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CARIBBEAN

DIVING

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DIVE

into Tobago Prepare to be amazed in Tobago, home to some of the greatest dive sites on earth. in the stunning waters of this Caribbean island paradise you will Come face to face with beautiful leatherback and greenback turtles, the biggest brain coral in the oceans and over 600 varieties of incredible fish which are just waiting for you to DIVE IN. When on land, the island’s Treasue trove of activities and cultural delights are just as numerous as the fish in the sea

TO BOOK YOUR DIVING HOLIDAY TO TOBAGO, CONTACT THE EXPERTS AT DIVE WORLDWIDE

diveworldwide.com/discover/tobago 01962 302 087


CONTENTS Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Welcome! Features 4 Reasons to Dive

Let us convince you there’s no better place to explore beneath the surface

There’s no better place for divers than the Caribbean! If you had to describe the region in one word it would be ‘diverse’ – and that applies both above and below the water. As well as the Caribbean’s natural beauty, there is its rich heritage, with influences from Africa, Europe, Britain and Asia. Read on to find all the tools you need to plan the perfect diving holiday. The Caribbean looks forward to welcoming you soon!

6 Barbados

A focus on the marine world of this island and its contrasting coasts

8 Caribbean Marine Life

Our creatures feature tells you what to look out for and where

11 Cayman Islands

Read all about the islands where diving for fun began

12 Dominica

This eco-friendly isle has everything from giant whales to tiny seahorses

14 St Eustatius

Small but perfectly formed, why this Dutch island is a diving Mecca

15 Turks & Caicos

These low-lying coral islands offer the chance to meet some big fish

Carol I. Hay Director of Marketing UK & Europe, Caribbean Tourism Organization

Map 16 Caribbean Map

The region at a glance – your resource for holiday planning

www.caribbean.co.uk LovetheCaribbean @_LoveCaribbean

Dive Tool Kit 18 Tips and Hints

Need-to-know facts and tips about diving in the Caribbean

Country Pages 19-28 The Islands

So many islands - not enough time! This is your destination A-Z

Member List 29 Directory of Members

The Caribbean Tourism Organization members and companies, from airlines to tour operators

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5 reasons to 5 REASONS

v i D

Divers have a world of choice – after all, oceans cover over 70% of the planet. But here’s why the Caribbean offers the best scuba – fins down!

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Wreck diving is extremely popular in the Caribbean Grenada Tourism Authority

team is on-hand to help divers get the most out of their trip, and advise on local sites like the atmospheric Underwater Perfect conditions Sculpture Park where spooky human-like Whether you’re an experienced statues rise from the sea bed. diver who’s filled a whole shelf with your Or, for something a bit more exclusive, log-books or a newbie who hasn’t yet how about a private island? Turneffe worked out how to fit a mask without Island Resort, Belize, is one of three leaving a mark on your face for several neighbouring atolls with more than 160 days, the Caribbean offers the perfect miles of walls and reef and its conditions for a dive holiday. dedicated dive programme The water is warm yearincludes 15 dives per round and visibility regularly e iv week – that’s plenty of extends to 30-metresd a nt ’re If you doesn’t wa opportunities to spot plus. And the weather e t a th m c th fanati y too far fro elf a resident hammerheads. above the sea is unlikely s to stra book your njoy Magdalena Grand Beach to scupper your chances , e r l te ’l ou wa oard. Y y! Resort in Tobago is an allof enjoying the treasures liveab r dives a da fou inclusive resort that offers beneath it. a combination of leisure and A variety of habitats great diving. and terrains mean divers There’s a five-star PADI dive centre will never tire of the Caribbean: on-site and the wreck of the M/V shallow, fringing reefs; sheer walls; exhilarating drop-offs and coralMaverick ferry is close by. This was the covered pinnacles. You can shore first passenger ferry to offer a service dive, drift dive, cave dive and do just between Trinidad & Tobago. about any other kind of dive you can think of. For example, St. Kitts and sister island Nevis offer a huge variety of diving, which you can sample in a single day. There’s the coral atoll of Monkey Hassle-free sites Shoals, hot water vents with reefs and The Caribbean’s dive sites are mostly wrecks, including the Nags Head site, close to shore, unlike many scuba where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean. destinations which require divers to join a liveaboard to access the best sites. That makes the Caribbean a great choice for groups of both divers and non-divers because the latter can do their own Resorts that understand thing, but everyone can still meet up and The Caribbean is set up for enjoy lunch together! For divers, it allows diving and many resorts have ‘house plenty of time to explore on-land too. reefs’ and on-site dive shops. At Sunset Curaçao offers shore divers numerous Diver’s Resort in Grand Cayman guests beach-accessible sites along its enjoy unlimited shore dives. southwestern coast. Oswaldo’s DropLike many Caribbean resorts, True Blue off is only a few minutes’ swim from the Bay in Grenada has its own dive shop, shore and jammed with colourful fish like Aquanauts, which offers certification blue chromis and yellowtail snappers. courses and specialist qualifications. The

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Grenada has an abundance of characterful sealife hidden in its depths


Photo, Lawson Wood

The Belize Tourism Board

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artificial reefs bursting with life, there’s something thrilling about watching the sepultural shape of a sunken vessel appear out of the blue haze. The RMS Rhone sunk in 1867 off the British Virgin Islands. Originally a UK Royal Mail vessel, the ‘unsinkable’ ship got caught in two bouts of hurricane weather before its demise. Despite being old, divers can still make out the ghostly rigging and the propeller. Anguilla is known for its big collection of shipwrecks. The 960-tonne Spanish galleon, El Buen Consejo, rests on the ocean floor, with its cannons still intact. In The Bahamas, the retired cargo ship Ray of Hope is also easy to penetrate – its cabins, gangways and cargo hold are now home to sharks and stingrays. Carlisle Bay Marine Park in Barbados has six shipwrecks in close proximity. Divers can enter the Greek freighter, SS Stavronikita to search for squirrel fish.

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Amazing wrecks

Diving a shipwreck is always a thrill. Aside from the fact that wrecks are

Tobago Division of Tourism & Transportation

A spectaular sunset makes for the perfect end to a day in Tobago British Virgin Islands Tourist Board UK

In the US Virgin Islands, Cane Bay Beach in the north of St. Croix has a spectacular coral and sponge coated wall and clouds of tropical reef fish just a 100-yard paddle from the boat ramp. Diving at Anse Chastanet Resort, Saint Lucia, begins 10 yards from the water’s edge, but if you want to venture further there are dive boats ready to cast off.

Incredible diversity

The Caribbean is a patchwork quilt of variety above and below the sea, but since it’s not physically possible to dive 24/7, it’s important that your holiday destination can entertain on-land. The region’s vibrant Afro-Caribbean culture meshes with European colonial influences, which influence the music, food and language. Take Guyana, which is home to nine indigenous tribes. In its capital, Georgetown, visitors will find Christian churches (including one of the tallest wooden churches in the world) standing and colourful Hindu temples. Some say that African roots run deepest in Haiti, an up-and-coming holiday destination that offers a rich history and culture beyond its palmfringed beaches – from French fortresses to historic shipwrecks.

Snorkelling with sergeant majors Grenada Tourism Authority

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Belize’s famed Blue Hole

Book it with... Tropic Breeze A Caribbean holiday specialist whose friendly team has extensive knowledge of the islands and personal experience of each resort. T: 01752 880880 E: info@tropicbreeze.co.uk www.tropicbreeze.co.uk Long snout seahorse

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CONTRASTING COASTS Barbados

Snorkel spot

BARBADOS

Safari boats, found on any beach, offer two to three hour excursions to Barbados’ marine parks. The west coast has two designated snorkelling areas in the the Folkestone Marine Park. One is just off the beach in Holetown and sports a purposely-sunk barge teeming with vivid marine life like sergeant majors, parrot fish and butterfly fish. The main snorkelling area off the south coast is Carlisle Bay Marine Park, home to six wrecks.

