WHERE TO DIVE
The British Virgin Islands offer diverse diving with something to entice both the newbie and the diving veteran. There are amazing reefs, filled with healthy corals and sponges, a huge array of wrecks, pinnacles, caves and more to explore. One of the interesting facts is that most of the dive sites are at 80 feet or less, and most have sandy bottoms and great visibility for optimum viewing of the varied sea life.
Not all dive sites are accessible every day, due to currents and conditions. Some days the currents can be very strong, preventing diving at that location. But because there is such a huge inventory of dive sites and islands to visit, there's always something exciting and challenging to try.
Dive resorts/dive operators
For an extensive list of PADI dive shops in BVI, go to padi.com and search for BVI dive operators.
Sport Diver partners
British Virgin Islands Scuba Organization
For more on Sport Diver partner dive operators, scroll to the bottom of this article for the details.
BVI Dives to Try
This aptly-named site is at a shallow 35 feet, but it makes up for its lack of depth with a never-ending display of marine life. The sand bottom is scattered with huge boulders and hidden in the crevices and holes you might find a few lobsters and eels. Or, just stay still and watch the parade of schooling fish and the occasional manta ray or nurse shark.
One of the most popular dives off the Dog Islands, the Chimney is named after the chimney-like exit that's formed by two walls coming together making a narrow chute. It's large enough to swim through and leads back to the moorings where you can explore the many sponges and coral formations.
The Airplane Wreck
Also off the Dog Islands, this wreck is good for all levels of divers at depths of only 35-50 feet. The airplane crashed just after take-off, and was rescued for salvage. No one was hurt, and dive operators convinced the owners to sink the plane's fuselage as an artificial reef. The natural reef is nearby and several barracuda make the old plane their home.
Off Ginger Island, Alice's Wonderland is filled with dream-like formations and large mushroom-shaped coral heads, making the scenery seem very much like a wonderland. The sandy bottom at 80 feet becomes filled with corals, ridges, ledges and interesting formation as you head upwards. Visibility is excellent at 100 feet or more, so spotting rays, turtles, jacks, parrotfish and barracuda is effortless.
The premier shipwreck in the Virgin Islands, the Rhone is also one of the most beautifully decorated wrecks in the world. Done as two dives: the deeper bow and the less intact stern. The deepest dive starts at about 75 feet.
Named for a pair of breaching rock reefs (if they are visible, the site will be a good dive), this is a good spot for morays.
This site has three reef-walled canyons, the largest of which sports the painted wall, which is thick with multicolored sponges. The Indians To truly enjoy this dive, swim all the way around the projecting cay; if you're good on air, you'll still have plenty left to explore with at the end of the dive.
Good not only for angelfish, but for a diversity of sea life, this is one of the prettiest reefs in the Virgin Islands.