Diving St. Vincent

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Wow! That was freakin’ awesome!’, are the first words from
Tim’s mouth as he removes his regulator. A few moments later his
wife’s head breaks the surface of the water, her eyes smiling. As soon as she
is able to speak Mary echoes Tim’s sentiments, ‘That was incredible!’. Tim
and his wife are on their first visit to St.Vincent, but it is unlikely to be their last.
The ‘big island’ of St. Vincent & the Grenadines has a leeward coast that
offers a multitude of little bays for divers to explore, and no matter the weather
conditions there is always a spot to dive. There are no raging currents in
these bays. There are no long, bumpy, open water boat journeys. Most dive
sites are no more than 20 minutes boat ride along the lush leeward coastline.
Diving in St. Vincent is very easy and low key. There are currently only two
dive shops operating in St. Vincent, and there is an unwritten rule that if
there is a dive boat in the bay there are plenty of other bays to go and dive
in! The usual number of divers in the water from any one boat at a time
averages about four and It’s not uncommon for dives to last over an
hour or longer. Once the dive boats are ready to depart the dock they will
stay out for two dives, returning to the dive shop at around lunchtime. There is
no sense of urgency; no rushing; it’s extremely easy to feel spoilt after
diving in St. Vincent! The island has earned the well
deserved title of ‘Critter Diving Capital of the Caribbean’. Divers in the know
have St. Vincent high up on their diving destination bucket list and are looking
to get shots of underwater celebrities such as sea horses, frogfish, nudibranchs
and other marine rarities. Photographers and critter enthusiasts
come to St. Vincent because what is rare elsewhere seems not to be here.
The reefs that line the leeward coast are healthy, vibrant and full of life. There
are huge sea fans and plumes of soft corals as far as the eye can see.
Sponges are prolific and extremely colourful; in turn they provide homes for
juvenile reef fish to hide. Spotted morays are a common sight as they prowl for
their next meal, and sharp tailed eels poke around the reef trying to disturb crabs and other small crustaceans to
snack on. Life on the reef is hectic for its inhabitants but they don’t seem to
mind divers looking on. Travelling north towards the La
Soufriere volcano the landscape becomes more rugged, and it is easy
to understand why the island was one of the last of the eastern Caribbean
islands to become colonised. On each beach the sand becomes
darker and darker the closer it is in relation to the volcano. The harsh
geological past of the island has provided a wonderful legacy underwater,
in the form of caves and caverns. Huge boulders litter the sea
bed, and there are walls that drop hundreds of feet straight down. The
black volcanic sand, which is generally courser than it’s white coral
sand counterpart, means that there is less sediment to cloud the water,
making for better visibility and clearer diving experiences.
It would be fair to surmise that St. Vincent, is one of the best kept
secrets in the Caribbean; the off-thebeaten- track, ‘in your own back yard’
destination waiting to be discovered. St. Vincent could be considered the
island that time forgot, and the people who choose to visit love it
because of this. Tim and Mary plan to come back,
bringing their diving friends with them next time…St. Vincent won’t stay
undiscovered forever…It looks as though the word might just be
getting out.

Categories: St. Vincent

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