I have told you about some of our dive sites, like our wreck dives and where we go for night dives. Now I believe it is time to tell you a bit more about what some of our favorite dive sites are in the British Virgin Islands. Before anything though I must admit that when you ask any of us what our favorite dive is we will all say the same; “All of them as they are different every time!” or “Any dive is a good dive!(Mainly because it keeps us out of the office)” Our favorites probably change with the season as well, as the winds change directions it opens up new dive sites, calm sites become rougher and vice versa.
When I told Shon the topic of our blog for this month he started nodding his head and got a big smile on his face.” Clearly Seal Dog Rock is the best dive site here in the Dog Islands”; he answered when I asked him which was his favorite dive. Seal Dog Rock is located just off Seal Dog Island and is a small pinnacle that only just peaks out of the water. It is prone to a bit rougher surface conditions as there is nothing to protect it from the wind. In general you will find the visibility a bit lower than on other dive sites, due to the amount of plankton that seems to flow by in the current. And that is why it is Shon’s favorite; all this plankton attracts so much marine life that you don’t know where to start looking. As you descend down the mooring line into about 40 feet you land on a smaller underwater pinnacle which is normally swarmed by butterfly fish and damselfish who like to follow you around. Heading towards the main pinnacle you are most of the time greeted by barracuda, horse eyed jacks preying on the big schools of sergeant majors and grunts up in the shallows. You can make this a deeper dive and slope off to another underwater pinnacle at about 65-70 feet where we tend to see lobsters and bigger fish or you can just stay nice and shallow and watch the big schools of smaller fish circle above your head. The fish mainly seem to hang out on one spot though and like to give us a scare when we hardly see anything until we come around the pinnacle to find them all hanging out there. Splendid file fish like this dive site and if you come across one at the beginning of your dive, guaranteed he will follow you around the entire dive. “It is the vast amount of marine life which is so mind-blowing” Shon concluded.
One of Ben’s favorites this time of the year is Joe’s Cave. Located on West Dog Island it is one of our furthest dive sites in the Dog Islands, yet only about a 20 minute ride. “Like the Baths under water.” that is how he likes to describe this beautiful dive site. Dropping into about 20 feet of water surrounded by massive boulders definitely makes you feel like you are at the Baths. Making your way in and around the rocks you are likely to see a bunch of parrot fish and blue tangs. Lately a cobia (a good-sized fish that looks like a shark but is not) has been making his appearance on this site and he likes to cruise by in the shallows yet he is shy and does not hang around. After checking out this boulder paradise you make your way up in the shallows in the direction of Joe’s Cave. This beautiful crevice in the rocks (about 75 feet in length) looks a bit dark to begin with, but as you head in deeper your eyes adjust to the light and you can see the glassy sweepers marking the end of ‘cave’. As the light shines in from the top, making this big school of small fish shimmer like diamonds you turn around and start heading back towards the entrance. Looking out from the cave you are greeted by some beautiful crystal clear blueness!
Now one of my favorites is called Ledges, also known as Dolphin Rocks. Located off George Dog this set of pinnacles and underwater ledges is great to spot a whole bunch of critters. What most people don’t know though and also the reason it is one of my favorites is that there is a stingray cleaning station! As you drop under the boat into about 25 feet of water you duck under a beautiful arch followed by a set of ledges often hiding lobsters and big schools of grunts. Heading along the pinnacle you slowly make your way towards a big sand bar past the pinnacle at about 70 feet. There, right in the middle of a whole lot of sand is a little coral island often swarmed by schools of grunts. When you look in and around the coral heads on the island you can often find shrimp and eels. It is this island which functions as a stingray cleaning station! Up to 6-7 feet wide southern stingrays like to lay around in the sand around the islands, coming for a swim by at the island where they will get cleaned by the fish. On a bad day you see at least one southern stingray, on a good day we have seen up to 17 southern stingrays, either lounging in the sand or slowly cruising around the island getting cleaned. Making your way back along the other side of the pinnacle you see big schools of sergeant majors hanging out in the shallows, angelfish and file fish swimming along and little critters like the flamingo tongues sitting on the rope coral and sea fans.
If you would like to find out more about our dive sites make sure to visit our website!