Cruising St. Croix
by Ellen Sanpere
St. Croix, located 35 miles south of the other Virgin Islands, has an area of 84 square miles, 28 miles east-to-west and seven miles north to south at its widest point. Population is about 52,000. Mount Eagle is the highest point: 1,165 ft. Currency is U.S. dollar; mail is via the U.S. Postal Service. Area code is (340) and most US toll-free numbers work, though many pay phones charge $.25 for access. Dial "0" for cellular phone service. Atlantic Standard time, same as Eastern Daylight Time. No sales tax.
The island can be seen on the horizon from St. Thomas, St. John and Norman Island when the weather is clear. Christiansted, the largest town, is on the north shore, near the center of the island, and Frederiksted is at the west end. When crossing from the British or other US Virgin Islands, aim for the eastern end of St. Croix to allow for a westerly current. As Buck Island becomes visibly separate from St. Croix, head for the saddle to the west.
The waypoint for the Christiansted Harbor G-1 buoy is 17°46'03"N, 064°41'51"W (approximately). The entrance to the harbor is well marked but may be confusing at first, so a daylight entrance is advisable. The simplest route leaves all green buoys G-1 through G-11 to port to an anchorage with over 10 feet of water between Fort Louise Augusta and St. Croix Marine. It can get quite rolly in north to northeast winds. Continuing past G-13, and passing between the yellow Fort Christiansvaern and Protestant Cay, will bring you to the Harbor, which is protected by Long Reef and Protestant Cay. Most of the harbor has over 8 feet of clear water east of the Annapolis Sailing School Dock, with good flushing current over white sand. Allow plenty of swinging room and avoid grassy patches, private mooring buoys, the barge channel and two sunken wrecks. The southern shore is protected by extensive reefs, except for the entrance to the industrial area around Krause Lagoon.
Customs & Immigration
Vessels that have NOT cleared US Customs in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas or St. John must clear Customs and Immigration, located at the Gallows Bay commercial dock.
Dinghies may be docked in front of Styxx Restaurant; a stern anchor will keep it from going under the boardwalk. From Styxx, walk to the Old Market Square on Company Street for jitney taxis, or to the to east end of King Street for taxis to anywhere else. VITRAN buses also run through town from Tide Village on the east to La Reine, where one can transfer to Frederiksted or the airport. The seaplane lands at the far western end of town, past the Annapolis Sailing School, providing frequent service to St. Thomas and Old San Juan. The VI Fast Ferry to St. Thomas lands at the commercial dock in Gallows Bay.
St. Croix Marine also has a dinghy dock, from which one can walk to Schooner Bay Market, Chandlers Wharf, Gallows Bay Marketplace, East End Road and the Customs Office at the commercial dock.
Several rental car agencies provide free pick-up/drop-off service and toll-free phone numbers. Fuel is very inexpensive, thanks to the Hess Oil (HOVENSA) refinery on the south shore. Driving is on the left!
ST. CROIX MARINE: Gallows Bay, fuel, water, electricity, ice, showers, boatyard, chandlery, restaurant, 773-0289
ANNAPOLIS SAILING SCHOOL: Christiansted, water, electricity, laundry, showers, 773-4709
GREEN CAY MARINA: fuel, water, electricity, ice, showers, restaurant, hotel, no anchoring, 773-1453
SALT RIVER MARINA: restaurant, showers, ice; call for guidance in getting through the reef - the only "hurricane hole" on the north shore, 778-9650
ST. CROIX YACHT CLUB: Teague Bay, some transient slips available, water, ice, restaurant, showers, dinghy dock; enter channel at Coakley Bay marker (17°46'16'N, 064°38'21"W approx.), 773-9531
FREDERIKSTED: south of the cruise ship dock; water stays deep until close to shore.
BUCK ISLAND: National Underwater Park, day anchorage west of the island, use moorings at underwater trail
THE ST. CROIX HERITAGE TRAIL: a self-guided tour of over 200 sites and attractions along 72 miles, including windmills, great houses, ruins, historic sites, scenic overlooks, nature preserves, etc.