Diving delights

The beautifully clear waters of Batts Rock Beach warm waters throughout the year. Barbados boasts more than 70 miles of Away from the sea are hills of sugar cane sun-saturated, palm-adorned beaches and characterful towns where Barbadians lapped by translucent azure waters (or ‘Bajans’ as they call themselves) which give refuge to colourful welcome visitors warmly. fish, turtles and other The capital, Bridgetown, is a hub aquatic creatures. of south of activity where fishing boats The island is 21 miles In the , flawless dos and charter sailing vessels nestle long and 14 miles wide Barba ds and n a s aters alongside waterfront restaurants, but its shores and seas w d te rotec t and duty free shops. There are are as varied and unique reef-p ate perfec cre elling also historical sites to explore and as can be. The west coast snork ions. d calypso music to discover. n offers calm waters and co it Barbados offers 365 days of dusty white beaches, whilst sunshine a year and almost as many the east is home to impressive opportunities for amusement! If you tire of coral sculptures and powerful waves, diving there’s always golf, sailing, tennis, making it a top surfing spot. In the south, horse riding, cycling, cricket, off-road flawless sands and reef-protected waters rallying, hiking, or a spot of shopping. create perfect snorkelling conditions, and Accommodation ranges from some of the southeast is a wind-surfing Mecca. the most luxurious hotels and villas in the Temperatures vary from 22C at night to region to great-value all-inclusive resorts. 32C during the day and divers can enjoy

Types of diving available include drift, beach and night dives and the best collection of wrecks in the Caribbean. The SS Stavronikita is a 365-foot-long freighter which was scuttled in 1978. Now covered in beautiful corals and sponges, fish proliferate around it. There are seven PADI dive centres, in Speightstown, Holetown and around Bridgetown. Nitrox is available from a few of these.

Sea safari

Keep an eye out for... Nurse sharks Seahorses Eagle rays

BARBADOS STAR DIVES The SS Stavronikita

This wreck is a must-dive for advanced level divers and upward. Standing above all others, quite literally, the SS Stavronikita is a 365-foot-long freighter which was sunk on purpose in 1978. Its hulk is now covered in beautiful corals, sponges and fish life and is the most re-dived site in Barbados. The dive starts at the vessel’s forward mast before descending into the ship itself.

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Bell Buoy

This easy dive off Bridgetown boasts one of the largest areas of healthy hard corals in the Caribbean, such as the rare elk horn coral and stag horn coral. Both of these very brittle types used to be common throughout the region but were damaged to virtual extinction by boat anchors, waves and careless divers. The domeshaped reef’s max depth is 60-feet and is home to schools of fish.

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Carlisle Bay Marine Park

There is so much to see on one dive at this site: There are four wrecks which are of particular interest: the Berwyn, Eilon, C-Trek and Fox. The incredible variety of brilliantly-coloured marine life at the site includes frog fish, sea horses, rays, barracudas, octopus, reef squid, mackerel and moray eel. Although it’s ideally suited for beginners, experts will love the variety too.


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what flies

MARINE LIFE

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are often spotted scuttling around the warm sea bed. The St. Eustatius National Marine Park was created in 1996 and extends around the entire island, protecting pristine coral reefs, walls, pinnacles and the underwater volcanic fissures and canyons which have given this area its diverse and unique topography. ‘Statia’, as the locals call St. Eustatius, is frequented by reef sharks, nurse sharks, dolphins, eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, green turtles and some rarer species like flying gurnards, high hats, spotted drum fish, jack-knife fish and butterfly fish. Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

he Caribbean’s big draw card is its Under protection sheer diversity. Venezuela’s Los Roques archipelago The diving in Martinique alone is is the Caribbean’s oldest national sea split into four very different areas: park. Established in 1972 it is something Precheur–St Pierre offers walls, wrecks of an ecological Eden and the perfect and black sand; Anses d’Arlet is a dive destination due to the islands’ relatively remote status and white-sand seabed with a mix of rocky slopes and walls; small population. Cuba is home to several Baie du Diamant offers Top spots include La shark species, and, unique to the country, American pleasant coral, calm waters Piedra de la Guasa, a rock saltwater crocodiles and fabulous snorkelling; pinnacle popular with predwhich live in the shallower waters and, finally, Baie de St Luce ator species such as huge is the home of the French barracuda and mackerel island’s most famous dive tuna, and Cayo de Agua, which offers site, Diamond Rock. Divers can swim the opportunity to dive alongside the under this rocky outcrop – which gets whale sharks and the pods of dolphins its name from its dazzling appearance – which follow vast schools of tuna bethanks to a cavern on the seabed. tween December and February. Safe-guarding the environment is The Caribbean is also taken very seriously in Dominica, which home to a number calls itself ‘the Nature Island.’ of marine parks Every dive site in Dominica is placed which guarantee in one of three marine reserves: The that the habitat of its sea-dwelling Cabrits National Park Marine Section in denizens remain the north, the Salisbury Marine Reserve safe and away in Dominica’s central west, and the from unsustainable Soufriere Scotts Head Marine Reserve fishing practices in the south-west. Visit in November and other negative and you’ll probably spot a miinfluences. grating sperm whale – quite literally one of the island’s biggest attractions. Popular Dominican dive spot Champagne Reef is home to slightly smaller creatures, like the strange walking frogfish and elusive seahorses. The reef gets its name from the bubbles produced by the underwater hot springs and is also a popular spot for night diving, when huge crabs and lobsters

T

U.S Virgin Islands Department of Tourism

Under the Caribbean Sea is a kaleidoscopic natural theme park. Abundant reefs, mangroves and volcanic islands give refuge to a huge variety of fish, marine mammals and other characters of the sea

The clear waters of Antigua and Barbuda


Visitors can get involved in marine conservation. Whether it’s helping to keep beaches clean, tagging turtles or monitoring lion fish populations

Big fish

As the ocean’s apex predator, sharks are a source of fascination for everyone and a major draw for divers. Just off St. Maarten/Saint-Martin, there is a very special dive which guarantees multiple shark sightings. Divers can rest on the seabed and watch dozens of sharks move stealthily through the blue. The majority are Caribbean reef sharks from three- to nine-feet long, with the occasional curious nurse shark turning up for the show too. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a meeting place for some of the ocean’s largest creatures. The Columbus

Passage is a long and deep channel between the Turks and Caicos Islands which acts as a route for migrating fish, rays, turtles, dolphins and even humpback whales. Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos is a great place for shark lovers. You can see reef sharks, nurse sharks and sometimes blacktips, tiger sharks, and hammerheads.

Macro in focus Not every diver thinks bigger is better and macro diving is perhaps more rewarding just because the very act of spotting tiny creatures is a challenge. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is known as the ‘critter capital of the Caribbean’ because its underwater landscape is perfect for reclusive animals who like to hide or ‘dress up’ in their marine camouflage. Off St. Vincent, in shallow, sandy areas and sponge-covered reef, there are spoon-nose eels, octopuses and box crabs. For those with particularly sharp eyes, even tinier creatures like golden coral shrimp, fingernail-sized crabs, blennies and longsnout seahorses can often be spotted. When it comes to the small stuff,

Up close with marine life at Stingray City in The Cayman Islands

Across the Caribbean coral provides the backdrop for divers The Belize Tourism Board

The U.S Virgin Islands have a variety of creatures for divers to interact with

Reefs in the Caribbean are home to a variety of colourful sealife Cayman Islands Department of tourism

Shark sightings are common in St. Maarten

Cees Timmers Photography

St Maarten Tourist Bureau

rs and t a w m r a w s t with i ua is a g i t n A s a e s l a co dis a r a p s r l l k o sn

Book it with... Caribbean Fun Travel Caribbean Fun Travel is an independent, ATOLbonded travel specialist for diving and snorkelling holidays – helping you to enjoy the exciting underwater world of the Caribbean. T: 01604 882929 E: info@caribbeanfuntravel.co.uk www.caribbeanfuntravel.co.uk Belize is a world-class scuba diving destination

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you can’t get much more minute than Snorkel spots dinoflagellate – microscopic organisms There are some spots where the effort which float in the sea and often emit of donning neoprene is just not worth it light (bioluminescence). and where a mask and snorkel will do. Puerto Rico is blessed with three Negril in Jamaica is famous for its bioluminescent bays, the brightest of seven-mile beach, but its cliff area to which is Mosquito Bay in the island of the south is amazing for snorkelling. Vieques. The lights – the brightJumping from the dramatic est show of bioluminescent in outcrops is like leaping into the world according to The a personal aquarium that is t ba errat’s teeming with all sorts of Guinness Book of Records Monts partiallya e, species usually found only – is probably caused by cave is ged crevic f o er subm thousands on offshore reefs. the small sea entrance to ng home ats that ha Antigua and Barbuda is which impedes the waves m b o n fr fruit considered a snorkeller’s from washing away the e dow upsid ve ceiling paradise, with its powdery dinoflagellates and the the ca soft white sands, warm clear resident mangrove trees that waters and coral reefs. In many provide abundant food for the areas of the island there is practically micro-organisms. no current, making it ideal for first-time The bay contains up to 160,000 of the snorkelers and kids. At Paradise Reef, glowing specs per litre of water, and the coral stretches for one mile and The since they emit a blue-green light when touched, snorkellers moving through Wreck of the Andes, a merchant ship the water find themselves in the middle that sank over a century ago, sits in just of a spectacular natural light show. 30 feet of water.

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Puerto Rico tourism Company

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Puerto Rico offers a world-beating underwater ‘light show’

There’s more than just colourful fish in the Caribbean seas!


