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DIVING AND SNORKELING
BVI underwater paradise

B-V-I Guide
Destinations

Summer Dive Special
Guavaberry Homes

Cooper Island
Beach Club

Cooper Island Villas

Peter Island Resort

Prospect Reef Resort

Bitter End Resort

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Mahoe Bay Villas

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(See Crewed Charters)

Endless Summer II

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Eco-Sailing with
Serendipity

General List

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Dual Bliss

Dive Companies


Dive BVI

Baskin In The Sun


(email 494-3235)

Underwater Boat Services
(email 494-0024)

Blue Water Divers

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Sunchaser Scuba
(email 495-9218)
(was Kilbride’s
Underwater Tours)

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.

A good place to learn snorkeling is a day sail.

See Learning to Snorkel for equipment tips.

Age and Diving

Reefs, wrecks, rock pinnacles, caverns and walls–50 islands and over 70 commonly known sites of the most varied and finest diving and snorkeling in the world. By all means, get down, get under the water–it’s a whole new world! The juvenile Hawksbill Turtle above is by ScubaMom (Logo>>).

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).

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. 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. Temperatures range from 77-79º F in winter to 82-84 º F in summer.

DIVE AND SNORKEL SITES (see ScubaMom’s Map) "(S)" indicates snorkeling as well as diving.

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).

OctopusAtRhone(ScubaMom).jpg (14879 bytes)The Wreck of the Rhone at Salt Island. Yes, the most famous dive site of them all–right in the BVIs–The Wreck of the Rhone (S), film site for the movie, "The Deep," starring Jacqueline Bisset. This is an octopus ScubaMom found there.

FishInTunnel(ScubaMom)3.jpg (12120 bytes)Other Salt Island sites include Rhone Reef (S), Blonde Rock and the colorful, current- bathed Vanishing Rocks. Here French Grunts school in a U-shaped tunnel at Blonde Rock (ScubaMom).

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

SCUBAMOMPUFFERWDIVERicon.jpg (6227 bytes)The Baths at Virgin Gorda. The famous Baths are notable as a snorkeling site. Nearby, 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.

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

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.

Anegada. This "drowned island" only 28 feet high with its ten mile-long Horseshoe Reef (third largest in the world) has claimed over 300 wrecks-a dive site treasury, including the famous Chikuzen halfway there.. Also, Loblolly Bay offers superb snorkeling.


BVI Association of
Reef Keepers

(496-5526)

Resources

Fisheye View Cam-Live!

Rondale’s 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

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.

AMAZONTINY-LOGO6.gif (3081 bytes)Diving And Snorkeling Books
Diving British Virgin Islands by Jim and 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. 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.

DIVE SITE MAP produced by the BVI Dive Operators Association.

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.

All sales commissions for these books are donated to the BVI National Parks Trust for 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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