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DIVING & SNORKELING

An underwater paradise
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B-V-I Guide
Destinations

Cooper Island
Beach Club

Cooper Island Villas

Peter Island Resort

Prospect Reef Resort

Bitter End Resort

Mahoe Bay Villas

 

 

Liveaboards
(See Crewed Charters)

Endless Summer II

Scubada

Cuan Law

La Buscadora

Promenade

Gypsy Wind

Wanderlust

Eco-Sailing with
Serendipity

General List

 

 

Day Sails

Goddess Athena

Patouche II

Dual Bliss

 

 

Reefs, wrecks, rock pinnacles, caverns and walls in the BVI--50 islands and over 70 commonly known sites of the most varied and finest diving and snorkeling in the world.  



Green Moray Eel
peeking out of crevice

By all means, get down, get under the water--it's a whole new world! The juvenile Hawksbill Turtle above (and logo) is by ScubaMom.


Randy Keil, divemaster and underwater naturalist, herding Grey Angelfish

 

The unique geology of the BVI, giving rise to a tropical archipelago beloved of sailors in particular, explains this great diversity (at Anegada, the North-American plate is being sub-ducted onto the Lesser Antilles).

mahoebayestatesreefcrop3icon.jpg (4567 bytes)The lower visibility in summer, down from 100' in the winter to 60', due to plankton, is a trade off for the abundant marine life of BVI reefs. Temperatures range from 77-79 F in winter to 82-84 F in summer.

The famed North Drop at Anegada involves upwelling currents that feed a gigantic marine nursery on the inland reef areas of Anegada's 10 mile long Horseshoe Reef and flow to "downstream" BVI areas.

NASA photo with Anegada on right

Dive Companies


Dive BVI

 

Paradise Watersports

 

Sail Caribbean Divers
 

SunChaserLogo111x99.gif (2289 bytes)
Sunchaser Scuba
(was Kilbride's
Underwater Tours)

 

Blue Water Divers

 

We B Divin'

 

Underwater Boat Services (UBS)
Dive Center

 Jost Van Dyke Scuba

 

DIVE AND SNORKEL SITES (see Map) "(S)" indicates snorkeling as well as diving (see maps, dive pictures and descriptions).

The Caves at Norman Island, actually a snorkeling site, and The Indians (S) are all-time favorites. Other dive and snorkeling sites near Norman Island include Rainbow Canyons (S), Spy Glass (a mini-wall)(S), Ringdove Rock, Sandy's Ledge (S), Angelfish Reef (S), and the offshore sea mount, Santa Monica Rock.

Peter Island has dive sites at Carrot Shoal with its famous black coral, Black Tip Reef, Truck Reef, the Fearless and Willie T wrecks, and Shark Point. Fine snorkeling can be had at Deadman's Bay, Great Harbour and White and Key Bays.

PaintedWalls2Icon(ScubaMom).jpg (15746 bytes)And off nearby Dead Chest Island is Dead Chest West, Coral Gardens, and the technicolor box canyon, Painted Walls  (ScubaMom).

The Wreck of The Rhone at Salt Island. Yes, the most famous dive site of them all--right in the BVI--The Wreck of The Rhone (S), film site for the movie, "The Deep," starring Jacqueline Bisset.

"Awash" in schools of friendly fish, The Rhone is a beautiful dive wreck, fully encrusted in corals and sponges since being driven onto the reef over a century ago (photo: ScubaMom).

 

 

Sunk in a hurricane in 1867, the R.M.S Rhone (Royal Mail Steamer) is
shown here for the first time in a complete photo of the bow section
by master photographer Jim Scheiner of Rainbow Visions
 
     
 

Support beams for the horizontal deck lie on their sides-the famous "Greek columns"  (photo: Sail Caribbean Divers).

The hatch which played a prominent role in the movie, makes an fabulous entry to this "treasure ship" for divers, who can easily transit the well-lit interior (photo: Mainsail Yacht Charters).

 
R.M.S. Rhone
Rhone(Museum).jpg (3784 bytes)

Notes to Novices
Beginning divers will want to consider at least a resort course. A full diving course may be undertaken at home in its classroom/pool aspects, so as not to encumber the vacation. Save the open water certification for the incomparable experience of descending on an island reef.

One of the first iron ships built, The Rhone still had the graceful lines of a sailing ship, while outfitted as a sail-steamer from the early days of these first engines.

The stern has a massive (15' across) propeller that lies in 25' of water, easily seen from above by snorkelers but often missed by divers due to its huge size (photo: UBS Dive Center).

OctopusAtRhone(ScubaMom).jpg (14879 bytes)Other Salt Island sites include Rhone Reef (S), Blonde Rock and the colorful, current- bathed Vanishing Rocks (photo of octopus: ScubaMom).

