Diving Jamaica
Ocho Rios
Including Falmouth and Runaway Bay.

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Falmouth and Runaway Bay, small communities located on the road to Ocho Rios from MoBay, both specialize in wall diving. They share a wall that is considered part of what eventually forms the Cayman Trench.

Most of the walls are shallow, beginning in just 30-40 feet of water, and they're located within a half mile of shore. They typically bottom out in the 120-130 foot range.

The swim down may reveal colorful gorgonians, tube and elephant ear sponges, big trees of black coral and some nice schools of fish, such as Atlantic spadefish. One of the more popular sites is The Canyon, where two walls parallel just 20 feet apart starting at about 30 feet plunging down to over 130 feet.

The resort town of Ocho Rios, despite what many locals will tell you, derives its name not from the Spanish term "eight rivers." Instead, Ocho Rios is a corruption of the word "chorreras" which describes the many streams and rivers that cascade down the limestone rocks.

The area's most famous cascade is Dunn's River Falls, the image used on many posters to advertise and symbolize Jamaica.

Regrettably, most of Ocho Rios' shallow, close-to-shore reefs have taken quite a battering from hurricanes over the past decade. The corals definitely are coming back, but it will be a considerable time before they return to their former grandeur.

At Ocho Rios today, it's necessary to go fairly deep in many places to find reminders of what once flourished everywhere.

Such as Devils Reef, which offers an unusual pinnacle dive starting at 60 feet and dropping to 200. For wrecks, try The "Kathryn," a 140-foot minesweeper still mostly intact.

The Kingston Area. . .With some of the best wrecks and reefs that no one knows about.

Diving Montego Bay...This is the main arrival center for tourists.

Diving Negril. . .Home to the island's longest beach with some of the largest sponges.

Diving Port Antonio. . .Off the normal tourist path, which means uncrowded diving.

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