British Virgin Islands
Goldilocks may not have been open-water certified, but she had a diver's mentality.
Ask traveling divers to describe their ideal Caribbean destination, and they'll probably have a host of things that they want to find "just right" a tropical location (less than 25 degrees north of the Equator) for burgeoning coral and fish life, a country where English is spoken without a phrasebook and dollars are accepted at par, seas with low tidal flow for gentle currents, a place where the best dive sites are shallow enough to allow ample bottom time, where the visibility is impressive, the water is blue and the landscape postcard-beautiful, and where it's still possible to find a deserted beach for a picnic lunch.
Oh and shipwrecks. They'll probably want shipwrecks.
Discerning divers will find every single one of those requirements satisfied to "just right" proportions in the British Virgin Islands.
"This tends to be easy but interesting diving," says Duncan Muirhead, owner of the luxury live-aboard sailing trimaran Cuan Law. "We have divers who began diving with us when they were just newly certified and are still coming back now that they are extremely experienced. I think that speaks volumes about the quality of the diving here."
Probably the best-known of BVI dive sites is the wreck of the Royal Mail Steamship Rhone, sunk by a hurricane off Salt Island in 1867 and resting today in two main sections near Black Rock. It's still impressively recognizable as a coral-encrusted ship after almost 140 years underwater; the Rhone's bow was used to film underwater portions of the feature film The Deep. Divers looking for the giant man-eating green moray from that film will be disappointed (it was a latex puppet, and now resides in a museum in Bermuda), but they may find themselves puppy-dogged by "Fang," the wreck's resident barracuda.
"The Rhone was 310 feet long and had more than 300 passenger cabins. It's such a huge wreck that the many visitors spend one entire day diving it a first dive on the bow, which is deeper, followed by a dive on the stern and then a night dive."
Nearly as impressive is the wreck of the Korean refrigerator vessel Chikuzen, which burned and sank 7.5 miles northwest of Tortola. Resting today in 75 feet of water, the 246-foot wreck is a homing beacon of sorts for sharks and rays, and a whale shark has even been encountered at this site.
In a word or two words just right.
And who knows? With a destination like this, Goldilocks just might get her Open Water certification.
It's that sort of place.