St.Kitts Island: There are a few dozen named sites that include wrecks, swim-throughs, miniwalls and limestone shelves, and are home to pelagics, turtles, schools of black durgon and yellow snapper, garden eels and peacock flounders.
Join St. Kitts diving. Cruise ships and casinos generate high-octane action on St. Kitts island, but on Nevis island just across the channel, it can seem like you're surrounded by a bunch of laid-back parrotheads waiting for the next Jimmy Buffett concert.
With such dissonant vibes, you might expect the split personality of this two-island nation to extend underwater too. But with little diving pressure or tourism promotion, St. Kitts' diving and Nevis' underwater experiences score as high on quality as better-known islands in the Eastern Caribbean.
There are a few dozen named sites that include wrecks, swim-throughs, miniwalls and limestone shelves, and are home to pelagics, turtles, schools of black durgon and yellow snapper, garden eels and peacock flounders. If you're an underwater photographer focused on macro, zero in on the candy-cane shrimp, fluorescent anemones, and stag- horn and fan corals at sites like Gridiron on Saint Kitts' windward side. From January through April, Nevis diving is strafed by dolphins and humpback whales.
St. Kitts island and Nevis island Dive sites in the cut and around the southeast peninsula are shared by dive shops on both islands. Caribbean sites off Basseterre are most often dived by Kenneth's Dive Shop.
The "sunken city of Jamestown" on Nevis island, reputed to have been washed away by a hurricane, is listed in at least one guide as a great dive. Unfortunately it is nonexistent, more myth than fact. There is some small mention of it in historical records, but if it exists on the sea floor, no diver has discovered it. Historians feel that Jamestown simply fell into disuse as marshlands moved over it.
1. *Turtle Bar Reef, off the unpopulated southwestern tip of the St. Kitts island, is a spur and groove reef growing over a rocky bottom. Pillar corals and sea plumes rise from a rocky bottom that slopes from 15 feet down to 65 feet. Seas are always calm. The shallows are a good dive for novices and snorkelers. Ten-minute boat ride from the Turtle Beach Watersports Center, 20 minutes from Basseterre (st. kitts island).
2. ****Monkey Reef is 2% miles off the peninsula and Nevis, a longer boat ride than most, but worth the trip when seas are calm for the wonderful array of fish and invertebrate life, including blackbar soldierfish, coneys, sharks, barracuda, turtles and rays. The reef is a labyrinth of small caves, canyons and ledges ablaze with pink-tipped anemones, orange tube sponges, encrusting sponges, big barrel sponges, mounds of club finger corals, and sea fans. Excellent visibility. Average depths are from 45 to 60 feet. Suggested for experienced ocean divers only. Sea conditions are often choppy with four- to six-foot swells. Great Nevis diving place.
3. ***Coral Gardens, a hilly reef off Oalie Beach, Nevis, has huge pillar coral formations and gigantic barrel sponges. It's a good place to spot big turtles, schools of spadefish, nurse sharks, rays, remoras, lobsters. Depths are 50-80 feet. Seas average three to four feet with little current. Excellent visibility. For experienced divers only. Ten minutes from Scuba Safaris.
4. *** Lobster Walk is inside Coral Gardens, about 1% miles from Oalie Beach, Nevis island. The dive is similar to Coral Gardens, but inhabited by numerous lobsters. Depths start at 70 feet and drop to 110 feet. Experienced ocean divers only. Visibility and water clarity are outstanding. Expect some swells.
5. ****The Caves, off the southwestern coast of Nevis island, are a series of large caverns formed by ancient lava flows. The once-molten tubes are now home to schools of grunt, snapper, chubs, stingrays, nurse sharks and black tip reef sharks. Huge 200-lb turtles and rays have been spotted. Maximum depth is 40 feet. Good for all divers and snorkelers.
6. ****Redonda Reef, off the southern end of Nevis island, is a wilderness area with an extensive series of caverns and mini-walls just beginning to be explored. Depths average 60-70 feet. Sea conditions vary with the wind. Spectacular visibility and marine life. It is a 45-minute or longer boat ride. Seas must be exceptionally calm for the dive boats to visit this site. Wonderful Nevise diving place.
7. **Nags Head Reef is atthe southernmost tip of St. Kitts island where the Caribbean and Atlantic meet. About a 55-minute boat ride from Basseterre, 10 minutes from Turtle Beach, this area is the place for spotting eagle rays, huge stingrays and other large pelagics. Even whales occasionally blast by. This site is weather-dependent, sometimes rough and with strong currents, suggested only for experts. But, when the sea is calm, it is good for novice divers. Depths range from 25 to 110 feet. The reef is a mix of mini-walls and canyons with superb and varied marine life. Not bad St. Kitts diving place.
8. *The Taleta sank in 1985 off the west coast of St. Kitts island and lies in 50 feet of water. A quick boat ride from Basseterre, the wreck is a half mile offshore, surrounded by coral rubble. Its steel hull attracts schooling fish, barracuda and lobster. The wreck is subject to murky conditions after a storm.
9. ****Sandy Point is the photographers' favorite, with huge barrel sponges, lavender sea fans, gorgonians and orange, elephant-ear sponges. A mini-wall and canyon, depths range from 45 to 100 feet. Unfortunately, this site is a long trip for St. Kitts dive operators and is visited only on request by groups who are then bussed to the site (15 miles north of Basseterre), where they rendezvous with the dive boats. But it's a Great St. Kitts diving site.
10. ***The White Holes, off the Atlantic side of Nevis, are clear, sandy hollows packed with fish and surrounded by coral. Depths range from 15 to 45 feet. Fish life and visibility are incredible, but the seas are often rough and the trip uncomfortable. On a calm day, this is an exceptional dive.
11. ***Green Point, off the Caribbean side of the southeast peninsula on St. Kitts island, is alive with black corals, big barrel and tube sponges and a variety of soft corals. Abundant lobster and fish. A 15-minute trip from either of the dive shops on St. Kitts. Twenty-five minutes from Nevis. Depth is 50 feet. Sea conditions are always calm. Good for all level divers.
12. ***The Grid Ironis another Atlantic dive. This reef starts at New Castle Airport on Nevis and extends out past Booby Island and the north shoreline of St. Kitts island. It is an undersea shelf that rises to within 15 feet of the surface. The shallows support a dense growth of well-formed elkhorn stands, fan-shaped hydroids, colonies of giant brain coral, yellow and orange tube sponges, barrel sponges, elephant ear sponges, and plate corals. There are plenty of fish, including blue tangs, French angelfish, porcupinefish, chubs, lobster, scrawled filefish, and yellowtail. Sea conditions vary. High winds and currents may rule out the area, but when conditions are favorable it is a spectacular dive and snorkeling site.
From 13 to 19- snorcling sites