Many who have visited St Croix have had the pleasure of kayaking and exploring historic Salt River Bay – the site of Columbus’ second visit to the “New World”. And most have heard of Buck Island National Monument. But not so many have ventured out to St Croix’s other offshore beauty – Shell Island (aka Ruth Island) – located on St Croix’s South shore.
This wonderful little spit of sand and sea shells was created when the container port was dredged by the former HOVENSA oil refinery and offers a different way to explore St Croix. A short paddle across the channel makes it a relatively easy adventure.
Virgin Kayak Tours will meet you at the Molasses Pier where they put in your kayak to paddle out. With their Hobie Mirage kayaks you can pedal and paddle at the same time, the trip is really enjoyable with lots to see. They even have tandem kayaks for those who want to bring out the kiddos or use the power of two.
My sister setting out on our adventure
Scuttled wreck along the wayCrossing the channel to Shell Island.
Once you reach Shell Island, there is a wonderful little lagoon and a small fishing camp. The beach is serene, protected and like something out of a movie! It really is the perfect spot to relax after the journey.
The protected lagoon is a great place to beach kayaks and enjoy the afternoon.
The incredible view looking back to St CroixMy only regret was that I didn’t bring my snorkel gear!
Fishing camp on the lagoon.
The best island fire pit I’ve seen!
Queen conch is abundant around the island, giving this little sandy spit her moniker – Shell Island.
After you’ve settled in, it’s time to go exploring. The South side of the little cay is loaded with coral from the dredging and budding black mangroves.
Aerial black mangrove roots push up from the wet sand like drinking straws to provide oxygen to the plant.
A beautiful growing black mangrove on this man-made cay.
Sea grapes provide lush foliage on Shell Island.
The South shore of Shell Island is littered with coral from the dredging of the channel.
If you’re looking for a new St Croix adventure – I highly recommend a trip out to Shell Island. Contact our friends at Virgin Kayak Tours to visit Shell Island, Salt River and the Biobay!
Find more images of St Croix at cindyleigh.smugmug.com