St Barthelemy (St Barth, St Barts)
Scuba diving in St Barth is by no means the best in the Caribbean, but the corals and the colours are good, largely because of the shallow water (between St Barths and St Martin it goes no deeper than about 100 feet) and the sandy bottom, which reflects the sunlight.
There are not many large fish to be seen at the dive sites, but with the reefs left largely untouched by local fishermen (this is because of the local disease ciguatera and more recently because of the marine park) there are plenty of small fish to be seen. There is a wreck dive, the Kaïali.
In 1996 St. Barth created a Marine Reserve to protect coral, sea life and fisheries. The coral was damaged by hurricanes in the early 90s as well as careless anchoring, so the reserve was wisely established to return it to health.
St. Barth still has lots of great diving with healthy coral, a large & varied fish population. It's real appeal is as a holiday destination and at that it truly excels, but it's good to know there's some enjoyable diving just minutes away.
Le Pain de Sucre (sugar loaf) is a popular site.
Nearby, the Kaïali lies in less than 100 feet of water and has two good entries and an easily visible exit.
Just south of this section of the Reserve are Les Petits Saints.
Another popular area is around Ile Fourchue to the northwest of St Barths, where you can expect to see worms standing on their tails, which withdraw back into their holes when you pass over them.
Anyone who dives in the waters protected by the marine park is asked to contribute one euro per dive to the park.
For regular divers, a pass is available for 15 euros (for one year). Available at the marine park office in Gustavia.
St Barths is a commune of Guadeloupe and therefore part of France, which means that any holder of a valid European community passport is permitted entry without a visa. As of 1 July 2005, U.S. and Canadian citizens must present proof of citizenship in the form of a valid passport. A return or onward ticket is required of all visitors.
|Language:||French is the official language but English is widely spoken|
|Natural hazards:||Hurricanes (July - November)|
|Diving season:||12 months|
|Air Temperature:||20°C/68°F to 33°C/91.4°F|