National Park Underwater Trail at Buck Island
St. John's Sights and Attractions
If you take your vacation in the Virgin Islands then you must see this awesome underwater park. This monument was established in 1961 to protect the beautiful gardens that are found in this area of the Caribbean Sea. This magnificent park is protected so all of us can enjoy the beauty and explore the marine life under the sea.
This secluded island paradise is just like the Caribbean should be. You will enjoy relaxing on the white sandy beach and soaking up the sun before or after your adventure of the underwater trail.
The entire 176 acres of this island including the coral reef are part of the unique National Park. Among the unique vegetation you will enjoy the native flora and fauna including many animals that call this island home. Some of the most beautiful and unique creatures on this earth reside on this island. Many of these animals are now considered to be endangered or threatened such as the hawksbill turtles and brown pelicans.
Two thirds of the Buck Island is surrounded by the Elkhorn coral barrier reef. The reef itself is home to charming colorful coral formation, deep grottos, and several species of reef fish, sea fans and gorgonians. So, snorkeling around the island will be one awesome adventure that you must photograph. The underwater world of the Caribbean is a magical and beautiful sight to behold.
The underwater trail is located at the eastern point of Buck Island. This trail is awesome for the beginner snorkeler or for a professional. You will enjoy exploring the trail and taking the entire family. There are tours available where they will even help the children learn to snorkel and experience life under the Caribbean.
As you journey through the trail you will love all of the interpretive signs that line your way. All the way through the coral grottoes and out to the fore reef. You will see awesome coral that resembles haystacks, patches of Elkhorn coral that nearly touch the surface of the water. Some of the gorgeous fish you will encounter include Parrotfish, French angelfish, and blue tangs. Snorkeling through this unique trail will not only bring you up close and personal to the fish and coral reef of this lovely area, but also give you the chance to capture glimpses of unique and unusual species that you may never have seen before. This is a once in a life time experience. But, remember, you can come back and visit again. The colorful and brilliant coral and the type of fish that live in this area do change.
The Buck Island national Monument is open year round, but there is not overnight camping allowed on the island. The only way to find this unique underwater park is by boat. You will need to find a company that will take you there on a full day or half day excursion.
There are many concessions on St. Croix that will give you a great day to explore Buck Island and the National Park underwater trails. Some of the major concessions that offer trips and tours of Buck Island and the National Park underwater trail include
- Big Beard's Adventure Tours, they offer ½ day and full day tours including a barbeque on the beach. For more information you can call 340-773-4482.
- Mile mark, they also offer ½ day and full day tours and for the non-swimming they have some very unique glass bottom boats that will let you explore the trails without even getting wet. For more information you can call 340-773-2628.
- Clyde, Incorporated has a charter boat available by the name of "Snowflake". It is available for ½ day or full day excursions. For a trip on the "Snowflake" you can call 340-773-8520.
Not only will you never forget the underwater trail, but Buck Island will remain one of your favorite places to visit to see the real Caribbean. The seclusion, the marine life and the unique creatures that can call this island home will become one of your fondest memories. Your family will absolutely love the together time and the experiences. This is one family vacation that they will talk about long after they have moved out on their own.
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See you on the Island,
John "Big Hat" Walsh