THE ORIGINAL DIVE DESTINATION

CAYMAN ISLANDS

Cayman Islands

Pease Bay, Grand Cayman There are three unique islands in the western Caribbean that make up one paradise for divers: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. Each has their own unique personality, but together the Cayman Islands offer one of the world’s most spectacular and diverse marine environments. Year-round temperatures of 29C, balmy waters, crystal-clear visibility of over 30 metres and myriad sites make the Cayman Islands a dream dive destination for all experience levels. Many dive sites in Cayman are minutes from the shore, with shallow reefs hugging all three islands, as well as wrecks and wall dives which range from gentle slopes to steep drop-offs, liberally sprinkled with caves, gullies and pinnacles.

In safe hands There are dozens of top-quality dive centres in Cayman, all with a reputation for safety and ecological responsibility. Beginner divers are in very safe hands because a plethora of world-class instructors have made the Cayman Islands their home. Perhaps it’s the sheer abundance of dive sites which attracted this crowd. There’s 350 to choose from and as only one boat is ever allowed at a site you’ll never have to worry about swimming after the wrong group!

The big island Cosmopolitan Grand Cayman offers

international dining and shopping, lively nightlife and big-name hotels, especially along the spectacular Seven Mile Beach. If you’re after a low-key break though, the east of the island is the place to go – the resident blue iguanas are probably the only ones moving in a hurry here! Must-dives in Grand Cayman include the mushroom-shaped pinnacle of Ghost Mountain, dramatically carpeted in ruby red finger sponges and gorgonian fans. Divers can also navigate the wreck of the USS Kittiwake, floating through the mess hall, hospital station and ammunition lockers, before entering the bridge.

Off-the-beaten-track In romantic Little Cayman, the population is so small that iguanas have the right of way! It’s only 10 miles long and one mile wide, but you’ll find many spots for sun-drenched solitude and away from the beach there’s a tropical wilderness to explore. Barefoot luxury is the name of the game in Little Cayman, the honeymooners’ isle. Little Cayman is famous for Bloody Bay Wall, an undersea cliff face consistently voted one of the world’s top wall dives. Vertical drop-offs plunge to 1,829 metres and red rope sponges, emerald tube sponges and rare yellow tube sponges create a kaleidoscope of colour, prowled by horse-eye jacks, turtles and sharks. Wild Cayman Brac is for those who like to get off track, kick back and relax. The

140-foot brac, or bluff, is a rugged spot perfect for wildlife lovers. Underneath the sea are over 50 dive sites, notably the MV Capt Keith Tibbets, one of the world’s top wreck dives and the only diveable Russian warship in the Western Hemisphere.

Out of the wetsuit For those who prefer to stay on the surface, Cayman has spectacular snorkelling spots just a lazy paddle from the beach – like Grand Cayman’s Wreck of the Cali, which lies just off the shores of George Town. There’s a veritable feast of water sports in Cayman, including windsurfing, kite surfing, paddle boarding and sailing. A must-do is bioluminescence kayaking, where every paddle stroke creates a burst of sub-aqua shooting stars.

MV Captain Keith Tibbetts, Cayman Brac

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THE NATURE ISLAND Dominica

The famous Boiling Lake

DOMINICA

If you are looking for a Caribbean destination with a difference, then look no further than Dominica, billed as ‘The Nature Island’ and the ‘Whale Watching Capital of the Caribbean’. You will have a hard time finding a more rugged and authentic island in the region. Flying to Dominica is like being transported to the set of Jurassic Park, with tall lush green mountains, roaring waterfalls, hidden gorges and volcanic hot springs. Much of its nature appears

Jaco Falls

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ways to explore Dominica’s many to have been barely touched by man. different communities up close and Although the main airport is located personal. on the north east coast, most divers Whale watching is another highlight stay and dive on the calmer West Coast. most divers will not want to miss. With This entails an hour-long drive over over 22 species of cetaceans identified the mountains, winding through the in Dominica waters, your chances rainforest and alongside some of of seeing these amazing the many rivers. It is an eyemarine creatures are very opening introduction to the s good. The highlight of any Nature Island! ie c 2 spe over 2 whale watching excursion With a population of With etaceans in our of c is seeing the resident only 70,000, Dominica’s ters y ese a w a ic th Domin of seeing are sperm whales that live in interior is sparsely s es chanc e creature Dominica’s deep offshore inhabited and the majority in r ma ood waters. The volcanic nature of people live on the coasts. very g of the island is evident Much of the interior of all around and this results in the island contains protected surprising ways for people to enjoy national park areas and a UNESCO themselves. World Heritage Site. This has created At Champagne Reef, snorkellers can one of the Caribbean’s most exciting swim through thousands of tiny bubbles playgrounds for nature lovers. emanating from volcanic vents in the When trekking on the Waitukubuli sea floor. Natural hot springs bubble National Trail, hikers enjoy one of the up and create soothing baths in the longest hiking trails in the Caribbean. village of Wotten Waven. Perhaps the Covering 115 miles, the trail criss-crosses most spectacular volcanic site is the the country in 14 different segments Boiling Lake, and the most iconic hike that vary in distance, difficulty and in in Dominica is the Boiling Lake Trail. experiences. This is one of the best

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Much of Dominica s nature appears barely touched by man

Snorkel spot

Snorkelling in Dominica is another area where the topography of our island results in a truly unique and different experience. Check out Champagne Reef where, just a few yards from shore, you can float over volcanic vents of bubbles that give the sensation of floating in a glass of Champagne! Also try visiting L’Abym, a 1500-ft wall that drops straight from shore! Our snorkelling is dramatic, colourful, healthy and unique.

A view of Morne Trois Piton, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The six-hour trip takes trekkers through the Valley of Desolation and up onto a ridge overlooking the world’s second largest boiling lake. With some challenging climbs and eef, descents, this hike is not for pagne R At Cham can swim the faint of heart. But those rs e ll s of snorke thousand who complete the challenge through s emanating ble can walk away satisfied and tiny bub anic vents in say to their friends: “I survived from volc a floor the se the Valley of Desolation and the Boiling Lake!” If you happen to visit Dominica at Carnival in February/March, or during Snorkelling at Scott’s Head Independence Celebrations in November, you will be treated to the most unique, colourful and friendly cultural experiences in the region. Throw in some great music festivals – Jazz n’ Creole in May and World Creole Music Festival in October – and the list of reasons to visit Dominica just keeps growing. If you’re looking for a natural paradise with clean cool rivers, fresh locally-grown food, an expanding list of health and wellness experiences, the Caribbean’s friendliest people and, of course, superb diving experiences in unique and wonderfully diverse waters, then it’s time to visit Diving in Champagne Reef Dominica.

Diving delights

When divers first drop onto the reefs of Dominica they immediately realize that the extreme topography on land continues underwater! On many Caribbean islands one has to travel far offshore for deep water but Dominica offers 1,500-ft walls just offshore. Groups of pinnacles rise up from the depths creating a maze of canyons and deep drop-offs. Cover this exciting reefscape with cloaks of reef fish and thriving, colourful sponges and you can imagine diving in Dominica.

Sea safari

Keep an eye out for... Seahorses, frogfish, batfish and many other rare creatures Resident sperm whales Critically endangered leatherback turtles

DOMINICA STAR DIVES Scotts Head Pinnacles

Siting on the edge of a volcanic crater on the southern tip of Dominica, this is one of the region’s most spectacular sites. There can be strong currents but there are many days when it’s calm and easy to dive. A spectacular fish-filled swim-though pierces the crate wall and leads to a vibrant wall covered in huge barrel sponges and gorgonians. The vivid colorful sponges ensure that divers return.

Rinas Hole

This shallow, flat reef has to be one of Dominica’s prettiest dive sites. It’s hard to get deeper than about 50ft (12m) but that means divers seldom surface in under an hour. A series of island reefs on a flat bottom, each island is riddled with holes and tunnels, the top jam-packed with sponges. Beautiful topography, amazing colour and light, and a huge selection of creatures.

Toucari Caves

Located in the north of Dominica, Tourcari Caves is a wonderful mix of the many kinds of diving Dominica offers. From sloping reefs covered in barrel sponges and tube sponges to flat shallow reefs with miniislands to explore. On your way back, explore archways, swim thoughs and their inhabitants. The varied topography is equally fun as a first or second dive as it appeals to all divers.

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UNTOUCHED IDYLL St. Eustatius

Snorkel spot

The old town wall that protected St. Eustatius during the 17th century has been taken over by the sea. However, hundreds of metres of sunken old town walls and remains of warehouses are waiting to be explored. Take your mask, fins and snorkel and take off along this beautiful wall. Don’t be surprised to find old clay pipes, pottery and a great number of juvenile reef fish who hide between the cracks of the historic wall.