 

A good place to learn snorkeling is a day sail

See
Learning to Snorkel
and Scuba Diving for equipment tips

Cooper Island has the sensational snorkeling and shallow Cistern Point, the the mythical Alice in Wonderland at nearby Ginger Island and more!

 

The Crawl

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Fashioned out of large boulders protecting a little "lagoon" with its own reef and tropical fish, The Crawl is especially favored by little snorkelers

The Baths at Virgin Gorda. The famous Baths are notable as a snorkeling site. Nearby, SCUBAMOMPUFFERWDIVERicon.jpg (6227 bytes)The Crawl is unparalleled as a children's beginning snorkeling site. Nearby at Point Fort is the Aquarium, an easy dive and snorkeling site aptly named for its abundance of tropical fish. Seen here is the Puffer Fish who, when disturbed, "puffs" up.

 

Coral Gardens also features an Airplane Wreck

Virgin Gorda's Beach Coast. Off this beautiful coast are a group of islands called The Dogs with fantastic diving and snorkeling at Joe's Cave (Wall to Wall), Flintstones, The Visibles, Bronco Billy (S), Seal Dog Islands, Coral Gardens (S), and that most popular dive and snorkel site, The Chimney (photo: Dive BVI).

 
 

 

 

The Chimney

 

 

 

Diving With Dolphin

On Grand Bahama
With UNEXSO


 

This nurse shark, napping on a ledge at George Dog Island, was photographed by the famous ScubaMom as described here.

Inshore on Virgin Gorda's Beach Coast are tranquil lagoons with great snorkeling on their protective reefs, such as Mahoe and Savannah Bays, as well as the dive site Mountain Point (S).

North Sound of Virgin Gorda.  This vast water expanse offers diving at Coconut Reef and great snorkeling (see map), including snorkeling over seagrass, among other water-related activities.

 
H.M.S. ASTREA,
historic 32 gun
British frigate

  Cannon from its
1808 shipwreck
Anegada. This "drowned island" only 28 feet high is partly surrounded by ten mile-long Horseshoe Reef (reputedly the third largest continuous reef in the world).

Due to its location at the Anegada Passage's entrance to the Caribbean, Anegada is also famed as a dive wreak treasury--claiming over 300 wrecks.

One wreck, halfway there that is commonly dived, is the Chikuzen.

Also, Loblolly Bay offers superb snorkeling.

 

BVI Association of
Reef Keepers

(496-5526)

Resources

BVI Scuba Organization

Fisheye View Cam-Live!

Scuba Diving

JScuba

Scuba Times Online

Scuba Central

FreeDiving Magazine

Free Diving with Hawaiian Sling in Bora Bora

FreeDiving Links

Diving Links Page

Twilight Zone Reefs
(200-500')

Rebreathers

Daily BVI Dive Plan

Age and Diving

Mooring System for National Marine Parks  To prevent anchor abuse of reefs, boats must use moorings (surface buoys attached to stainless steel pins set in bedrock):
White: Dive use by non-commercial boats on a first-come basis with a 90 minute time limit.
Red: Day use only by non-diving boats.
Blue: For use by dinghies only.
Yellow: Commercial dive boats only.
Large Yellow: Commercial, daysailing or large (over 55') boats.

Diving And Snorkeling Books
Diving British Virgin Islands by Jim and AMAZONTINY-LOGO6.gif (3081 bytes)Ooile Scheiner, 1997, from AcquaQuest Books is a fabulous book--very comprehensive with brilliant photos, and even site diagrams. Jim Scheiner is a photojournalist whose pictures capture the best of the BVIs.
Click here to order (only $15.16 with 20% off the list price).

Diving And Snorkeling Guide to the Virgin Islands by Linda Sorensen, 1992, from Pisces Books, is a fine book, engulfing the reader in its underwater world. Click here to order (only $11.96 with 20% off the list price).

Snorkeling Guide to Marine Life : Florida Caribbean Bahamas, by Paul Humann, 1995  80 page paperback, is only $10.36 with 20% off (photo here of Porkfish). A great little book covering so much--fish, coral, creatures, plants--with exquisite small photos of each! Also his Reef Fish Identification: Florida Caribbean Bahamas, 1994 Paperback 2nd Edition (only $31.96 with 20% off the list price). Highly recommended by dive magazines, fishwatchers (akin to birdwatchers) and biologists alike. See B-V-I Bookstore for more.

Read here about the ScubaMom's experiences learning to scuba dive and what a great place the BVI is to learn because of its "floor" and generally mild currents.

Please support the BVI National Parks Trust, dedicated to the preservation of the natural and marine heritage of the islands.

For diving emergencies, use channel 16 or 22A for US Coast Guard (9-6770) or call 999 or 991 for VISAR. Hospital Chamber (809-776-2686) has a decompression chamber in St. Thomas.

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-The Baths-Beach Coast-North Sound | Anegada
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