On the northeast side of St Croix in the US Virgin Islands, lies one of the finest marine gardens in the Caribbean Sea, Buck Island. Just five miles from Christiansted, Buck Island Reef National Monument is one of the few fully protected marine areas in the National Park System. Buck Island is surrounded by an Elkhorn coral barrier reef and is home to many endangered and threatened species that live and nest here.
Green sea turtles, Leatherbacks, and Hawksbill, all endangered, are protected by law. Every two to three years they migrate here in the Summer to nest in the shoreline and on the beaches. Nesting Hawksbills may spend up to an hour on shore, selecting a nest site, and laying up to 140 eggs, before returning to the sea. Two months later, hatchlings emerge and crawl from their nest to the sea.
Buck Islands Reef ranks among the best in the Caribbean. Elkhorn corals push their sheer mass to 30 foot heights, and like cheap generic online pharmacy fortress walls, corals rise off the sea floor and dominate the underwater world. In the calm waters of the lagoon, large brain corals grow, nearly reaching the surface. In other areas, Elkhorn and Star coral parch reefs surround the island providing a perfect playground for blue tangs, flamingo tongue sea snails, and sea fans.
Snorkel Buck Islands underwater trail, which has underwater signs that tell what you are seeing. View parrot fish and french angelfish in the grottoes where the maximum water depth is only 12 feet. Scuba diving is allowed in the monument at designated scuba moorings. A 30 and 40 foot shallow dive, take you through haystack formations of Elkhorn coral.
Tour information is available at the National Park visitors center in downtown Christiansted. And you can get full day or half day trips from St Croix to Buck Island. To learn more you can visit the Buck Island Reef National Monument National Park web site, or Buck Island St Croix