PDA

View Full Version : Headed for St. Croix



Fireplug
04-10-2011, 19:58
I am getting anxious to get back to St. Croix the week of May 2nd. I started diving there in 2007 by doing Cane Bay Scuba's resort course at Carambola Resort and my 2 discover dives in Cane Bay. Can't wait to get back to the ledge at 40' and look around some......

Since starting diving there I have logged just short of 150 dives, mostly open ocean off of Florida. Just got back from The Keys and got to do The Vandenberg. Hope I can get all of my dive gear down there without loosing a bag, etc.

Ready to dive!!!

Rileybri
04-11-2011, 09:30
Give the pigs a beer for me and have a Mamajuana run drink or three.

below sea level
04-11-2011, 09:32
We're heading down there in June. Really looking forward to it!

longtailbda
04-11-2011, 11:26
To bad your going to miss Mitsuguy he just left for Texas rotten *&$^!%*. Say hello to the gang @ Cane Bay for me.

Have fun and don't forget your 6 bottles on your return.

mitsuguy
04-11-2011, 20:44
Give the pigs a beer for me and have a Mamajuana run drink or three.

yup, we brought back a liter bottle of that stuff!

LeeParrish
04-18-2011, 13:14
Give us a dive report when you get back, I'm heading down with the family a little later in May and would love to hear how your trip went.

scubajane
04-18-2011, 15:33
can I go with you.....please?????

LeeParrish
05-14-2011, 09:48
So how was the trip?

crgjpg
05-14-2011, 14:01
So how was the trip?

Here is the post for the trip report.

http://forum.scubatoys.com/trips-travel-53/st-croix-dive-report-36361/#post448678

LeeParrish
05-15-2011, 09:07
Thanks, great report, I'm heading out with the family tomorrow for St. Croix and will also be at the Carambola.

chinacat46
05-15-2011, 10:29
Thanks, great report, I'm heading out with the family tomorrow for St. Croix and will also be at the Carambola.

Have a good trip.

Fireplug
05-15-2011, 17:55
Here's my latest drive report from my trip to St. Croix.

