St. Croix Has Spots for Snorkelers Who Want to Escape the Crowds



Reed Travel Features

CHRISTIANSTED, St. Croix -- St. Croix's popular Buck Island attracts snorkelers to its 550 acres of underwater coral gardens and trails much as hotel guests are drawn to a manager's cocktail party.

However, for snorkelers who want to view fish and flora far removed from the flippers and facemasks of other bobbing bodies, St. Croix has options.

One alternative is offered by Island Snorkel Excursions, a one-year-old firm run by Jan Tolliver, a licensed dive instructor and divemaster.

"St. Croix has many secluded snorkeling sites," Tolliver said.

"I take groups no larger than eight to some of the most beautiful but unknown reefs of the island. They experience a very personalized tour of our underwater world."

Island Snorkel Excursions offers half-day trips in which two snorkel sites are visited on St. Croix's east end; the daylong outings take in three different sites around the island.

"I pick my guests up at their hotels and deliver them back after the snorkeling," Tolliver said. "We beach-hop by van from site to site and rarely ever run into other groups.

"My trips are an alternative to Buck Island, and we spend double the time in the water exploring several reefs."

One advantage to this method, according to Tolliver, is that guests can return to that site for further snorkeling and explorations on their own.

Tolliver instructs novice and experienced snorkelers.

Families are a popular market for these snorkeling excursions, according to Tolliver.

Priced at $35 for a half-day excursion from noon to 4 p.m. and at $55 for a full-day trip from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the rate covers transportation, snorkel equipment and cold soft drinks. A picnic lunch is included in the full-day trip.

Participants should bring sunscreen, a towel and "plenty of curiosity," Tolliver said.

For information and reservations, call Island Snorkel Excursions at (809) 773-6733; fax (809) 692-9220.

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