Diving delights

A turtle swims with ‘the Quill’ in the distance

ST EUSTATIUS

catching volcano ‘the Quill’ dominates St. Eustatius is untouched by big the island with its impressive crater and is developers. Where the coastline on responsible for the huge amount of lava surrounding islands is dominated flows and blocks under the surface. by big resorts, these are These old labyrinths of lava are noticeably absent on St. now fully overgrown with coral and Eustatius - otherwise sponges. known as ‘Statia’. The va la f o s yrinth volcano b The reefs surounding St. peace and tranquillity has la d’s Old e islan sible for th Eustatius are flourishing in a an effect on the whole m o n fr ks spo are re s and bloc protected marine park. Measuring island and its visitors. w o lava fl the surface 27.5 square kilometres, the marine You don’t find casinos, under park is larger than the island itself. shopping malls or Underwater you will experience international fast food what much of the Caribbean must restaurants. What you do find is a safe and friendly island where time stands have looked like many years ago. Sharks and turtles, who are rare on surrounding still. You can still enjoy cosy restaurants islands, are still common on Statia. and bars in Oranjestad, St. Eustatius’ one Both small-scale fishing operations and and only town. diving companies share the same waters in For those who look for even more peace Statia and both benefit from the protected and quietness there is true hidden beauty status of its waters. waiting under the surface. The eye-

Diving around Statia is so diverse you get the feeling you’re diving on another island almost every time you get below the water. One day you dive a huge wreck, like the huge Charles Brown, and an untouched coral garden, the next you dive steep walls and a historical site. This variation, combined with the protected marine park make diving here a truly unique experience.

Sea safari

Keep an eye out for...

Caribbean reef sharks Green and Hawksbill turtles The amazing Flying Gurnards

ST EUSTATIUS STAR DIVES Charles Brown

One of the largest and most impressive wrecks in the Caribbean, this cable laying ship was cleaned and sunk in 2003 as an artificial reef for divers. The view when you approach is spectacular. The wreck has most of its superstructure intact and is easy to penetrate for those who want to. Horse-eye jacks form dense schools above the wreck while huge barracudas live right on it.

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Double Wreck

These wrecks are difficult to distinguish from a natural reef due to sponges and corals that have been growing on the structure for centuries. Two spongecovered anchors, now home to many secretary blennies, betray the presence of the wrecks that sunk here. This dive site attracts marine life like an oasis in a desert and the whole dive site acts as one large cleaning station.

@_LoveCaribbean

Shark Reef

This hidden secret in the north of the island is THE place to encounter reef sharks. The lack of a mooring, depth and sometimes strong currents make this an advanced dive. The reef is surrounded by deeper water and gives you the feeling of diving in the open ocean. Besides sharks there is an abundance of barracudas and jacks – and don’t even try to count the lobsters.


SEALIFE SUPER HIGHWAY Turks & Caicos Islands

Snorkel spot

Providenciales has a wide range of beach snorkelling locations. The central Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef are excellent and easily accessible sites. The Bight Reef starts off at the beach where reef fish, turtles and stingrays can be spotted. Smith Reef is more extensive and along with reef fish, spotted eagle rays and turtles are common. Just east of Grand Turk lies Gibbs Cay, a popular snorkel spot with friendly southern stingrays.

Dive delights

The islands offer reef diving, wall diving, shipwreck diving and liveaboard dive boats. Traditional two-tank dives are the norm but many other services are also available: beginners’ courses, three-tank excursions, night dives, nitrox courses and private charters. One estimate is that there are over 1,000 shipwrecks in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands. However only two shipwrecks have been properly recorded, the Molasses Reef shipwreck and the Endymion.

Ascending from the deep blue shallow turquoise water and dropping off The Turks and Caicos Islands are an into the deep blue, with structures varying archipelago of 40 islands. Sparsely from dramatically sloping to breathtakingly populated and so far unspoiled, vertical. Shipwrecks, abundant fish, these beautiful islands are shallow coral gardens, walls, home to the best beach in e, id elaborate sponges and magnificent the world – Grace Bay w e il A 22 m ot-deep colours make the islands an Beach – and one of the fo s 0 8,00 parate m e s outstanding diving destination. most extensive reef l e chann Islands fro s Under the National Parks systems on earth. s k r d u n T la Is the e aicos Ordinance, vast areas have Excellent visibility to the C transit lin a been set aside as marine parks 200-feet, pristine reefs and is igrating for m backs and mooring buoys have been and easy conditions make p m u h established at all dive sites and the islands a world-class mooring areas to avoid any possible diving destination. damage from anchors. A 22 mile-wide, 8,000-foot-deep channel Summer waters of 28 to 29 degrees separates the Turks Islands from the celsius at the surface are warm enough Caicos Islands and is a major transit line for for swimsuits or a light wet suit such as migrating humpback whales, spotted eagle Lycra or Polartec. In the winter, water rays, manta rays, turtles and dolphins. temperatures of 23 to 26 degrees celsius The islands offer shallow reef diving as suggest the use of a 2-3mm wetsuit. well as exceptional wall diving starting in

Sea safari

Keep an eye out for... Manta Rays Humpback whales Whale sharks

Grand Turk

The Gulley

Sandbore Channel

Less than a quarter of a mile off-shore and starting in just 25- to 45-feet of water, a coral wall runs the length of Grand Turk Island, with steeply sloping terrain, coral undercuts and vertical drop-offs. See manta rays in summer, turtles year-round and humpback whales between December and April.

This is just one of the many wonderful dive sites off the coast of West Caicos. The Gulley gets its name from the cut in the reef that forms two distinct sections before dropping off vertically. The sheer precipice has many undercuts covered in sponges, black corals and tentacle anemones.

This Providenciales spot is home to large southern stingrays that can be found buried in the sand, eagle rays flying in graceful formation, the occasional hammerhead shark, turtles, tons of schooling fish and giant barrel sponges. Popular sites here are Tons of Sponge, Razor’s Edge and Land of the Giants.

@_LoveCaribbean

Lovethecaribbean

caribbean.co.uk 15

TURKS & CAICOS

TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS STAR DIVES


The Abacos

PRIMARY LANGUAGES SPOKEN

Florida

English unless indicated

■ French

■ Spanish

Grand Bahama

GULF OF MEXICO

■ Dutch

Eleuthera

SCALE 0

50

100

150

200 miles

Nassau Andros

0

150

Cat Island

300 km

The Bahamas The Exumas Long Island

Cuba Mexico

Cayman Islands

Cayman Brac

Little Cayman Grand Cayman

Belize

Jamaica

CARIBBEAN SEA

Honduras

THE CARIBBEAN Guyana

Nicaragua Belize elize

PACIFIC OCEAN

Costa Rica

Colombia

MAP

PACIFIC OCEAN

Panama


CARIBBEAN

B Bermuda

DIVING

N W

E S

Turks & Caicos

ATLANTIC OCEAN

Haiti

British Virgin Islands Puerto Rico

US Virgin Islands

Dominican Republic

Anguilla

Saint Martin / St. Maarten Antigua & Barbuda

St. Eustatius St. Kitts Nevis

Guadeloupe

Montserrat Dominica Martinique

St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Saint Lucia

Barbados

Aruba Bonaire Grenada Curaรงao

Venezuela

Trinidad & Tobago

Guyana


TOOL KIT

v i D tool kit

Get more travel tips at caribbean.co.uk

Before you take the plunge, here are a few things you should know...

TREAD CAREFULLY

BUDDY UP

Never stand or walk on a reef and tread carefully on shallow water around reefs. Shuffle your feet to avoid stingrays, and watch out for sea urchins’ spines.

Always snorkel or dive with at least one other person – it’s safer and more fun to explore together. Don’t forget to wear a watch too!

HANDS OFF Don’t feed the fish or touch the animals or coral. Their protective layers can be stripped away.

STAY LIGHT

BACK TO SCHOOL If you’re a first-time diver, consider doing the study and pool dive part of your PADI course at home, that way you don’t waste quality diving time in the Caribbean!

STAY GROUNDED Leave at least a day between your last dive and any flight or risk decompression sickness.

MORE INFORMATION Visit the CTO’s website for more information on the region and individual destinations: caribbean.co.uk

STRIP OFF Don’t wear jewellery. Caribbean fish, barracudas especially, are drawn to shiny objects that look like their natural prey of small silver fish.

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Lovethecaribbean

DONT WALK WALK

PADI is the biggest diving organisation in the region. For more dive-specific information and details of PADI-approved dive centres in the region, visit: padi.com

@_LoveCaribbean

Caribbean resorts have great equipment so you can cut down your baggage weight by leaving the wet suit at home. If you take anything make it your mask.


