I was excited of the prospect of another Caribbean island.
Though after arriving, to be honest, the excitement wore off a little. Sure it had palm trees, turquoise waters, sandy beaches but there wasn’t much more here that captured me.
It seems to be one large centre for duty free jewelry . Having recently been in South America and South East Asia I found the prices of souvenirs and clothes far more expensive than I’m used to.
The climate is not dissimilar to the Gold Coast Queensland ,and the vegetation is almost the same as well, except for the ever pervasive wafting odor of a certain herb, it seems most locals and tourists are smoking something around here
Don’t get me wrong, the Caribbean is lovely, but having traveled so much, and live near some of the best beaches in the world, St Thomas certainly wasn’t what we hoped it would be.
Coki beach is touted as the best beach on the island, as you can see by the pictures, its a small beach that fills up with deck chairs very fast. Its nice but not the splendor I was expecting.
This is a great day out for families with kids, swimming with their rescued sea turtles, sea lions and soon they say they will have dolphins too. Touch pools for star fish, sea stars, urchins and sea cucumbers.
The big white domed underwater observatory is interesting, you can see the coral, fish, turtles and other local inhabitants.
After a safety briefing, and sized up for clogs. We walk to the ladder into the sea. Lowering your self down the ladder you stop at chest deep while they put the helmet on you. The helmet weighs about 70lb. Once it is placed over your shoulders you feel the weight and the noise of the air rushing in and out is louder than I expected.
You lower yourself down the ladder, holding tightly so not to be pulled off by the swaying current.
Once you are standing on the ocean floor, take a few minutes to get acclimatized , pop your ears from the pressure.
Then, holding on to a railing that is cemented in to the ocean floor, you walk around. Fish of all shapes, sizes and colours swim right up to you. You can bend and look in crevices in rocks for coral, fish, anemones. Though you have to remember to bend at the knees not from the shoulders as tilting the dive helmet can cause it to fill with water.
The staff ,who are underwater with you, hand you star fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers to hold and feel. They encourage you to touch certain creatures to see reactions. It is a delight.
A turtle swam right past me
You are underwater for around 25 minutes and it is time well spent.
I have snorkeled and scuba dived, with scuba diving you do go deeper and not feel the wash of the currents, this is comparable, and great for the not so strong swimmer.
Even if you aren’t a very competent swimmer you can do this, you just need to have no fear of the water and not be claustrophobic as the helmet, even with its viewing panels can feel quite confining.
As long as you have the ability to walk up and down a ladder from a platform into the sea when the current is pulling you then any one should be able to do this.
The staff take photos and video with a go-pro, which you can purchase on a usb for around $40 per family group.
This is a recommended activity in St Thomas.
After, we relaxed back at Charlotte Amalie with a Blackbeard Ale