Well, I just got back from a week on St. Croix. I dove with Cane Bay Dive Shop. I kind of had a soft place for them as I had my resort course and adventure dives with them in 2007. They haven’t disappointed me yet. All of the staff is top notch, friendly and helpful. I was the only diver in my group but the staff made me feel welcome and folded me right into their group. They have dive packages starting with 6 tank dives for $250, which includes all of your rental gear. I think the night dive was $45 if memory serves correct. Cane Bay also uses inflatable boats to ferry divers and equipment from shore out to their 36’ Newton dive boat. This allows for a very quick travel time to get to their dive sites. They don’t have a dock at their main store on the north shore so the big boat is moored out about 100-150 yards and everything and everybody is ferried back and forth.
Cane Bay also has small cabins on site which have a king size bed, small kitchen with stove & microwave, fold out couch, TV, porch, etc. Sleeps 3-4 depending on your friendship level. I checked one out and it was clean and well kept. It also included a complementary 1/5 of rum and your 1st bag of charcoal included for the grill. They said these were $800 to $1200 for the week depending on season, etc. They also have units which don’t include a stove but do have a microwave. Looks like a nice way to spend a week diving
We started the trip by flying out on Saturday, April 30th from Columbus, Ohio to Miami, Florida then the last hop into St. Croix on American Airlines. Got our rental car from Avis but did not get the 2 class upgrade. Our take was the desk lady had already filled out our paperwork and didn’t want to be bothered with redoing it. 4 of us with luggage filled up our Camry. (NOTE TO AVIS: Why bother giving customer’s upgrades if your staff is too lazy to honor them?) Lots of cars with the wipers up, (ready to rent), but staff…? Anyhow, off we went to Carambola Beach Resort. Main thing to remember in St. Croix, STAY LEFT!!! I don’t get driving in the left lane with cars that have the steering wheel on the left, especially at night with the headlights from oncoming traffic aimed at you. Anyhow, on to Carambola Beach Resort. We had stayed here before in 2007. Marriott had bought the place in the meantime and was upgrading the rooms. We are staying in a friend’s time share and our guess is that these will be the last rooms to be brought up to Marriott’s standards. Room was a little shop worn but with the windows open you could hear and see the surf from their private beach. That makes up for a lot of shortcomings with me. Not sure if this is true of all the rooms but ours had a small stovetop, apartment sized fridge, sink, microwave and utensils for 4 people. We had a king sized bed, fold out couch and a real nice sit down, tile shower. We had TV’s in both the front room and bedroom. Not a lot of channels. (I’m spoiled with Direct TV.) The also had Radio Margaritaville on one of the upper channels. The screened in porch was perfect in the evenings to lounge around napping and listening to the ocean. This was also a great breakfast place while watching the resident mongoose’s, (mongeese?), zip about. The restaurant staff and bartenders were polite and professional. The food on site was good, bushwhackers excellent and about as pricey as anything else on island. They have a Friday night buffet for $36 which was very nice. Included prime rib, crab claws, shrimp, snow crab legs and on and on. They entertain later with a duo on keyboard, a DJ and the Moco Jumbies. A great evening. They also have a very nice pool. Our first stop after getting unloaded was back down the road to the grocery store. We try to eat breakfast and lunch in and go out for dinner. Wife is a beach bunny so this works out well.
I also want to mention the food place on the front of Cane Bay Dive Shop. It is the very simply named “Eat @ Cane Bay”. We had dinner here 3 times, my wife raving that this was the best NY strip steak she had ever had. They have a menu from burgers on up to specials and full bar. One night we were entertained by a lady with her guitar, Deanna Brown. Nice place to relax while looking at the sunset at Cane Bay.
Now, on to the diving. The North Shore of St. Croix is fringed by a coral band that extends out 100’ to 200’ from shore where it breaks over and drops down to 3200’ along the wall. Most of our dives were in the 60’-70’ range working along the top of the wall. There are lots of hard and soft corals and wildlife Visibility was excellent. Cane Bay does a 2 tank morning dive at 9ish and then a 1 tank dive in the afternoon. They will do a shore dive across the street from the shop about anytime. Night dives require a minimum of 4 divers. All of the dives I was on had at least one dive master guiding and a Captain on the boat. My first day diving was Sunday morning. We did Salt River #3 followed by #2. Both were max depth at 70’. The DM’s serve as guides and let you dive your own dive. The second dive was especially good as we worked around a corner on the reef and flirted along the top of the wall for a nice long dive. That afternoon, after a group decision, we took the 36’ Newton dive boat down around the west side of the island and did an afternoon dive on the Frederickstead pier. This was a nice, easy dive with flat water and a max depth of 26’. Lots of micro critters, pretty color corals and good vis. I was with DM Shannon and we both got to see our first flying gunard together. I got some decent pictures and we had to have the shop owner tell us what we saw. A very unusual, colorful creature, the fish, not the DM.
Monday saw us doing the only wrecks of the week. We had a group of divers on board from a cruise ship. We did the Butler Bay site that included 3 closely spaced wrecks including a piece of the habitat that NASA used to train astronauts some time ago. Our second dive was a wall dive at Alien Nation. Once again, lots of wildlife and color. These dives very nearly didn’t happen for me as I had chosen to meet the boat at the pier where they were loading the divers from the cruise ship. Note to self, don’t use a cartoony, tourist map to try to get somewhere on time. I wound up lost in a stone quarry and a local dump truck driver took pity on me and got me to the pier just as the boat was ready to heave lines to leave. After the dives I once again got lost and nearly missed the Cruzan Rum plant tour. That would have been tragic. I have found that this liquid causes rapid dissipation of that demon nitrogen so all was good.
