Deep Wrecks at Butler Bay
The Deep Wrecks at Butler Bay consist of 2 shipwrecks, freighter Rosaomaira (also known as the Rosa Maria) and tug boat Coakley Bay. The wrecks are beautifully encrusted with live coral and sponges, and are teeming with reef fish. There is often a shy seahorse to be found on the back of the Rosaomaira and blackbar soldierfish, mahogany snapper and French, queen and gray angels are regulars. Be sure to look in the sandy bottom around both wrecks for resting southern stingrays as well.
Rosaomaira is a 177 foot long, steel hulled Venezuelan freighter. The ship was delivering a cargo of cinder blocks to St. Croix in 1986 when she flipped over to one side while her cargo was being off loaded. After capsizing, this hulking vessel was towed out to Butler Bay and dynamited to sink her. Interestingly, only half the dynamite went off, so the ship was flipped back right side as while she sank. Rosaomaira now sits upright and intact with her propeller at about 110 feet and her bow at about 70 feet facing the shore. Left untouched since her sinking, her crews clothing and personal effects can still be found in their cabins. Brightly hued rope, stovepipe and barrel sponges can be found on the ship’s hull.
Coakley Bay is an oil-refinery tug boat, and the newest wreck on St. Croix. The tug boat sits at about 60 feet with her tower up near 30 feet. Schools of Atlantic spadefish circle the tug boat.
Butler Bay off of Route 63, on the West End of St. Croix. Butler Bay is 2.7 miles north of Frederiksted.
This dive site is best accessed by boat. While the wrecks are a popular shore dive, they are a strenuous 15-20 minute surface swim and there can be current.
The deepest point of the Rosaomaira is about 117 feet, while Coakley Bay sits at about 60 feet.
Average visibility is 80-100 feet, up to 200 feet. There is generally little to no current, and calm seas since the site is within the bay.