The cruising days were coming to an end as we headed into St. Croix, the last port of call. This was another part of the US Virgin Islands, the first other one being St. Thomas, which we had visited on the first day of our cruise. Having read up on the available activities for St. Croix, we realized that there was not much to be expected. Our dinner companions had previously visited St. Croix and suggested that we visit Buck’s Island, which was really beautiful isolated island that was worth a visit so that was our objective for the day.
Once we disembarked, we had to walk a distance from the ship to the mainland and once there, we went to a group of people whom looked very much like transport service providers and asked if they were doing the shuttle from Federiksted to Christiansted, where it was more touristy and where we could board the boat to Buck Island. We bought return tickets and boarded the minivan which was almost full and we were on the 1hr journey to Christiansted.
There wasn’t anything of interest along the way, looked kinda rural and basically full of plantations nor did the driver provided and information on the St. Croix. After a boring ride, we alighted at what appeared to be a quayside location where there were shops selling sea activities and related stuff. We went straight away to Big Beards Adventure tour for the trip to Buck Island but were informed that the next timing for the outgoing trip was at 12.15pm and we were concerned that we would not be able to make the trip back in time so we gave it a miss and tried to go around searching for other alternatives. There were a few other companies that offered trips to Buck Island and all of them actually had their boats out already and it was too late for us. We then went back to Big Beards to book since they also assured that we would be able to make the trip back to our ship.
It was still very early and we decided to explore around a bit. The area around pier side was relatively small and after entering one or two shops that sold mostly touristy stuff, and the rest were either not opened yet or not of our interest.
Walked alongside the sea side and admired the calmness of the sea and the quietness of this small town. Took a seat on the bench overlooking the little island some short distance away in the sea, where there was a beach and a resort on it – Hotel on the Cay. There was a boat that ferried people to the island, probably guests of that resort.
For lunch, we were looking for the recommended ones in the “Lonely Planet” but as we tried to locate them using the map in the book, we weren’t able to find them. In the end, we settled for a pier side bar to settle our lunch. It was really windy and came with a nice seaside view.
Nearing the time of departure, we went to the meeting place that was informed to us during registration to wait. From a distance we saw a boat coming towards our direction and sure enough, it was Big Beard boat, the morning trippers have returned. We were given a briefing after just before boarding and in no time, we were out at sea going towards Buck Island. And we saw Big Beard too.
It was really a right choice – the island was isolated and thus had quite a nice stretch of white sandy beach without the crowd. The idyllic view that came with the turquoise sea was all too lovely for us to just sit on the sand and enjoy the water massage as the wave crashed onto the beach. Snorkeling was next after the familiarization in the waters near the island and then it was at the further distance where many corals and fishes could be seen, going in a line that was guided by one of the staff. Waters was a little choppy for our liking but it was worth it.
The trip felt like it ended as soon as it only started, it was all too enjoyable. Once back on land, the vans were already waiting nearby. We boarded one of them and return to Frederiksted. It was getting late but that didn’t stop us from walking around for a bit before boarding the ship.
The last dinner was eaten with a saddening feeling from realization that our meeting with our dinner companions and the friendly staff was coming to an end. Had quite a bit of conversation on the Buck Island recommendation that we really liked and the travel plans ahead. Then it was farewells and off to prepare for departure the next day. When we return to the cabin, there was an envelope for the gratuities for the staff on board. We didn’t pay any because it was all paid in advance when we booked our tour back in Singapore, thus saving the hassle of carrying cash around.