Captain Dean and First Mate Julia with their diving expertise will take you to a variety of fabulous dives sites in the Virgin Islands. You will see a variety of plunging walls, hulking wrecks, and beautiful reefs. There is a wide variety of marine and plant life that makes the Virgin Islands one of the premier dive sites in the world.
Below is a description of only a few of the dive sites in the Virgin Islands. With over 100 sites to choose from, it is a diver's dream--especially since Braveheart is the perfect live-aboard for diving!
One of the five most popular dive and snorkel sites in the BVI, the Indians are located just north of Norman Islands. It is recommended that you plan your sailing itinerary to include a stop here at the beginning or end of your holiday.
Four rocky pinnacles rise straight up about 100 feet from the ocean floor with approximately 50 feet of that above water. There is good diving on the west side where you will find both hard and soft corals, colorful sponges and maybe even a shark. You will find smaller rays as well. There are blue tangs, parrotfish, cowfish, sergeant majors, damselfish, queen angels, eels, and if you are lucky a queen triggerfish.
Rainbow Canyons at Pelican Island
Rainbow Canyons at Pelican Island is a wonderful combination of corals gardens and terraces. It's great for new divers with several areas of sand flats. In addition to the usual reef inhabitants, you will also find large tarpon as they feed on the schooling silversides. The sand flats are home to colonies of Garden eels. Watch out for the fire coral!
The Wreck of the Rhone, 1867
The wreck of the RMS Rhone is another one of the top dive sites in BVI and is considered one of the best wreck dives in the world. The site is on the west side of Salt Island and is only accessible by boat. The wreck is at a maximum depth of about 85 feet / 28 meters and its shallowest depth is within 15 feet / 5 meters of the surface. The visibility here is normally good as the wreck is normally in calm waters.
The story behind the Rhone is that it was a royal mail steamship that transported mail cargo between England, Central America, and the Caribbean. She was one of the earliest iron-hulled ships and was powered by both sail and steam. She was built in 1865 in London and measured 310 feet / 94 meters long. Her propeller was only the second bronze propeller ever built. Although considered "unsinkable", she was brought down by a category 3 hurricane that forced her onto Black Rock Point and breached her hull. The cool sea waters mixed with the super-heated boilers and resulted in an explosion that tore the ship in half. The Rhone sank almost immediately.
Dead Chest and Painted Walls
Painted Walls is a series of underwater canyons that rise from an average depth of 35 ft to just below the water's surface. At the end of the third canyon are two arches covered with encrusted sponges in an artist's palette of color. The canyons and ridges of Painted Walls teem with local reef life due to exposure to the open water. It can be a difficult dive at times due to a strong surge in the shallows area.
Alice in Wonderland at Ginger Island
Alice in Wonderland is a spur and groove coral reef that begins at about 35 feet beneath the surface and extends to a maximum depth at just 70 feet. The site gets its name from the large mushroom-shaped coral heads that are reminiscent of the scene that greeted Lewis Carroll's Alice when she arrived in Wonderland. You will find fantastic creatures just as Alice did--from spotted moray eels, big lobsters, large pufferfish, to hawksbill turtles. Under the ledges, you will likely find a sleeping nurse shark. This site is suitable for all divers.
Mountain Point Virgin Gorda
Here you will find a white, sandy bottom that slopes from 20 to 70 feet, cutting its way through canyons and hosting a colony of bobbing garden eels. Look for stingrays and the occasional eagle ray on the sand. Be sure to peek inside the caves for nurse sharks and turtles. Parrotfish and butterfly fish, damsels, and grunts add their signature splashes of color to that of the corals and sponges. Surge can be a problem in the shallows, but the site is ideal for all divers.
The wreck of the Chikuzan rests in 75 feet of water far from any reef and attracts marine life like an oasis in the desert. The ship is on its port side with the starboard rail reaching up to about 50 feet. Most of the wreck is intact with three large cargo holds that can be entered through the hatches. The hull is well-covered with coral and sponge growth. There is plenty of marine life, including a resident 600-pound Goliath grouper. Due to regular swells, this is a challenging dive site.
The Kodiak Queen was a former Navy fuel barge that survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. It later went on to become a fishing boat and then a rusting hulk in a junkyard in Road Town, Tortola, BVI. Through a project begun by Historian Mike Cochran and Sir Richard Branson, Kodiak Queen is now an underwater art installation and new dive site in BVI. The art work is in the form of a giant kracken that was attached to the ship before she was sunk. It is now a main attraction for scuba divers and snorkelers. Although damaged in hurricane Irma, much of the wreck remains intact.
Of the 100+ available dive sites, these are just a few. Dean and Julia can find the sites perfect for you and your diving ability!