The day started with the palest of sunrises, a barely-grey morning that slowly went silver, then yellow. We sat in the cockpit sipping coffee, watching the pelicans and frigate birds shake off the night and begin their breakfast dance. The pelicans and gulls diving and fishing, the frigate birds stealing from any and all.
We were anchored just off the beach of Buck Island in St Croix. Buck Island is a park, run by the US Park Service that's just a mile or so off the coast of STX. It's uninhabited and boats need a permit to stay overnight. During the middle of the day, the place is crowded with day snorkelers and beach walkers, but at evenings and in the early morning, it's just us boaters and there were only 5 of us.
|It was a pale, gentle start to the day.|
|View from the beach, MrMac is centered and Celebration is on the right.|
We had sailed out to BI to meet our best buds and sometime buddyboaters, Chris and Anne on MrMac. They had just arrived from the marine shopping mecca of St Martin and were in need of distraction. The weather was perfect: the clouds were almost too white, the sky was almost too blue, there were almost too many shades of turquois in the water to count. We did our best to appreciate it all. We snorkeled and hiked and sundownered until way past dark.
I love that last line. With all our stopping and picture taking and gazing at the views and lizard watching, it took us much longer than 1 hour. We saw no other hikers even though the beach was busy.
|The top of a Turks Head cactus, tiny pink flowers and bright pink seeds.|
|The bromeliads and air plants were everywhere.|
Buck Island is an interesting combination of cacti and succulents and tropical plants. It's very dry most of the year and very, very wet the rest of the time. Average rainfall is about 40 inches, most of it coming from August to November.
|The reef on the north side of Buck Island, from the viewing platform 300 feet up the hill. We sat here a long time.|