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Old 16-07-2012, 11:37   #1
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Sailing to St. Croix

I'm picking up a bareboat in St. Thomas later this year and I'm considering heading down to St. Croix. I've done the BVIs a couple of times and the SVIs and so part of this is to do something different (not that there is anything wrong with the floating bar crawl of the BVIs!). I'm also a diver and it looks like there are some good places to dive there, so that's an attraction. Basically, I'm thinking of spending 2-3 days there -- one in Christiansted (diving the wall) another in Fredericksted (diving the wrecks and pier) and then maybe visit Buck Island (more diving).

Of course all of this will depend on wind forecasts, but the trades look like they should give basically a beam reach all the way down and back. Any significant prevailing currents or other strangeness to anticipate?

Any other comments on this idea? I realize it's 40 miles of open water and I'm fine with that. I've seen a couple of comments about tricky anchorages. Is this referring to any of the places I listed because they don't look all that complicated to me. Looks like you have to wind your way into C-sted, but seems well marked. Am I missing something?

One other thing. I was looking at getting a permit to anchor at Buck Island it is says for non-owners you need a notarized letter from the owner. For most charters, I can guarantee this won't be done. I intend simply to send in a copy of the charter contract and see what happens. Does anyone have experience with this?

Thanks for the thoughts!
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Old 16-07-2012, 12:00   #2
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

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Any other comments on this idea? I realize it's 40 miles of open water and I'm fine with that. I've seen a couple of comments about tricky anchorages. Is this referring to any of the places I listed because they don't look all that complicated to me. Looks like you have to wind your way into C-sted, but seems well marked. Am I missing something?
some people stop and swim in the "middle" - odd feeling knowing there are several miles of water under you LOL there does seem to be an odd ghost or two out there.....

In one weekend I saw no less than 3 boats find the shoals entering C'sted harbor. Don't take it lightly. I'm just sayin .....
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Old 16-07-2012, 12:06   #3
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

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In one weekend I saw no less than 3 boats find the shoals entering C'sted harbor. Don't take it lightly. I'm just sayin .....
Of course, I never take running aground lightly! I'm curious, why do you think this is. Are there issues with the markers or charts? People just not paying attention? Currents? Thanks!
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Old 16-07-2012, 12:17   #4
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

Buck island is a cool snorkel for sure.
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Old 16-07-2012, 12:19   #5
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

Do Not attempt to enter C 'stead at night. Or too early or late .
I have been in and out of there many times, it is still intimidating.
GPS and what not is fine, but go slow and keep an eye on those binocs and have polaroid shades.
Stopping in the middle for a swim is something I do half way to Anegada, but half way to STX , it may be blowing 20 with 10 ' seas.
And be careful on shore, use common sense and caution.
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Old 16-07-2012, 12:53   #6
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

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Do Not attempt to enter C 'stead at night. Or too early or late .
I have been in and out of there many times, it is still intimidating.
GPS and what not is fine, but go slow and keep an eye on those binocs and have polaroid shades.
Absolutely. I plan to head down from the "other" Buck Island, a couple of miles south of STT right around sunrise. At 5 kts I'd be there by early afternoon. If the winds won't let me do at least 5, I'll do something else that day.

Any additional words of wisdom?
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Old 16-07-2012, 16:16   #7
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

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Of course, I never take running aground lightly! I'm curious, why do you think this is. Are there issues with the markers or charts? People just not paying attention? Currents? Thanks!
Sorry if I implied you would not be careful .
There are multiple zigs and zags and I mean only be extra vigilant. It is easy to get confused. Channel not all the wide in spots. Can be strong current depending on how much water coming over the reef.

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And be careful on shore, use common sense and caution.
2nd that ! I was robbed at dusk on the boardwalk. It may be paradise down island but it ain't heaven
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Old 16-07-2012, 17:47   #8
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

2nd that ! I was robbed at dusk on the boardwalk. It may be paradise down island but it ain't heaven
Yeah.... the wife and I were walking along the road and a lady stopped and insisted we werent safe and returned us to our boat location!
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Old 16-07-2012, 19:01   #9
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

Some charter companies won't allow/approve their boats to sail to St. Croix.
Too many have ran aground there in the past.

Good diving on the wall just off Salt River

Never been robbed in St. Croix, but got my car broken into.
Lots of low-life locals in St. Croix, but same in St. Thomas, guess it is a toss.
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Old 16-07-2012, 19:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Challo

Absolutely. I plan to head down from the "other" Buck Island, a couple of miles south of STT right around sunrise. At 5 kts I'd be there by early afternoon. If the winds won't let me do at least 5, I'll do something else that day.

