US Virgin Islands
Located in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean (between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea) Comprised of approximately 50 islands and cays, the largest of which are St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island
The islands were formed about 100 million years ago, from the undersea crust that rose to the surface because of volcanic eruptions.
Columbus discovered the U.S. Virgin Islands on his second voyage to the New World in 1493. Denmark purchased the islands in 1733, bringing St. John and St. Thomas under Danish rule Six flags have flown over these islands before being purchased by the United States: Spanish, Dutch, British, French, Knights of Malta, Danish. The United States purchased St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, formerly part of the Danish West Indies in 1917
The notorious pirate Blackbeard is said to have docked and maybe buried treasure in the islands. Historians agree that St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas were favourite haunts of pirate gangs.
Divers will thrill at the colourful marine life found in the crystal-clear waters that surround St. Thomas. The reefs surrounding the island, teem with stingrays, puffer fish moray eels and every type of Caribbean reef fish. Flat Cay, near the southwest end of the island, features coral-encrusted ledges, tunnels and swim-throughs. There are over 20 wrecks found around the south west end of the island, such as the WIT Concrete and the WIT Shoal are great dives. 100ft 30m visibility is not uncommon at these sites.
There is plenty to do on the islands and they have an interesting mix of US and Caribbean culture. there are ferry and Sea Plane services between the islands and the British Virgin Islands are only a ferry ride away.
Many divers prefer to come in the summer months between April and September when there are less cruise ship visitors. The season is all year round and the cruise ships stop regularly and many dive operators can pick up right at the dock. With many operators you can book online before you arrive.
the wrecks of St Thomas are outstanding with teh WIT Shoal or LST 467 being the most famous. She was a 2nd world war Tank Landing ship and lies upright in 20m 90ft of water There are five levels of deck to explore, from the pilothouse down to the bottom of the hold, with many routes in and out making it easy and safe.
St Croix has a wall that descends to 12,000ft deep and St John is a relaxing National Park where St Thomians go to relax.
Population of territory: 101,809 (1990 census)
St. Croix: 50,139
St. Thomas: 48,166
St. John: 3,504
Water Island: ??? under 500
Official language: English
Currency: U.S. Dollar
Electricity: 110 volts
Television: NTSC (U.S. standard)
Mail service: U.S. Postal Service rates apply
Automobile traffic: Drive on the LEFT side of the road
Hotel rooms: Approximately 4,600
St. Croix: 84 square-miles (Point Udall is the easternmost point of the United States)
St. Thomas: 32 square-miles (Charlotte Amalie is the territory's capital)
St. John: 19 square-miles (two-thirds U.S. National Park)
Average temperatures: Range from 77F in the winter and 82F in the summer
Time zone: Atlantic Standard, GMT+4, daylight savings time not observed
The majority of present-day indigenous people are West Indians of African descent
Taino and Carib Indians inhabited these islands for nearly 3000 years. Today's native populations include people from all continents
American territory governed by U.S. laws
Constitution of the Territory: the 1954 Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands, amended in 1968-1972
Three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial
Political parties: Democratic Party of the Virgin Islands, Independent Citizen's Movement, and the Progressive Republican Party of the Virgin Islands
Gubernatorial elections held every four years and general elections held every two years for the 15 seats in the territory's Senate and for the Delegate to the U.S. Congress. Although U.S. citizens, not able to vote in U.S. Presidential election.
Officials: Governor Charles W. Turnbull; Lieutenant Governor Luz James; Delegate to U.S. Congress Donna Christian-Christensen
Information provided by Aitch Liddle of Blue Island Divers www.blueislanddivers.com firstname.lastname@example.org ++1 340-774-2001