Scuba Diving Anguilla
Anguilla’s turquoise waters boast seven marine parks. Dive sites include wreck dives, shore dives, mini walls, night dives and heritage diving.
Submerged in decades of rich history and teeming with exciting local culture, Anguilla is a self-governing overseas territory. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and directly north of Saint Martin. The territory consists of the main island of Anguilla itself, approximately 16 miles (26 km) long by 3 miles (5 km) wide at its widest point, together with a number of much smaller islands and cays with no permanent population. The island’s capital is The Valley. The total land area of the territory is 35 square miles (90 km2). Its main industries are tourism, offshore incorporation and management, offshore banking, captive insurance and fishing.
English is the official language of the territory, which consists of the main island plus a number of smaller islands that have no permanent population.
It is famous for it’s beaches and beautiful white sand. Including the outer islands, there are at least 33 beaches available to be explored and enjoyed, with white, powdery sand that stretches for miles. All of Anguilla’s beaches are public, uncrowded and unspoiled. Every cove, bay and stretch of sand is marked by unique characteristics, such as rock and coral formations and picturesque tropical plants.
SCUBA DIVING ANGUILLA
Scuba diving in Anguilla is generally easy. Good, typical Caribbean reefs are close in. Fish populations and frequency are typical of the eastern Caribbean, including turtle and conch.
Anguilla’s turquoise waters boast seven marine parks: Dog Island, Prickley Pear, Seal Island Reef System, Little Bay, Sandy Island, Shoal Bay Harbour Reef System and Stoney Bay Marine Park. Dive sites include wreck dives, shore dives, mini wall dives, night dives and heritage diving. Anguilla is known for its intentionally sunk shipwrecks. The island is home to a truly unique attraction, a 960-ton Spanish galleon, El Buen Consejo, which rests on the ocean floor with its cannons and cargo serving as a silent testament to the Caribbean’s turbulent past. Anguilla also boasts a healthy double reef system, where a wide variety of corals flourish.
HIGHLIGHT DIVE AREAS
El Buen Consejo – a 960-ton Spanish galleon that rests on the ocean floor with her cannons and cargo. It was sunk off the southeast coast of Anguilla on July 8th, 1772 on its way to the New World. Divers can still see the ships’ cannons, anchors and devotional medals now embedded in the coral on the ocean floor.
Stoney Bay Marine Park – an award-winning underwater park open to divers.
Scrub Island, at the eastern end of Anguilla, is also a good place for shark spotting!
Other dives of particular interest include the night dive at Little Bay with excellent macrophoto potential.
The Steps at Scrub Island offers dramatic underwater rock formations including huge boulders and a dramatic ﬁve-foot arch — also excellent for underwater photography.
OOSTERDIEP – “MV Oosterdiep” was built in 1957 in the Netherlands. In 1990 she drift aground on a shoal at the south west entrance to Road Bay Harbour. After stripped by a salvage company she was hauled off and deliberately sunk north west of Meads Bay in 75 feet of water. The ship is 150ft. long and on a sandy bottom. In the sand you can see hundreds of garden eels. There is a car wreck next to ship where we often see a spotted moray eel. the ship is full with “cleaner stations” where you can find pederson cleaner shrimps, banded coral shrimps and arrow crabs busy at work. Also fire worms are found here as well as on all the wrecks. Schools of blue tang, snappers, jacks etc.
SARAH – The wreck of the MV “Sarah” was wrecked in 1984 during hurricane “Klaus” and was sunk intentionally in 1990. This steel vessel, is upright and intact, resting on the sandy bottom. The top of the vessel is found in 40 feet of water, while the bottom sits in 80 feet, making it the deepest of the wreck dives. Not only is it the deepest wreck, but also the largest one, being around 250 feet long.
IDA MARIA – The “MV Ida Maria” was wrecked in 1984 during hurricane “Klaus”. Built sometime around World War One in the United Kingdom, from 1977 she was used as a general cargo ship (120 feet long) from Trinidad to Puerto Rico and all the islands in between. After hurricane “Klaus” she was still afloat but had dragged down on her anchor chains. She was also deliberately sunk on a reef between Sandy Island and the beginning of “the deep”. It is lying on a reef which is worth exploring too.
CATHELEY H – This boat, which was at the time was used to burn wood, accidentally caught fire and was deliberately sunk in 1993 in 50 feet of water. The “Cathely H” is upright and semi intact, there is a cargo cabin at one end, but some of it is disintegrating. During October and November, before high season starts, the wreck is full of spiny caribbean lobsters. Frequently you will see an octopus, The boat is about 100 feet long and resting in the sand, rays are usually seen around the wreck.