Any additional words of wisdom?
CYOA allows their boats to go there if guests have a strong resume.

Overnight mooring is not allowed on Buck Island at St Thomas. Where are you departing from?

Yes people run aground entering Christiansted frequently. Not all understand the channel markers (red over green) and run into Round Reef. It keeps my friend from Seatow St Croix busy...

Would hope that anything you charter will do much better than 5kts on a probable beam reach. :-)

It can be very lumpy. Be sure you and your passengers are up to the ride before you depart. It can be a fun, or horrible, passage depending upon comfort in 4-10' beam sea conditions. My last trip on a 50' mono was pretty quick, averaging 8.5kts both ways.
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Old 17-07-2012, 06:03   #11
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

Thanks for all the comments. We're going with IYC -- I haven't yet talked to them about it, but I've seen other places that they allow the trip to STX. I've chartered with them previously and so I suspect we can get to a comfortable place with Skip.

I'll certainly have the local charts and a couple of hand-held GPSs with local charts loaded (IYC doesn't have chart plotters). I've heard from others the marks are confusing where multiple channels come together, but unless there's something truly odd, I'm comfortable. I've been looking at the charts and the aerial photos and I'll certainly do more of that before heading out. Sounds like we should pay attention to the tides too.

Okay, so I see the shore-side activities are going to be interesting. Honestly, I don't really care about C-sted and maybe its not worth getting off the boat or even risking getting in and out? Is Salt River easier to get in and out of? Really the main point is to be near some diving.

Yes, I hope to do much better than 5 kts! It'll be me and my wife and we're both okay with lumpy as long as we're moving. Although, this is vacation and if we are not having fun, we'll adjust and do something else. It's not like there is a shortage of nice anchorages nearby!
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Old 17-07-2012, 14:52   #12
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

of all the places to go in the Caribbean with good diving and sailing, great beaches, and wonderful people why on earth would you pick St. Croix? Maybe it is time to step back and rethink your plans.
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Old 17-07-2012, 15:10   #13
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

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of all the places to go in the Caribbean with good diving and sailing, great beaches, and wonderful people why on earth would you pick St. Croix? Maybe it is time to step back and rethink your plans.
Yes, I've been to many of those places. Your's is not an uncommon opinion, but it does not appear to be universal. I'd be very interested in the particulars of why you don't like St. Croix -- have you had bad experiences? It's a real-world place with real-world issues and I don't mind that. If I did, I guess I'd probably just settle for cruise ships or all-inclusive resorts that shelter you from it. Why do I want to do this? I've never been there. I'm interested in doing the passage from STT just to do it. It also looks like the diving there is pretty good and much better than what I've seen at other places in the area. Finally, I guess I'm stubborn in that I need to make up my own mind about a place. Thanks for the thoughts.
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Old 19-07-2012, 15:05   #14
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Re: Sailing to St. Croix

OK, so my real agenda is to get this back up to the top in the hope of generating some more responses, but in light of the crime comments I have done some checking on this issue and I have some observations to share.

My observation is that most (if not all) of the people who counsel avoiding STX due to the crime have never been there. Of the people who have been there, some do report first- or second-hand crime, typically things stolen from cars or other petty crime. Even those people tend to write it off and suggest leaving valuables in safe places; they do not at all portray it as a dangerous place or a place to avoid. Quite the opposite. Positive comments outweigh the negative by a wide, wide margin and, as I said, the worst comments are from people who clearly have not been there.

According to the official statistics STT and STX do have higher crime rates than other Caribbean islands, but it is predominantly domestic abuse. My wife loves me, so I am not afraid and it is obvious that if this is your problem, you imported it. Most of the rest of it is petty theft and from what I've read nearly ALL the tourist-directed crime is in this category. So maybe I live in the 'hood, but it doesn't sound like the reality lives up to the hype. Petty crime is everywhere and most of it is preventable.

Thanks again for the thoughts.
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Old 19-07-2012, 21:34   #15
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We also cruise the BVIs, St. Thomas and St. John a lot and two years ago we decided to go to St. Croix. We got a slip in a marina and rented a car, we planned to spend a week. While we did not encounter any problems, we certainly felt uncomfortable and unsafe -- on the third day we set sail back to the BVIs. It was a beautiful island with a lot of diversity and really, really cheap gas, but there were areas where we were just not comfortable getting out of the car -- no fun. Just our 2 cents.
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