OUR DIVE SITES
Every morning the captain and crew decide where we will be diving during our AM and/or PM trips. It all depends on the weather, ocean conditions and the comfort level of all the divers on the boat that day. We have a lot of dive sites to choose from, around St Thomas as well as around Buck and Capella Island. Listed below you'll find our favorites.
Around two-and-a-half miles south of St. Thomas (a 15min boat ride), you’ll discover Buck and Capella Islands. These two islands are a Mecca for local divers, and are joined by a narrow strip of sand. Most of the dive sites around these islands are great for any level of diver.
Buck Island and Capella Island
This dive site starts on a 45 feet plateau where you'll swim by big boulders that might hide some resting nurse sharks beneath. You'll make your way over sloping reef formations until you find the drop off that can take you as deep as 75 feet. As you swim following this slope, keep your eyes peeled for southern stingrays in the sandy bottom below that can range up to six-and-a-half feet wingtip to wingtip. While making your way back to the boat you can do your safety stop at 15 feet over a beautiful shallow reef that is full of juvenile fish hiding between the colorful fire coral.
This beautiful reef dive starts you off on a 40 feet plateau full of soft corals and sea fans. There are lots of great hiding spots for octopus on this plateau as well. Keep an eye out for the emptied out shells that they discard in front of their temporary homes.
You'll follow along a slope where you acn stay as shallow as 40 feet or go as deep as 70 feet, up to you! Make sure to look out into the blue once in a while to not miss the curious reef sharks swimming by.
BUCK ISLAND POINT
Located on the west end of Buck Island, Buck Island Point is a dive site not to be missed! This site begins at 45 feet with one of the most crackly and lively reefs in the area. You are sure to find West Indian Sea Urchins, Arrow Head Crabs, Spotted Eels, Angel Fish, and elusive Octopus Chutes. Continue to explore the reef on this wondrous site and you will shortly find yourself at a mini-wall! This wall gently slopes down to depths reaching 75 feet in the sand. This is where the local sting-rays and conch like to hang out. Occasionally you can spot a reef shark swimming about. You'll find large schools of grunts and snapper that are proud to call Buck Island Point their home.
The Cartanser Senior was used to transport goods during World War II. After the war, she was used to carry various cargoes between the islands. She is now resting in approximately 50 feet of water, leaning on her port side. The forces of nature have taken their toll on on the ship, leaving it in three distinct pieces.
Everything from her engine room to her bow has been photographed hundreds of times. Her remains attract not only yellow tails, tang, grouper, and angelfish, but dive boats from all over the island that bring divers to explore the wreckage. Look carefully on the wreck and you will see lots of purples patches of sergeant major eggs.
Just off the south side of this narrow strip, you can explore the underwater oasis often called the Coral Bowl. With a depth of 30 to 80 feet, this popular dive site is filled with sea creatures of every type.
It looks like a bowl shaped slope starting in 30 feet and descending to 80 feet at its bottom. All around the sides of the bowl are sloping tiers of hard and soft corals, full of nooks and overhangs to explore. Schooling fish swim along the different levels, as lobsters, eels and nurse sharks watch from their protected homes.
DIVE FLAG ROCK
As your captain and crew tie up to the mooring, look toward the rocky shore of Buck Island and see if you can find it! Once you see the rock, you will soon understand why we call this dive site Dive Flag Rock. At Dive Flag, you descend into shallow sand, and make a short swim to a cluster of coral. Juvenile fish collect among the coral heads, but then you can descend down a coral-encrusted wall to the sand below for a depth of about 65 feet. As you swim along the slope, you can observe large schools of fish, the occasional young black tip reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and barracuda.
Back in the day when there was a submarine base on the island, they would take tourists on a ride to this dive site. The reef on this location is spread out over a bunch of "islands" in the sand, with the bottom getting as deep as 80 feet and the top of the islands between 60 and 40 feet. The submarines could navigate through these coral formations to show the reef to their customers, just like going through alleys. Nowadays we don't have to worry about being interrupted by a submarine during our dives on this amazing site.
Tejo's Treasure is an amazing dive site that is the northside border reef of famous Buck Island Cove. Named after an instructor who mistakenly thought she saw an old cannon encrusted in coral, when in fact it was an old acetylene tank! (What? ... It could happen to anyone!!!) This site follows a rocky wall that plunges underwater and becomes a reef at about 45 feet. You can then follow this coral packed peninsula at its top, bottom or in between for several hundred yards, getting as deep as 75 feet.
As you swim along, trigger fish, parrotfish, spotted hinds, turtles and nurse sharks will watch you swim by, as schools of yellowtails and French grunts lead you ever onward.
This colorful reef is one of the two border reefs of Buck Island Cove. Named for the HMS Wye, (which sank here during the 1867 Hurricane that sank the HMS Rhone), the reef is a favorite hang-out for schooling fish, nurse sharks and sea turtles. Starting as a shallow dive in about 35 feet of water, you can explore the coral encrusted boulders that lead down about 60 feet. An easy turn to the right or the left along the edge will make for a slow, easy dive until it is time to return back to the boat. Because Wye Reef is so diverse in composition, it can be done as a shallow or deep dive.
