Grenada - Green above and belowMention Grenada in any gathering of divers, and the site that is apt to come up is the Bianca C - the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean at 600 feet long. Even if the well-loved wreck were to somehow vanish one morning, the odds are that Grenada would continue to attract those who like their islands on the natural side.
To start, Grenada is one of the world's largest producers of nutmeg second only to the much-larger Indonesia. And nutmeg is just one of the seasonings grown here, giving rise to Grenada's longstanding nickname, "The Spice Island." Growing spices has long kept this island green the land is so valuable for agriculture that the crop gives development a run for its money and the people who live here have a deep and long-lasting sense of stewardship when it comes to their homeland.
Natural attractions abound here. There are no fewer than three major waterfalls (and one boiling spring). Ten areas (including the coral reefs around White and Saline islands) are protected sites. There are four national parks and one forest reserve.
And, of paramount importance to divers, many of Grenada's popular dive sites such as Flamingo Bay, Happy Valley, Dragon Bay and Molinere Reef lie within a Marine Protected Area, dedicated to keeping underwater Grenada unspoiled. Yes, Grenada bills itself as the "Wreck Diving Capital of the Caribbean," with some 15 choices on the menu (the sailing vessel Buccaneer and MV Veronica L are two of the popular sites that share billing with the Bianca C). But, Grenada is also known as a go-to place for popular marine species, such as nurse sharks, rays and puffers, plus more-elusive species. Seahorses and frogfish, two categories of creatures that many divers have on their wish lists, are sighted regularly here.
Grenada also has the distinction of being an extremely energy-efficient dive destination. Board your dive boat at PADI Five-Star Resort Aquanauts Grenada, and the engine is apt to be running for only 10 minutes before you're tying off at the morning's first dive site. The good news is that there is a lot here. And the great news is that you don't have to go far to see it.
Destination primer - average water temp: 76-85°F; average viz: 100 feet; what to wear: shorty to 3 mm fullsuit; when to go: year-round. For more information: Aquanauts Grenada (aquanautsgrenada.com), a PADI Five-Star Resort with two locations on island, pumps free nitrox for qualified Enriched Air Divers, and operates three boats tailored to different group sizes and conditions.