The scuba diving on St. Croix is as diverse as the island’s stunning landscape. You can dive reefs, wrecks, walls, canyons, and even a commercial pier all in one trip. To highlight some of these dives, we found and shared some fantastic narrated dive videos from Triton’s Realm on the GoToStCroix.com YouTube channel. Now, we want to introduce everyone to the dynamic Dykstra family, the creative force behind these videos and Triton’s Realm.
First meet the members of the Dykstra family: Jeff and Sara, and their son, Evan. This fun and loving family have created an inspired company, with each family member bringing their own impressive talents and skills to the table. Jeff holds an undergraduate degree in Oceanography and a master’s in Software Engineering from the University of West Florida. He is a PADI IDC staff scuba instructor, a boatswain’s mate in the US Coast Guard Reserve, and holds a Master 100 Ton Captains license. Sara has been a certified diver for over 20 years, and is a teacher at Good Hope Country Day School. She holds an undergraduate degree in Biology from Smith College and a master’s in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University. Evan, at age 14, is a PADI Master Diver nearing his 300th dive. Evan is also a competitive swimmer here on St. Croix.
After moving to St. Croix from Pensacola, Florida, the Dykstra family started Triton’s Realm to share their love of the ocean with the world while furthering their own diving experiences. It began as an apparel line, with the idea to later expand the brand to a travel blog featuring videos. The family travels to different places to dive the local sites and take photos/video footage. Then, they work with a designer to create unique apparel designs inspired by the dive sites and the features that make them special. They started creating their designs from home on St. Croix, and even did a couple on Puerto Rico before the global pandemic halted their travel plans. Luckily for us, it helped to shift their focus to making the dive videos we love about St. Croix!
This family is truly passionate about the ocean and all it has to offer. The Triton’s Realm videos are the Dykstra family’s way of making the underwater world, particularly around St. Croix, accessible to everyone. They strive to showcase the beautiful geological features, history and marine life that make the ocean such a special place. In making their videos and sharing them publicly on YouTube, they hope to promote conservation of the world’s oceans and maybe inspire a new generation of people to take up diving. If you haven’t seen the videos yet, I highly recommend you check them out. Not only do they offer stunning footage of diving on St. Croix, but Jeff narrates the videos while underwater so you’ll learn about the specific sea life and special features that make each dive site unique.
If you’re like me and are fascinated by how the videos are made, I sat down with Jeff and Sara who explained their process. First, the family researches and dives a specific site to check out the special features and the creatures you are most likely to encounter when diving that site. Then, they plan out what they are going to focus on in the video so they know which things to shoot while filming the dive. Then they film the dive site, with Jeff wearing a full face mask so he can narrate the footage as it’s being taken. You may be impressed to learn (as I certainly was) that most of the primary video footage is shot by the youngest Dykstra, Evan. Jeff also wears a GoPro on his mask, and Sara films as well so they have plenty of B-roll footage. Finally, Jeff tackles the arduous task of editing all of the footage and creating the videos we know and love. Currently, Triton’s Realm is putting up one new video each week on Saturday.
You can find the Triton’s Realm St. Croix dive videos on our Scuba Diving playlist, and from their videos you can click over to the Triton’s Realm YouTube channel to subscribe to their weekly video series. If you are interested in checking out the Triton’s Realm apparel, it is available locally at Sweet Bottom Dive Center, St. Croix Ultimate Bluewater Adventures (S.C.U.B.A.), Nep2une Scuba Diving, and Gallows Bay Marine Store. Each shop offers different designs, so be sure to check them all out! Best of all, Triton’s Realm is committed to giving back and supporting conservation efforts. ‘We believe it’s the right thing to do because we care about the health of our environment. In fact, long before we created our first shirt we joined forces with 1% for the Planet… 1% for the Planet members pledge to create a healthier planet by donating one percent or more of sales to environmental nonprofits… As a 1% for the Planet member we have chosen to support the Coral Restoration Foundation.’
Thank you to the Dykstra family for doing so much to highlight the dive sites of St. Croix, and for your contribution to ocean conservation. Now those of you reading this can just sit back, relax, and enjoy the dive…from the comfort of your own home!
-Jennie Ogden, Editor