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Sailing Buck Island Reef National Monument with Llewellyn’s Charter

Llewellyn Westerman

Sailing to Buck Island with Llewellyn’s Charter is a unique experience.  Charis+ is an all sail powered, six-passenger, custom built 37′ trimaran that’s as strikingly beautiful as it is fast.

Llewellyn’s Charter is owned and operated by Llewellyn Westerman, a sailor with over 50 years of experience sailing to Buck Island.  His understanding of the wind, weather, currents and other condition factors are sure to enrich your Buck Island sailing experience, as is his awareness of aquatic life, flora and fauna of Buck Island.

You’ll meet him at the small dock in Teague Bay on the east end of St. Croix.  Before you head to Buck Island, you’ll take a  seat in the dinghy boat and experience a hand-rowed trip out to Charis+.  As you stow your things and get settled in the spacious, six-passenger cockpit, Llewellyn and his first mate will prepare to set sail for Buck Island.  Within minutes, the boat will be silently underway.

It’s a great day to enjoy a brown bag lunch or something from your favorite deli.  Llewellyn provides fresh water and snorkeling equipment.

©Leah Collins

BUCK ISLAND REEF NATIONAL MONUMENT

Buck Island Reef National Monument preserves one of the most pristine coral reef ecosystems in the Caribbean, and exploring this rich underwater landscape is one of its main attractions.

Guided snorkeling trips take visitors along an underwater “trail” through the reef, with signs that describe the sights along the way. SCUBA diving is also permitted within designated areas, including a chance to explore haystack formations of Elkhorn coral at a depth of 30 to 40 feet.

On land, you’ll find pristine beaches, plus picnic areas with tables and charcoal grills. A walking trail traverses the island from Diedrichs Point to the West Beach (about a 45-minute walk) and leads hikers through low-lying beach forests and hillsides covered in bromeliads, frangipani trees, and organ pipe cactus. This trail also provides access to a spectacular observation point, allowing you to gaze out over the coral reefs to the deeper waters of the Puerto Rican trench beyond, where the depth plummets 5,000 feet.

Caribbean Gem: Buck Island Reef National Park

The National Park Service hired North Shore Productions to create a short film about the Monument on its 50th anniversary. Caribbean Gem highlights the restoration of the island and profiles the beauty and diversity of its coral reefs. The film also shows the remarkable survival and life cycle of the hawksbill turtle, for whom Buck Island is a safe haven.

Where is there more info about Buck Island?

You can read about Buck Island and other protected areas of St. Croix by going to the National Park Service website – www.nps.gov – and searching “virgin islands” or “Buck Island”.