn’t quite top how neat it was to snorkel a trail in a US National Park.  I’m going back when I have an underwater digital camera that takes better pictures.  All of my colors look very blah.  It was more colorful than my pictures show.  Yes, we saw a few barracuda - one as long as 5.5'.  They didn't seem aggressive at all, but it's a DAG-NASTY looking fish!  He followed me around.

A HUGE brain coral and some fish. there's a massive lobster and sea urchin if you look very closely.
  I couldn't decide if he wanted to be my friend or thought I looked tasty.  Either way, I gave him his rightful space (I was in HIS house, after all) and still have all my extremities.  The tour guide (who stuck right with me after seeing that the really big scary fish was following me around - I mean following ME, not the group, ME) explained it like this.  "You wouldn't go on an African safari and chase down the lions.  Barracuda are the same, admire from a distance and respect the fact that you're visiting their world."

 

After the trip we had some time to explore downtown.  Dan bought me a sterling silver ring ($40!) that had a teeny little sparkle set in a hibiscus with two sea turtles swimming up to it.  I liked it better than the $800 on St. Martin.  We found some pretty things for the nieces back home and wandered through the art school and studio just feet from the Caribbean.  One AWESOME souvie I bought for my middle niece was a “fish flips”.

Hi lobster.
 It’s a little bungee cord underwater picture book you wear on your wrist when you snorkel so you can identify the fish around you.  It’s regional to the Caribbean.  Okay, I’ll admit, I bought one for her and myself.

 

I can’t get over how much I enjoyed every island on this trip.  It just goes to show that even after 6 cruises and many trips to the Caribbean, the beauty, nature, and sights never cease to amaze me.  The biggest problem I have with the Caribbean is that I get a little more salt water flowing through my veins every time I go.  Someday, there’s a chance I just may not return.  It was 7 magical days that there’s no way I’ll ever be able to thank Mom-Liz and Jack enough for allowing us to experience together.  I honestly think traveling with family is the way to go.  Although we like different experiences, we always ended the day discussing the wonders and beauty we saw over a nice dinner on the ship.  While an extended stay (ESPECIALLY in St. Croix) is awfully tempting, I imagine I’ll be on a ship again, sailing the blue waters of the Caribbean.

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The 5.5 barracuda that followed m…
The 5.5" barracuda that followed …
I LOVED the signs on the bottom of…
I LOVED the signs on the bottom o…
Look!  Im in school!  Even on vac…
Look! I'm in school! Even on va…
Reading a sign in a national park …
Reading a sign in a national park…
A HUGE brain coral and some fish. …
A HUGE brain coral and some fish.…
Hi lobster.
Hi lobster.
Yeah, more squirrelfish.
Yeah, more squirrelfish.
Another barracuda.  They didnt se…
Another barracuda. They didn't s…
Buck Island - the only underwater …
Buck Island - the only underwater…
Buck Island - the only underwater …
Buck Island - the only underwater…
Buck Island - the only underwater …
Buck Island - the only underwater…
Buck Island - the only underwater …
Buck Island - the only underwater…
Buck Island - the only underwater …
Buck Island - the only underwater…
The largest oil refinery in the We…
The largest oil refinery in the W…
The largest oil refinery in the We…
The largest oil refinery in the W…
The largest oil refinery in the We…
The largest oil refinery in the W…
I took this for my niece, Hannah.
I took this for my niece, Hannah.
Ship!
Ship!
The fort
The fort
Wow, St. Croix is BEAUTIFUL!
Wow, St. Croix is BEAUTIFUL!
Saint Croix Sights & Attractions review
USA's only underwater national park
The ONLY reason I'm putting this as #2 on my list is because the overall experience of Eli's tour edged out the crowded experience we had for Buck Isl… read entire review
Saint Croix
photo by: leikela189