DESTINATIONS

OF DIVING DESTINATIONS

With more than 3,000 islands, the Caribbean is one of the most diverse regions in the world – above and below the water

D

iving in the Caribbean is an experience much like the region itself - laid back. That’s because you’re never very far from a reef, wreck or some patch of vibrant marine life. Much of the time you’ll find a spectacular site just a few fin strokes from the shore. The Caribbean is set up for divers, with a vast array of professional dive shops and scuba-dedicated resorts which offer expert training and guiding as well as specialist courses for advanced divers. It’s easy to see the Caribbean as a blur of white-sand beaches, palm trees and turquoise water, but each island is unique and offers a different experience. There are volcanic islands which

tower dramatically above the sea and hide dense jungles, as well as flat coral cays which you can explore in one lazy afternoon. Under the water the topography is just as varied – from colourful coral gardens where juvenile fish are nurtured to steep pinnacles and drop-offs visited by giant pelagic fish, including some awe-inspiring apex predators. When you’ve reached your dive limit you’ll find plenty to entertain out of the sea and endless beaches to relax on. The Caribbean is a melting pot of cultures which has created a smorgasbord of flavours and rhythms. Activity options abound and range from challenging pursuits like hiking and horse riding to more sedate pastimes like shopping and dancing. Read on to learn what makes each Caribbean nation different and take your pick!

Div  info@anguilla-tourism.com

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nguilla is known for incredible wreck diving. In addition to the Spanish galleon, El Buen Consejo, there are nine shipwrecks in its surrounding waters. The wrecks are home to a wide variety of corals and marine life such as angelfish, barracuda, margate, snapper, shark and graceful turtles. The fringe of coral reefs and cays surrounding Anguilla and the island’s transparent turquoise waters make it the Caribbean’s premier destination for diving and snorkelling. Anguilla’s waters are alive with beauty and history just waiting to be explored, so what are you waiting for?

�ivisitanguilla.com

ANGUILLA

��+44 (0)20 7736 6030

 @anguilla_trsm

�AnguillaOfficial

Diving centres: Shoal Bay Scuba (shoalbayscuba.com); Special D Diving and Charters (specialddiving.com); OW? DID YOU KN Vigilant Divers (vigilant. seven s ha lla ui Ang webeden.co.uk). og and D : ks ar marine p ickley Pr s, Seal Island Bay, Sandy e Look out for: ttl Li , ar Pe l Bay and Anguilla features a Island, Shoa y ey Ba on St double reef system, rich in soft and hard corals such as the giant brain coral, bouquets of gorgonians, which reach 15 to 20 feet, and picturesque sea fans, which come in a spectacular and vibrant array of colours. @_LoveCaribbean

Lovethecaribbean

caribbean.co.uk 19


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ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA

 tourisminfo@aandbtourism.com

�visitantiguabarbuda.com

��+44 (0)20 3668 3800

 @antiguabarbuda

�AntiguaBarbuda

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Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority

Dive sites are easily accessible and mostly win islands in the Leewards, Antigua just minutes away by boat. and Barbuda, are set on a shallow bank and encircled by reefs of soft and hard corals. Diving centres: DID YOU KN Antigua also has some barrier Indigo Divers (indigoA popular d OW? iv Cade’s Reef e site is reefs and offshore ledges. divers.com); Jolly Dive , a barrier reef which Shipwrecks lie off both islands (jollydive.com); Dive lies off the southwest tip Antigua (diveantigua. but notably Barbuda, which of Antigua and is now part of a com); Dockyard Divers has over 200. marine par k (dockyard-divers.com). Most diving is off Antigua, which has an established diving scene. Reef dives are mainly in Look out for: Shallow reefs shallow water off Antigua’s west coast. hide parrotfish, angelfish, groupers, The south coast offers deeper dives for lobsters and moray eels. Offshore reefs more experienced divers, with large rock and deep dives reveal blacktip reef formations, valleys, ledges and drop-offs sharks, turtles, stingrays and nurse sharks.

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THE BAHAMAS

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he Islands Of The Bahamas offer an array of dive experiences like no other destination in the world. Boasting some of the clearest waters, you’ll find sunken Spanish galleons, the deepest ocean blue hole, one of the largest underwater caverns and the third-largest fringing barrier reef that’s teeming with vibrant marine life. You can even swim with hammerhead sharks — an experience sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Explore what else makes The Bahamas the most complete diving destination on earth.

Diving centres: Choose your island, choose your adventure. Stuart Cove’s

��+44 (0)20 7355 0800

 @explore_bahamas

�BTO1973

Dive Bahamas, Nassau (stuartcove.com); Brendal’s Dive Center, The Abacos (brendal.com); Dive Exuma, The Exumas OW? (dive-exuma.com); DID YOU KN estinaD st Voted Be Unexso, Grand Bahama Big Diving with all r fo n tio Island (unexso.com); ck and W re W s, al m Ani and Valentine’s Dive PhotograDiving and a Diving Center, Harbour Island ub Sc phy by e in az ag M (valentinesdive.com).

Look out for: A diverse parade of marine life from turtles and charismatic eagle rays to marching spiny lobsters and the occasional tiger shark.

John Bantin

�bahamas.co.uk

 info@bahamas.co.uk

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BARBADOS

 BTMI-UK@visitbarbados.org

�visitbarbados.org

��+44 (0)20 7299 7175

 @barbados

�VisitBarbados

arbados is good for diving all year west coast and south coast as well as round, but the summer months diving operations at a number produce the best opportunities of hotels, including The for diving on the north and east Hilton. Barbados has a DID YOU KN sides of the island. Fringe, decompression chamber, The Stavroni OW? ki most famou ta is the barrier and patch reefs offer situated at St. Ann’s Fort. s wreck in Barbados an diving up to two miles off the d is relatively in tact. west coast, which also has a Look out for: Corals, in the Folkes It lies tone number of wrecks. Barbados sponges and gorgonians Marine Park is a good place to learn and on the reefs; black coral, novices can also enjoy night sea whips and sponges dives on some of the shallow reefs on wrecks. Reef dwellers and wrecks. include wrasse, yellowtail snappers, parrotfish, turtles, moray eels and barracuda. Find tiny frog fish and Diving centres: There are more seahorses at Carlise Bay. than a dozen dive centres along the 20 caribbean.co.uk

Lovethecaribbean

@_LoveCaribbean

BARBADOS TOURISM INC

B


Dive  info@travelbelize.org

B

elize is located in Central America and is bordered to the north by Mexico and to the east by the Caribbean Sea. A diverse country with various cultures and languages, Belize also has the lowest population density in Central America. Belize is known for its extreme biodiversity and distinctive ecosystems and is part of the Mesoamerican biodiversity hotspot, with many jungles, wildlife reserves and a large variety of species of flora and fauna. It has the largest cave system in Central America.

�travelbelize.org

BELIZE

��+44 (0)800 624 0686

 @belizevacation

�TravelBelize

Diving centres: Belize offers exceptional diving resorts, each with their

The Belize Tourism Board

own diving centres. Robert’s Grove Resort (robertsgrove.com) and the award-winning Hamanasi Adventure and Dive OW? Resort (hamanasi.com) DID YOU KN s the offer instruction and Belize boast argest nd-l co se ’s ld amazing day dives. or w a r Reef,also Great Barrie ld heritage or w O UNESC Look out for: ars. site for 20 ye The UNESCO World Heritage Belize Barrier Reef is home to a world of untouched coral and abundant marine life, ranging from vast whale sharks and manta rays, to dolphins, sea turtles and coral fish.

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BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

 info@bvitourism.com

�bvitourism.co.uk

��+44 (0)207 355 9585

 @bvislands_uk

�BritishVirginIs.UK

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British Virgin Islands Tourist Board UK

(bviscubadive.com). Virgin Gorda: Dive xplore the treasures that lie below BVI (divebvi.com); Sunchaser the surface! Dive The British Virgin Scuba Ltd. (sunchaserscuba. Islands to discover nature’s secrets com). Peter Island: among countless reefs, towering DID YOU KN The BVIs’ m OW? Paradise Watersports coral pinnacles and boulders, ore than 100 dive site (bviwatersports. underwater caves, canyons, s range from shallo ws for the com). Jost Van Dyke: and grottos. Dive tour guides novice snor keler to sea Jost Van Dyke Scuba are available to lead divers caverns an d sh (jostvandykescuba.com) to the best sites for each skill for experie ipwrecks nced level and rendezvous diving is ba enthusia scusts. offered for yacht guests. Look out for: Thousands of species of fish, coral, sponges, tunicates, anemones, Diving centres: Tortola: Blue Water echinoderms and more! Ranging from the Divers (bluewaterdiversbvi.com); Cuan lone barracuda to brain, star, and boulder Law (cuanlaw.com); Sail Caribbean Divers coral and tube and basket sponges. (sailcaribbeandivers.com) We Be Divin’

Div  info-uk@caymanislands.ky

D

iscover the diversity of the Cayman Islands, three of life’s little luxuries. Fabulous cuisine, cultural attractions, wildlife, beautiful coral beaches and of course outstanding scuba diving await you! Lauded as the birthplace of sport diving in the Caribbean, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac have been showing off their spectacular underwater scenery and marine life since 1957 when scuba pioneer Bob Soto opened his first dive shop. British Airways fly from Heathrow to Grand Cayman.

