|This was the island's first marine park.
Simply called "MoBay," the Donald Sangster International Airport is the main arrival center for tourists.
To some people's way of thinking, that means there's no reason to drive the extra 1-1/2-hours required to travel either north to Ocho Rios or south to Negril. Consequently, MoBay is one of the island's major hotel and dive centers.
Montego Bay is characterized by a relatively shallow reef platform adjacent to a sharp vertical wall. This wall diving is highly favored because of the big gorgonians and basket sponges, all surrounded by the unique water color that can only be described as deep dropoff blue.
Typically, divers follow the vertical wall, ducking in and out of the numerous crevices where some of the best sponges grow, then return to the boat via the 25-20 foot shallows.
Tropicals are common in several areas, but their number tends to be overshadowed by the more dramatic reef formations.
MoBay is the location of Jamaica's first marine park, an important development in helping re-establish the local fish populations.
Spearing is an important source of food for islanders, and anything that a spearpoint can hit is considered fair game. Given a chance, the fish populations are bounding back.
Several of the larger hotels are located in the heart of downtown MoBay,
but divers normally prefer the waterfront resorts; mostly honeymooners
and those on bargain packages stay downtown.
Although beach diving is quite good in many places, there are also plenty of offshore sites marked by mooring buoys.
The positive effects of the reef protection effort are becoming ever more obvious as increasing schools of sergeant majors, yellowtail snappers and Bermuda chubs willingly follow divers.
Two other notable MoBay sites include Black Coral Alley where black coral grows in profusion inside a small coral canyon, and Basket Reef so-named for its great number of basket sponges.
The Kingston Area. . .With some of the best wrecks and reefs that no one knows about.
Diving Negril. . .Home to the island's longest beach with some of the largest sponges.
Diving Ocho Rios. . .The best is down deep, but don't overlook nearby Falmouth and Runaway Bay.
Diving Port Antonio. . .Off the normal tourist path, which means uncrowded diving.