St Thomas Dive Sites near Bologno Bay
The following dive sites are close to the main land of St. Thomas and max about a 20min ride out from our dock. For us to be able to go to these dive sites we need the ocean and the wind to cooperate a little since they could mean a rocky boat during our windy months.
Armando's Paradise is named after renowned cinematographer and photographer, Armando Jenik, as being one of his most coveted sites, this site has it all. From breathtaking swimthroughs, coral encruted ledges, abundant fish activity, valleys with scenic passageways, record breaking barrel sponges, and all of this just moderately located within 40 feet of the surface! This is literally a photographer's and reef lover's paradise!
COW & CALF ROCK
Cow and Calf Rock are two outcroppings on the south side of St. Thomas that are so named because rum-soaked whalers would mistake the rocks as being a whale cow and her calf and would hurl their harpoons at the "creatures." Calf is the smaller rock and boasts many large and beautiful fish in its ledges. Cow is the larger and know for the swim through maze that includes the champagne cork which, with a little wind and wave action, will launch the diver up through the hole. Take a light to better see the lobster and glassy slipper fish that live in the holes as well as the magnificent colored coral. Both sites have a maximum depth of 40 feet.
This barge from the mid 80's turned out to be too buoyant for the carrier coming to town named, John F. Kennedy. Someone decided that the best idea for the barge and carrier’s predicament was to let one of the water-tight compartments flood so that the barge would sink a bit and make it lower. Needless to say, things didn’t go as planned. You will now find this barge flipped upside down in 40’ to 60’ of water. Home to Porcupine fish, barracuda and with the surrounding sand being riddled with stingrays. Go east of the Barge and you will find the cement slab that used to reside on top. The now nicknamed “Kennedy” Barge is a great dive for all.
LEDGES OF LITTLE ST JAMES
There is no hiding why this site is called the Ledges of Little St. James. Located on the west side of the island, Little St. James, the sand has drifted away from under the coral ridges and outcroppings, leaving amazing formations to explore. The ledges run along the island at two depths, so you can dive along the reef at 45 feet out and 25 feet back, making for a long visit with schools of French grunt, Spanish lobster, spotted eagle rays and the occasional nurse shark that call this site home.
THE NAVY BARGES
The Navy Barges were floating accommodations for US troops during WWII. After the war, the navy sunk the barges in approximately 40 feet on a sandy bottom. Look up carefully as you explore the nooks and crannies of these amazing artificial reefs. After you look up, look to the sides for turtles, parrot fish, and look down for octupus and lobsters. Maybe even look out into the sand for a stingray or two. From June through September, large nurse sharks are found around the wreckage giving birth to their young while Sergeant Major diligently guard their purple-colored egg patches to prevent the next generation from being eaten by hungry predators.
At 50 feet, this mini-pinnacle is named for one of the unlucky ships that have hit the rock over the years, the HMS Warwick, a Royal Mail Packet Steamship. Back in 1816, Captain Simpson was making way to Charlotte Amalie Harbor when he hit Packet Rock. The Warwick was carrying cargo to St. Thomas and in an attempt to save his ship, Captain Simpson ordered that the cargo be thrown overboard. Unfortunately, they were unable to save the ship and it eventually sank. All that now remains are roofing tiles, broken pottery shards, clay smoking pipes and a giant cauldron. Packet Rock is also home to huge French and queen angelfish, schools of barracuda, hawksbill turtles, the occasional nurse shark and triggerfish. On the north side of Packet Rock are ledges that are home to schools of French grunts, yellowtails and sergeant majors.
St Thomas Dive Sites a little further out
These dive sites are about a 30min to a 45min boat ride out depending on the wind and ocean conditions. For us to be able to go to these sites we need the weather to cooperate and give us nice flat seas. These dive sites are also more advanced than our other sites because of depth and possible currents, so we need all the divers on the boat to be comfortable with those conditions.
If all the stars allign, the captain and crew will gladly take you to these awesome sites!
Six miles offshore, where the ocean bottom is in excess of one hundred feet rises a pinnacle, like a small mountain, covered in hard and soft corals. Come see the secrets that the sea creatures know, start at 80 feet and slowly spiral up the slopes of the pinnacle. Watch for circling spotted eagle rays, huge schools of fish, and the evasive black durgeon like you have never seen. Then go up and around again, until you make your way to the top where you swim through the cut in the top of the pinnacle and local legend says it will bring you good luck.
Supermarket??? Why would anyone name a beautiful coral reef, Supermarket??? While diving on this spur-n-groove reef, you might be reminded of walking down the numerous aisles of a supermarket! This uncharacteristically designed reef sits in about 60 feet of water with coral formations getting as shallow as 30 feet. Located on the southeast side of Water Island (now being deemed the US Virgin Islands 4th largest island), this site is a rarity to dive. You will find Garden Eels, Turtles, Eagles Rays and Moray Eels without ever having to stray too far from the boat.