In our final piece on the underwater world of St Croix, we look at some of the incredible sea creatures you will find on the coral reefs of St. Croix.
The warm Caribbean waters of St. Croix are the home to some of the most exciting sea creatures. Scuba divers often tell us they just don’t want to share how good the diving is in St. Croix because they want to keep this hidden gem to themselves.
Divers find themselves immersed in the beauty of the living reef teaming with varieties of colorful schooling fish, delicate corals, and the intriguing beauty of predatory creatures such as the shark and eel. Here you are a foreigner, something new and definitely larger than anything sea creatures are used to seeing. We move differently than the usual inhabitants and exhaust air bubbles that create fear in some and curiosity in others. Schools of squid can’t see to make up their minds as they slowly approach with curiousness and caution only to quickly change color and scamper away. Minutes later they return with the same curiousness and repeat the cycle endlessly.
Not seeing any marine life? No, just not seeing fish. Although this would be virtually impossible here in this part of the Caribbean it is important to point out that nearly everything you see is alive. Coral is actually a colony of hundreds, often thousands of living creatures each individually referred to as a polyp. They eat, they breed and they offer color, shape and beauty to any living reef and a skeletal structure for which new corals can grow.
The flat sea bottom often disguises the stingray. Hidden beneath a layer of sand they often grow to be several feet in wingspan. The stingray is not aggressive and in some areas it is common to allow them to be handfed by tourists. The tail barb is for protection from predators such as the hammerhead shark. Incidents between humans and stingrays usually occur only when stepped on, but if approached from above and attempted to touch this simulates predatory action and a strike is imminent.
Sharks if seen are harmless to humans, and most fish for that matter. These hunters comb the reefs in search of food in the early hours of the evening and early dawn. Nurse sharks are often seen in these waters and aside from their shark-like appearance they favor the eating style of a catfish. The local reef shark is curious and likes to check out new things in the water like divers, but not for a meal. Small fish are the fare and divers are usually not present during their feeding hours, so rest assured if the fish they are swimming with when you see them are safe.
Each year thousands of scuba divers explore the reefs of St. Croix, and the Sugar Beach Resort can be a great place for your family vacation or group excursion. Non-divers will also find a variety of activities to keep them busy while you are out visiting undersea St. Croix. Remember, it’s never too late to learn with one of the Sugar Beach Resort affiliate dive centers.
Visit Sugar Beach Website for details on scuba diving packages available from the resort.
USVI Eagle Ray courtesy of St Croix Ultimate Blue Water Adventures