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The Caribbean offers endless variety and opportunity to scuba diving enthusiasts of all levels. There are natural coral reefs, lava flows, and even wrecks to explore. Scuba diving is a great way to add some adventure to your charter and can be enjoyed by anyone from ages 12 and up.
Before Your Charter
There are various ways to make sure you are certified and ready to dive on your charter. If you are going on a crewed charter, it is important to note whether there is a Dive Instructor or a Dive Master on your crew. Dive Instructors are able to certify you while on your charter and take you diving once you have done the appropriate course work (all completed while on your charter). Dive Masters cannot certify you, they are there to guide you underwater. If it is a Dive Master that is on your crew, you would need to be certified prior to your charter. This can easily be done by doing the necessary courses and pool dives at home before you depart, and then you can do your open water dive while on your charter and become fully certified. There is also the option of a resort course, which will teach you all the basics within a few hours though it will not fully certify you. These short courses will have you ready to dive while on your charter in just a matter of hours. Any local dive shop or resort can help you set this up, that way you are scuba ready for your charter.
Top Dive Spots:
The British Virgin Islands
This is a perfect destination for beginner divers, with sheltered waters and plenty of exciting spots to explore. The most popular spot being the wreck of the RMS Rhone off of Salt Island, which is one of the most well-known wreck dives in all of the Caribbean. This 310 foot Royal Mail Steamship went down due to a hurricane in 1867 and is now a must-see exploration spot for all divers as the ruins are still surprisingly conserved. Once you explore the Rhone ruins, also be sure to check out The Indians off of Norman Island. These unique rock formations form underwater tunnels home to a variety of corals and colorful reef fish.
Grenada is known for its wreck dives, most notably the Bianca C. which is also known as the “Titanic of the Caribbean.” This 600’ cruise ship sank in 1961 and is now home to some fascinating underwater life including spotted eagle rays, reef sharks, and great barracudas. While this particular dive is more geared towards advanced divers due to the depth and current, there are other fascinating wreck dives in Grenada for all levels.
Dominica makes for a diver’s paradise with its beautiful coral reefs and varied dive spots all around the island. The more well-known dive spots are off the island’s southwestern end, but the west coast as a whole will have plenty to offer divers. If you are interested in some exciting wall dives, spots in this area would include Rodney’s Rock, Castaways Reef, and Nose Reef. One of the more popular spots is Soufriere Bay which is actually a submerged ancient volcano crater that also has shallow reefs to explore around the rim. Between October and March, sperm whales are common and dive operators often offer diving excursions to go spot them.
The Islands of the Bahamas have a huge variety of thrilling diving experiences to offer divers of any level. If you are sailing the Abacos, then the shipwreck USS Adirondack in the reef off of Man-O-War Cay is a must see. This gunboat sank in 1882 and there are still well preserved cannons to explore. Other good spots along this sailing route are Green Turtle Cay and Treasure Cay, all centered around 150 of incredible reef. If you are instead sailing the Exumas, there are also plenty of unique dive spots you will not want to miss. Here you will fascinating blue holes to explore, which are underwater caves. These include Crab Cay Crevasse off of George Town and Angel Fish Blue Hold off of Stocking Island. If you are feeling adventurous, there are even opportunities for shark dives, where you can swim with reef sharks.
Home to the second largest barrier reef in the world, Belize offers stunning diving opportunities to experience exciting marine life. Just off-shore from San Pedro is Ambergris Car, part of a strictly enforced marine park located within the barrier reef. Here you will find huge varieties of sea life and coral, and even some nurse sharks and sting rays. One of the most notable dives would be The Blue Hole, this hole in the reef spanning more than 1000 feet across is a spectacular site that you will not find elsewhere.
These are just a few suggestions, but the Caribbean offers endless amazing dive opportunities for those ready to start exploring. Whether it’s shipwrecks, coral, caves, or even sharks, there is a great scuba diving opportunity for everyone in the Caribbean.