Underwater exploration is not a new thing. It has been existing for ages and has many different forms. Many people explore the world’s oceans to learn more about them by charting geological formations or even finding new forms of life. Others want to find treasures. Some people get a kick out of mapping underwater caves and others like us just want to find new dive sites to take our guests to. It is of course through underwater exploration that people found all these amazing dive sites in the British Virgin Islands.
That is of course how all diving started, here in the BVI and anywhere else in the world. People would dive a random spot and if it was good they would go back to it. When they got bored with it after a while they would try a new spot to see if it was any good and if they liked it they just added it to the list. By now we have quit a big list compiled of dive sites in the BVI and most of them got their names with good reason, some obvious, some not so much…
Exploration diving is not a new thing in the British Virgin Islands. We had the good old Bert Kilbride after all. Bert was commissioned by the BVI government to recover a lot of the wrecks around Anegada. He found a lot of them and mapped them. People say there are 360 wrecks around Anegada because of the treacherous reef system around it. Bert did manage to map them but did not want to give up his maps. Therefore he was called the “Last living pirate alive” by the BVI government.
Luckily for us most of the exploration diving in the British Virgin Islands has been done and we can all just show up and dive one of the many spots people have discovered for us. The BVI counts about 77 mapped dive sites and each of these you can do in a couple of different ways. Jeff Williams compiled the amazing “Guide to diving and Snorkeling in the British Virgin Islands.” A fantastic guide-book which explains how to dive each of these sites, what to expect, when to do them, who should or should not do them…
One of many amazing names for dive sites is Brown Pants, located at Norman Island. It got its name because when Annie and Duncan were running Misty Law, the first live-aboard in the BVI, they were exploring this point to see if it would be a good dive site. So they say; They got chased back to their boat by several bull sharks who rounded a corner. A new dive site was born…
We have some of our own discovered dive sites here at Sunchaser Scuba. These new dive sites give us the chance to take our divers to new spots they haven’t been to and it gives us something new and exciting. A new dive site to learn, different coral and topography… Just a whole new world down there. Finding new dive sites often gives us the chance to adapt depending on what the weather is doing and just makes sure we can always dive somewhere, no matter what the weather is doing.
The first one was found by Mike our owner. In the winter when the wind picks up it can get quit rough everywhere. When the swell picks up, unfortunately it messes up the visibility in the Dog Islands, our closest dive sites. So now you have to go all the way towards Cooper Island. Not that far away but in rougher seas not the most enjoyable. So they decided if they had to take a beating to get to a dive site, they might as well make the beating shorter and just go around the corner of the Bitter End Yacht Club to Pejarus Point.
A beautiful finger reef lays there teaming with marine life, called Rhino Hole. It is called Rhino Hole because the water gets pushed through a gap in the headland making a noise like a snorting Rhino, or at least so the story goes…One crappy winter day Mike decided it was time to take us there. It was rough, really rough, but the visibility was fantastic! It was an amazing dive and now we can’t get enough of this place. We still go there if it is rough and we need good visibility but especially when it is nice and calm. We absolutely love this beautiful finger reef system teaming with black durgeon, spotted drums, nudibranches and sharks!!!
Once we found this new gem we decided we needed another dive site on that side of the island. Most of our dive sites are located in the Atlantic Ocean, Rhino Hole and Shon’s Reef are actually in the Caribbean Ocean. So we send out on a mission to find another beautiful dive site, preferably a little bit shallower. After searching around for a couple of hours, Shon hailed over Ben to show him what we now call Shon’s Reef. Laying around a sand bowl in about 50 ft a fringing reef slopes up to about 35 ft. Barracuda likes to hang around, once again Nudibranch love this spot and it is always nice and clear against the beautiful white sandy backdrop of the sand bowl.
We don’t know how about you guys, but we can never get enough of our amazing dive sites but of course exploring new ones is always an adventure. But new or old we love them all, with such a variety of formations, wrecks, reefs, swim through and an abundance of marine life we can never get bored with any of these dive sites. Every dive is a good dive because it means time spent in the water and you just never know what mother nature will offer you this time!