British Virgin Islands
A British overseas territory, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. Here's the map. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S. Virgin Islands.
While the BVI may not have walls or drift diving, it does have sites full of stunning coral gardens, canyons, tunnels, caverns, grottos, and, most famously, the BVIs are home to the wreck of The Rhone, which served as the site for the underwater scenes in the 1977 movie 'The Deep'.
Conservation is very much in effect, with marked buoys at the more popular sites.
- Painted Walls for some of the finest sponge encrusted walls in the region.
- Coral spawning - 1 week after the first full moon in August.
- The Chikuzen - being to the north of Tortola means it has no shelter from the islands and is exposed to northerly swells.
- The Rhone - lying just west of Salt Island, she is a former Royal Mail Steamer that sank in a hurricane on October 29, 1867. A spectacularly large 310 ft (94 metres) steamer in her previous life, she's now a three-site dive, with each chunk resting at varying depths, from 20 to 80 ft (6 to 24 metres). [Source: Wikitravel]
- The Dogs is the main diving area around Virgin Gorda for tunnels, chimneys, arches and in caves.
- The Invisibles, just north of Virgin Gorda.
- The Baths - a popular snorkelling site and many boats anchor nearby during the day time. You can also get to the Baths from the land, though it is a bit of a scramble. Some extraordinary geological activity generated a maze of huge boulders that capture the sea in clear pools. The Baths are quite an experience and should not be missed even at the risk of giving up an afternoon’s diving.
Anegada - 20 miles north of Virgin Gorda has more than 300 ships which have been wrecked on the coral that encircles the island, so loads of dive sites.
- To see the whale migration, go between late December and early April and stay in the North Sound area. Do advanced dives in open waters north of Virgin Gorda at the Chikuzen and Invisibles. The most likely time to see whales are during the months of February and March when they have babies and must travel on or near the surface.
- The sites to the north of Tortola are primarily summer sites because in the winter months northerly swells make conditions at best uncomfortable.
- No spear fishing or removal of flora or fauna.
|Time:||GMT - 4|
|Natural hazards:||Hurricanes and tropical storms (July to October)|
|Diving season:||12 months|
|Water temperature:||Jan to March - 24C/75F|
|June to October – 27C/80F|
|Hyperbaric chambers:||St Thomas, US Virgin Islands|