Tortola Scuba Diving

Tortola Scuba Diving

One of Natures Little Secrets

Scuba divers who have been to Tortola scuba diving will agree this island is the place to have an extraordinary Caribbean scuba vacation.

While living in the U.S. Virgin Islands I was able to make several dive trips to the BVI. Most dive shops on St. Thomas and St. John would do a day trip to sites like the wreck of the Rhone, Painted Walls and the Indians.

Caribbean Scuba Vacation Along with more than 50 other islands, Tortola helps make up the British Virgin Islands. Known as Natures Little Secrets, the islands have blue skies, warm sun, sandy beaches and clear blue water. The government of the BVI has done a great job of protecting and maintaining their natural environment both above and below the water.

Unlike other over-hyped, high-volume Caribbean dive destinations Tortola is a quiet, sleepy island that refuses to give up her Caribbean soul. Tortola plays host to dive travelers who come to visit some of the most beautiful islands the Caribbean has to offer and dive pristine coral reefs and underwater seamounts teeming with and abundance of marine wildlife.

BVI Scuba Diving

Tortola and the BVI offer some of the best Caribbean scuba diving. There is something for divers of all levels. Like most of the islands in this part of the Caribbean the islands are surrounded by shallow seas with sandy bottoms. This provides great sites for beginning divers. For the more seasoned diver there are fantastic pinnacles, reefs and wrecks.

The wreck of the Rhone is one of the most well known dive sites in the BVI. The Rhone was made famous when it was used in the movie "The Deep" in 1977. It in considered by many divers to be one of the best wreck dives in the world.

Bow: Depth Range: 65-80 ft (20-24 m) Midsection: Depth Range: 50-70 ft (15-21 m)

Stern: Depth Range: 20-50 ft (6-15 m) Location: West side of Salt Island

Another great wreck dive is the Chikuzen, a 246 ft refrigeration ship than sank in 1981. This wreck is off the north side of Tortola. Because the wreck is open to the Atlantic Ocean it is not always possible to make the dive because of rough seas and a northerly swell.

The underwater terrain around Tortola is incredibly beautiful. It is like a maze of ledges, sinkholes, pinnacles and fishy reefs. You can see colorful sponges and soft corals hanging off the walls of canyons and tunnels. There are fields of gorgonians and seas fans swaying in the current.

BVI Scuba

Divers coming to Tortola scuba diving will find stunning coral gardens teeming with every kind of tropical marine life. On a good day you can see sharks, hawksbill turtles, sting rays, eagle rays, jacks, barracudas, moray eels, grunts, trumpet fish and several types of angelfish. The list of marine animals you can see is endless.

Many of the Tortola and BVI scuba dive sites are located among the 18 mile long line of island and cays known as The Sir Frances Drake Channel. These sites have an average depth of 15 to 60 ft/5 to 18 meters and a few with depths in the 80 to 100 ft/27 to 33 meter range. There are many great dives to satisfy the novice diver as well as the advanced and expert diver.

There are more than a 100 dive sites scattered around Tortola and the rest of the islands that make up the BVI. Here is a list of some of the dive sites offered to divers coming to Tortola scuba diving.

  • Santa Monica Rock Depth Range: 20-70 ft (6-21 m)

  • Angel Reef Depth Range: 20-65 ft (6-20 m)

  • The Indians Depth Range: Surface-50 ft (15 m)

  • Rainbow Canyon Depth Range: 25-60 ft (7.6-18 m)

  • Black Forest Depth Range: 15-65 ft ( 4.6-20 m)

  • Fearless & Willy T Depth Range: 30-85 ft (9-26 m)

  • Painted Walls Depth Range: 6-40 ft (1.8-12 m)

  • Blonde Rock Depth Range: 10-65 ft ( 3-20 m)

  • Vanishing Rock Depth Range: Surface-40 ft (12 m)

  • Cistern Point Depth Range: Surface 30 ft ( 9.1 m)

  • Inganess Bay Depth Range: 45-80 ft (14-24 m)

  • Tugboats Beata, Marie L & Pat Depth Range: 45-85 ft(14-27 m)

  • Ginger Steps Depth Range: 40-100 ft (12-31 m)

One reason the marine environment around Tortola and the BVI is so healthy is the National Parks Trust and the Ministry of Natural Resources. They have installed and maintain a system of moorings at many of the dive sites. They are dedicated to the safety and preservation of the marine environment through out the British Virgin Islands.

BVI Scuba Diving

Getting There

If you are coming to Tortola scuba diving and you are flying in from Miami or New York you will have to fly to Puerto Rico, St. Thomas or St. Maarten. From there you can make a connecting flight to Tortola's main airport on Beef Island.

For those of you coming from Europe to Tortola scuba diving flights originate in London, Paris and Amsterdam and fly to St. Maarten and Antigua. Local commuter air service will carry you from these islands on to Tortola.

There is also a ferry service that runs between the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

Best Caribbean Scuba Vacation

More Useful Information

If you are planning a Caribbean scuba vacation to Tortola, you should known...

  • Water Temperature: 79` F (26` C) in January to 84` F (29` C) in July

  • Visibility: 100-13 feet (30-40 meters)

There are several dive operations scattered around Tortola the BVI. They all provide professional service, guided dives, rent scuba gear and provide air fills.

When looking for a dive Center, get one that offers diving for smaller groups to allow you to make the most of your Tortola scuba diving.

For the best information on hotel and accommodations visit the official website of the BVI Tourist Board. They have great information on where to stay, what to do and getting around.

Tortola scuba diving is Caribbean diving the way it should be. Dive operators who like to pamper their guest by taking them to some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean and showing them some very pristine diving. It is not hard to see why Tortola and the BVI are considered Natures Little Secrets.

Tortola Scuba Diving

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