ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Diving in the British Virgin Islands

Updated on April 27, 2010

Like ghosts dancing around an ethereal ballroom, sun-bleached sailboats flutter across the blue waters of the British Virgin Islands (B.V.I.). So many boats, in fact, that the sound of canvas whipping the wind and lines clanging on aluminum masts is at times almost deafening. Divers, however, prefer the silent world beneath all that tacking and jibing, where they quietly savor an altogether different kind of nautical experience. Shipwrecks — scores of them — litter the shallow coral gardens of the B.V.I. In fact, the B.V.I. are generally acknowledged to be one of the finest spots on Earth to dive amidst a plethora of shipwrecks from almost every era of sailing, from the tall ships all the way to the modern era's giant cargo carriers.

Wreck-Divers' Wonderland

Oddly enough, thousands of people made their first wreck dive right here on the R.M.S. Rhone without even realizing it. Granted, it was made vicariously through Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset on the set of the 1977 motion picture The Deep, but for many, this first dive introduced them to the mysterious and beautiful world of wrecks in the depths of the glorious British Virgins.
Today, divers come here to rekindle some of that mystery, making the Rhone the B.V.I.'s most popular dive. But the wreck is not just some Hollywood prop. Her fabled history predates the movie by more than a century. In the mid-1800s, she delivered passengers and mail on a route that took her to the far-flung corners of the Caribbean. Part sailing ship, part propeller-driven steamer, the 310-foot vessel was revolutionary in design, built at the cusp of nautical technology. But Mother Nature has no pity for humans' futile efforts. Attempting — unsuccessfully — to shelter her from a hurricane in 1867, the crew of the Rhone tucked her into a cove off Salt Island, which would become her final resting place.
Over time, the ship split in two, dividing her bow and stern sections into two completely different dives and experiences, both protected by marine-park status. Her bow is more intact and lies in water about 80 feet deep, while her stern is strewn in pieces from 20 to about 60 feet below the surface. In 13 decades on the seafloor, the Rhone has grown a dazzling Technicolor coat of sponges and corals and attracted a dizzying array of tropical reef fish, including yellow-speckled French angelfish, pastel-hued parrotfish, and schooling snapper, jacks, and grunts.
The fish, coral, and other creatures you'll encounter on the Rhone and throughout the B.V.I.'s reefs are standard Caribbean fare. Larger, more tasty fish species like grouper may be more common on restaurant menus, but there's no shortage of smaller tropicals. Hawksbill and green turtles are a dime a dozen, and you're quite likely to see a spotted eagle ray or two, and plenty of moray eels. If you're lucky, you may snag a rare glimpse of humpback whales, especially from December through April, when the leviathans come here to calve. Look for them frolicking in the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
Continued In: Diving in the British Virgin Islands - Part 2



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)