WALKING TOUR OF CHRISTIANSTED: includes Fort Christiansvaern, Old Customs House, Government House, Apothecary Hall, Old Market. Don't miss Jump-up, a street party in town with food, drink, entertainment
WALKING TOUR OF FREDERIKSTED: quaint Victorian town, Fort Frederik national historic landmark; usually quiet except on cruise ship days (Wednesdays, sometimes Thursday or Saturday). Watch for Harbour Night, a street party on Strand Street from 6 to 11PM, with local vendors of food, clothes, trinkets, live music
ESTATE WHIM PLANTATION AND MUSEUM: on Queen Mary Highway, restored 18th century great house, sugar mill, artisan displays, cookhouse, gift shop, furniture showroom, 772-0598
ST. GEORGE VILLAGE BOTANICAL GARDENS: on Queen Mary Highway, 19th century plantation ruins, 692-2874
POINT UDALL: East End, easternmost point in the United States, new millenium monument
LAWAETZ FAMILY MUSEUM AT LITTLE LA GRANGE: home and gardens of 19th century immigrant Danish cattle farming family, hiking trail, 772-1539
CANE BAY: North Shore Road, beautiful beach, walk to dive The Wall
RAINBOW BEACH: north of Frederiksted, entertainment, volleyball, great sunsets
BUCK ISLAND: a US National Park, underwater snorkeling trail, beach, picnic area, turtle nesting area
CRUZAN RUM DISTILLERY: Diamond Estate, established 1760, tours available, 692-2280
ST. CROIX LEAP: Mahogany Road in the rainforest, unique woodworking shop, 772-0421
ESTATE LITTLE PRINCESSE: Nature Conservancy's 24-acre preserve, walking trails, plantation ruins, 773-5575
MT. PELLIER DOMINO HUT: Montpellier, beer-drinking pigs and rotis in the rainforest, 772-9914
CRUCIAN CHRISTMAS CARNIVAL: Christiansted alternates with Fredericksted in hosting the annual carnival, Christmas to January 6th
AGRICULTURAL FAIR: Lower Love, agricultural exhibits, cultural performances, entertainment, food, annually mid-February
ST. PATRICK'S DAY PARADE: everyone is Irish! Mid-March
PRINCESS MARKET: Northside Road; fabulous fresh produce, 773-4726
PRINCESSE SEAFOOD: Northside Road, excellent fresh seafood, 773-7529
FOOD TOWN: Northside Road; groceries, rotisserie chicken, bakery, 692-9990
SCHOONER BAY MARKET: East End Road, Gallows Bay; gourmet groceries, 773-3232
COST-U-LESS: Queen Mary Highway, warehouse shopping, 692-2220
ICE CREAM DECADENCE: East End Road; the best home-made ice cream ever - try the soursop
Other Useful Stuff
GALLOWS BAY HARDWARE: (formerly Gannet's), Gallows Bay, 773-1034
ISLAND OUTFITTERS: St. Croix Marine, Gallows Bay; chandlery, 773-0289
OUTBOARDS ONLY: Calquohoun, repairs most outboard engines, 772-0300
ST. CROIX GAS: Pearl, propane refills, 778-6500
ANTILLES GAS: Pearl, propane refills, 778-6336
US POST OFFICE: Gallows Bay, Old Market Square, Richmond, F'sted, Sunny Isle, Kingshill
PLAZA EXTRA: Sion Farm and Queen Mary Highway, major US-style supermarket, cleaner than Pueblo
PUEBLO SUPERMARKETS: Orange Grove, Sunny Isle, La Reine and elsewhere
K-MART: Sunny Isle and Queen Mary Highway, last ones 'til Barbados
C&J LAUNDRY: Mt. Welcome, drop-off or coin-op, 773-2036
WFB LAUNDROMAT: Richmond, drop-off or coin-op, 773-9788
STRAND STREET STATION: Pan Am Pavilion, DSL, internet access, copies, fax, film processing, 719-6245
A BETTER COPY: Company Street, Christiansted, internet access, fax, copies, 692-5303
CRUZAN HARDWOODS: Gallows Bay Marketplace, exotic hardwoods, 713-1448
ISLAND ANIMAL CLINIC: 5 Corners, Dr. Hess the sailing vet, 773-3106
Scott, Nancy and Simon, Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands.
Fields, M.E., ed. Yachtsman's Guide to the Virgin Islands
Street, Donald, Street's Cruising Guide to the Eastern Caribbean
www.usvitourism.vi; www.stcroix.com; www.gotostcroix.com; www.stcroixyc.org; www.stcroixthisweek.com; www.VisitStCroix.com; www.seastx.org
Free tourist publications and maps are available at the VI Tourism office on Company Street, the Visitor Center at Fort Christiansvaern, St. Croix Marine, the Caravelle Hotel lobby and elsewhere.
Copyright© 2002 Compass Publishing