Diving centres: Visitors are spoilt for choice when selecting a dive company

�divecayman.ky

CAYMAN ISLANDS ��+44 (0)20 7491 7771

 @cayman_islands

�EuropeVisitCaymanIslands

as there are more than 40 dive operators across the three islands, with centres at most of the main hotels, dedicated dive OW? DID YOU KN resorts and a liveaboard the worldto e om H l company also dy Bay Wal famous Bloo City, over operating year round. y ra g in St and s plus great 365 dive site await in ng lli Look out for: snorke Islands Brightly-coloured corals, the Cayman gorgonian sea fans and sponges thrive on the reefs. Fish life is profuse, ranging from typical reef dwellers to eagle rays, sharks, turtles and large pelagic fish which patrol the walls. @_LoveCaribbean

Lovethecaribbean

caribbean.co.uk 21


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CUBA  tourism@travel2cuba.co.uk

�travel2cuba.co.uk

��+44 (0)20 7240 6655

�MinturCuba.uk

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The water temperature ranges between he largest island in the Caribbean, 75.2 and 84.2F (24 and 29 C) all Cuba’s 3,500-mile coastline – year round. including its offshore islands and cays – is surrounded by reefs. Much of its underwater heritage Diving centres: There DID YOU KN OW? is little dived, and as a result are dive centres near the Whale shar its reefs are some of the best main diving areas and at sometimes ks can be seen in preserved in the Caribbean. a number of resort hotels winter There are a number of marine in major tourist areas. For parks and other protected areas more information visit: in Cuba, several of which have nauticamarlin.tur.cu been declared UNESCO biosphere reserves. Look out for: With its long Diving areas include Maria la Gorda, Isle Spanish heritage, Cuba is the resting of Youth, Cayo Largo and the cays of the place for many ships that foundered on Jardines de la Reina and Santa Lucia. its reefs over the centuries.

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CURAÇAO �curacao.com

��+31 70 891 66 00

C

uraçao has world-class diving with a shallow fringing reef which drops off to deep water beyond. Much of its diving is shore-based because sites are so close. Its diverse undersea landscape includes coral gardens, gentle slopes and vertical walls, providing a habitat for a multitude of corals and fish. The Curaçao Underwater Park protects nearly 1,500 acres of reef. Most dives are off the sheltered west coast. There is usually a mild current, but diving suits all levels, with easy and safe dives on shallow reefs and challenging drop-offs and caves. There are also several wrecks.

 @CuracaoTravel

�curacaotb

Diving centres: Curaçao has more than 20 dive operators and some resorts feature dive centres, including Lionsdive Beach Resort, OW? DID YOU KN Marriot Curaçao Beach sts more oa b ao aç ur C ecies of fish, Resort and Hilton than 400 sp rgonians, go s, Curaçao. ge spon r marine he ot d corals an rieties va 57 life, with Look out for: Tube, e on al l of cora elephant ear and barrel sponges; sea fans and fire coral and many hard corals; scorpion fish, triggerfish, angelfish, parrotfish, moray eels, stingrays and lemon and nurse sharks.

Curaçao Tourist Board Europe

 info@ctbe.nl

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DOMINICA

 Dominica@brightergroup.com

�dominica.dm

��+44 (0)20 7326 9880

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 @nature_island

till relatively undiscovered, Dominica’s Diving centres: Dominica has a underwater topography mirrors number of dive operators that of its mountainous landscape, including centres at some with lushly covered reefs hotels. All are members DID YOU KN plunging to great depths of the Dominica The five Dan OW? glebens offshore. Nutrients washed Watersports Association Pinnacles ri se down from mountain rivers (dominicawatersports. 100 to 25-fee from t help Dominica’s reefs’ com). covered with and are sponges and corals luxuriant marine growth and including black coral attract masses of fish life. Look out for: Abundant The Scotts Head/Soufriere reef life with many Marine Reserve protects many of varieties of coral, sponges the island’s top dive sites. Walls from the and gorgonians. Squid, frogfish, submerged volcano crater of Soufriere squirrelfish, pufferfish, turtles, seahorses, Bay plummet 1,500 feet, with ridges and soldierfish, wrasse barracuda and flying pinnacles making for spectacular diving. gunards are popular sightings. 22 caribbean.co.uk

Lovethecaribbean

@_LoveCaribbean

�DiscoverDominica


Div  gta@eyes2market.co.uk

W

ith more than 50 intriguing sites to be discovered it’s no wonder that divers of all levels are attracted to Grenada and its sister islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique. Dive into Grenada and you will find, just a short ride from shore, colourful coral reefs, spectacular shipwrecks, exhilarating drift dives and the world’s first Underwater Sculpture Park. Both Grenada and Carriacou offer diver training courses and snorkelling expeditions. Grenada boasts one of the Caribbean’s largest and most famous wreck dives, the Bianca C, while Carriacou is known as the ‘Island of Reefs’ and

GRENADA

�puregrenada.com

��+44 (0)20 8328 0644

�discovergrenada

 @puregrenada

offers excellent and varied diving with every kind of coral imaginable.

Diving centres: To learn more about our excellent dive shops visit puregrenada.com.

Look out for:

? YOU KNOW

DID Grenada Not only is diving nd a year-rou each year it destination, res to the tu p ul sc adds Sculpture Underwater Park

Grenada and Carriacou are home to a vast variety of marine life including turtles, sea horses, frog fish, angel fish, parrot fish, lobster, barracuda and moray eels, plus many types of corals and beautiful sponges.

Div  info@guyana-tourism.com

�guyana-tourism.com

GUYANA

��00 592 219 0094-6

�GuyanaUndiscovered

 @TourismGuyana

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Guyana Tourism Authority

into the rainforest. Guyana is one of here is no diving in Guyana but this the world’s most exciting and wild and beautiful country makes adventurous destinations. a great destination to twin with neighbouring Venezuela or the DID YOU KN southern Caribbean. Look out for: Jaguars Kaieteur Fa OW? lls, where Guyana is a country of still roam the rainforest, the 400-foot wide Potaro River plung stunning natural beauty, and the cries of troupes es 741 feet from the Pa with a long coastline, dense of howler monkeys echo karaima Plateau, is on equatorial forest and the through the trees. Unique e of the world’s gre at waterbroad savannah of the wildlife includes the giant falls Rupununi. Mount Roraima was river otter, black caiman, the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s and the Arapaima (the largest Lost World. freshwater fish in the world), Life in Guyana is dominated by its which swim in the rivers of the Rupununi. mighty rivers, including the Demerara, the Brightly-coloured birds like macaws flit Berbice and the Essequibo – all highways across the forest canopy.

Div  info@experiencehaiti.org

N

ature seekers will be amazed at Haiti’s rich diversity, demonstrated by its wonderful unspoilt mountains and coastline and culturally rich towns. There are important historical buildings, including Citadelle Laferriere, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Haiti is virtually unknown as a diving destination but it has some unique underwater treasures, including reefs and historic shipwrecks. Most diving is around Côte des Arcadins and the North East Coast of La Gonave. There are shallow dives on the Arcadins Islands, wall dives are found around La Gonave, Port St Marc and Trou Forban.

�experiencehaiti.org

HAITI

��+44 (0)20 3289 1804

 @XperienceHaiti

ExperienceHaiti

Diving centres: There are dive centres at some hotels, at Port Morgan (South) and Comier Beach (North). DID YOU There is also the Marina KNOW? i Beach Blue, on the Côte des Near Aman d the fin ill divers w Arcadins (the beach g e. Extendin Zombie Hol 137 metres area closest to Portto a depth of huge au-Prince). it’s home to r elephant ea sponges Look out for: Little is known about Haiti’s reefs but studies in the 1980s at Les Arcadins found 35 species of hard corals as well as 12 gorgonians and 54 species of sponge. @_LoveCaribbean

Lovethecaribbean

caribbean.co.uk 23


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JAMAICA

�visitjamaica.com

 mail@visitjamaica.com

��+44 (0)20 7225 9090

 @visitjamaicauk

�visitjamaicauk

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ompletely surrounded by turquoise (scuba-jamaica.com). Sea Safari warm waters with temperatures companies include Island Routes (islandroutes.com); Chukka up to 24C, Jamaica is the Caribbean (chukka. ideal destination for diving DID YOU KN OW? com); Cool Runnings enthusiasts, both experts and Jamaica is th e third largest isla (coolrunningscatamarans. novices. nd in the West Indies com); Glistening Waters The island boasts superb - and the only one co mpletely (glisteningwaters.com). unspoilt tropical bays with surrounded by hidden treasures like sunken Caribbean the Sea! wrecks and vibrant corals that Look out for: Among will awaken your senses. the reefs, expect to see To dive in Jamaica, it is required brilliant parrotfish, large-eyed that you obtain a PADI certificate. squirrelfish, blue tang, stingrays, eagle rays, rock lobster and turtles. Blue marlin, yellowfin tuna, shark and wahoo Diving centres: Scubacaribe reside in the deepest waters. (scubacaribe.com) and Scuba Jamaica

