One of the 7 Jewels of the Caribbean, The Pier is a must
see for diving (by day and especially by
its pillars stretching into the light, corals, sponges, and a
dazzling array of colors – a host of wildlife finds sanctuary in
this gothic hallway. If you stop for a moment and listen to the
nearby bell tower mark the hour you dive in, you may think you
are floating among the isles and stained glass cathedrals of
lucky, you may see a seahorse or two, or maybe the rare
frogfish! Turtles are known to favor a few spots next to The
Pier and breeding season is in the winter (read: baby turtles
hatching around September!). The Pier is home to turtles,
seahorses, several species of eels, spiny lobsters and the whole
catalogue of Caribbean fish.
Dive Profile: The Pier
starts at the beach or with a small hop off the seawall into
8-12' deep water. The vast majority of The Pier is 25-40'
in depth. Known for seahorses and frogfish, turtles, (and
octopus at night), it is easy to spend an hour diving.
We recommend hiring a
Divemaster to guide you on your 1st trip to point out all the
creatures we know by name -- this way you can explore everything
we point out on all subsequent dives and enjoy The Pier at your
structure is 1,526 feet long (approximately a quarter mile or
1/2 a kilometer). There are several sections of The Pier
to dive, so it is great to return several times during a trip.
careful not to touch the pillars or the reef. A simple finger pushing off the pillars
can kill the corals & sponges. There are also sharp barnacles,
a few spiky sea urchin, fire coral, and bearded fireworms (they
look like caterpillars). While not poisonous, these can all
ruin a vacation and sting quite a bit and leave a mark for days
(like having a lot of mosquito bites). And touching a turtle is
a large fine (they are endangered).
Ships: diving and snorkeling the Pier is not allowed on days
cruise ships are there... something about the Department of
Frederiksted, located on the
west end of St. Croix, has a long and storied history. The town
settled in the 1600s, with Fort Frederik being built in the
1700s. Many battles for control of the island ensued over
the 1600-1700s with several ships being cannoned or burned.
Frederiksted was the second largest town on St. Croix. Today,
the fort houses a museum. Frederiksted is often referred to by
locals as "Freedom City" because it and the fort is the site
where then Governor General Peter Van Scholten read the
proclamation abolishing slavery in 1848. Destroyed
by arson in the mid-1800s, the town was rebuilt in 1878 in its
present Victorian style.
1800, the town had a dock near the present pier. Often
times crates of good (whole or broken), bottles, and clay pipes
would find themselves dropping to the sea-floor to be buried by
the sands of time.
1900s a cement pier was built but destroyed in 1989 by Category
Hurricane Hugo, where ~90% of the island of St. Croix had
been wrecked. Two sections of this old pier remain and are
called 'the dolphins' as they appear to jump out of the water.
1990s built a new pier (current pier) that reaches over 1500
feet in length, with an extension built to handle the larger
cruise ships. The end of walking portion of The Pier is
~42' deep and the very end of the extended pier is about 90'.
Why so much on the town's history? Underwater archeology.
Oftentimes people will come across bottles from the
1600's-1800's, broken plateware/china (each country has its own
color), and even old clay pipes. Please note:
items taken from the beach (shells, pottery, broken bottles,
etc.) will be confiscated at the airport. Please enjoy
them in the water and leave for others to discover.