Tag Archives: divi carina bay

Sea Turtle Season on St. Croix: Here’s How to Enjoy It

turtle season on st. croixTurtles love St. Croix! Every year from April through September, sea turtles lumber ashore to lay their eggs on just about every beach on the island. A few weeks after the mother leaves the nest, dozens of baby sea turtles hatch from their shells and make a break for the sea, to live the rest of their lives out in the ocean. Turtle season on St. Croix is a rare opportunity to witness the life cycle of these amazing creatures.

Leatherbacks, hawksbills and green turtles all live in the Caribbean, and St. Croix is one of their common nesting grounds. If you’re on St. Croix this summer, it’s easy to join in local efforts to protect sea turtles and watch the beaches for nesting or hatching activity.

Turtlewatch with SEA

turtle season on st. croix

Courtesy of GoToStCroix.com.

The St. Croix Environmental Association (SEA) offers its members a chance to go on a turtlewatching trip with marine biologist and educator Jen Valiulis. Once you join the organization, be sure to sign up right away—space goes fast.

Upcoming 2017 Dates

June 29 – Leatherback Hatchling Watch 5:15 p.m.
July 26 – Leatherback Hatchling Watch 5:15 p.m.

These dates are only available to SEA members. Join for as low as $35 per person and get yourself on a future turtlewatch. Use this membership application and email sea.educator@gmail.com, or call 340-773-1989.

Group Turtlewatching

turtle season on st. croix

Courtesy of GoToStCroix.com.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offers the Sandy Point Turtlewatch program to St. Croix community groups and youth groups. Groups must have at least 15 and no more than 30 participants. This program runs five nights each week (Tuesday through Saturday) from April 15 through July 31.

To schedule turtlewatching for a group, use this link or call 340-690-9452.  If you have any questions about the program, you can email sandypoint.turtlewatch@gmail.com.

If You See a Turtle in Distress

If you see a turtle struggling, stuck in the brush, acting strangely, injured or on a road, it’s important to call someone who is familiar with the species and is equipped to give it proper help. On St. Croix, those people to call are the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rescue (STAR) network. This group of dedicated volunteers are “on call” to assist with reports of sea turtles in distress. You can reach them at 340-690-0474.

Protecting Sea Turtles

turtle season on st. croixAll sea turtles are classified as either threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. There are serious penalties for harassing, harming, capturing or collecting sea turtles or their eggs. When it’s turtle season on St. Croix (and all year round), you can do your part to protect these wondrous animals by keeping in mind a few common-sense guidelines from GoToStCroix.com:

• If you encounter a dead sea turtle or a live, debilitated turtle, please call STAR at 340-690-0474;
• Report any suspicious or criminal activities related to sea turtles to STAR or the Virgin Islands Police Department at 911;
• Operate boats at safe and responsible speeds;
• Always keep dogs on a leash when on a beach;
• Keep beaches clean by disposing of trash properly;
• Turn off lights close to beaches to avoid disorientating nesting sea turtles and hatchlings; and,
• If you encounter a nesting sea turtle, keep your distance, turn off all lights and do not disturb.

Turtle season on St. Croix is a special time to witness the wonders of nature. Summer is a great time to bring your entire family to the island for fun and awe-inspiring environmental education!

Exploring Buck Island from St. Croix

exploring buck island

St. Croix’s Buck Island, USVI. Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.

Just off the coast of St. Croix lies Buck Island, a small, uninhabited patch of land that also happens to be a national monument. The National Park Service protects the island and the surrounding reef, which sees about 50,000 visitors per year. Snorkelers enjoy exploring Buck Island and swimming its underwater trail—one of only three in the United States. Turtle Beach, on the west end of the island, has picture-perfect white sands and turquoise waters, perfect for relaxing. It was voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by National Geographic readers.

Exploring Buck Island can be difficult to do on your own. In order to preserve the vibrant marine life of its coral reef, it is only accessible by boat. If you’re staying at Divi Carina Bay All-Inclusive Beach Resort on St. Croix, however, this natural wonderland is just a short boat ride away. Family-owned and -operated Buck Island Charters is the only chartered tour company that takes visitors to Buck Island on sail power alone, and it’s been doing so since 1968.

exploring buck island

Sun on the water off Buck Island. Photographer Ellen Sanpere. Courtesy of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.

It’ll be smooth sailing aboard one of their two trimaran sailboats, the Teroro II or the Dragonfly, with Captain Carl or Captain Heinz at the helm. They’ll treat you to a personalized tour of Buck Island National Monument that includes sailing, snorkeling and hiking.

The half-day trip aboard the 42-foot Teroro II departs the Green Cay Marina at 9 a.m., returning by 2 p.m. at the latest. The cost is $75 per person; for children ages 11 and under, the cost is $55 each. Children ages two and under are free.

“Weather permitting, we sail to the underwater trail first and spend an hour there snorkeling,” says Captain Carl. “We provide all the snorkel gear and excellent instruction with a guided tour through the marine garden and time to do your own exploring. We then sail over to Turtle Beach and spend about one-and-a-half hours there. You can go on a self -guided hiking and photo tour, or snorkel some more, or just enjoy the beach.”

The 38-foot Dragonfly is also available for private charters, for those interested in a more customized experience. The Dragonfly can accommodate groups of up to six people, with a charter rate of $570.

Don’t forget to bring your bathing suit, beach towel, sunscreen, hat or cover-up, water shoes, camera, bottled water and anything else you’d like to eat or drink during the trip.

Captain Heinz and Captain Carl are a father-son team that have been sailing the St. Croix waters for more than 30 years. They enjoy sharing their local knowledge with visitors and would love to have you aboard!

To reserve your spot on Captain Heinz or Captain Carl’s next excursion, call 340-7218-3161 or email teroro@msn.com. Both are U.S. Coast Guard certified and National Park Service approved. For more information on Buck Island Charters and exploring Buck Island, visit www.gotostcroix.com/heinz. Rates and trip details are subject to change.

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere With Cruzan Bay Breeze

Say the words “September” and “hurricane” and the folks at Cruzan Rum think a Bay Breeze is a delicious liquid response. It’s a cocktail made with a splash of pineapple and cranberry juices, a squeeze of lime and a little of their Cruzan Light Rum. Top it with ice and you’re good to weather just about any muggy day. According to Cruzan Rum CEO Gary Nelthropp, “It’s refreshing.”

Let’s make one now and toast the exit of Hurricane Isaac as well as all of the other hurricanes from this season. Fortunately, St. Croix, home of Cruzan Rum and Divi Carina Bay made it through just fine. In St. Maarten, there was no damage, but lots of excitement when a female turtle needed a little help clearing a spot on Divi Little Bay’s beach in order to lay her eggs. Guests and staff alike are on turtle watch awaiting the arrival of as many as 200 sea turtles in October.

We are two-thirds the way through hurricane season. The National Hurricane Center says it last from June 1 until November 30th. So, here’s to a safe October and November and safe travels to the beautiful Caribbean for people and turtles alike.

No need to wait till five o’clock to watch a pro make a Bay Breeze. You can make your very own version:

Cruzan Bay Breeze Ingredients:
1 part Cruzan Aged Light Rum
Pineapple Juice
Cranberry Juice
Lime Wedge

Directions:
Pour Cruzan Aged Light Rum over ice in a rocks- or long drink glass. Fill with pineapple juice and cranberry juice. Squeeze lime wedge into drink and then drop it in! Enjoy!