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MARTINIQUE �martinique.org

M

��+33 1 44 77 86 00

 @cmtmartinique

�MartniqueMagnifique

three wrecks at St-Pierre and the canyons of Les Canyons de Babodi, which drop 150 feet, 300 feet from the shore.

artinique is often called the Isle of Flowers, and its warm soil is home to a riot of tropical colour. It is an ideal choice for divers, hikers and yachties. This French island has serious style and makes for a sophisticated beach holiday with West Indian warmth in its personality and a truly laid-back atmosphere. There are plenty of sports to choose from on Martinique, from yachting to golf, windsurfing to deep-sea fishing. And diving of course! There are many exceptional diving sites in Martinique, both on the Caribbean and Atlantic coast. Scuba highlights include the coral reef between St-Pierre and Le Pecheur, the

Diving centres: There are approximately 40 diving schools on the island with some of them situated conveniently at hotels.

OW? DID YOU KN

ck The shipwre ates at d cemetery th Pelée ount from the M 1902 was in n tio up er Captain by d re ve disco Cousteau

Look out for: Multi-coloured underwater life includes eels, lobster, tortoise, mackerels and sea horses.

Comité Martiniquais du Tourisme

 infos@martiniquetourisme.com

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MONTSERRAT

 info@montserrat.ms

�visitmontserrat.com

��+1 664 491 2230 / 4703

�islandofMontserrat

offs from its continental shelf. t may be dominated by its active volcano but Montserrat hasn’t lost its diving. Thanks to a small Diving centres: Green population, even prior to the Monkey Dive Shop DID YOU KN OW? eruption in 1995, there has been (divemontserrat.com) Montserrat’s island neig closest little pollution or damage to and Scuba Montserrat hbour, the uninhabite dK the corals on its reefs. (scubamontserrat. Redonda, of ingdom of fers pristin Activity from the Soufriere com) offer courses and e diving and visibility at Hills Volcano currently limits equipment rental. uncharted sites diving to the northern part of the island and most diving is Look out for: Typical done on the west coast, which is reef dwellers including cleaner mostly in the lee of the Atlantic waves shrimps, octopus and lobster. and trade winds. Montserrat has shallow Larger pelagics and turtles patrol deeper reefs inshore, with deeper reefs, boulders waters, where there are huge barrel and ledges further out, leading to dropsponges, brain, staghorn and star corals. 24 caribbean.co.uk

Lovethecaribbean

@_LoveCaribbean

David Mac Gillivary -Montserrat Tourist Board

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evis is one of the most unspoilt and relaxing islands in the Caribbean. Vividly green with blue skies, clean air and long empty beaches, Nevis has a pace of life that encourages you to stop and appreciate all the natural beauty around you. It’s a very special place famed for its charm and easy-going genuine people. Come and discover this remarkable jewel for yourself.

Diving centres: Nevis’ only dive shop, Scuba Safaris (divenevis.com), enables trips to dozens of reefs, wrecks and volcanic vents - just minutes offshore. The company offers a multitude of diving

�nevisisland.com

��+44 (0)130 523 3107

 @NevisNaturally

�nevisnaturally

and snorkelling courses as well as private charter ventures for those not wanting to share a boat. OW? Look out for: The DID YOU KN asons in channel between The Four Se let you en Nevis and St. Kitts is Nevis will ev ef and ch a ith w e div teeming with marine bster your own lo h tc ca life, with large schools r! ne in d r fo of fish commonplace. However, the waters around Nevis play host to amazing creatures including four species of turtle, humpback whales and spinner dolphins – just a taste of the interactive marine life on offer.

Nevis Tourism Authority

 info@nevisisland.com

NEVIS

Div  puertorico@hillsbalfour.com

�seepuertorico.com

PUERTO RICO

��+44 (0)20 7593 1782

 @PRTourismCo

�SeePuertoRico

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our nature reserves protect nearly a Diving centres: There are a number quarter of Puerto Rico’s diverse and of dive centres, including some well-developed coral reefs. These at major hotels, with diving reserves skirt much of Puerto close by. Here’s a few DID YOU KN Rico’s coast and encircle its websites to check out: OW? The best div offshore Islands. divepuertorico.com and ing is off the sout h and west Puerto Rico offers enticing pureadventurepr.com coast at La Parguera W ocean temperatures of around all, which has d eep 27°C and underwater visibility Look out for: There’s and reef div wall ing is generally up to 100-feet or a multitude of corals and more – making the island a real prolific fish life, including paradise for dive enthusiasts. the chance to see turtles, Beginners benefit from scuba classes seahorses, hammerhead sharks in the majority of major hotels in Puerto and manatees on dives, as well as Rico and many dive shops offer lessons dolphins and humpback whales from for all levels. the boat.

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here the coastline on surrounding islands is dominated by big resorts, on St. Eustatius it is serene peace and tranquillity which engulfs the island – something that is passed on to residents and visitors alike. Statia, as it is called by the locals, prides itself on being a very safe and friendly island where time has stood still. The reefs surounding St. Eustatius are flourishing in a protected marine park larger than the island itself. The old town wall that protected St. Eustatius from the 17th century has now been taken over by the sea and hundreds of metres of sunken old town walls and

�statiatourism.com

��+599 318 2433

 @StatiaTourism

�St-Eustatius-Tourism

remains of warehouses are waiting to be explored.

Diving centres: Dive Statia Dive Center (divestatia. com); Golden Rock Dive Center (goldenrockdive.com); Scubaqua Dive Center (scubaqua.com).

? YOU KNOW

DID squareStatia is 8.1- s two miles but ha rts/ 21 fo volcanoes, otanical b a , ts os outp marine a d an garden azing am park with diving

Cees Timmers Photography

 teena.lopes@statiatourism.com

ST. EUSTATIUS

Look out for: Caribbean reef sharks, green and hawksbill turtles and fascinating flying gurnards which, when excited, spread their ‘wings’. @_LoveCaribbean

Lovethecaribbean

caribbean.co.uk 25


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ST. KITTS

�stkittstourism.kn

 uk@stkittstourism.kn

��+44 (0)20 7376 0881

�stkittstourism

 @StKittsTourism

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he underwater topography of St. Diving centres: PADI accredited dive Kitts offers divers of all levels centres include: Kenneth’s Dive an authentic scuba experience Center (kennethdivecenter. in beautiful underwater com), Pro Divers DID YOU KNOW? surroundings. (prodiversstkitts.com), The waters around Unknown to many, the Dive St. Kitts (divestkitts. St. Kitts are ho waters offshore offer a wealth com) and Scuba Safaris hundreds of me to sunken galleons an of amazing dive sites, from Ltd. (divestkittsnevis. d fr from 17th an igates virtually untouched coral reefs com). d 18th century nava and shoals to hot-water vents, l battles shallows, sloping canyons, walls Look out for: St. Kitts and swim-through caverns, home to offers a variety of sea safaris colourful marine life at depths ranging from snorkelling excursions and from 40 to 200 feet. There are also plenty fishing trips to catamaran cruises where of shipwrecks to explore and the island music, a well-stocked bar, beach-time and has excellent dive centres. lunch make for an exhilirating day out.

D iv

SAINT LUCIA �saintluciauk.org

 sltbinfo@stluciauk.org

P

lunging into the crystal-clear waters of Saint Lucia is a great experience for both beginners and experts alike. There are a variety of dive operators on the island who are dedicated to ensure exceptional diving experiences for all. Saint Lucia boasts a number of stunning dive sites that catapult divers into a tranquil world filled with secret nooks waiting to be explored. With some of the most captivating deep-sea wildlife in the Caribbean, you can experience an underwater carnival of exotic fish.

Diving centres: Saint Lucia has a number of dive centres, many of

��+44 (0)20 7341 7000

 @SaintLuciaUK

�SaintLuciaUK

which can be found within resorts. Visit saintluciauk.org/diving for a full list of dive centres.

Look out for: An OW? DID YOU KN fers of a abundance of sea ci Lu Saint g which life including turtles, helmet divin n even ca seahorses, stingrays, means you es under ss la g ur yo wear barracudas and many the water! tropical fish. Divers can explore the reefs to see barrel sponges and brain coral. Species include goatfish, parrotfish, chromis, wrasse and squid in shallow waters, and triggerfish, groupers, jacks and snappers on deeper sites.