Tuesday morning started out with a dive on Northstar. This was followed by a second dive on Pavillion. These were both reef dives that skirted along the edge of the wall. I did the shopping thing in the afternoon to pay penance for nearly missing the Cruzan Rum plant tour the day before.
Wednesday was unusual for diving as myself and a gentleman from Atlanta were the only 2 up for diving. We loaded out in a rubber inflatable boat with Neal and Mel. Neal stayed on board as Captain of the ship and Mel served as our DM. If you have a small group of 6 or less Cane Bay will take you out in a RIB, (rubber, inflatable boat). This is touted as the same boat the Navy SEALS use and it is pretty cool. When you get on station, the front hard floor panel has been removed and the DM unzips the vinyl floor panel, revealing a hole in the bow. The diver sits on the hard floor section at the rear of the hole, facing the bow, and the Captain puts your BCD on you. With all of your gear on you simply roll face forward into the water thru the hole. In my case, drop down, move over, come up and grab my camera and away we go. On your return you would come up thru the hole and face the bow. After inflating your BCD and removing it the Captain would hoist your gear back up and then I did my best pig in mud impression and slithered back into the boat, thru the hole. See the pics on their website. All in all, a pretty neat way for a small group to dive. Made for a nice dive. Our first dive was moored to the buoy at Davis Bay which was about 100 yards offshore from Carambola Beach Resort. My wife didn’t realize until later that it was me diving just off the beach from where she was sunbathing. This was again along the edge of the wall and provided some decent photo ops including gleaner shrimp, a small trunkfish and a small brittle star. Our second dive was a slow drift from Twin Palms buoy to Cane Bay. We tracked along the edge of the wall and once again had some nice photo ops. I was kinda bummed as I was down to 300 psi and had to do a 200 yard surface swim to the boat. I am used to using a steel 120 cubic foot tank when diving in Florida so I was not liking the aluminum 80’s that are standard. On some of the shallow dives I was doing one hour plus but at depth I was averaging 45 minutes or so. Need to look into a set of travel doubles.
My last dive was the Thursday night dive at Frederickstead pier. This started out with everyone meeting up at the shop and then taking a big Ford van over to the pier with all of our dive gear. We had 5 divers and 2 dive masters, 1 of who was a new hire and was getting oriented to the sites. After the briefing we watched the sunset then did giant strides off of the pier. This was a 4’ or better drop so was exhilarating. The high point of the entries was when the one DM did a full front roll in the pike position and hit the water feet first, in full scuba gear no less! Wish I would have had some warning, would have made a great pic!!! As we surface swam down the pier to the entry point the DM emphasized that we needed to stay under the pier as there were fisherman above trying to make a living by taking fish. This would prove prophetic. We all dropped down and started weaving slowly between the various columns that support the pier. This varied from 3 to 4 columns wide, each column being 4’ across. I was stoked as I got to see 4 different turtles. This was more than the total I had seen in the previous 150+ dives I had made. One of the turtles was asleep and this allowed my primitive photo skills to shine as I was able to take quite a few photos of him. There was also your usual cast of micro creatures plus lobster, octopus and crabs. One of the DM’s said they had sighted 13 different octopus off of this pier. After easing along and hitting half a tank we all turned and started back to the de-embarktation point on the other side of the pier. On the surface swim back in one of the divers said he had been hooked by a fisherman. The diver was watching some tarpon and moved out from under the pier. Next thing he knew he was hooked in the hand and one of the DM’s had to cut him loose. No big damage but a concern none the less. We got to the exit and were able to stand up and remove our gear. The DM’s had one above who lifted your gear up onto the dock and another in the water helping you remove your gear. You then did a short climb up on some rocks.
All in all, I got 10 dives in 4 days. Not my usual 4 to 5 a day when I go with my group in Ft. Lauderdale but I was on vacation with my wife and another couple, none of whom dive. Cane Bay is about a mile from Carambola Resort so logistics weren’t too bad. Cane Bay has overnight, secured storage for your gear. Doesn’t get much easier. You simply show up, pay up, get fitted and get diving.
This was the end of my scuba diving for the week. I did go with the other gentlemen we were traveling with for a snorkel tour of Cane Bay on Friday. He was impressed when we went out over the wall and he got his first taste of navy blue water.
We returned the rental car Saturday morning and took a hop over to San Juan for a 4 hour lay over. We then went into JFK and finally on to Columbus. We left the island at 9:55 am and got into CMH at 10:30 pm. By the time we got the truck, bags loaded, drove 80 miles to home, dropping off the other couple on the way, I slid into bed at about 1:30 am. All in all, a very nice week.

You can check out everything at:

http://www.canebayscuba.com
eat at cane bay (http://www.eatatcanebay.com)
Renaissance St Croix Carambola Beach Resort & Spa (http://www.carambolaresortstcroix.com)
St. Croix, US Virgin Islands: St. Croix Information, St. Croix Tourism, Hotels on St. Croix, St. Croix Vacation Information, Caribbean Vacation (http://www.gotostcroix.com)
Deanna Brown (http://www.deannabrown-music.com)

Drop me an IM with any questions and I’ll try to answer them. I would totally recommend The Cane Bay Dive Shop.