COMMERCE – Wrecked in 1984 during hurricane “Klaus”. Sunk in 1986, it is one of the nine wrecks sunk intentionally to create artificial reef. About 150 feet long, the “Commerce” is laying on a slope 60ft. to 80ft. On the flat deck there is assorted cargo, including old cars, a broken crane and machine parts. The propeller at the stern is still intact. Observe the large lobsters hiding in the side of the ship. Explore the reef which is touching the bow of the wreck, which is full of schooling fish.
ANGUILLITA – At the west of Anguilla there is a little island called Anguillita. It consists of “mini walls” where you will find lobsters, moray eels and cleaner stations. Frequently we see a school of large tarpon. In sandy area we frequently see Southern Stingrays and Eagle Rays. Max. depth 60ft.
FRENCHMAN REEF – West of Anguilla there is Bedham Bay where we find a large reef called Frenchman Reef. It is a reef with different rock formations soft and hard corals. There are a lot of ledges where you can find a nurse shark taking a nap. Stingrays, lobsters and barracuda are seen there. Max. depth 50ft.
BLOWING ROCK – South west of Anguilla, you will see Blowing Rock. This is a shallow dive, max. 40ft. Rock formations, elk horn coral, green/yellow/pink anemones and there is a cave as well. Because there is a current we can see a school of barracuda, occasionally a reef shark and nurse sharks. Turtles like to hang out there as well. You can also find Schools of grunts, lobsters and spotted moray eels there.
OOSTERREEF – Next to the Oosterdiep wreck is a slope. If you go north east you have Oosterreef if you go south it is called Deep South. Max. depth is 70ft. In the sand check for Southern Stingrays. In the reef we will see lobsters, moray eels, turtles and barracuda.
SANDY DEEP – Around Sandy Island there are several dive sites. Sandy Deep is a slope, max 60ft, which is full with sea fans and different types of sponges. Stingrays, turtles, margates, lobsters.
SANDY REEF – On the north side of Sandy Island you will find Sandy Reef, max depth 60ft. This is a slope where you find lobsters, stingrays. moray eels and occasionally a spotted eagle ray.
DOG ISLAND – Dog Island consists of 2 dive sites: West Cay and Devil’s Wall, both at 90 ft. The region spots splendid collections of both hard and soft corals. Whenever rays of light touch the walls, shades of deep red and blue lavender are revealed, so carrying a dive light is seldom necessary, but bring one anyway, there are all kinds of small, colorful critters in the grotto’s darker recess. Adding to that, several large tarpon, barracudas or sharks are likely to appear like ghostly apparitions. Because of it’s remoteness, the reefs and walls here are not visited frequently thus offering near virgin diving.
DIVE SEASON: Year around.
VISIBILITY: Averages 100’ (30m) plus throughout the year.
WATER TEMPERATURE: Mid 80sF (30C) in the summer to mid 70sF (24C) in the winter.
WEATHER: Average temperature is around 80F (26C) year around. Hurricane season is July through November.
CLIMATE: Trade winds and tropical monsoons. Summer temperatures average highs of 31C/88F with lows of 25C/77F. Winter temperatures average highs of 29C/84F and lows of 23C/73F. October is the wettest and February is the driest.
TIME ZONE: -0400 GMT. The time in Anguilla is 1 hour earlier than U S Eastern Time Zone.
LOCAL CUSTOMS: Although the daily pace is generally relaxed and unhurried, Anguillans maintain a degree of formality in public life. Politeness and manners are considered important.
ELECTRICITY: Voltage 110-120 (The same as the U S and Canada), using the same plugs
CURRENCY & CREDIT CARDS: Eastern Caribbean dollar. US dollars are widely accepted. Exchange rate: 1 US$ = $2.70 EC. American Express and Visa credit cards are widely accepted.
GRATUITIES: Tips in the range of 8 – 10% are greatly appreciated. Hotels add in a 10% service charge that goes to most employees.
PHONE & INTERNET SERVICE: Phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless with SIM cards available for purchase. Internet service is widely available. Check with your hotel.
VISA & PASSPORT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport (with at least six months before expiration) and return and onward tickets are required for all visitors to Anguilla.
CUSTOMS: Visitors may bring duty free items such as 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 g of tobacco, 1.14L of alcohol, a reasonable amount of perfume for personal use,etc.
DEPARTURE TAX: A US $20 departure tax applies to all tourists departing from Anguilla. There is no charge for children under twelve years old.
GETTING THERE: Anguilla is served by Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport (AXA) . Services connect to various other Caribbean islands via regional carrier LIAT, local charter airlines and others. Although there are no direct scheduled flights to or from continental America or Europe, Tradewind Aviation and Cape Air provide scheduled air service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. It may be easier to access Anguilla via St. Maarten, which can be reached non-stop from many eastern U.S. cities, as well as European cities.
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