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ST. MAARTEN

 info@vacationstmaarten.com

�vacationstmaarten.com

��+1 721 549 0200

 @StMaartenTravel

�vacationstmaarten

the HMS Proselyte, a notable British ive enthusiasts will enjoy the frigate which sank in 1801 on a crystalline waters surrounding reef near Great Bay. St. Maarten, which allow for clear DID YOU KN visibility of up to 200 feet and OW? St Maarten excellent views of the colourful Diving centres: There ’s national mar first ine park, fish and coral. are several dive centres the Man of W There are more than 40 and operators in St. Marine Park ar Shoal ,p the Proselyt reserves excellent dive sites off St. Maarten, including some e important un Reef, an Maarten’s coast and day trips based at hotels. derwater habitat are available to neighbouring islands such as Anguilla and Look out for: Many St. Barts, which also offer superb species of corals, crustaceans diving. There are a couple of diveable and reef fish covering the full wrecks and some large caves. A marine colour spectrum. Divers may also see reserve protects many coastal areas. turtles, sharks, eel, barracuda, angelfish, St. Maarten’s most popular sites include stingrays and eagle rays.

26 caribbean.co.uk

Lovethecaribbean

@_LoveCaribbean

St Maarten Tourist Bureau

D


Div  paris@iledesaintmartin.org here are about 50 diving sites spread out around Saint Martin – an infinite space waiting to be explored beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea and one of the most prestigious diving destinations in the Antilles Arc. Here, all-year-round, divers will find perfect coral reefs and vaulted ceilings of their caves. A wealth of tropical aquatic fauna can be found in the rocky depths, both among the aquatic plants as well as around the wrecks intentionally sunk to serve as artificial reefs. Both provide habitats for thriving fish, crustacea, turtles and seashells.

�stmartinisland.org

��00 33 1 53 29 99 99

 @ilesaintmartin

Diving centres: There are several wellequipped dive centres offering certification and advanced diving. Some are based at hotels and resorts.

Look out for: The

�ot.sxm q are

DID YOU KNOW?

of the The remains e, an yt HMS Prosel recked ate w English frig moving a is , 01 in 18 ical site archaeolog ons ca with its nn still intact

many reefs are covered with multi-coloured sponges and soft corals which serve as rich hunting grounds for the multitude of brightly coloured tropical fish which inhabit them. Divers may also see turtles,sharks, barracuda, stingrays and eagle rays.

Laurent Benoit

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SAINT MARTIN

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ST. VINCENT & THE GRENADINES �discoversvg.com

 svgtourismeurope@gmail.com

��+44 (0)20 7937 6570

 @DiscoverSVG

�DiscoverSVG

S

Kay Wilson

t. Vincent and the Grenadines Diving centres: You can offers some of the most majestic find dive centres on St. Vincent, underwater terrain for scuba divers. Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, The water is exceptionally clear Union Island and Petit St. for most of the year and divers Vincent. DID YOU KN OW? will be captivated by the The Tobago Cays is St.Vincent beautiful rainbow-coloured Look out for: There is an Grenadines d the reefs. Bequia offers gently an abundance of sealife National Marine Park sloping reef dives, wrecks in the waters. Fish, black and garden dives. Mustique corals and even a seahorse provides divers with the chance or two can be spotted, to see rare spotted drums, banded which makes for superlative coral shrimp and secretive critters. diving on the islands. Also on Canouan, Union Island and Petit. St show are an amazing underwater forest Vincent offer drift dives wreck dives and of sea fronds and gently-waving sea fans, reef dives. sparkles of tiny fish and coral reefs.

Div

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

 trinbago@amgltd.biz

S

eparated from Trinidad by just a few miles of water Tobago has been blessed with all of the attributes of a world-class dive destination, perhaps at the expense of its sister to the south. The island’s nutrient-rich waters support some of the most amazing reefs in the Caribbean. Its proximity to South America places it in the path of the Guyana current, which feeds the area with the nutrients from Venezuela’s Orinoco River. This attracts marine life from the microscopic to the majestic.

Diving centres: The Association of Tobago Dive Operators has members

�tobagostyle.travel

��+44 (0)844 846 0812

 @TnT_Steelypan

�adventuresofsteelypan

located in the northern and southern parts of the island and information about pricing, tours, training and dive OW? sites can be found on DID YOU KN s what st oa b o its website: tobago Tobag world’s e th scubadiving.com is possibly ral at co in largest bra off the ’ in ra D ‘Kelleston Look out for: Drift side ey village of Sp along the ‘Flying Reef’ past huge plate coral colonies and the wall of Bermuda Chub. ‘The Sisters’ is a series of rock pinnacles rising from the deep and plays host to hammerheads and sealife. @_LoveCaribbean

Lovethecaribbean

caribbean.co.uk 27


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TURKS AND CAICOS

 info@tcilondon.org.uk

�turksandcaicostourism.com

��+44 (0)20 7034 7845

 @TCITourism

�tcitourism

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Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board

he Turks and Caicos Islands offer Diving centres: There are many dive shallow reef diving as well as centres, located mainly on Grand exceptional wall diving on deep Turk and Providenciales. walls, canyons, seamounts, All operators have diving DID YOU KN ledges and swim-throughs. The equipment available for The remote OW? island of Salt Cay is reefs encircling the banks and rent, PADI, NAUI and SSI one of best places the islands are extremely diverse, certification recognised. to experience with 37 coral species and the rare chance to d ive with more than 400 fish species Look out for: Abundant humpback whales recorded. marine life from small The Islands lie on the edge of nudibranchs to the giant two undersea mountain plateaus humpbacks. with steep walls throughout. With such The islands’ walls attract large varied types of diving for everyone, from pelagic species including manta and the novice diver to the advanced diver. eagle rays, turtles, sharks, groupers, dolphins and whale sharks.

D iv

US VIRGIN ISLANDS �visitusvi.com

T

he U.S. Virgin Islands is part of the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. The three main islands – St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas – feature breathtaking landscapes, each distinguished by its own personality. St. Croix’s underwater national monument, St. John’s protected underwater reserve and St. Thomas’ collection of wrecks and reefs appeal to divers of any skill level. The captivating collection of sites, reefs, wrecks and caves can all be explored in a single day.

Diving centres: The U.S. Virgin Islands features an array of five-star

��+1-800-372-USVI (8784)

 @USVITourism

�visitusvi

PADI-certified dive operators that cater to both novice divers and dive enthusiasts. Additionally, many resorts have dive centers and dive OW? DID YOU KN ience er p packages. For a list ex You can in the es iv d of dive centers, visit: five types of nds - wall, Isla www.visitusvi.com U.S. Virgin , piers and wreck, reef shore Look out for: From wreck and wall dives to thrilling night dives, the U.S. Virgin Islands feature an enviable variety of underwater experiences, making it one of the Caribbean’s top dive destinations.

U.S. virgin Islands Department of Tourism

 info@usvitourism.vi

Div

VENEZUELA

 economia.londres@mppre.gob.ve

�mintur.gob.ve

��+44 (0)20 7584 4206

 @minturvenezuela

�Minturven

notably Los Roques, made up of 40 oasting the longest stretch of islands and a national park. coastline of any Caribbean country, Venezuela has its fair share of blissed out beach resorts. But Diving centres: DID YOU KN this still under-visited country Liveaboards can be OW? Reefs exis has much more to offer. organised from Caracas. mainland co t off the ast The clear, warm waters of There is a dive resort in such as Mor at places rocoy and the Caribbean coastline are Los Roques and some on Mochina, b oth nationa l parks near ideal for snorkelling, diving the mainland. ly 30 years and all manner of water-based old activities. Inland are wetlands, the Look out for: More than steamy Amazon, rolling savannah 50 coral species have been punctuated by flat-topped mountains identified at Los Roques along and the famous Angel Falls. with nearly 300 species of coral reef fish. Venezuela’s marine treasures are Large fish include big-eye jacks, tarpon, concentrated off its offshore islands, eagle rays, sharks and barracuda.

28 caribbean.co.uk

Lovethecaribbean

@_LoveCaribbean

Lerry Cantano

B


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DIRECTORY

The Caribbean Tourism Organization’s members are standing by to help you book your next diving holiday...


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30 caribbean.co.uk

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BVITOURISM.CO.UK 44-207-355-9585 The best-kept secrets are the ones we keep to ourselves. The secrets hidden among the British Virgin Islands are some of nature’s best. Throughout her 60 bejeweled islands are pristine beaches, ancient shipwrecks, colorful coral gardens and cave explorations that quench the most profound wanderlust. These are everlasting moments. The ones you keep to yourself.

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Carribean Diving  

There’s no better place for divers than the Caribbean! If you had to describe the region in one word it would be ‘diverse’ – and that appli...

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