Best Caribbean Diving
St. Lucia's two great volcanic spires-- Gros Piton and Petit
Piton --are among the Caribbean's most striking natural features. What many people do not know is that near the base of these pyramid-shaped cones is an equally magnificent bounty of bright sponges, schooling
fish, caves, ledges and colorful gorgonians.
Some of the best diving is located right off the black
sand beach in front of the Anse Chastanet resort.
The bottom gradually slopes off, then drops sharply to reveal a plateau
of plate and star corals loaded with bright sponges. Clouds
of brown chromis usually hover just above the reef top.
along the ledges and crevices you may spot frogfish,
glass minnows, squirrelfish, bigeye, butterfly fish, eels, orange
anemones or seahorses; 150 species of fish in all.
Deep red gorgonians shaped like irregular swatches of netting begin appearing
around 50 feet, as do giant orange sponges that look big
and soft enough to curl up in. The plateau eventually bottoms out at 130 feet.
nighttime dive spot is a large cavern encrusted
with corals and sponges in only 15-20 feet of water. You'll usually find a
small school of squid hanging out nearby.
If you're lucky, on a night dive you may also encounter The
Thing, a huge segmented worm that may reach as much as 14 feet in
length and that's 1.5-feet in diameter. Scientists have yet
to positively identify the shy creature.
St. Thomas, USVI
St. Thomas is an ideal choice if you're traveling with someone
who doesn't dive. The extensive shopping, sightseeing, golf, and other activities
are more plentiful than on most islands.
importantly, if your non-diving partner is interested
is seeing what diving is all about, St. Thomas is a good place to
Half-day training sessions called "resort courses"
virtually originated here.
After just a few hours of pool training, your partner will be ready
to join you on a guided shallow reef dive.
for experienced pros, St. Thomas has some exciting dive sites.
At Frenchman's Cap, a mile south of St. Thomas,
you may find grouper, rays, turtles and schools of big ocean-roaming
pelagics. In February and March, it's sometimes possible to hear
migrating humpback whales.
protruding rocks just a half-mile offshore known as Cow and Calf
were named after a pair of humpbacks spotted here many years
ago. Cow, the largest rock, peppered with tunnels and arches lined that are wallpapered with bright sponges.
At Thatch Cay off Coki Beach, tarpon and turtles are frequently
sighted in the maze of tunnels and ledges that cut through
the island. Copper sweepers and orange corals furnish an
unforgettable panorama inside several of the stone corridors.
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