UNITED STATES VIRGIN ISLANDS
No passport is needed to visit the United States Virgin Islands, where the diving attractions include a wall, more than 20 wrecks and miles of reef systems. The largest of the United States Virgin Islands offers one of the Caribbean's most dramatic walls. Starting just outside Christiansted and winding along the North Shore, the wall plunges to 13,200 feet in some areas, explaining the frequent sightings of dolphins, and lemon and blacktip sharks. At sites like Cane Bay and West Wall, big animals are frequent visitors. Migrating whales also pass through seasonally. On the west side, where the waters are calmer, sites like Sprat Hole, Swirling Reef and Alien Nation provide havens for nurse sharks, green and hawksbill turtles, and green morays. The island's five wrecks are out west in Butler Bay, as is the famous Frederiksted Pier, where seahorses, batfish and octopi make frequent cameos.
St. Thomas dominates the trio when it comes to wrecks. The WIT Shoal II and the WIT Power are among the most visited. Among St. Thomas' reef dives, one intriguing spot is Cow and Calf, named after the whales who found the mazelike site first. Just a short ferry ride away lie St. John and its reefs. At sites like Carvel Rock and Congo Cay keep your eyes peeled for horseeye jacks, tarpon, spadefish and turtles.
Destination Primer Average Water Temp: 78-83°F What to Wear: Shorty to 3 mm fullsuit Average Viz: 90 feet When to Go: Year-round