We hired a car for three days, not only to explore the island but also find some assistance with the generator belt. Cummins helpline advised us to find a link belt that can be put together without taking the hydraulics off, we spent half a day going to every auto shop we could find, no one had heard of such a thing. The local Cummins dealer did not have the tool required and also thought the link belt would be a good solution, so we found one on the internet and ordered it from the USA. The local chandlery kindly agreed to take delivery, should only take 4 days so we will stay put anchored at Christiansted for now, although it is rather choppy despite the reef protecting the harbour entrance.
In the meantime, we have done plenty of exploring as St Croix is a beautiful island, and the people are very friendly and welcoming. The east coast comes under the national park, so the drive to the eastern most point is through beautiful green unspoilt countryside, it reminded us of England except with a few cactus and mongoose….and of course sunshine. We did have a deer run across the road in front of us which was rather a surprise in the Caribbean. The speed limit on most of the roads is 35 mph, reducing to 20 mph in towns. We were thinking this would be so slow, but neither of us have driven since leaving the UK 19 months ago, and 30mph felt really fast!
We did a complete round trip of the island, the south coast is fringed with reef and quite exposed so there are no anchorages, and there is also a large oil refinery and commercial harbour. On the west coast there were some beautiful beaches and flat seas, we were lucky to be able to visit Sandy Point which is a protected wildlife refuge, it closes from April to September as turtles lay their eggs on the sandy beaches.
After a beer on the beach at the town of Frederiksted, busy with cruise ship tourists, we headed off into St Croix’s rainforest in search of the beer drinking pigs shown on the map. We were surprised to find a dam along the way.
There are many unmade roads winding their way around the countryside, we had to backtrack several times as the road came to an end or became too ‘off road’ for our little car, there are virtually no sign posts on the island except for the two main towns and the airport, just route numbers and we had two maps both showing different roads and numbers, useless. We did, however, manage to find the famous beer drinking pigs, it’s alcohol free beer in case you were wondering what the devil we were doing wasting beer – and we thought it was probably the best thing to do with anything alcohol free. Oink!